I grew up in a Peruvian household in America. My family wasn't born here, but they tried their best to assimilate into the usual American way of life. They didn't change completely, however, some of their traditions are their own, and it's what makes my holiday season fun.
I've been told that my family's "stuffing" isn't real stuffing. American stuffing contains bread, celery, onions, and sage as everyone knows. But our "relleno" (stuffing) is completely different. Pulled pot roast, onions, and chickpeas, and raisins. I know that sounds like it wouldn't taste amazing, but it does and it's the number #1 side dish for the holidays.
Our Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. We sit down at the table at 8:00 p.m. and eat while we discuss the things we hope to see in the next year. At midnight, we kiss our statue of baby Jesus from the nativity set that my grandma sets up at the beginning of December. Once we hug and celebrate the birth of Jesus, we exchange gifts and drink sangria made by my aunt Martha.
We thank each other for the gifts that we get for one another and talk until 2 or 3 in the morning. We relish the time we spend together. The Christmas Day morning, we can indulge in leftovers and lounge around the house.
Our Christmases may be strange to you, but it's an evening that's always full of love and togetherness. Even though I don't follow my family's religion, I know what Christmas is really about and I know how important it is to them.
My family is always happy to share this special evening with those closest to us, no matter how many gifts are given, no matter how much food is made, no matter how late we stay up on Christmas Eve. It's weird, but it's always home.