Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Christmas in the United States is rich with traditions and folklore. The holiday season is full of memories and nostalgia.

As a young child, my parents put up our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, and decorated the house and front door at the same time. Then for the next couple of weeks we enjoyed the festive decor and the delicious smells of Christmas baking and scented candles. We made Momo's delicious sugar cookies by the dozens and bought fancy cheeses and chocolates to share with guests. My parent's friends frequently dropped by our house to share a beverage or exchange gifts and sometimes brought candy canes for Kay and myself.

December (pre Covid) was always a month of parties and a time to enjoy our friends and family. But it is also a period of enormous stress, as we try to finish our Christmas shopping and wrap the gifts. The "To Do” lists are endless. My mother used to send Christmas cards to her many friends around the country and I followed her lead as an adult. Not too long ago, I regularly mailed over 200 holiday cards every season, but no longer. It's too expensive and too time consuming. Sadly today, that card custom has pretty much ended. Most people go "on-line” to post a holiday greeting or don't bother at all. Sadly, our mailbox seems strangely empty ... no pictures of the family cat or dog or our friend's grandchildren...only endless catalogues.

When I was newly married and the mother of a little girl, on Christmas eve, our family would go to an early church service (usually at 5:00 pm) and then return home for a traditional Christmas dinner with family and neighbors.

Today, many families share that same tradition and have their own children open one very special gift on Christmas Eve - always a new pair of pajamas or nightgowns. That way, the Christmas morning photographs are always cute, with everyone dressed in matching outfits. Before bedtime, the kids would hang their stockings by the fireplace, and put out a plate of cookies for Santa and carrots for Rudolf and the reindeers.

In my family, on Christmas morning, my mother insisted that we eat a breakfast before opening gifts. My sister and I hated that. We were anxious to get to our presents and see what Santa had brought us. The breakfast menu was always the same on Christmas day - creamed chip beef on toast and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Kay and I gobbled it down (although we were never hungry) because we wanted to open our presents. When we were very young, we would tear into our gifts with unbridled excitement, ignoring the beautiful wrapping paper and exquisite bows, and were thrilled by what Santa and our parents had given us. As we aged, we became more civilized, and with our father's direction, opened our gifts in turn, one-by-one, commenting on each. (The hot chocolate morphed into Bloody Mary's or Mimosas for the adults, and the routine lasted for hours.)

I did some research on the internet and learned some interesting facts and traditions about Christmas around the world.

  • Silent Night was first sung in Austria.
  • The word Christmas originates from the words Christ's Mass.
  • Jingle Bells was the first song sung by the astronauts in space.
  • Santa has a real zip code...HOH OHO.
  • Not all Christmas trees are alike. In New Zealand, the Pohutukawa tree with its gnarled roots and bight crimson flowers, decorates most churches and homes.
  • A tradition in Germany that dates back to the 16th century is to hide a pickle somewhere within the branches of the Christmas tree. The child who finds it first, gets an extra gift.
  • The letter "X" in Xmas is a Greek abbreviation for Christ.
  • The song "Jingle Bells" was not written about Christmas but for Thanksgiving.
  • Rudolph's red nose was probably a result of a respiratory infection.
  • Santa's sleigh is probably the fastest vehicle ever made. That means he has to make 842 million stops on Christmas Eve, and 32 hours to do it. (thanks to time zones) To get to every house in that time period, his sleigh needs to move at 1,800 miles per second

If you celebrate Christmas, have a Merry, Merry and enjoy this special time of year. Remember, to Christians, "Jesus is the reason, the reason for the season.” If you don't participate in Christmas, then enjoy your own holiday traditions and have a happy and healthy December surrounded by the love and support of your friends and families.

Darcy and Danielle, from Despicable Lies and Second Chances, and Lara &, Brad, Cynthia & Larry and Mr. Preston and “Stormy" from Trapped, wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year.

Until my next inspiration... Ciao.


Sources of information:

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