Whether I spend Christmas back home in Louisiana, in my house in Massachusetts, or with in-laws in New Hampshire, like many people I have found holiday traditions that make this time of year memorable. 

Ham for Christmas Dinner. If it’s just the Mister, me, and the Kiddo, we bake ham sprinkled with brown sugar.  After a Thanksgiving turkey and turkey sandwich lunches, I’ve enough tryptophan.

Opening one gift on Christmas Eve. With up to eight estatic grandchildren in the home, my parents overlooked delayed gratification and allowed everyone to open one gift on the night before Christmas.  It eased antsy hands wanting to grope for presents and made room for all the “Santa” gifts under the tree. 

Holiday Trail of Lights.  Load up a couple of cars!  The Shreveport/Bossier Holiday Trail of Lights includes the Pierre Bossier Mall, civic center, and the Christmas Tour of Homes. 

The Cajun Night Before Christmas.  Whether I’m reading it aloud to Northern relatives or just to myself, every year I read Trosclair’s Cajun Night Before Christmas.  Although I was not born Cajun myself, I still enjoy this book just as many other Louisianians do.  You see, Saint Nick is not stupid.  He knows that hoofed reindeer and a sleigh won’t cut it in the swamps and bayous of the south.  He rides a skiff drawn by eight flying alligators.. Gaston, Tiboy, Pierre, Alcee, Ninette, Suzette, Celeste, and Renee.  The Cajun Saint Nick and his reptiles are also featured as lights and lawn decorations in the Holiday Trail of Lights.

The Pageant or Christmas Eve Service.  Though I have not belonged to a church in years, I have fond memories of nativity plays.  Boys wore their Dads’ robes when acting as the Orient Kings.  A choir dressed like angels provided the season’s music.  And I eventually did get over the fact that my adorable, olive-skinned and dark headed baby was not chosen to be Baby Jesus. 

A Christmas Story.  I watch the TBS presentation of my favorite holiday movie every year, except I did miss it last year.  Am a bit worried this year, for I will be traveling on Christmas Eve.  May have to inform the family to reserve a television for me on the big Day. 

The Polar Express.  In recent years, we’ve snuggled up with blankets to watch this incredibly touching movie so wonderfully brought to life from the book.  I love the songs and how colorful the characters are. 

The trip to the movie theatre.  Twenty years ago this Christmas, I took my sister-in-law and two little nieces to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the movie theatre where I was employed.  Being their first movie going experience, they were someone nervous and didn’t quiet know what was going on.  Well, next year, they jumped up and down at the concession stand while waiting for Aladdin.  So now every Christmas we are together, we pick a family movie to see.  It’s one of the gifts.  My husband, son, and I carry on this tradition on when not visiting family.  Following movies include Aladdin, The Santa Clause, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Avatar.  This year’s movie?  Either Hugo or Tin Tin.