Over the years the true meaning of Christmas has got lost in the turmoil of the days leading up to Christmas. Christmas is spoiled as it has become a greedy, money making, commercialized society. Even the fun things we used to do we no longer do as we are too busy joining in the rush to get everything done before that day.
As a little girl I always looked forward to Christmas Eve. I would be so excited anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus. Although I always vowed to stay awake so I could actually see him I never made it. I loved putting out cookies and milk for Santa and looking in the morning and finding them gone. How delighted I was when Dad would claim he heard reindeer on the roof. I could hardly wait for Christmas morning to arrive.
As I got a bit older we had a Christmas tradition in our house. We got to select a gift of our choice to open. We ended up opening a gift from an Aunt and Uncle. Dad and Mother didn’t put their gifts under the tree until we went to bed.
When I worked retail for many years I had to work until at least seven o’clock on Christmas Eve. We had to get the store ready for the Boxing Day sale and unfortunately I led the team that had to get it ready. Working took away from my Christmas Eve as I wasn’t able to go to a Christmas Eve service or get together with the family.
Before I had to work Christmas Eve we did a family Christmas Eve get together on my husband’s side of the family. We would go to the Christmas Eve service and have our Christmas meal after the service.
Now my husband and I spend a quiet Christmas Eve together. We will either sit and watch a movie or go to a Christmas Eve Service.
This article tells about Christmas Eve Traditions and Customs.
The Christmas Eve service was always my favourite service of the year. I used to decorate our church for this service. The church would look amazing. We would have candles in the window sills and a couple of candelabras with candles at the front of the church. We would have other candles sitting in various places throughout the church. The choir would carry a candle as they walked down the aisle into the choir loft. It was breathtaking so warm and meaningful. Lots of carols would be sung, scriptures read and the Christmas Story told. However, time has changed all that and unfortunately, the true spirit of the season is gone as people just got too busy to go to the service. The busyness of Christmas took away from the Christmas Eve service. All the Christmas activities took away from the Christmas Eve Service and people just didn’t have time to go to it.
Back when we had our Christmas Eve service we could have candles lit. We did put shades over the ones in the window but still had quite a few that we didn’t cover including the ones we carried. When I think back we took such chances. I can understand why that can’t be done now as it is a fire hazard.
Oh how I loved Christmas morning. I can still see myself getting up running downstairs to see what Santa brought. The only problem was that I had to wait for my Dad, Mother and my Brother to get up before I could open anything. The waiting was terrible, it seemed like hours but in reality it was only minutes.
I was so excited to see what Santa had brought us. I would rush downstairs anxious to see what was under the tree and find out what was in my stocking. In the toe of my stocking I would not be surprised to find a lump of coal. Dad always had a sense of humour.
My favourite gift from Santa was a doll. I called her Susan. I remember coming downstairs on Christmas morning and there she was at the top of the Christmas tree. I couldn’t reach her so had to wait for Dad to come and take her down for me. I loved that doll and took her everywhere with me.
One Christmas I was really disappointed in my gift from Santa. All I got was a scrapbook and a jar of glue from him. I will never forget that Christmas. I just couldn’t understand. Did he forget me? Why didn’t he get me at least one thing on my list? That was the Christmas that I found out who Santa really was.
Christmas morning was always rushed. Dad had to get the chores done, we had to open our gifts, have breakfast and be out the door to head off to whoever was hosting Christmas. We didn’t get a chance to play with our toys and enjoy our gifts.
Mother always served Sally Lunn (a large bun with fruit in it) for Christmas Breakfast this was a Christmas tradition in our house. She would make it well before Christmas and keep it in the freezer. Christmas morning she would slice it up, toast it and serve it buttered with jam or honey.
When I got married on Christmas morning we would go to my husband’s parents place and open the gifts. There was a huge pile of gifts that stretched out at least three feet into the room. We used to buy for all the nieces and nephews but as time went on and they got older this dwindled out. However, the adults always did a Secret Santa gift exchange and still do.
