Years ago I was asked to write a story for a Louisiana magazine about residents and their holiday traditions. I found they ran the gamut, from the traditional to the inspired.
"We always have gumbo on Christmas Eve, even if it's hot weather," said Mattie Martha Turner-Laque. (Note: Many times Louisiana is warm on Christmas. One year it was in the 70s.) "We opened all the presents that were under the tree. Then on Christmas morning, we got to see what Santa brought. Always unwrapped and not very many — that way mom and dad got the credit for the coolest gifts."
"I have an ornament for every dog I've loved and lost," said Terri Schichenmeyer, a book reviewer. "Their names are even etched/printed on them. Every year, I hang them on the tree last. It makes me feel like they're still with me, and reminds me of their love."
We also have ornaments with photos of our pets who have since moved on. And we open one present on Christmas Eve and save the rest for the morning.
One of my traditions hails back to my childhood. He's called Mr. Bingle (see photo at top) and he started as a promotion by a New Orleans department store called Maison Blanche. He has candy cane hands, an ice cream cone hat and wings. When I was a kid and the holidays rolled around, we would chant:
"Jingle, Jangle, Jingle
Here Comes Mr. Bingle."
I have two Mr. Bingles, one my mom gave me years ago and a smaller one my Mom put out every year. She's no longer with us, and I miss her every day but especially this time of year, so I make sure that both Mr. Bingles have their place in our living room. And my cats love them both.
If you want to know more about this unique New Orleans holiday doll, read my twin's blog post on unique Southern holiday traditions here.
What's your holiday tradition? Please share here or on my Facebook page.