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Holiday Traditions

Posted by Kathy G on 12/02/04 at 11:53 (165085)

I was just wondering if any of you have holiday traditions that you would like to share. Perhaps something you did as a child or did when your children were younger? Something you'd wished you'd done? Any particular movies or pieces of music you particularly enjoy? Any special foods? Any funny holiday stories?

Just thought I'd throw it out there since the season is upon us! :)

Re: Holiday Traditions

R C on 12/02/04 at 14:41 (165089)

Well, this isn't exactly what you asked for, but I thought it was funny.

My wife made a lasagna the other day, and it turns out she forgot to include the noodles. So, there were only layers of sauce and cheese. When we gave her a (gentle) hard time for this, but she just pointed to her *blonde* hair and shrugged, as though that were explanation enough.

Re: Holiday Traditions

Dorothy on 12/02/04 at 15:08 (165091)

We do readings aloud and prepare individual performances of various types - readings, singings, or other musical performances,dramatic or comedic acting, etc.

Re: Holiday Traditions

Dorothy on 12/02/04 at 15:17 (165092)

Oh, I missed the rest of your questions: movies - The Christmas Story (ALWAYS makes me laugh), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (ALWAYS makes me laugh AND cry), The Bishop's Wife (the original with Loretta Young, David Niven and Mmmmm-mmmmm Cary Grant), Home Alone (ALWAYS makes me want to do good social work on that family and have them in court for neglect and abuse!!), and there are others but I'm tired....

Music: Carol of the Bells, The Holly and the Ivy, Silver Bells, some Kentucky Christmas music performed by Jean Ritchie, Joy to the World.... and there are others but I'm tired....

Special foods: too many to list. It's a sadness to me right now because I probably won't be baking like a madwoman this year and imagine a cookie-less season... I'm of mostly Scotch-Irish descent and we love Scottish shortbread. I could live on it....but not very healthfully!

Holiday stories: we've always given lots of books. When our daughter was about 3, she received several books wrapped in separate packages. After opening the first few and then another, she said with a big sigh, 'Oh, God, another book.'
We still say that when given a book.
Ok, now I really am tired....

Re: Holiday Traditions

Kathy in Ky on 12/02/04 at 16:02 (165094)

Dorothy- If you like Jean Ritchie music, you have to read the book THE SONGCATCHER by Sharon McCrumb. (Scotch-Irish & Applachian setting) As for Christmas traditions, I'll post that over the weekend- long day for tired feet & I'm going to take a nap!

Re: Holiday Traditions

Suzanne D. on 12/02/04 at 19:07 (165100)

When I was a child, Kathy, the older children in our church often went Christmas caroling. Someone would drive us on the church bus, and we would go from house to house, singing for elderly people and those confined to their homes. One year they took us to the county jail. I remember going in and being so struck with the hopelessness and despair in that old building. I am sure there are not many jails in the US like that now. There was a 'cage' hanging from a huge chain, and a man was in it. All my friends shrunk to the back of the group, and I looked around to realize that everyone was behind me, and I was looking right in that man's face. We began singing 'Silent Night', and I will never forget it. I wanted to run to the back, too, but somehow I felt that man needed to hear it, so I stayed where I was and sung. I think I learned in that moment both the motivation to never break the law along with compassion for those in trouble. The rest of the time, singing was fun, and people often invited us in for hot chocolate and cookies which we, of course, did not mind!

One of my earliest memories of Christmas was of Mama making homemade candles for all the neighbors and sending me to the houses to deliver them. I think in that she taught me the joy of giving. And I do think that has to be taught, like anything else. I remembered that tradition when my girls were young and tried to help them think up projects they could make themselves to give to their teachers and friends.

'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' has always been my favorite animated Christmas special - I suppose because it is so nice to see the underdog come out on top and a happy ending for one who was ridiculed and shunned.

'It's a Wonderful Life' is my favorite Christmas movie with the old version of 'The Bishop's Wife' coming a close second.

I love all kinds of Christmas music, and my favorite decorations are Gingerbread men.

Years ago I bought an Avon advent calendar with pockets and a little cloth mouse which was moved daily until it arrived in pocket 24 on Christmas Eve. The month of December was always the only month that I could count on my daughters jumping eagerly out of bed in the mornings; they wanted to get to move the mouse that day! I overheard them talking about it awhile ago - 'Who will move the mouse now that we're both gone?' I assured them I could keep the mouse going. :) It's funny that what we often remember are the 'little things'.

Suzanne :)

Re: Holiday Traditions

Dorothy on 12/03/04 at 00:27 (165107)

Kathy in Ky - I have read some of Sharon McCrumb and enjoy her mysteries and the setting. Thank you for the recommendation. Yes, I love Jean Ritchie. Are you familiar with her CD that is called (I think) 'Appalachian Christmas'?

