Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Holidays!

There are many ways to celebrate the holiday season. I'm fascinated with how the different parts of the US celebrations, family traditions, and cultural traditions vary.

I work for a predominantly French company and I discovered that the Christmas tree and the Advent calendar are central to their traditional celebrations. From December 1-25 the children will find a treat in the box or pocket of the advent calendar to enjoy. We never had one of those in our family, but it sounds like a lot of fun for the kids. And the families all get together to celebrate over a luscious meal.

Many, if not most, family celebrations seem to include a meal. Our family is no different. We take turns going to one house or the other, depending on if mom feels up to all of us hanging out at her place. She no longer puts up a tree in her tiny house, instead she puts bows on a Christmas cactus and sets it on a stand, surrounding the bottom with gifts. The little ones get toys and clothing, while us big kids usually get Chex Mix (YUM) or Peanut Brittle (AWESOME) and a little cash, which always fits.
 Off and on we have made gifts over the years, quilts, afghans, scarves, or lately we purchase gift cards to our family member's favorite place to shop. My youngest grandson loves them, he feels like he has a credit card and can buy anything he wants. Very cool. My niece and sis love to make treats like tarts, truffles, decorated sugar cookies and the like. We usually make Sand Hill Plum jelly to share with the family. (It's on my list of things to do!) I love the gifts that are hand made, they are the most special ones because the person gave of their time - and that is something in short supply around here.

Over the years our traditional dinner of turkey or ham has changed depending on the mood of the host. The food is always good, whether it's BBQ, a big pot of veggie soup, or lasagne, and we all bring things to contribute. It's not the menu that really matters, it's the sharing of the bounty and thanking the maker for our family, good health, and abundance. (We are truly blessed!)
We also exchange Christmas cards. I put in the "White Christmas" DVD and usually finish up when it's over. Some of my cousins are really good about the "Christmas Letter" and one of my friends always writes a "Christmas Poem." Both are great ways to catch up on what is going on with the kids and grandkids. 

I'm really curious to learn about other family traditions. What does your family celebration usually consist of? Is there something you especially like about the way your family celebrates? Please share!


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Bonnie,

Your family Christmas celebrations sound great! I just baked lasagna yesterday. Perfect for when the weather gets cold. Our grandchildren are small and so I give the kind of small gifts I know they will enjoy. My husband gives cash to the grown children so they can buy what everyone really wants and needs. I'll blog on Friday and take on the discussion of "perfect presents." Hope you'll join me then.

BDTharp said...

Hi Jacqui, Yes, when the tikes are little it's a blast to get them a toy. However, they usually are most interested in the box when they are tiny. Looking forward to your blog on presents. (I bought my son a sweatshirt when he was little with the Tazmanian devil on it that read "MORE PRESENTS".) Holidays & Kids ROCK!