One day at work I asked a Ukrainian Catholic what they did on Christmas Eve. I was then blown away by the rich description of the various traditions that encompassed their Christmas Eve celebration - from straw under the table, to a 12 course meal, to the father blessing the wine and so on and so on. Up to this point in our family life, we had virtually no traditions. None were handed down to us for Christmas Eve.
So, we made a decision. After hearing how richly other folk were celebrating and how lame our celebrations were, we changed course. We researched Catholic feast days and holidays, cultural feasts and traditions from both sides of our families and decided on our own personal ones. Then, we developed the Biffert Tradition Calendar which we tweaked and augmented every year till we felt we were celebrating life very well and handing down some great traditions to our children.
One of these, as noted in the picture above, came from my Dutch background. On the even of Dec.6th, the children place their boots outside and then St. Nick fills them during the night. St. Nick gives my children Dutch chocolate and treats and of course, the chocolate letter of their name.
Why tradition? Perhaps there are many reasons such as binding a family together, creating memories and so forth. But really simply - because traditions help us to celebrate life well and life is worth celebrating!
Kenton E. Biffert
Photography for Life