Re: Holiday Traditions

Dorothy on 12/03/04 at 00:38 (165108)

Suzanne - I loved reading your post about these various traditions.
Your recalling singing at the jail reminded me of experiences I had as a girl. I sang with church groups and with another girl as a duo at church. We sang at a city mission which provided food and shelter for people that most people used to call 'derelicts' and 'bums' and all, mostly alcoholics. These were all men and they had to sit through a church service before they could get a meal. We were adolescent girls in our clean, ironed dresses and anklets standing up in front of this 'rabble' singing our little hearts out about God's love and all.....at the end of the service, there was always an opportunity for the men to come forward. I recall one man coming forward and his pockets had liquor bottles in them, he was unshaven and filthy, but he seemed very earnest - and desperate. I didn't know then what I know now - and what you understand so well - about these things.

Re: Holiday Traditions

Kathy in Ky on 12/03/04 at 05:25 (165115)

I don't have any of her music but do enjoy that style. KET had her wonderful biography on our local public station not too long ago. My late cousin's mother-in-law is her lst cousin & were close as children growing up in the same area. I've never met Ms. Ritchie but admire her.

Re: Holiday Traditions

Kathy in Ky on 12/03/04 at 05:37 (165116)

I remember loving the smell of our freshly cut tree. Eastern Ky is full of spruce trees growing along fence rows & my dad always cut our tree a week before Christmas. Today's trees just don't seem to have that great smell because they are cut so early & left on tree lots.
My favorite gift was given around 1964, a brown haired Chatty Cathy. Later, when I was a teenager, I gave all my dolls away to a neighbor child because I thought I was too old for dolls. (a big regret) A few years ago my husband starting buying me Chatty Cathy dolls that he finds at antique shows. Now at Christmas, forty years later, I stand them around my tree skirt & recall a wonderful Christmas.
Our big family tradition is taking my daughter to see Southern Lights display at the Ky Horse Park. We take a car load of her friends each year, eat at Cracker Barrel & then spend the evening at the beautiful horse park. I'll miss that when she leaves for college!
I'll post a great recipe later this weekend when I have more time.

Re: Holiday Traditions

Kathy G on 12/03/04 at 12:39 (165129)

Kathy, Chatty Cathy was a burden for me to bear! You've already surmised that I love to talk and when the Chatty Cathy doll ncame out, I was in fifth grade and my teacher had a wonderful time with it! He called me Chatty Cathy for the rest of the year even though I quickly pointed out that I was Kathy with a 'K' not a 'C.' He quickly pointed out that I was chatty with a 'CH' and that was that! He was one of my favorite teachers.

I love hearing your stories and shall add some of my own, - naturally because I'm chatty :) - over the weekend.

I love the story about Dorothy's three year old! And making lasagna with no noodles, RC, sounds like the time I made white pizza without any cheese. Luckily my son was home from college at the time and as I was preparing to put it into the oven, I commented that it just didn't look right for some reason. He nicely pointed out that I'd left off all the cheeses! And I'm not even blonde!

Talk to you all soon. Got to go iron the ribbons on my wreaths!

Re: Holiday Traditions

Necee on 12/03/04 at 23:14 (165162)

Oh what memories.....

Our holiday tradition growing up was to go into our pasture and cut down a Christmas tree.... we would tie a rope around it and drag it back to the house.

I always had fun riding my horse in the Christmas parade. My girlfriend and I would braid our horses manes, and tie gold bells in them. We had a blast prancing down main street and throwing candy to all the children.

My DREAM is to have a white Christmas, and to ride through the snow in a horse drawn sleigh......that might sound corny to some folks, but we just don't get any snow here in Texas, and I think that would be so exciting!

Happy trails...

Re: Holiday Traditions

Dorothy on 12/03/04 at 23:19 (165164)

Necee - There are some beautuful resorts in Michigan where you can do just that.
Your traditions are neat - they sound so old-fashioned and western. When I was little I had a little record of Gene Autry singing 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' and on the back side was 'If It Doesn't Snow on Christmas' - I loved 'em both, pardner! Gene A. was a cowboy, you know. The record itself was red which was very unusual.

Re: Holiday Traditions

Cyndi on 12/04/04 at 07:34 (165171)

Necee, Also in Colorado are many places to ride a horse drawn sleigh in the snow. We did one year and it took us to a tent in the woods, the lights were beautiful against the dark night sky, and we had a wonderful dinner cooked there, songs played, many smiles, and then a sleigh ride back to where we started. I have to say it was one of the coldest rides I ever remember, But, I remember with smiles. Also the lantern on the sleigh in front of us was magic to see come and go in the darkness.
I also always loved the horses in parades and Thanksgiving and the Rose Parade, I am a real sucker for. Matter of fdact , there is a wb-site to watch the building of the floats for the Rose Parade. I will look for it. I think from HGTV Web-site.

Re: Holiday Traditions

Kathy G on 12/04/04 at 18:58 (165196)

The only time I was supposed to go for a sleigh ride, we had a terrible sleet storm and it was cancelled. My poor daughter went on one when she was in high school and it was in a hay wagon. She was up all night long with a terrible allergy attack despite the fact that she was taking allergy meds. I guess the romance went out of the whole idea for us!

