These are a Few of My Favorite Christmas Things

Published 2 months ago -

Teresa Prytko

Arts & Entertainment and Opinion Editor 

Christmas is one of the biggest holidays of the year and many of people’s favorites, including mine. There are many traditions that my family and I take part in, some that came over from Poland and have existed for generations and others are one’s that my direct family formed on our own. 

Christmas is traditionally a Catholic holiday and Poland is a very Catholic country, so it makes sense that there are a lot of Polish Christmas traditions. One of my favorite ones is Wigilia, or the annual Christmas Eve dinner. 

Traditionally it is supposed to start when the first star is spotted in the sky, but nowadays you tend you start whenever the meal is ready. Before you start the meal itself, the family also shares opłatek, a wafer-like food, and wishes each other prosperity and health. The dinner is made up of 12 dishes, none including any meat products. Instead, we eat fish, soup, potatoes, pierogi (can be blueberry, potato, cheese, kapusta etc.,), vegetables and more. 

After dinner we go to Pasterka, or Midnight Mass. It is similar to a traditional Christmas mass, but one of the main differences is we sing Polish Kolędy, carols, instead of English ones. 

Christmas cookies are a big part of our traditions as well. Every year we bake a ton of different types, but one that we always make, multiple times as well, is sandwich cookies. They are small cookies that we cut into fun Christmas-themed shapes like Santa Claus, stockings and more. We coat them in colored sprinkles that we specifically have to get from Pennsylvania and make homemade frosting to fill them with. They don’t usually last very long. 

Although half of us work at a farm that sells Christmas Trees, we don’t actually get a real tree. We do our best to make it look as real as possible though. We have a mix of fancy and aesthetic decorations and fun ones that we made as kids that have withstood the test of time. My parents also started a tradition when they first got married to make a heart-shaped ornament with their names on it as well as the year. It is something special to see the family grow every other year from 1999 to 2005. 

Something else that my family does that might seem old-fashioned is Christmas caroling, yes that’s right. We stop at a couple of our neighbors houses that we are friends with, don’t worry we don’t go to strangers’ houses. Our family is a very musical one, from both my mom and my dad’s side, so it is not surprising. My dad brings his concertina and we have compiled a couple of binders with songs that we can pick from. My dad picks our set list and we practice it an hour or two before we head out and then we are all set. Our direct neighbors have been living next to us since we first moved in 23 years ago so they are like grandparents to us. They have always blessed us with gifts, baked goods and love so the least we can do is remind that of how much we appreciate them by spreading some Christmas cheer and spending time with them. 

There are many other little things that we do that make the season feel even more special and I can’t wait to share them with my family in the future. 


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