Christmas Traditions - share yours?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Chatter - Anything and everything' started by amandainvermont, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont Trade Member

    Some of you may remember photos of my brother's Christmas tree from the past - he would get a live tree that reached the ceiling. He needed a ladder to decorate it. Now he and his partner have a more manageable "fake" tree, but they have a lovely tradition... They saved part of the trunk of every tree from their past, etched the year on the bottom, and made them into candle stands.

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    As a child Christmas was a huge deal, so it's always kind of a sad time for me now. I try to do stuff for others who might be lonelier than I. I enjoyed seeing the pink trees - any other shares?
     
  2. 196t's

    196t's Registered Guest

    I had a tradition to go to the beach every year in Christmas week (I live in a state without a coastline)... December is the hottest time of the year around here!
    Also, there are always the dinners on Christmas day at grandma's house. :)
     
  3. Robin of Frocksley

    Robin of Frocksley Registered Guest

    I bake gingerbread every year because it makes me happy. Most year I do ridiculous houses, sometimes just cutout cookies.
    My sister-in-law introduced me to Christmas party crackers at the family meal and I will never miss out on them again!
    I also love to plan elaborate presents for the children in my family, this year they are receiving MASSIVE stuffed animals.
    Also, ice skating at an outdoor rink at least once!
    Love this question!!!
     
  4. bycinbyhand

    bycinbyhand Trade Member

    Since we're all grown ups in my family, I just send a box of cheer to each person I love... cookies for humans and treats for pets. The cookies are from family recipes but aren't all fancy and decorated, just good. Part of the tradition is I will also send a box to those couple of people who've really really helped me during the year - the probate attorney and my tax guy. I kid you not! We were 'besties' till my mom's inheritance was settled and I am grateful.

    Here at home we're going to take the Christmas Eve 'drive through the lights,' a city tradition... an old neighborhood in town does it up with lights and luminaries. It's really pretty.
     
  5. The Vintage Vendeuse

    The Vintage Vendeuse Trade Member

    Because of my Polish father, we celebrate Wigilia ("the Vigil", ie: waiting for the birth of Christ) on Christmas Eve and always share the oplatek, a thin wafer made from flour and water (we buy ours from a local Polish restaurant), before our lovely dinner. When I was young, the dinner was meatless but we bend the rules now. I always remember impatiently looking for the first star in the night sky, we had to wait for that before we could eat!

    Because of my English mother, we also have Christmas crackers and Christmas pudding added to our Wigilia celebration. The last three years, I've actually made the pudding instead of getting store-bought. I use Nigella's recipe, substituting butter for shortening and cheap cream sherry for the Pedro Ximenez. The dried fruits are generally whatever is around, though I always like to include dried plums and currants. This year I threw in some Craisins and some dried blueberries, too. I make the pudding on Stir-Up Sunday and let it age until Christmas. I'm lucky enough to have holly bushes growing in front of my house so I like to put a fresh sprig on top of the pudding. :)

    My very first Christmas pudding, 2015:

    christmaspudding2015.jpg

    Oplatek:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. denisebrain

    denisebrain Trade Member

    I love Christmas pudding Donna, and yours looks wonderful!

    I hear you Amanda.

    I still pull out the angel I made, with my mother's help, in 1st grade. I was sick almost the whole 1st-grade year (scarlet fever, German measles) so my mother pretty much homeschooled me, and we had a lot of fun with creating things.

    The angel is a bit beat up (one wing, not much hair), as is her creator, but I still love her so much, and think of my mother.

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    Her newspaper crinoline dates from 1966—
    PC138610.JPG
     
  7. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

    This sounds odd and sad, but it's not. Our big 'tradition' is a recent invention, and that is to not have any traditions. Like Lemony Snicket, after a series of unfortunate events that happened on Christmas, Kenn and I stopped trying to make Christmas perfect and traditional: cat death 1997, father-in-law death 1996, I was released from hospital on Christmas Eve after a gallstone operation in 1989, what I knew would be the last time I saw my mother before she died 2000, as well as three Christmases when we were both sick with flus or colds and in bed... The last straw was when my father threw out all of the family Christmas ornaments after my mom died! We also know several Christmas-holics which is a bit off-putting - a collector of Christmas ornaments who lives in Kris Kringle land year round, and another friend who puts at least one tree into every room of his house, starting the day after Halloween.

