Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Annika, who is my roommate, is a student at Utah State University studying Landscape Architecture and Design. She is 20 years old and is from Ogden, Utah where she grew up as one of three daughters. She loves to act, build Lego models, and play with her dog Baggins. She is very close to her family and often goes on biking trips with them.
I collected this piece of folklore while at my apartment with Annika. We sat in the living room to talk about her Christmas traditions. I had asked her to share at a previous time so that she had time to think about what traditions that she wanted to share. This tradition generally takes place in Ogden, Utah in her parents’ house and has since she was a child and it occurs during the Christmas holiday season. Annika seemed like she had a lot that she wanted to say about this tradition but she didn’t quite know where to start with the details. Once she had figured out the best place to start, she easily related the details of what Christmas Eve usually looks like for her family. She said that despite things changing in the family because of the stage and time of life that they are in, she says that they still try to keep this tradition as regular and consistent as possible.
Actually Christmas Eve, we have the full tradition of, um, so we read, we get pajamas that night and we all change into our pajamas and we get ready for bed. And then we read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” And I am always the voice of um, ah Cindy Lou Who. I have been since I was a little girl. And every single time now Brittney (her sister) or someone, another person of my family will tell me, it’s like, “You are a little old for this aren’t you Annika.” Um Brittney usually tries to make gestures like the dog is telling the story. Um, we did it one time when my grandparents were staying the night for Christmas, my grandma about fell off the couch laughing because Brittney’s like “tied a big horn on top of his head” and she grabs the dog’s head and just “humph” [makes motion of setting something on the head of the dog], puts her hand on top of it. So we read that, we also have a bit of a new tradition where we read “The Hater’s Guide to the William Sonoma” Christmas catalog. [Explains why there is reason for the family to read this catalog out of mockery]. So we read that, we read the Grinch before Christmas, we read the scriptures of the birth of Christ and, um, that all happens, oh and we do something else as well [tone trails as if she is trying to remember what it is while she is talking to me]. Maybe that’s it, I don’t know. It’s been a long time since Christmas. So ya, those are the things we usually do.
Annika was very excited and animated when she was sharing the details of her family’s Christmas Eve traditions. She leaned toward me as if this was a way to help her get the details out more quickly, not in a rushing way, but in a way of excitement. It was interesting to me that she said that her family reads the scriptures about the birth of Christ because I know that her family is no longer very religious and hasn’t been since Annika was in her early teenage years. Annika also explained that her family sometimes hosts members of her extended family for Christmas and that they also participate in the tradition of reading the books in their pajamas. Annika seemed excited that this tradition has persisted in the family and she reflected on this time as positive. She expressed immense love for her family and the value that they place on family time, especially around the holidays.
Dr. Lynne S. McNeill
Semester and year
Miller, Alana, "Christmas Eve Tradition" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 502.