Merry Christmas! It’s that time of year, actually it has been for a couple of weeks now. Christmas has a way of sneaking up on me. Every year I plan to spend time sitting by the tree enjoying seasonal music, sipping a hot tea and reading! The reality is that I may get time for that on December 26th or 27th, but that’s all right. I enjoy most of the hustle and bustle that accompanies giving the house a good cleaning, entertaining friends, baking my mother’s cookie recipes, attending special worship services, and cooking a holiday dinner. I’m blessed to be able to do these things.
The days leading up to Christmas are filled with nostalgia for me, as I remember many past holidays. The first year I lived in the Midwest and had to eat oyster soup at my grandmother’s home stands out. The soup was one of my elderly grandmother’s Christmas Eve traditions. How they got oysters in rural Southern Indiana back in the early 20th century (she was born in 1896), I’ll never know. But it was her custom, and we continued it until she could no longer live independently. I still don’t care for oysters, but I’m glad I shared that unique experience with her.
Another holiday ritual that I recall involved the unusual contents of our Christmas stockings. My parents were raised during the Great Depression, and sometimes my father only received a small bag of candy, an orange or a bag of nuts for Christmas. So, guess what my siblings and I found in our stockings Christmas morning? Oranges and nuts! I didn’t know anyone else who received such from Santa. I’m so grateful I grew up with that taste of my dad’s childhood.
We used to cut down Christmas trees on our property. That meant we had a cedar tree to decorate. Cedars don’t have strong limbs to support ornaments, and finding a perfectly formed cedar is difficult. They tend to look bushy. Every year, we marched through the woods in search of a well shaped tree. Once, we got the bright idea to cut the top out of a large cedar and use that for our tree. Those cedar tops looked pretty good from the ground. This, of course, involved chopping down a very big tree. The problem was, once the top of the tree was at eye level, we discovered it wasn’t so perfect after all. I think we felled about three cedars before my dad lost patience with us! Fortunately, we had no shortage of cedar trees.
What Christmas customs or memories are near and dear to your heart? Please share them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about your holiday experiences. As we continue old traditions and incorporate new, I pray that each of you has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!