In these difficult times, I think we need a little extra to get into the holiday spirit. Here’s my small effort, about my family’s Christmas traditions.
My little family (my husband, dog Sasha, and I), like others, has certain protocols that must be followed every year. One is something I impose, no decorating until after December 1, because that’s my birthday. My husband shrugs about that because he’s the one who has to get the decorations down from the attic. Ours is not a formal house, so many decorations are simple, but we love them.
The outside wreath is first, hanging beneath our dining room bay window and draped with lights.
Here is the mantel, with battery candles for safety and my grandmother’s crystal bowl filled with small shiny balls. My husband both builds and collects clocks so they’re everywhere. The one here on the right is an antique from his family. On the right is a traditional shelf clock he built and sells on his website. Not holiday decorations, but I thought you might wonder why two clocks if I didn’t explain.
For a long time I collected angel ornaments and people gave them to me, but when the number became overwhelming on our tree, I bought an artificial wreath and hung them on it. This one hangs in the dining room.
Now the tree. It’s a fat one, but not tall because it has to fit into the living room bay window. Yes, the lights look odd. One set died, so when I bought new ones, they were white, not yellow, but it was too late. They were already on the tree. I would’ve started over, but not the, ahem, person draping them around the tree. Next year…
Several ornaments are also traditions. When we were first married, we had little money and crafted our own ornaments. Those are mostly all gone, except for these macramé snowflakes. A colleague at the school where I was the elementary reading specialist taught me macramé, and I made at least a dozen of these. Some were for gifts, but I kept about eight for our tree.
At the same time, my former apartment mate and bridesmaid, who is responsible for my meeting the man who became my husband, created these needlepoint ornament with the year of our marriage. They go on the tree every year.
At some point during the holiday season, we watch It’s a Wonderful Life, which puts us in the spirit. No matter how many times I have watched that film. I find something new each time. At this moment, I’m picturing the scene where George Bailey is nearly in tears, holding little Zuzu as she drapes icicles on their tree. I tear up too.
Here’s a felt snowman given to me by the mother of one of my students who has always been special to me. He had been failing at learning to read, and our work together moved him forward.
Finally, our Christmas breakfast is a break between opening presents. I used to make an egg and cheese puff, but after enjoying the popovers at Acadia National Park’s Jordan Pond House, we bought the popover pan and switched to those. Delicious with butter and my own raspberry jam. Since I’ve never taken a photo of mine, here is a photo from their website.
If you’re not already in the spirit, I hope this post has helped to put you there. From my house to yours, I wish you the merriest of holidays and safe gathering with family and friends, and a Happy New Year.
Will you share some of your holiday traditions? Perhaps I’ll find a new one to adopt!