CHRISTMAS, ANOTHER TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY FOR MEMORIES
December 16, 2012
The holidays are here. It is another time of the year to follow those family traditions and begin a few new ones for your family. Although not a tradition, our family Christmas this year will be December 27 in order to get all of us together. The date change does not bother me as long as we have family present.
Thanksgiving is over and it is almost time for Christmas. Growing up, Christmas was always welcome. I loved the suspense of what Santa would bring me under the tree and the thrill of presents coming from my family. I still love Christmas, all parts of it from the tree, lights, and spices wafting their fragrance from the simmering pot on the stove, the decorations and even the food preparation. We have lovely Christmases.
Well, there was one Christmas that was not so lovely—disappointing even. That was the year Santa brought me a jockey cycle. I wanted a bike but instead got the “three wheel wonder with a seat that went up and down.” I hated that thing. Why would Santa get that for me? I’m a girl. The three or four times I rode it I felt like a clown in a parade! Yuk! I just wanted a plain o’ girl’s bike.
Our Christmas is somewhat traditional, but we have inserted our own traditions. I have a collection of Baldwin brass candles I bring out for the holidays. I display them alongside my Old World Santa and sleigh collections. Instead of the red and green, I decorate with peachy and apricot colors. I also have a couple of angels and one is displayed on top of our tree. The tree has tiny twinkling lights and a few ornaments but mostly it is covered with our ancestor’s pictures captured inside hanging Battenberg lace ovals. We also hang photos on the tree of our children, grandchildren and dogs encased in lace.
Christmas Eve consists of lasagna dinner followed by singing carols accompanied by one of the girls on the piano. We read the Christmas Story from a book I had in the third grade followed by opening the presents under the tree. That leaves lots of room for Santa to deposit his presents that night while we are asleep. Yes, of course Santa still comes to our house!
I still prepare a Christmas dinner for my family and friends consisting of turkey, cornbread dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce. When friends are attending, I also prepare a couple of vegetables, salad, and pumpkin and pecan pie. This year I will make apple crumble that is both delicious and sugar free. Years ago the kids asked me to write down my recipes so they would have them when they cooked for their family. Keeping the recipes in writing and available is something we should all do for our descendants.
Christmas is a wonderful time for winter festivals. The most enjoyable trip I have ever taken at Christmas was to see Salt Lake City Temple grounds decorations. There were millions of twinkling lights. Today there are probably billions. They have a living nativity scene at dark with Christmas carols being sung and played inside the grounds for at least two weeks before Christmas. It is simply enchanting!
Historically, we celebrate Christmas as the day Jesus was born although we actually do not know his date of birth. Christmas has been celebrated on many dates but the earliest reference using December 25 as the day to celebrate was in 354 A.D. Whatever the date, there was a celebration as early as 221 A.D.
Do you have holiday traditions? Have you sat down and written them down so your descendants will know what they are? You should do that if you have not. Think about all those times you lament about your parents and grandparents talking to you, but you didn’t listen—or remember what they said. Well, now it is your time to pen your traditions.
Wherever you go and whatever you do this holiday season, have a happy holiday.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: TracingOurRoots@gmail.com.