19329117-jpg

CHRIS TRAINOR


It’s funny how traditions start.

Very rarely, if ever, do we do something, enjoy it, and then actively say “Hey, let’s make this a tradition,” and actually follow through with it.

No, it seems most traditions in our everyday lives just kind of... happen. We do something, then do it again the next year, and then the next and, before you know it, a tradition is born.

This is especially true during the holidays. Of course, there are the Christmas traditions that many people participate in. The tree. The lights. The gifts. All that stuff. Those are the big, cultural traditions.

But aside from all those larger, well-worn hallmarks, most families have their own little holiday intricacies. Unique customs they began doing one year and just never stopped. Eventually no one remembers exactly how these little traditions got started.

In our family, one such tradition is having breakfast for dinner on Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s house. In fact, of all our family’s holiday customs, this one might be the most unimpeachable.

First, let’s establish a fact: There are few things, in general, better than eating breakfast food at night. You know it’s true.

We’ve all been there a few times, right? It’s getting close to dinnertime and the family starts debating what to have. “Should we cook a pizza?” Nah. “What about baked chicken.” Nope. “We could make Hamburger Helper.” Widespread indifference.

Finally someone says, “Hey, we could have breakfast for dinner.” And the debate ends. I daresay no one has ever turned down breakfast for dinner. The only stipulation is that it has to be kind of a rare thing. That’s part of what makes it special.

I don’t remember when it began, but at some point it became a staple for our family to attend Christmas Eve services at Abbeville Presbyterian Church, then retire to my grandma’s house for breakfast.

It’s the best meal of the year. Simple, yet abundant. A perfect breakfast spread.

We’ll have eggs, grits with cheese, bacon, toast, little biscuits and spicy sausage -- the spicier the better when it comes to the sausage.

And, to wash it all down, the legend: Coca-Cola in the glass bottle. Not a can, not a plastic individual bottle, not poured from a two-liter. I’m talking about from the heavy, green-tinted, old school glass bottles, the way God and Santa Claus intended.

We usually close out Christmas Eve with a little gift swapping while “It’s a Wonderful Life” plays in the background, then set off enough fireworks to blow open a mine. And that’s all nice. But gathering the family (including grandma, who is 96 this year) around the table, having breakfast for dinner, sharing a meal and some laughs, that’s the highlight of the evening.

If you have read this column with any regularity through the years, you know I typically reserve my holiday column for the last Sunday before Christmas. That feels kind of weird this year, because Christmas will actually fall on a Sunday. Nevertheless, tradition holds, and here we are.

As always, I’ll close the Christmas column with a few verses from Luke 2:8-14. Just a short reminder of the true meaning of the season. Merry Christmas and happy holidays, from my family to yours:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

“And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Chris Trainor is a contributing columnist for the Index-Journal. Contact him at ChrisTrainorSC@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter@ChrisTrainorSC. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.