By CHRISTIE ROBINS
When two people get married, they combine the traditions they each grew up with to form new traditions.
Every year Rebecca Drake’s family picked out a real Christmas tree together.
“We all had to agree on it, so it took hours, and then we’d go shopping afterwards,” Drake said, a U.V.S.C. student from Ogden studying interior design.
Alan Boss’s family didn’t buy a real tree; they decorated an artificial one.
Rebecca Drake married Alan Boss.
Luckily, when they celebrated their first Christmas season together, the decorating difference wasn’t too big of an issue for Alan and the newly married couple decided to continue Rebecca’s family tradition.
“It was a great experience to buy a real tree together,” Rebecca said.
Alan and Rebecca discovered other Christmas traditions unique to their own families.
“Opening presents is a source of contention,” said Alan, 27, a graduate student from Boulder, Colo. studying organizational behavior.
On Christmas morning, Alan’s family would wait until everyone was ready and open their presents together. They’d go around and open gifts one family member at a time so everyone could watch each gift opener’s reaction.
“At Rebecca’s house, it’s a free-for-all,” Alan said.
Rebecca begged to differ.
“It’s an orderly free-for-all, so you don’t have to sit there for five hours and watch everyone,” she said.
Rebecca’s parents would wake up the children at 6:30 on Christmas morning and read the Christmas story from the Bible before opening presents.
“They still do that, even now,” she said.
Alan’s family would read the Nativity story from the Bible and act it out.
“We’ll want to act it out with our own kids, too,” Alan said.
Both Rebecca and Alan grew up having a big meal on Christmas Eve; Rebecca’s family ate Mexican food and Alan’s had ham.
They’ve started a new tradition of having lunch together on Christmas day.
A week or so before Christmas, Alan’s parents would take the children shopping.
“It was total, complete chaos and would take all day,” Alan said.
Then, they’d eat McDonalds together.
“It was the only time all year we’d eat there,” Alan said.
This year, Alan and Rebecca got their Christmas shopping done in July.
“There was a big sale at a store in Iowa,” Alan said.
BYU student David Bascom said his family traditions helped him remember the real meaning of Christmas.
“We’d do Sub-For-Santa for another family and we’d all act out the Nativity scene,” said Bascom, 23, a senior from Murray,Salt Lake County, majoring in marketing communication.
Bascom said he believes Christmas traditions build family unity and memories.
His wife, Wendy, grew up celebrating Saint Nicholas Day.
“We read a book called The Good Master, which took place in Hungary. We’d eat a big dinner and leave out our shoes,” Wendy said.
David and Wendy have adopted a new Christmas Eve tradition.
They sleep under their Christmas tree.