It Wouldn't Be Christmas Without...

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Every household has its holiday traditions, often the standards (or anyway within the standard deviation from) cherished in one form or other for a couple of centuries in the West.

Then there are the other, more random traditions that somehow slowly became associated with the holidays are now the sine qua non of the holiday. "It wouldn't be Christmas without mom's chocolate gravy," went the headnote in a cookbook I edited some years ago. "Our family has chicken spaghetti each Christmas night, then we watch Terminator 2," went another. One family we know holds a Christmas night poker game. You could be forgiven for thinking, Wha?


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In our house, it's the gumdrop tree. My neighbor's family had one when I was little, putting sugarplums at our little fingertips in my first culinary paradigm shift. When we unearth ours, then unwrap it and load it up, it's an occasion for excited shrieks.

And what about your house? What is it that makes festivus festive? Tamales, perhaps? The holiday-theme finger-tip towels? A game of Twister? Billy the Big Mouth Bass?

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