    About 15 years ago Kenn and I threw all the traditions out the window and consciously decided to do something that was free of obligations, tradition, and over-decorating. It is selfish of us, but it cuts down the expectations of a Martha Stewart Christmas. I know many do volunteer work or attend church, but this is the one time of year charities don't need extra hands and churches don't need parishioners (the last Christmas with my mom we couldn't get into the Christmas Eve service of her church because of all the three-day-a-year Christians who showed up and left no room for the regulars). Kenn and I don't exchange gifts, we buy something for dinner that is a special treat, like a wild caught sockeye salmon or beef tenderloin, instead of a tree we buy a massive bouquet of flowers, and on Christmas day we go out and watch a period movie (this year it will be The Favourite). I also purposefully make and buy at least one different Christmas treat every year - this year I want to do an English steamed figgy pudding - last year it was rum balls, year before pfefferkuchen, year before that biscochitos... so our new tradition is to avoid tradition!
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  8. The Vintage Vendeuse

    The Vintage Vendeuse Trade Member

    Oh my, I would have been devastated! Two years ago, my mother decided to de-stash since she wasn't hosting the Christmas celebrations anymore. I was the only "child" (I have two living siblings) that asked for the family Christmas ornaments. We have so many now-vintage gorgeous Polish-made glass ornaments, as well as homemade things from our childhood.

    Luckily, I celebrate Christmas Eve more so than Christmas Day because, when I divorced, my ex and I were able to easily agree that I would have our kids on C-Eve and he would have them on C-Day. For a couple years, a likewise divorced friend and I would go to a movie on Christmas Day, I enjoyed that! For the last several years, since I now work at my local VA hospital which is open 24/7/365, I have volunteered to be scheduled on Christmas Day. (Normally, our work holidays get rotated, ie: if you work Christmas one year, you get it off the next year.) Our VA has it's own nursing home on the 6th floor. It's surprising and sad how few of the old vets get visitors on Christmas Day... people are busy with their families at home, I suppose. I like to spend my spare time between my own duties on the hospital floors by sitting with them and listening to their stories. (The unfortunate people who end up being sick and on the hospital floors for Christmas always seem to get visitors.)
     
  9. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont Trade Member

    Donna - such interesting traditions. That is sad about the vets. And Jonathan - I get it. Sigh.
     
    The Vintage Vendeuse likes this.
  10. The Vintage Vendeuse

    The Vintage Vendeuse Trade Member

    What a great memento, though not great that you were sick, of course. That’s wonderful that her crinoline will always be a reminder of when she was made.

    I remember that I was sick during the last week of school before Christmas when I was around eight years old (1970-ish). I was so bored! My mother put me to work making a paper garland for the tree. I found it among the family Christmas decorations that I got when Mom de-stashed.

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  11. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont Trade Member

    Interesting that some of us were ill around Christmas. I had rheumatic fever and couldn't walk. My father carried me down the stairs Christmas morning and I was afraid that Santa would not have come to our house since I was ill. (Every year Santa brought a tree while we were asleep, decorated it, filled the stockings and left tons of gifts.) I believed 1,000 percent.

    Here is my brother's tree this year.

    tree.jpg
     
  12. The Vintage Vendeuse

    The Vintage Vendeuse Trade Member

    A beautiful tree, and in a beautiful setting!
     
  13. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    We don't have any "big" traditions, except that I make the same Christmas cookies each year from my grandmother's (or great-grandmother's... nobody knows) recipes. Most of them are traditional Swiss recipes, and I don't like the store-bought ones because my mom always made them this way (and still does) and aunt and uncle (mom's brother) and grandma did. So they all pretty much tasted the same, wherever we celebrated. I started making my own more on a lark, when I had first moved to my own apartment, but it has definitely become kind of a tradition. I send some to my best friends with their Christmas presents and to my mom's best friend because she's special. And the rest I take to work and make everybody very happy there :). We have a new boss of our business department (boss of my actual boss) and he's already discovered them too - as he has to walk by my place a lot during the day, he always stops to grab some. Not the worst of starts with a new boss :hysterical:.
    Otherwise, it's the 24th/Christmas Eve that we traditionally have the big family celebrations and opening of gifts here in Switzerland, but at the same time, it's still half a working day and shops and businesses usually are open until noon or afternoon. The 25th and 26th are "full" public holidays though and everything is closed. If the 24th is a weekday, I usually work because my colleague takes this day and those between the holidays off, as her kids have school holidays then (and I usually use up all my holidays before Christmas). At work we usually do a brunch on the 24th, as really there's not much work and only about half of the staff are in anyway. And after that I head to my parents' and we have a nice dinner, which is normally a Fondue Chinoise - hot pot with sliced meat to cook in a hot broth, with lots of sauces and other stuff to go with it. A lot of Swiss families do this for Christmas, even though it isn't really traditional, it has become that in the last 20 years or so. But it's something that you need a few people for and that doesn't require a lot of cooking or preparing ahead, and you can take your time with eating. We usually meet up with my uncle, aunt and cousins some time before or after Christmas, as they have so many engagements around that time, and my cousin's kids' birthdays are on 12th December and 3rd January (talk about timing...!). This year we already did it last weekend, at their place. Nice late lunch, gifts opening and back home before it's too late.
    As my brochure production run always ends with the last deadline for printing the price list just before Christmas, things usually are busy enough anyway from mid-November onwards, so I'm glad if I don't have to do a lot for Christmas and can simply get some "off" time. As I travel a lot during the year, I tend to buy a lot of presents already during the year on my travels, so I'm usually not stressed by last-minute present-buying.
     

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