I can honestly say that my parents never had a Christmas Party, or one of any other kind to be exact.
When I was a child we would go to my grandmother Gertrude O’Rourke Dowd house and she would cook. I can only remember doing this once or twice. I suppose she was getting older and the task moved to the next generation, or perhaps, it was easier for my dad to go and chauffeur his mother than it was for him to take all the kids to grandmothers house.
When I was school age my mother would cook Christmas Dinner. It was the same every year because they were reticent to change. Everything HAD to be the same way it was the year before. She would put the turkey in the oven late at night and the house would fill with the aroma of the roasting bird. I remember when we were first married we would go to Chucks parents home for Christmas Eve and my parents for Christmas dinner.
When we moved back to Pittsburgh in 1989 or 1990 my mother decided she was not going to cook any more dinners and me and my sisters and brother took up the tradition.
Then my dad would chauffeur my mom to the kids houses. The menu would include turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, cranberry sauce and the pies.
Now that they are both gone, we still celebrate together, but the one doing the hosting cooks the turkey, stuffing and gravy and the other dishes are parceled out and it is much easier to do it that way. You just have to plan if you are the host, take the next day off. As he got older my father would not go out and we would take him a platter of food which he would reheat in the microwave.