We used to go and cut down our own Christmas tree and that was a lot of fun. The first time my family did it, I was nine and we had just moved from a city in MA to a small town in CT. My dad cut the tree and leaned it against something in the garage and decided we'd put it up the next day. When he went to get it, it had a definite 'crook' in it because the sap had still been running and it should have been stored upright. We had kind of an odd tree that year!

Dad just loved Christmas trees and whenever we watch Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation, we all laugh at the scene where Clark says the tree is a little full. That was my father's favorite line because he always picked out huge trees. He was always the first in the neighborhood to put up his tree and decorate outdoors. It was a real labor of love and he never put up plain lights but had to have rope laurel to go with them, 'Because they have to look pretty in the daytime, too.'

We always opened our family Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve and our Santa gifts on Christmas morning. We had an open house on Christmas Eve and many friends would stop by and it was very festive. My mother loved candles and had them going all over the house and they would cast such pretty light. One year, she almost set the house on fire. My husband walked out into the kitchen to find the wastebasket on fire. A candle on the kitchen counter had fallen over into the basket. Luckily he got there shortly after it started burning and he quickly put it out with water from the kitchen sink but after that, she decided she'd better burn candles only in the rooms we were in.

She was raised in a family who fought a great deal, especially around the holidays. While our family seldom fought, around Christmas we were forbidden to say a single rude word to one another. She swore we would have happy memories of our holidays and we do.

I'll bore you with Christmas stories later on if this thread continues but I have to tell you, Dorothy, that my daughter would have agreed with your daughter about books. My sister-in-law used to give her beautiful books at Christmas but naturally, they weren't exactly what she wanted. When she got a little older, the same sister-in-law, who is a very thoughtful, generous person started to give my daughter a pearl on her birthday and one on Christmas. Only once did my daughter, who was really too young to understand about matching pearls, say anything and that was just to say that she wished she'd been asked if she wanted pearls.

Now, at the age of twenty-four, she has a necklace of beautifully matched pearls and has worn them in three weddings and to a couple of formals. She loves them. And the other day, she inquired if the books from her childhood were in plastic boxes downstairs because she didn't want anything to happen to them. My sister-in-law knew what she was doing!

Re: Holiday Traditions

Cyndi on 12/05/04 at 19:29 (165239)

I used to love to get books for Christmas , but, I really do not rememeber getting many, but I have always love to read. The Bookmobile would come to the neighborhood in the summer months. But I loved Nancy Drew and Clara Barton Books. I could never go to the library and get just one,I always had a stack to read.

We always had to wiat for my Grandmother to get off work at 11pm so we went to look at Christmas Decorations in the city while Santa could come. Of course we saw him in the stars and knew he was close. I had 4 brothers
so someone always saw him so we had to believe it WAS REALLY HIM!
Then when we returned home the house was full of presents. That was one holiday My Father really loved and went all out. My grandmother came and let Santa in the door when she arrived, but, we did have a chimney, just never a fire. When we got home is was total chaos, opening presents. Then Christmas Day more relatives came over for Christmas Dinner and to see what Santa brought us.

Re: Holiday Traditions

Lori S. on 12/08/04 at 22:57 (165390)

I grew up in northern Minnesota - I am in Nevada now, and I dont miss 40 below zero, but I do miss snow, we get very little where I am. Alot of my family lived around us in a small town. Every year we went out with dad and cut our tree. Christmas Eve we opened presents, usually at one of my aunt and uncles houses, of course this only happened after dinner and after the kids had done every dish. Then if you wanted to open your presents we would have to sing songs, Rudolph, Frosty, whatever we wanted. The rest of the evening we spent playing with our new things with our cousins. My dad usually played guitar and everyone sang christmas songs too. Santa would come and fill our stockings for christmas morning.

My favorite movie is Its a Wonderful Life, it has been for years and years. And my favorite song is Silver Bells, fond memories of my dad playing guitar and singing it for me at Christmas. My dads side is Norweigen, so at Thanksgiving and Christmas we always had lefsa - Lefsa is like a tortilla made out of potatoes, flour, little sugar and milk, you put butter on it and sprinkle sugar over it and roll it up. MMMMM... very yummy. I am now the person who makes lefsa for the holidays. Another thing that mom or grandma always made was lutefisk (very stinky yucky fish, LOL) Before Christmas Mom, my sister, brother and me all would bake cookies all day for a day, and always make cut out sugar cookies and frosted them. I still bake cookies every year, I guess its about the spending time with my kids, and remembering being a kid myself.

I love when my family can all be together. They were here for Thanksgiving, next year we will have Christmas together. I am off to Reno saturday to shop - and im sure it will be completely insane. BUT, at least I can go, my feet are doing so much better.

A couple years ago we went to Idaho Falls(my parents are there), and on Christmas Eve we went to a dinner place. There were little shacks with fires burning in them, and hot apple cider available, while we waited for the horse drawn sleigh to take us to the big barn. It was really cool, we rode through the dark to this big barn and inside they served family style dinner while there was country music band entertaining. It was something I was so glad we did, because it will always be a memory for my kids. I saw that someone mentioned missing snow, there are places to go and have horse drawn sleigh rides, and if I were you, I would look one up, it was great!

Anyways, need to get going,,,,,,, Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!