My Family Tradition: Happy Birthday, Jesus
So, for my Creative Writing class, we had to write and Non-Fiction story, and I chose to write about my family’s annual Christmas Traditions. Hope you Enjoy.
Coming from a loving, Christian family definitely has its perks—family time every Sunday, prayers for any occasion, and two supportive parents who are always ready to lend a helping hand. Among these many wonderful qualities is the art of celebrating together large, fun-filled holidays. You can count on the LoBues to hold Easter, Thanksgiving, and definitely Christmas.
Most families celebrate the birth of every member, (or at least you would hope) but my family adds an extra celebration to the group: the birth of Jesus.
Now we all know as Catholics, Christians, and even Atheists, that Christmas is in fact a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. After all, it is where the title Christmas came from. However, no family celebrates quite like we do.
“Well I make cakes for all of your birthdays, so why wouldn’t I make one for Jesus?” my mom says in her perfect Staten Island accent. Even if you didn’t seem to understand her logic, her sweet smile and motherly charm would make you agree. I continue icing the annual “Happy Birthday Jesus!” on the cake as I watch her step-touch around the living room, belting out her absolute favorite Christmas tune, “All I want For Christmas is You”. She’s convinced she sounds just as good as Mariah… when she’s warmed up. This is also a yearly tradition, but fortunately Mariah’s song comes on about a hundred times, so we get to hear it all the season long.
Don’t get me wrong, our Christmas’s are wonderful, family-oriented and slightly dysfunctional, just like any other’s. We have a huge Italian feast, followed by all the desserts you can imagine. Between my Italian father’s side and Itlalian/Irish/Staten Island mother’s, you can imagine that we never run out of food. Or alcohol. It is also KEY that you come over hungry, because regardless, my mom will make sure you are fed.
“Hi sweetheart! Are you hungry?” “Oh, no thank you, Mrs. LoBue I actually just had a 4 cours—“ “Aww, I’ll get you some pasta.”
This is just one example out of the many in which my friends had come over full, and left with new pants.
When dessert rolls along, in case you were worried, we definitely turn the lights out and sing “Happy Birthday,” as well. Rounding two thousand years, the candles have gotten to be a bit expensive, but my mom insists. She’s a strong believer in tithing.
A friend of mine once walked into my home around Christmas time and exclaimed, “Aw, how cute, your mom still has a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner up for you.”
No… it’s for Jesus. My mom then replied with “He’s a lot less expensive than my daughter, so we leave his up longer.”
Another time, my personal favorite, my parents invited over my boyfriend, his mom, and two sisters over for dessert. My boyfriend Nate comes from a very Christian family, but little did they know that within minutes upon their arrival, they would be taking their religion to a whole new level. They walked in just in time for my Mother, Nana, and three Aunt’s tipsy version of “We Are Family”. The McKenna sisters sang the entire song slightly on key, with cocktails in hand. I’m sure Nate’s conservative mother found this rather amusing, especially as her first introduction to the family. Needless to say, she didn’t join in on the fun. I have to admit, however, it was rather humorous to see my slightly hunchback, 5 foot nothing grandma really breaking it down on our living room dance floor. It also truly seemed to be the perfect segue into the family singing of “Happy birthday, Jesus”.
For some odd reason, Nate’s family left not too long afterwards. I suppose for a newcomer, the setting was a bit overwhelming, so I understand.
We haven’t seen them since.
I’m kidding… but I do think they may be afraid to approach us on holidays. Unfortunately, they left right before we whipped out the game Catch Phrase. It’s interesting to see how quickly the Christianity fades when things start getting competitive. “As long as you smack ‘em in Christian love, it’s alright,” my dad says. This applies for all situations. Except for while driving: I prefer the Jersey salute followed by a “GOD BLESS YOU TOO.” — Equally effective.
For those of you who don’t know the game, you are provided a category, and a word within it. Then, on a time limit, you must describe that word as best as you can, in hopes that your team will get it before time runs out. My Uncle Tony likes to start off every description with “Ok, so uh…” very calmly with his Italian, New York accent. My Aunt Joanne prefers screaming profanities when her team doesn’t guess the word in time. She’s always been the competitive type. Mind you there is absolutely no prize, but it doesn’t matter. Satisfaction in her victory is prize enough. Then there’s my Nana who wakes up every couple of words and screams out an obscene answer. On the other hand is my mother… who just screams out the word rather than providing hints. I suppose this saves us time and energy. She’s always been very efficient.
Being one of the only girls in the family also makes the holidays interesting. While my cousins are sweating from playing video games upstairs, I’m either still eating, or playing some form of Hide-and-go-Seek with my ten-year-old cousin, Danielle. She’s very similar to my mom when it comes to games. She tells me exactly where to hide, then counts to 10 and comes to find me. She may have also picked this up from my Aunt Joanne, in the sense that she will never lose. In more ways than one, I truly come from a family of winners.
I love my family more than anything in the world, and wouldn’t have their craziness any other way. I’m sure at least one other person out there reading this sings happy birthday to Jesus……. Or maybe not. Either way, every family has their quirks and traditions, and this is ours. it’s a tradition that I’ve grown to love because it is my family and they are my everything. This one is for them.