Christmas Traditions are what makes Christmas special. There aren’t many families that don’t have one or two Christmas Traditions at least. What are some of your Christmas Traditions?
In this article I am continuing on with my Christmas Traditions. In part one I talked about Christmas Cards, Christmas Baking and Christmas Trees.
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS INCLUDE
A LETTER TO SANTA
Writing to Santa was always something I looked forward to. We had been taught not to ask for too much as Santa had so many children around the world to look after. Also, there were others who needed things more than we did. We never minded and would only ask for one or two things.
Getting my letter written and mailed to him was important and I always worried about him not receiving it in time. I can remember putting my letter in the mailbox addressed to Santa at the North Pole. I vaguely remember getting a letter back from Santa and how thrilled I was. To think Santa had time to read my letter and send me one back.
Of course I don’t write to Santa anymore but I do enjoy hearing about the children that do. It shocks me though on what they ask for and expect to receive. Times have really changed as we were content with so much less.
At the local mall it is fun to stand watching the children line up to tell Santa what they want for Christmas.
ANOTHER CHRISTMAS TRADITION
Singing Christmas Carols was at the top of my list of things I liked to do at Christmas. I loved standing outside with a group of people singing Carols for anyone who would answer their door. We would gather together and sing our hearts out, on key or not. Even back then unfortunately, a lot of people did not appreciate our meager attempt at singing. At different homes we would be treated to Christmas Cookies. After caroling we would gather and enjoy hot chocolate and more treats.
When I sang in the choir we loved to go as a group to the local nursing homes and sing for them. They loved it and the nursing homes always treated us like royalty. They were so happy to have us there singing for the residences.
I don’t even know of people actually going out and caroling now. I am afraid that they would experience many rejections and doors shut in their faces if they did. It is sad that this is a thing of the past as we had a great time singing our hearts out for all who would listen.
Here is an interesting article on “The History of Christmas Carols.”
Christmas shopping was always fun. We would go with Dad to pick out something for Mother and of course go with Mother to pick out something for Dad. I would always pick out something special for my Brother. It wouldn’t be much but always something he wanted. He liked to dress up and buying him a tie was high on my Christmas list. One year I ended up buying him cologne and you would have thought I gave him a million dollars. Honestly he bathed in the stuff. I never did tell him that he went a little overboard when he put it on.
I loved to shop for everyone on my list and try and get something that suited them. I spent a lot of time buying the perfect gift for each person. If I had an idea of what they wanted I would try and buy it for them providing I could afford it of course. We didn’t have to spend a lot of money as everyone appreciated everything that we got them.
Believe it or not now I really don’t enjoy Christmas shopping and do very little of it. Unfortunately over the years Christmas has become so commercialized that shopping is no longer a pleasure. Working in retail didn’t help either as the store was Christmas started in October, far too early. These days far too much money is spent on Christmas. Shopping wasn’t enjoyable anymore and just became a job trying to find something to suit everyone.
I put a lot of thought and time into what I bought and always worried about my purchases. Would they like it or would it be tossed aside and forgotten?
I have several reasons why I don’t like buying gifts and find that so many of those who we buy for don’t appreciate what we give them. I have recalled Christmas gifts being opened and noses turned up at the sight of what was inside. I have overheard uncomplimentary comments about the gift I purchased. I have witnessed gifts being tossed aside as if they were nothing. I have even been asked why certain things weren’t purchased. Heaven forbid that it wasn’t something they asked for or had on their Christmas list. I never liked to buy everything on their list I always wanted to give something that was a surprise. A time or two it backfired as it wasn’t something the person wanted. For all these reasons shopping became a job. After many disappointments of my gifts being rejected and comments made about not liking them I lost my heart for Christmas shopping.
When I worked in retail we had a Christmas Wish Tree for those who wouldn’t get anything for Christmas. I loved picking out my star and buying the gifts on the child’s wish list. At least I knew they would appreciate whatever they got not like children of today that complain about everything they receive and want more.
I now prefer to buy for those who appreciate it, the needy. At least they are happy with anything they get and will not toss it aside like it is nothing or turn their nose up at it because it isn’t the right colour. It disgusts me the amount of money that is spent on Christmas and how many people don’t appreciate what they are given.
I also like to do a lot of my shopping online instead of fighting the crowds I can do it all from the comfort of my own home and have it delivered right to my door.
Here is a “One-Day Christmas Shopping Plan.”
Unlike shopping I love wrapping Christmas presents. It was always so much fun making them extra pretty. I volunteered to do Christmas wrapping at home and would wrap gifts for whoever wanted me to. I also wrapped presents at the mall for a ladies group I belonged to. I never had a problem wrapping presents.
