The Many Faces of Christmas

Last Updated on December 25, 2014 by Diane Hoffmaster

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who happens to be Jewish.  We were talking about our plans for Christmas Day which, for me, starts way too early, involves many gifts and too much eating, and usually a nap by early afternoon.  Her Christmas Day involves meeting several other Jewish families in the area for a buffet dinner at a local restaurant.  She was annoyed because apparently it is a Jewish tradition to eat at a Chinese buffet on Christmas day but none of the Chinese restaurants around us are open.  Apparently Golden Corral for a Christmas lunch buffet just is NOT traditional enough.  Which I just sortof giggle at because a buffet of any sort for Christmas just horrifies me…in fact, anything other than ham or pork on the table for Christmas dinner just seems wrong on so many levels!  The whole discussion got me to thinking about what Christmas looks like in other peoples homes.  And, in the spirit of giving…I thought I would share with you what Christmas looks like here in mine!

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And THIS is what the kitchen looks like after 7 batches of cookies! Anybody want to come clean? I pay in cookies!

A photo posted by Diane Hoffmaster (@dianehoffmaster) on


The weeks leading up to Christmas are total chaos in my house.  I make about 15 different types of candy and 7 different kinds of cookies.  I share with friends, neighbors, my husbands co workers, teachers and anyone who randomly shows up at my door before they disappear.  With that amount of kitchen creativity going on, the family usually ends up with very unexciting meals and they also end up wondering why mommy is a total basket case.  This may be a Christmas tradition that I rethink in the coming years.


I always end up scrambling for my holiday cards.  I head into the Christmas season with great intentions but then end up with to many things going on and can’t wrangle a color coordinated family photo.  I usually end up using random pictures I have taken of the family over the year and getting them made online.  The rarely reach their destination by Christmas.  That is why I never choose the ‘Merry Christmas’ card.  I go with ‘Season’s Greetings’ which is generic enough that if it shows up on your doorstep in early January it isn’t too weird. Right?  Sure…

Christmas 2014

Christmas eve always means going to church.  We aren’t die hard church goers but try to go fairly regularly and I just can’t imagine a Christmas without Christmas eve service.  I try to make sure that the kids have something decent to wear, although as teenagers they are no longer interested in big red bows and matching shirts.  They were much easier to dress before they had actual opinions on the clothes I bought them.

Christmas Pajamas

Santa always leaves my family Christmas pajamas on the front porch while we are at church.  Even now that my kids are teens they want their Christmas jammies.  I still make a big show of them ‘appearing’ on the front porch while we are gone.  It’s silly, I know, but hey…the things we do to keep tradition alive, right? At this point we probably have way too many Christmas pajamas in this house.  But since we are all wearing Christmas pajamas even in June, they get plenty of wear.


Christmas day starts about 5 AM because my husband and children feel the need to open all the gifts before the sun comes up.  Seriously…I spend all night wrapping gifts, stumble into bed about 2 AM after 2 or 3 glasses of wine and you want me to be conscious before dawn?  They wonder why mommy is cranky on Christmas morning!  The next several hours are a blur of stockings, presents, phone calls to all the family that lives out of town, telling the dog to please stop standing on (or trying to eat!) all the presents and then a really long nap!  I love Christmas naps!

After waking from the blessed Christmas nap I usually start dinner.  Which absolutely MUST be something from the pork family.  I have no idea why.  This year it’s ham.  Last year was a pork loin.  Don’t ever suggest turkey for Christmas dinner.  I am so sick of turkey after Thanksgiving I don’t want to see it again for another year.  Christmas dinner is followed up by Christmas desserts (another wonderful part of the day!) and watching stupid Christmas cartoons on TV.  Accompanied by eggnog, of course.  Grownups get the spiked variety!

So, what does Christmas look like in YOUR house?  Do you have special traditions or places you always go this time of year?  I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

Merry Christmas!

(I won’t be posting much over the next week or two so I can continue to gorge myself on Christmas cookies and spiked eggnog while watching stupid Christmas cartoons with my kids.  I will be back to blogging regularly again after these hooligans go back to work and school!)


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