Over at Liz's Random Ponderings, To celebrate her 100th post, she decided to have a Christmas Blog Hop to talk about your favourite Christmas tradition, memory, gifts given or received, carol/song and/or why you celebrate Christmas. I love Christmas so thought this is perfect to partake in this blog hop.
I am Canadian, my father was Canadian but he always said that my mom, his wife (obviously) brought Christmas to him. Before that, he was a single man who went to the relatives and drank shots of whiskey. My mom changed all of this by bringing traditions that were handed down from her mom and her mom before her. My mom grew up in Germany-Wittenberg, Germany to be exact, where she and her siblings were always part of the Christmas play. My mom was always an angel as well as her older sister. Her one brother was the shepherd and her other brother was one of the 3 kings..a short king but a king nevertheless:)
They did not see the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve and it was decorated with hand-blown glass, candles and tinsel (lead tinsel which I have). In her province (Saxon-Anhalt), St. Nicholaus did not come with the creepy Krampus like it is done in Bavaria, but he came with an Angel. The shoes were polished up on Dec. 5th and placed out for St. Nicholas to place chocolate and candy in the shoes. If you were naughty, you got a potato.
The Christmas season started with the first of Advent where a wreath hung from the ceiling and 4 candles were on top of the wreath. Each Sunday they lit a candle until the 4th Sunday where all the candles were lit. They would have a little Christmas cookie or chocolate or Christmas Stollen which my Oma made. My mom fondly remembers travelling through the snow to go to the nearby baker to have the Stollen baked (it was too big for the regular oven). Going back home, the sleigh, my Oma pulled, had the freshly baked stollen on it and my mom and her brothers and sister could smell it and could hardly wait to get home and try a piece.
My mom's grandfather told them that St. Nicholas's reindeer would be very hungry so they would need to make sure plenty of hay was left out for the reindeer to eat. My mom and the rest would put all the hay out for the reindeer and Christmas morning, it was all gone. My mom always felt happy that the reindeer were fed. Later on she realized her poor Opa was out there bringing all the hay back into the barn.
The Christmas market in the town's square would be on during the whole season and it would be so much fun to walk and look at all the pretty stalls and see what was created whether it was something baked or something to hang on the tree.
Since my mom always celebrated Christmas Eve, that is when they received all the gifts. She always got a new dress her mother had made for her along with a hat, scarf and mittens. Each of them received a whole orange and some special chocolates that my mom savoured. One year, my mom received a complete doll house with all the furniture done exactly like the home she lived in. Her father built the whole thing. It was one of her treasures.
All this, she brought with her to my dad and she created Christmas for him and for us. We would go to Mass that Christmas Eve and then, after, we opened all our gifts. We never opened them on Christmas Day. I now make my own Advent wreath, decorate my home with garlands, Santas, other decor plus, the Christmas village and the Nativity. Say what you will, but Christmas is not just for kids. I may not be religious but it is CHRISTmas and despite this holiday being taken from a pagan festival, we now celebrate the birth of Jesus who did actually exist. People can dispute whether he is the saviour or not, but no matter what, he has changed the world. It is not about Disney characters and what the kids want. It is about peace, joy and good will to all men ( that means women too-I never take offense to that)
My Christmas tree has coloured lights (no candles-not liking a fire), a variety of ornaments from glass blown ones to the eggs my mom made and I hang the tinsel, one at a time, on the tree. I play Christmas music from traditional German carols to the Bonanza Christmas album my father bought back in 1962 or 1963. Christmas would not be the same without that album. My mom, being an OCD German, taught us well and we never (I mean we really don't) rip the Christmas paper. I cringe every time I see beautiful paper being torn up. We take time and slowly undo the paper and have a box for paper, a box for bows and a bag for some garbage. I have paper from when I was a kid! I plan to use it in a scrapbook I want to make.
Christmas is special and it does not mean to break the bank, complain about what you didn't get and gorge your stomach with turkey, it is about family, peace and love. I wish people would remember all that and not go out on Boxing Day which should be a holiday (used to be in Canada) to fight for crap and exchange things. Take another day, sit back and enjoy. I do love every moment of it while I look at a book, take a sip of wine, enjoy listening to Christmas music while I look at the tree, think of my mom and dad and gives kisses to my hubby, our 5 cats and our doggie, Wallace.
Thank you mom, for giving Christmas to all of us. You are in long term care and don't get excited like you used to for Christmas but you still give me joy.
My Nativity scene
My Christmas tree with the tinsel hung one by one
My Advent wreath that I make every year
An egg (chicken) my mom created with St. Nicholas pulling a sleigh (she made the interiors)
My Christmas village the upper left, partly cut out, is my local Cathouse, as every village should have one. I bought these for under $3 and painted them all. The last few my hubby painted also.
Now for one Christmas song that is one of my favourites-Merry Christmas!