Growing up, some Christmas traditions were imposed on us by the Church, some by Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and still others we created ourselves. Regardless of origin, these traditions combined to create something far more meaningful than the sum of their parts.
In large families like mine, adhering to tradition can be irksome. Some traditions could be unfair, like having to get to the church almost two hours before Midnight Mass started because my older brother Tom’s girlfriend played flute for the choir. This cemented in my middle school mind that dating only caused problems (also, prolonged exposure to flute music). Worse, we had to save seats in the pew for my three older sisters, who were old enough to skip the concerts of their brother’s girlfriends and arrive later with friends.