I still love wrapping presents but now we have cut back so much on gifts that I don’t have many to wrap. When I was working I am afraid that many times I often took a shortcut and used bags. Using bags has taken away from all the wrapping, yes it is a lot easier but the fun of wrapping is gone.
If you use bags they come with their own tag of course but if you wrap your gifts you will have to put a tag on them. I loved writing funny messages on my tag. For example if I gave my husband a gift of Pajamas I would write on the tag “to keep you warm at night” or a book or a gift of cologne I would write the first name of the author or name of cologne. This created lots of fun as everyone was always trying to guess what the gift was. I even made up girls names and would put on my husband’s tag Love from _____ and then go into a fake fit about him getting a gift from her. We had so much fun but we don’t do that anymore. My husband and I don’t exchange gifts as what we need we buy. I was always able to come up with something to write on the tag for every gift that I gave.
I went to a public school and we always had a Christmas Concert. Oh how I looked forward to our concert. Practising those drills, memorizing lines for a part in the play, reciting a Christmas poem or story. How excited we would be to perform in front of our parents and all the neighbours. Lots of times we would forget our lines and the Teacher would help us through our reading. Each class performed something for the Christmas concert and then we usually ended up singing a Christmas song or two as a group.
I loved those concerts. At our one room school we got to put on plays, sing Christmas Carols, do drills (dancing), recite poetry and stories and eat
I vaguely remember Santa coming at the end of the concert but I don’t remember him handing out any gifts. I do remember getting a goodie bag with an orange, a candy cane, candy and nuts. We would have a sing song and finish off with apple cider or hot chocolate and Christmas cookies. I have not forgotten those Christmas concerts just a few of the finer details perhaps.
I haven’t been to a School Concert in years. However, I do know that each school does its own thing. For the younger children they usually do special days at school for example: red and green day, Christmas hat day, festive sweater day, treat day, etc. The older classes still have a concert usually in the school auditorium where they sing Christmas Songs, put on a play have readings etc.
AT SUNDAY SCHOOL
THEN and NOW
We also had a Sunday School concert. Every class would do something for the concert. Some would perform a skit other classes would sing a Christmas song. Some would do a reading or recite poetry. We always played out the Christmas story complete with a nativity scene. Someone read the story while members of the Sunday School acted it out. I never played the part of the Virgin Mary but I did get to be an angel one Christmas which made me so proud. The best part of the concert was watching the small children perform because you never knew what they were going to say or do.
Our Sunday School concert was usually held the week before Christmas on a Friday evening. We would have a potluck where everyone brought a favourite casserole and a dessert. After we ate we had our Christmas program. I remember the potluck, there was so much food it was hard to decide what to eat.
There are still Christmas Concerts go on line to check for one in your area.
THEN and NOW
In High School every winter we had a Christmas Carnival with snow sculptures, winter games and skating. We never minded the cold back then as a matter of fact we loved being outside. Funny how time and age changes things. We lived in the country and had to get the bus so we never got to fully enjoy the carnival.
There are still carnivals happening in most cities. Check for one in your area.
SANTA CLAUS PARADE
THEN and NOW
I love a parade. The excitement, bands playing, clowns, floats. They are magical. We used to go to the local Santa Claus Parade. When I was a little girl I would spend a Saturday with my Aunt and watch the parade with her. I found it so exciting all those big floats and great bands; I loved watching it on TV.
CHRISTMAS CRAFT SHOWS
I love Christmas Craft Shows and used to participate in several of them. It was always a busy time trying to get my crafts ready in time. It seemed I was always running to different shows but I wouldn’t have missed doing them for anything. I always had fun and although I didn’t make a lot of money I loved chatting with the other vendors and customers.
PUTTING UP THE TREE & DECORATIONS
Putting up the Christmas Tree was usually left up to Mother and me. Dad never helped and my Brother would put a few ornaments on it but that was it. We usually put it up about two weeks before Christmas and it never came down until after New Year’s. I remember cleaning all those needles out when it was finally dragged outside.
All I remember for decorations was putting up garlands and these red and green paper bells in the doorways around the house.
I loved making my own decorations for the tree. Surprisingly enough I never strung popcorn but I did make garlands with coloured construction paper. I also made paper crafts in Sunday School to hang on the tree.
When I lived on my own I decorated wherever I could. When we first got our house I went crazy with decorations. I would put lights up outside, garland on the banister, a wreath on the door, decorations and lights in the window. I don’t put up anywhere near the decorations I used to. Working full time and not having people here for Christmas changed all that.
I find it so sad that as you get older many of our Christmas Traditions often fade. As our family got smaller so did some of our Christmas Traditions. Unfortunately, the next generation didn’t carry on some of those traditions as they now had their own families to deal with.