US Catholic Faith in Real Life


By Megan Sweas | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Last Christmas I realized just how big my family is on tradition. We always go to Midnight Mass, usually showing up a half hour early to listen to the choir sing carols from around the world. We were a little later than usual last year, and by the time we got to church, it was already pretty full.

But when we walked up the left side aisle, we were surprised to find half a pew, 10 or so rows back, empty, waiting for us: Our Midnight Mass pew. We only sit there once a year, but behind us as always was the family of one of my high school classmates, and in front of us, the man with the bright red corduroys with small embroidered Christmas trees all over them (yes, he wears them every year).

It seems that my family isn’t the only one that sticks to tradition year in and year out.

Of course, traditions do change. My brother and sister-in-law will be with her family this year, but my parents and I will still enjoy Christmas Eve, eating shrimp cocktail, appetizers, and cookies before heading off to Mass.

With too many commitments on Christmas Day, our extended family recently started a new tradition of getting together between Christmas and New Years for bowling or bocce ball. Griping about having to sing the 12 Days of Christmas is a long tradition among the cousins that is not to go away any time soon. Next year, our family will have its first babies in probably 25 years, changing things even more.

But despite whatever changes we go through, it’s nice to know that there’s a pew waiting for us on Christmas Eve.

What is the Christmas tradition that means most to you? Throughout Advent and the Christmas season, we want to post reader and writer reflections about seasonal traditions as guest blogs. It may be fun or serious, spiritual or practical, individual or communal. It can be an ancient tradition, or something unique to you and your family.

Write about something for Advent or one of the many holy days during this period: St. Nick’s Day, Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Los Posadas, Christmas, New Years, Mary, Mother of God, Epiphany. Just tell us what you do and why it’s important to you and send it in to

A guest blog post should be about 200-500 words. Feel free to send in pictures or links, and include a short byline explaining who you are.

Happy Advent!