Whether as a child, or a grown up, we all have special holiday memories and traditions that bring us back to days long gone and some that we carry on each year. The editors of the Peninsula region wanted to share theirs with you, and we’d love it if you would tell us about your memory or tradition. Have photos or a video memory? You can upload those too!
And from all of us in the Peninsula Patch region, we hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and are making lots of happy memories this year.
Jamie White, Regional Editor, San Mateo County Patch sites
FAVORITE TRADITION: My family had their big celebration on Christmas Eve when I was a little girl, and the whole clan used to come over to my house on Christmas Eve for a huge dinner and to unwrap gifts under the Christmas tree. I got so excited on Christmas Eve morning to see everyone, made nametags for the table and went to bed wondering what Santa would leave me under the tree on Christmas morning.
FAVORITE MEMORY: My dad had a life-size manger scene he would display on the front lawn of our house in San Carlos every year with lights and people would come from miles around to "ooh" and "ahhh." He loved setting that up every year : ) My dad loved Christmas and having his family together. While I miss him not being here to share in making new memories, I will always have that very special memory of him.
Dave Colby, Associate Regional Editor, San Mateo County Patch sites
FAVORITE TRADITION: My mom's cranberry pudding for dessert every year at the Christmas dinner table. A beautifully-light cranberry cake, drizzled with hot, sweet butter sauce.
Drew Himmelstein, editor of South San Francisco Patch
FAVORITE MEMORY: Though Jewish, my family still celebrated Christmas when I was young. When I was 5, I asked my mom whether Santa Claus really existed. She asked me if I was sure I wanted to know, because once she told me she couldn't take it back. I said yes. She then proceeded to tell me that Santa Claus does exist, but he doesn't deliver the presents himself. He stays up on the roof while his Christmas clown slides down the chimney and leaves the presents.
Kristine Wong, editor of Half Moon Bay Patch
FAVORITE MEMORY: Waking up and racing to the fireplace to see what was in our stockings, then settling down to a special breakfast with my family while listening to Christmas records.
Miriam Finder, editor of Burlingame Patch
FAVORITE TRADITION: On one of the nights of Hanukkah, we always have a traditional Hanukkah dinner with my grandparents. My grandma always makes the most amazing homemade applesauce for the latkes (potato pancakes). I don't even really like applesauce, but this stuff is SO good.
Vanessa Castaneda, editor of Menlo Park Patch
FAVORITE TRADITION: In my family, no holiday season is complete without the photo montage of our Every year, my little cousins gather around the island in the kitchen to help mix me ingredients for the frosting/mortar. We build gingerbread houses, and then my aunts snap photos of us, holding our homes. Later on in the evening, when the wine is poured, cell phones and cameras get passed around the living room, so everyone can see the pictures of our creations.
Kenny Porpora, editor of San Carlos Patch
FAVORITE MEMORY: For a short period of time in New York, you can walk around outside, and smell the smokiness of your neighbors fireplaces wafting through the air; when it’s not yet cold enough to snow, and you can stand on the street and peek inside the window to your family’s house and see them together: the warm glow of the tree lights, something on the TV, hot chocolate in their hands.
Joan Dentler, guest editor of Belmont Patch
FAVORITE MEMORY: Visiting my parents in Ohio a few years ago a day after an ice storm knocked out power everywhere in town. We survived on 2-Buck Chuck and Strohs beer for a week.
Stacie Chan, editor of Redwood City Patch
FAVORITE TRADITION: Just north of my hometown, a wealthy neighborhood goes NUTS with Xmas decorations and lights, so the entire community, including my parents, sister and I, would park their cars and go around admiring the lights. We ooh-ed and aah-ed and wished we owned one of those homes.
David Carini, editor of Millbrae Patch
FAVORITE MEMORY: There are so many, not sure if one really stands out!
Gideon Rubin, guest editor of Foster City Patch
FAVORITE MEMORY: Traveling to Las Vegas to cover a huge high school basketball tournament in the early 1990s.
Laura Dudnick, editor of San Mateo Patch
FAVORITE MEMORY/TRADITION: Listening to Vince Guaraldi on Christmas morning... my parents always played the holiday CD while we opened presents. Now I like to listen to it when I bake Christmas cookies :)
Camden Swita, editor of Pacifica Patch
FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY: Putting up Christmas decorations at my parents' house growing up. It could be a pain at first, sure, but after awhile opening up boxes smelling of dust, pine sap and cinnamon, I'd find myself enraptured by the many strange objects.
Some of the decorations, like Douglas Fir the Talking Tree, who, after you plugged him and tripped the motion sensor would let loose a peal of poorly-recorded holiday songs sung in a cartoony voice, or some of the ornaments I'd crudely slapped together in grade school and before, such as (my personal specialty) three popsicle sticks glued into something like a triangle and caked with enough glitter to make even David Bowie cringe, I could place within the context of my own life; I knew when, if only approximately, they were bought or made, for what purpose and to whom they were given. These familiar objects amused me, but never entranced me. That fell to the older artifacts of Swita family Christmases that predated my life.
These were mysterious, often broken, treasures, weird in their purpose, design and past. What was the story behind the 4-foot-tall animatronic Santa that just kind of waved his arms and creaked, glassy-eyed? The candle carousel that'd fall apart at the slightest gust? Commemorative tree ornaments from my brothers' Christmases before me, so tacky in their outdated stylings? I'd hold and stare at these things for a while before setting them up or hanging them on the tree, trying to learn their histories from looking alone.
I liked to assume the context that surrounded the objects when they were new rather than ask my parents for the details. What did my family members look like then, what did they do on Christmas Day? Why did they buy this decoration? What did my hometown feel like? Were things brighter or drearier? I preferred to imagine, Christmas after Christmas, when another year was about to turn, my family's past through these tiny monuments.
Martin Ricard, editor of San Bruno Patch
FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY: During one Christmas when I was a kid, my family decided to have a gift exchange. My maternal grandmother, being the wise woman she is, put a $10 or $15 limit on the cost of the gift (I can't remember the amount, but that's not the point).
So everyone brought a gift, and we all had the opportunity to pick out a gift from the pile. I don't remember all of the gifts, but I remember that my brother and I had a choice between some big fluffy slippers, a book about money and something else. He picked out the big fluffy slippers. I picked out that "something else" gift. And we both ignored the book about money, thinking at the time, "Who would want an old book about money for Christmas?"
It turns out that book about money was the best gift from the pile. My grandmother had secretly hid a $50 bill on page 50 of that book. To this day, whenever someone tells me to read a book about money, I read it from cover to cover.