Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Article #34 Christmas Traditions

As we approach the holidays, take some time to reflect back on what traditions you remember from your childhood days. Let’s look back at earlier times…say your grandparents’ days. How did they celebrate the holiday season? Were gifts opened on Christmas Eve or in the morning? Was attending church together part of their holiday celebration? Where did they gather to eat a special family meal? How was gift giving handled? Was everyone involved in finding and decorating the Christmas tree?

There were no artificial trees in my grandma’s day so it was a wonderful family time to bundle up and go out looking in the mountains for that perfect tree. My aunt Ethel who lived in Silver City, Utah with her widowed mother and four siblings remembers… We did enjoy going out in the nearby mountains to find a Christmas tree. My older brothers would chop down a pinyon or cedar tree, then bring it home and place it in the living room next to the wood stove. They made a tree stand out of four small pieces of wood then it was time to decorate the tree. We threaded popcorn on long strings with a needle, and made red and green paper chains to drape on the tree limbs. Either candles with clips or later fancy colored electric lights were wrapped around the tree.

The top of the tree always had some special ornament representing the Christmas star or an angel, either store bought or homemade. The tree wasn’t complete until the star was placed on top to watch over us in our celebrating. We had some colored glass ornaments that were very easy to break but fun to put on the tree. The last decoration to go on the tree were icicles made out of narrow aluminum foil strips that you hung carefully on each branch to look like real icicles hanging down. They had to be placed on each branch one by one to get the right effect-no throwing them on in clumps. When the tree was undecorated after the holidays, the icicles were carefully saved to be used next year.

What holiday traditions have you preserved or are you starting new ones? Christmastime unfortunately can become too hectic for us as we loose sight of why we celebrate and the feelings of love and closeness that can be developed as we continue our family’s unique traditions.

9 comments:

Deborah Godin said...

What fun to read your memories of the holiday with our Grandparents. I remember those foil strips. they were much nicer to hang than the current ones that have all that static cling!

ramblingwoods said...

Fun to read about your Grandparents. My parents were born to woman over the age of 40, so gone when I was fairly young so I didn't ask or do I remember any holiday traditions..That is a shame for me..

Linda Reeder said...

When I was young, up until I was almost out of highschool, my maternal grandparents still lived on the old farm where my mother grew up. We would gather there in the farm house for Christmas Eve with the aunts, uncles and cousins for Christmas dinner and a gift exchange. We kids ate in the kitchen, seated around the round old oak table, where we had lots of fun.
After leaving my grandparents about 8:00, we would go back home and wait in the car for Dad and Mom to build up the wood stove so the house would be warm. That was the expressed reason, but they were also scurrying around digging packages out of closets because Santa Claus came Christmas Eve to our house. We didn't get lots of presents but what we got was very special and always included new flannel pajamas.
We still used that old aluminum tinsel on our tree back then, and no throwing was the rule!

dellgirl said...

Great memories, Lin, yours and mine. When we were growing up Daddy took us to the woods across the train tracks near my grandmother's to chop down our tree. Then we'd cut limbs and branches from pine and cedar trees in our yard to hang as garland around windows and the front door.
WOW, that was fun!

Brenda Colleen Leyland said...

Lin, I always enjoy coming and seeing what new things you are writing about. Thanks for sharing some of your Christmas traditions. (If I wasn't so weary from a busy day, I'd stop and chat about some of my own traditions, maybe later...)

Kay said...

You have such beautiful Christmas memories, Lin. You are very fortunate.

SandyCarlson said...

I enjoyed that, Lin. In our house, Santa decorated the tree Christmas Eve, so it was an early night! But it was magic the next a.m. when we awoke to a tree resplendent with tinsel and our ornaments and all that lovely pine scent. It was wonderful.

gremhog susan.hatch@gmail.com said...

traditions....cool things, aren't they?

Brenda Colleen Leyland said...

Hi Lin, I came back to add my contribution to the Christmas tradition chat.

A few years ago I started a new tradition. Of course, I didn't know it would become one at the time.

I started collecting Christmas-themed jigsaw puzzles, and each Advent I spend the season putting one together. The puzzle pieces sit on a table in the family room opposite where the tree is lit up. As I'm about my business on any given day, whenever I pass through the room, I stop and put a few pieces in place.

The very first puzzle I bought was "A Peanuts Christmas" by Springbok. (see picture at my place)