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It started just about 39 years ago. As with most families, Christmas Day at my house was marked by all the usual things: the early risings, opening presents, listening to Christmas music, and having the traditional turkey dinner with potatoes, vegetables, etc. That was until Christmas 1978.
You see, a month before, on November 26, my family was increased from six kids to seven by the birth of a (devastatingly handsome to be sure) 10-lb., 23″-long bouncing baby boy (who, though he was destined to be a fairly trouble-free infant, toddler, and young child … adolescence was another story) whose birth had led to a slow and unpleasant recovery by my mother.
Sure, with several older siblings to help the younger ones, things weren’t too bad; but a few days before Christmas, my mother gathered the family and announced that she was in no condition to put out the whole traditional Christmas spread and asked for input on what should be done instead. According to sources who were present (I mean, I was there, but at a few weeks old, I had little to say on the matter), the decision was fairly quick and unanimous. The family would make pizza on Christmas Day!
Over the years, the tradition has evolved into the following scenario for Christmas Day: after the presents are opened it is every man for himself (or EMFH, as my mom would say). The toppings are all ready in the kitchen, usually there are leftover slices of salami, pepperoni, and other sausages from our Christmas Eve buffet (another fun tradition — cheeses, crackers, meats and lots of laughter), a large container of homemade red sauce, large amounts of cheese, and pretty much whatever else is in the house you want to add on top.
Pretty much, when someone is hungry they go make their own pizza however they want and the day is spent just being with the family with no set agenda. Some years, we made larger communal pizzas, others featured personal-sized ones. But, one can definitely expect a jigsaw puzzle to be worked on, games to be played, naps were taken and, in general, a lot of great memories formed.
Any unique/unusual Christmas traditions for your families?