Christmas Eve was always the biggest day of the holiday, and it was celebrated with a multi-course fish dinner. It included lobster, fried octopus, squid, clams and the standard pasta with home-made crab sauce. There was also plenty of home-made wine and anisette to pass around. The dinner was attended by the entire extended family and always extended beyond midnight, at which time we kids would be distracted so that "Santa Clause" could arrive and depart without being seen. Often the men would assemble in one location to talk about hunting or wine-making (my grandfather, who was born and raised in Carini, had an old press and wooden barrels), and the women would assemble in the kitchen to chat and prepare the food.
Two generations later the fish holiday meal is still a staple in my family, only its a bit more difficult to assemble the extended family and there is more intermixing of the sexes. In addition, traditions from other nationalities have been introduced with the italian foods, such as pierogi and sauerbraten representing my wife's traditions.
When my father passed away last year, my brothers and I found one lone bottle of home-made anisette in his liquor cabinet, perhaps only one-quarter filled. We each had a shot and and toasted the good-old days, including those holiday memories. That anisette never tasted better.
We live in the New York/New Jersey area.