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Howdy, Rochester!! My husband and I both graduated from the U of R, way back in the sixties. WOW - I'm one of those!!

My husband is also Jewish, so I know what it's like to train one of you guys in the traditions of the Yuletide season. We have our gifts Christmas eve - Santa always came Christmas morning. Helped lessen the tension somewhat to separate the two. Couldn't get my inlaws to attend family gifts for many years. I think they thought we had some strange religious rites Christmas Eve or something. Anyway, when we finally got everyone there, it was clear that Christmas Eve dinner had to be something light, quick to fix and quick to eat. Cannot take up gift opening time by eating!!!

I finally began making New England Clam Chowder. Started with Craig Claiborne's N.Y. Times Cookbook recipe and "improved" it every year. It has stayed the same for the last couple of years, so I think I've reached where I was headed. It has now become a 'tradition' and it's the only time I make this soup all year. Do make extra though so there are leftovers Christmas Day. So, it's Clam Chowder, oyster crackers or homemade bisquits (depending on how much time I have), 'Iced Assorted Relishes' (a throwback to the menus of my youth.....actrually it's just carrot and celery sticks, radish roses and an assortment of olives thrown in for good measure.
 
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