Chris Alexander

In this December show, Carolina Catholic reached out to Catholics all over the country to find out what Catholics do to keep Christ in Christmas in their families. The responses have been wonderful!

My guest host, Linda Perunko, and I recount the wonderful traditions that many have; including caroling for senior citizens, putting on Christmas pageants for the children, setting up the family's creche, lighting the Advent wreath with their families, praying the Antiphons, and having a Nativity scene on the front porch waiting until midnight for Jesus to come, a Mexican tradition.

We chat about the meaning behind our Christmas traditions and how every symbol of Christmas had its origin in our Catholic history.

Listen to the show

Show Notes

Our listeners traditions and favorites

Joann Levey: One of the things I do is to ask one of my grandchildren to put up the stable.  Audrey did it for a while, then Marky did it and this year I will ask Ryan to do it.  While they do it, we talk about what actually happened on that Christmas Eve in Bethlehem.  Favorite movie: White Christmas.  Favorite song is "O Holy Night."

Debbie Shinskie: Considering advent (rightfully) a penitential season...fasting more, almsgiving, special prayer focus, special spiritual reading; lighting the advent wreath appropriately; Midnight Mass.

Anne Alloco: keeps Christ in Christmas by not thinking about ourselves but someone else, the needy and sick. That’s what Jesus would want us to do.  Of course, we have to remember our loved ones and dear friends, but we shouldn’t go overboard.

Judy Lund:The Nativity set. It was my Mom's. I always set it up on top of the television set as a kid every year. Now it's mine and I still set it up every year. It not only keeps Christ in Christmas, but my mom too!

Vicky Howard: I cannot pass this chance to tell you about what we do in our family, in Mexico. My Mom set the Nativity in the front porch!!!  Yes everybody can see it, that is, all the neighbors, which in Mexico they are like family. The Nativity is not complete (no baby Jesus) until Dec 24 at 12:00 a.m.  The tradition is that, Christmas Eve at 12:00 a.m. we get together around the Nativity and the smallest toddler in the family take the baby Jesus from my Mom hands and put Him in the cradle. My Mom prays a beautiful prayer and blesses all the family.  Then we sing the "mananitas" the song of birthdays, as your "happy birthday", we all say "Happy Birthday Baby Jesus".  After that, we give hugs and kisses saying "Feliz Navidad", and then we go around the Christmas tree and exchange presents.  After that the children go to sleep because "Santa" will come. The adults keep singing, dancing and hugging until the sun comes. Needless to say, all the toddlers want to put the baby Jesus in the Nativity :)) the chosen one is waiting all year to do that, they feel very special. If the weather is good, we go to the street, we tie a rope from our house to the front street neighbors and hang a piñata, with candies and goodies, that time all the neighbors are invited, all this in Baby Jesus honor. I can't wait to be in Mexico for Christmas, we are leaving Dec. 7th!!!!

Jim Edens: We keep Christ in Christmas by going to our Church to guide us to the truth of God’s Word to lead us to our true joy thru Him. Thanks be to God.

Grace Dean: Saying the Advent Prayer from November 30 until Christmas. Listening to religious-themed Christmas music, and putting religious-themed ornaments on our tree. I buy as many holiday items as possible, such as Christmas cards, fruitcake, candy, cookies, and coffee, from Catholic organizations. Sending religious-themed Christmas cards, and using the religious-themed Christmas stamps sold by the Post Office. Keeping our family gift-giving as simple as possible and finishing all Christmas shopping by early December, to leave time for celebrating the holidays.  We participate in our parish’s “Christmas in a box” and “Giving Tree” programs, which allow us to buy gifts and food for people who need a little extra help around the holidays. We attend Christmas morning Mass, of course. When possible, inviting someone who lives alone to share our holiday meal. "O Come O Come Emmanuel", and "A Christmas Carol". My fave used to be the 1951 version with Alistair Sim, but I also like the Patrick Stewart version.

Mary Reilly: The Christmas midnight hour every year is so special to me. I was born again into my faith in that hour in 1984 when I felt my unborn child move inside of me for the first time. I keep Christ in Christmas by adoring Him in that hour and also in doing things like Christmas car. We go caroling in the nursing homes, attending Mass with my family, and visiting the crèche.

Favorites: Oh Holy Night and White Christmas tied with It's a Wonderful Life.

Peg Dondero: We have our mothers' nativities, and they are put up in a prominent place by the first Sunday of Advent. I've been putting it on the dining room buffet so the grand kids can see. Also we have an Advent wreath and light it with prayers. At the various dinners, we read the appropriate scriptures to the family (we have always done this, and we get to evangelize our un-baptized son in law!)

Paula Anastasio: Christmas in the Anastasio's always starts at the first Sunday in Advent! We bring out the Advent Calendar and wreath. I also send Advent calendar to Cristina at college.  In the past, my focus was the 5 pm children's Mass with the Nativity Pageant that we started many years ago to provide the children of St John's with the traditions that we grew up with going to Catholic school! I did the pageant for 14 years and passed it on to a younger mom with 2 girls. She is doing a great job for the last 2years.
The Christmas tree is now my main focus and I do have 2 trees! It is my crèche we love to assemble each year! It takes center stage in my living room on a large table. The pieces are life like and to see the excitement in Cristina still when she places the Wiseman and camels and when I place the white and pink poinsettias around the crèche I just smile. I cannot understand the many Catholics I know who do not have a nativity scene that blessed sacramental that St Francis gave us. I have even gone as far as buy the nativity set for at least 4people I know! This year I am truly taking back my  Christmas with more reflection, less stuff, and more prayer.

Heather Latham: What Child is this? "Of The Father's Love Begotten"

Patti Hartman: Favorite movie: The Nativity, Favorite carol: O Holy Night.

Bev Jolly: Traditions/Gifts:  Christmas Oplaki (Polish Wafers) for family; Carol:    Silent Night – my mother sang it to me all the time; Movie:  White Christmas

Greg Decker: The First Noel for carol and It’s a Wonderful Life for movie. Silent Night in English and German.

Caryn Walsh: The Preachers Wife with Whitney And Denzel. Great message and movie. Song-o Holy Night

Barb Habib: "Mary, Did You Know" and "It's a Wonderful Life"

Jan Rack: "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Bishop's Wife."  Favorite carols:  "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" and "Of the Father's Love Begotten."  Also, "Away in a Manger."

Toni Rubano: "Mary, Did You Know" and "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Little Drummer Boy" !!! <3x0x P.S. "Adeste Fideles" & Dominick the Donkey" too !! "Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle"

Dot Campagna: Miracle on 34th St.

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