After our gifts we would have a smorgasbord at noon. The smorgasbord consisted of all the leftovers from the night before plus some extra dishes that people contributed.
Whoever hosted Christmas got the turkey ready. When it was our turn to have Christmas Mother would get this enormous turkey ready. It was always well over twenty pounds and I can still see us making the stuffing for it. Mom would get up in the middle of the night to get the turkey in the oven so it would be ready for noon hour. We would wake up to the wonderful smell of turkey roasting.
Sometimes Mother would buy a frozen turkey but usually she would get a fresh one. She would order it well in advance so she was sure she got it in time for Christmas.
Christmas Dinner consisted of turkey and stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, peas, corn, carrots, green bean casserole, coleslaw, jellied salads, Christmas pudding with butterscotch sauce, mincemeat pie and cookies. Is it any wonder that we gained weight at Christmas?
I liked everything except the sweet potato casserole covered in marshmallows it was far too sweet for me. The person who hosted Christmas Dinner made the turkey, stuffing, cranberries, potatoes and all the vegetables. They would also usually make a pie or two. Everyone else brought rolls, salads, pies, Christmas cake and cookies. We usually had homemade shortbread and sugar cookies along with some fancy varieties. If there was any pudding leftover from the noon meal anyone that wanted a helping could have it.
I loved celery and would polish off every piece of it that was on the table. So my cousin started supplying me with my own dish of celery. She also supplied me with my own small dish of green bean casserole as I was allergic to mushrooms.
For our evening meal we enjoyed leftover turkey, homemade buns, a large selection of salads and for dessert cookies and pie. Ham usually appeared on the table along with the turkey. It wasn’t uncommon for some of the leftovers to be heated up.
I used to make Christmas Dinner for our family but after they had already eaten a big meal that day I stopped. I would spend literally hours in the kitchen only to have them pick at their food. It wasn’t worth it.
While writing this article I can smell the wonderful aroma coming from the kitchen. I savoured that Christmas meal and all those great desserts.
Read this article about why we eat turkey at Christmas?
CHRISTMAS DAY ACTIVITIES
After lunch we went tobogganing and skating with my cousins. We would gather around the piano to sing Christmas Carols. We liked to spend our afternoon playing cards and board games. These are all activities we did on Christmas Day.
We have spent a few Christmas Days quietly at home enjoying the serenity of the day. One Christmas I invited someone over to have Christmas Dinner with us as he didn’t have anyone to spend Christmas with. Just recently we started spending Christmas Day with my husband’s side of the family. Unfortunately, there aren’t many of us left on my Dad’s or Mother’s side. For the most part we all have our own families to deal with.
Here is an article on the true meaning of Christmas Day.
Yes, the day that a lot of people run out to get the bargains. I worked retail for years and knew just what this day was all about. “Pure Madness” is the only way I would describe it. Everyone who ventured out wanted a deal and they didn’t care what they did to get it. I really didn’t like Boxing Day and if I was off that day the last place I wanted to be was fighting the crowds for a bargain.
Here is the origin of Boxing Day and how different countries celebrate it as described in the Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS NOW
As our family got smaller so did our Christmas celebrations and traditions. Unfortunately, as you get older some of your Christmas Traditions start to fade and fizzle out. The next generation just didn’t carry on some of the traditions my grandparents and parents had put in place.
I miss those family get togethers with my Grandparents, Dad, Mother and all our cousins. I miss the toboggan rides, the skating and the way we used to spend Christmas. However, you can’t bring those days back but having those wonderful memories that will go on forever helps. Today we always say “Remember when? Remember the time we?” Remember how we used to? Never forget the good old days and always remember the good times.
Do you have any Christmas Traditions? Every family will usually have their own traditions that they have kept through the years. It doesn’t really matter what your traditions are. What is important is how you celebrate Christmas. This is a special day for everyone so enjoy it with family and friends. However, whatever Christmas is to you make sure you have the true Christmas Spirit and don’t lose sight of the true meaning.