Most Lebanese families follow the tradition of reuniting and gathering on Christmas Eve for a big dinner, and it is kind of a bitter-sweet situation. If your family has this tradition, you are bound to have mixed feelings about it; you are excited and at the same time terrified about your close and extended family getting all in the same room. One family, a hundred different personalities and characters; here is a list of people you’ll find at every Lebanese Christmas gathering:
This person clearly had too much to drink, and it’s not even 8:00 pm yet! Once they’ve had this one extra glass of wine, they’ll immediately start making jokes about the family teenager’s ripped jeans, bringing out the past family drama, and exposing everyone’s dark secrets. The good news is, they’ll probably pass out soon enough and sleep through the entire next day.
There’s the relative who always brings their boyfriend or girlfriend, and it’s a different one every year. Nobody knows who they are, and nobody tries to break the ice with them because your family knows that this one won’t stick around till next year. So they just sit there, smiling and bearly eating, while everybody wonders why this person isn’t celebrating Christmas with their own family.
All you know about this kind of relative is their name, their parents, and probably what they do for a living. They have been completely absent from the family and you’ve only seen them once or twice when you were little. They probably only came this year because they don’t have other plans or because their parents have finally convinced them to come, but it’s pretty obvious that they can’t wait to leave.
They are obviously only here for the food. They’ll come minutes before dinner and leave just minutes after the tables are cleaned up. They’ll fill their plate, then their belly, then you won’t see them till New Year’s dinner.
The family’s Santa, who is in the same worn-out costume every year and refuses to take it off for the entire night. Each time they let out their ‘ho ho ho’, the kids start crying. But hey, at least they brought gifts!
This person’s presence in on repeat every year since they’ve been abroad. They would only talk about their adventures overseas, what everyone else is missing out on and how much their country of residence is better than Lebanon. Oh, they will also complain about the flight and their jet lag all night long, AND they’ll take all the leftovers of food.
This is the family’s fashionista. They will take every family member’s picture for their Instagram story, but won’t actually interact with anyone at the table. They will also take advantage of this crowded opportunity to make sure that everyone present follows them on all their social media accounts.
Their negative and pessimist point of view will make everyone lose their appetite… and smile. They spend their time making political statements and watching the news while commenting on it. They almost always leave early because they had a fight with somebody over his / her political views.
This relative is the black sheep of the family. They may have many tattoos, or a smart mouth or different beliefs than everybody else, but the family all agrees that this person is a disgrace and the members will all take turns in giving their parents parenting advice; probably the same every year.
This may be your cool aunt or uncle who is keeping everyone sane or your cousin who is also your partner in crime and who is keeping You sane. They are your savior on such occasions and you don’t know what you would do without them.
Everyone is just waiting for this kid to go to sleep. They are loud and destructive, and their parents pretend they are not around. This kid will give every single member a headache, some stains on their Christmas outfits, and probably some broken phone screens.
The vegan of the family will have to stick to only eating fries, unless they were smart enough to bring their own food. They will also have to endure endless questioning and judgment from some of the family members, while others put everything they’ve got into convincing them to eat meat.
This person brought a gift for everyone: a bible. They’ll also preach the kids about the true meaning of Christmas and how turning materialistic this holy day is a sin. Much like the political analyst, they will probably have a fight with someone over his/her religious beliefs.
Nothing really to tell about the family’s grandma and grandpa; they will get bored because everyone else is at their phones and they’ll end up falling asleep early.
After you’ve survived the Christmas eve dinner, you’ll come to realize that this is what makes your Lebanese family so precious and beautiful: its diversity. All the drama that occurs will be a great story to laugh at throughout the year.
No matter how complicated your family might be, do your best to cherish every moment you get with them! Merry Christmas, everybody!