The Dolla, Dolla Rolls, Y'all
"For just about every holiday growing up, there'd be a basket of small, white 'dollar rolls' at the center of the table. There was always a dollar hidden in one of them — it always happened to be the one that I got, of course.
"It wasn't until I had Thanksgiving with a friend's family in college that I realized that my mother was putting the dollar into the roll. I honestly thought that they came packaged like that... That someone at the 'Dollar Roll Factory' put a dollar inside. 'WHO GOT THE DOLLAR?!' is seriously what I exclaimed at this first Thanksgiving away. Seriously."
The Christmas Leprechaun
"Since my dad got his Irish citizenship, he's taken to cutting out the Lucky Charms leprechaun off of the box and hiding him around the house. My mom doesn't seem to have gotten tired of it yet, but, you know, it's kind of weird to open a birthday card and have a leprechaun fall out, or open a big box on Christmas and find nothing but the leprechaun in it. Which is to say, it's hilarious."
The Tag, Who's It (For)?
"My immediate family is obsessed with writing creative gift tags that hint at what the item is. Say, for example, the gift is a new cardigan; instead of saying 'From: Mom / To: Sonny' it will say something like 'From: The Fool for Your Love / To: The Chilly Love Fool' (because The Cardigans wrote 'Love Fool' and I am cold and need a cardigan and my mom loves me). We do this for our relatives, but they don't really get it, so it isn't as much fun or rewarding."
The Cavity-free Christmas
"My family opens presents on Christmas Eve — I think it's a Norwegian thing — so the only gifts I receive on Christmas Day come from the stockings that hang over the fireplace, which usually contain toothbrushes and dental floss. I don't get white Christmases as often as whitening ones."
The Cartoon Custom
"My family is as culturally unaffiliated as can be, thus we gather on December 24 to watch the Animaniacs Christmas Special, which, for some reason, we own on VHS. I think we're all nervous that the old tape will stop working one day, but I'm pretty sure we could all recite the special from memory at this point."
The Sentimental Story
"I am 29 years old, my sister is 25, and my brother is 31.
"When we were children, every single Christmas Eve my mother would read The Polar Express to us. Without fail, every single time, she would start to get choked up on the last page and cry. She could never finish reading the book, so one of us kids would help her get through it.
"To this day, she still reads the book out loud to us. My siblings and I can't bring ourselves to tell our mother not to read it to us anymore. I'm literally getting teary-eyed just writing this because it's become such a sentimental thing to my family, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. Come to think of it, I don't even think my closest friends know about it. It's just been a weird little thing within our family, and it's pretty funny now that we're all adults and still do it."
The Hot, Hot Holiday
"I live in Brazil where usually on Christmas Eve it is swelteringly hot. Every year I bring out my keyboard, we hand out lyrics to our whole extended family, and I lead everyone in singing things like 'Let It Snow' and 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas' as sweat drips down my chin."
The Perfect Pierogies
"On December 23, my family gathers to make homemade pierogies for our party the next day. All the older adults have their own job in the assembly line — dough roller, filling maker, boiler — while the younger kids (including those of us in our twenties now) are 'pierogi pinchers.' We sit around the table with flour everywhere waiting for someone to deliver the filling and dough so we can pinch around the edges and keep the 'rogies together. Every year we aim for NO BREAKAGES — if it falls apart while boiling, that pincher gets 'reprimanded.' We do pinching exercises to prepare, and after successfully pinching with no breakages for the first time, my aunt makes you a 'Pierogi Pincher License' (I still keep mine in my wallet despite having been licensed 10 years ago). Typically we make anywhere from 300–400 pierogies so we can all have leftovers for Christmas morning.
"Oh, and also, every year my cousin Emma and I write a pierogi parody song based on a popular song from that year. (A past favorite? 'Rogi Got Back.')"
The Ode to Grandma
"On one Christmas, Grandma got a pair of socks, tried 'em on, and just started yelling 'Too tight! Too tight! Too tight!' in her deep Brooklyn accent. Needless to say, we thought it was funny, so anytime we get clothes on Christmas Day, we'll break out the ol' Brooklyn accent in her honor — doesn't matter if we've even tried the item of clothing on or not."
The Picture-perfect Day
"Every year, my family and I chop down our own Christmas tree. We argue over the right tree, my dad does the majority of the cutting, and we all take turns carrying its carcass back to the car. The strange part of the tradition is that my mom and I always take a series of weird-face photos in our humiliating winter hats when we get back to the car. I don't know when or why this started, but it MUST HAPPEN EVERY YEAR or it doesn't quite feel like Christmas."
All images by Danielle Ceneta for ©BuzzFeed.