SummaryThree families featured in the 2017 Seton Magazines share traditions that make their Christmas celebrations treasured family memories to pass along forever.
The Pfaff Family
March Issue – No Regrets: Homeschooling for Medical Reasons
Every year, about a week before Christmas my parents take all the grandchildren to the Nutcracker Ballet dressed in their finest. Because of Jude’s immune deficiency, all the little cousins wear masks together to be protected from germs so that Jude can go with them and he doesn’t feel alone wearing his mask.
On Christmas day, after morning Mass we all head to my parents’ house. The grandchildren all put on costumes to reenact the Nativity. We have Mary and Joseph and a few extra shepherds and wise men now that there are thirteen grandchildren ages eight and under, but everyone is so excited to kiss the Baby Jesus under the Christmas tree. Then we all pray together and open presents around the tree. We also have birthday cake for Jesus and enjoy spending the day together.
Merry Christmas and prayers for good health and many blessings in the New Year from the Pfaff family!
The Darnowski Family
September Issue: Guided by Grace
We try to make God first at Christmas by making everything else take second place to trying to get to Mass each day over the Christmas season. Next would be Saint Nicholas and the presents, and finally the food. We most especially enjoy the pork pies on Christmas Eve after Mass, my husband’s yule log cake decked with meringue mushrooms, and a traditional Irish Fruitcake.
We make our fruitcake a couple of months ahead of Christmas, and painted twice weekly, or whenever we remember, with Irish Whisky to flavour and preserve it. Traditionally, this was an excellent way to preserve food if you did not have refrigeration.
Also, in our great-grandparents’ day, fruit was the candy of the day, and sometimes was very sparse in winter, so it was a real treat.
It’s so nice to remember those who went before us, as we bake this unusual and time-consuming confection. The cake is then coated in real marzipan that we make ourselves, and hard royal icing.
We don’t put all the gross glazed fruit from the store in it. We buy good old dried fruit: cranberries, currants, raisins etc, and soak them in whisky and orange juice.
On Christmas Day, it is served with a little nativity scene on top of it, with a sprinkling of icing sugar snow. If you’ve never appreciated fruitcake, you might never have tried a real, homemade Irish or English one. You can google the recipe, but make sure to include the search terms “traditional English or Irish” inside quotation marks in the search.
The Cairnie Family
October Issue: Preparing Our Children for Success with Seton
Traditionally, Christmas Eve day is filled with preparations for our “Feast of the Seven Fishes” (well not always as many as 7, but we try!). This is followed by evening Mass where our kids participate each year in the children’s choir.
Everyone is dressed in their best and my husband in his Scottish kilt; his kilt is a parish tradition in itself! After a cheerful visit with our parish family at the church we end our “silent night” with an elegant, candlelit dinner filled with toasts and thanksgiving that usually runs late into the night.