Monday, December 13, 2010

Holidailies Day 8

2010-12-11 - Unique traditions.

Unique to us? I don't know that we have any, specifically.

Let's see... we celebrate both Christmas and Chanukkah, and we take our Christmas traditions from our many backgrounds.

Advent officially begins four Sundays before Christmas. Usually this is the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but not always. The first holiday decoration to come out is the Advent wreath, which has a different ceremony for each Sunday in Advent.

We put up our holiday lights on December 1, or soon after, and may begin decorating inside the house about that time.

The tree goes up on December 6, St. Nicholas Day. The night before, we put out our shoes for St. Nicholas to fill. He usually gives us slippers or other warm weather gear, and a favorite candy. This really marks the beginning of the season for us.

On December 13 we have St. Lucia day. The youngest daughter gets up early to dress up special and make rolls and coffee or cocoa for the other members of the family. It's also a time for lighting candles. Traditionally, St. Lucia wears a crown of evergreen with six white candles in it. Since that's pretty dangerous, we modify the tradition with lighting other candles in the house.

We make lots of driving trips to check out holiday light displays around the area.

On Christmas Eve, while we're at church, Mrs. Claus stops by to drop off new nightclothes for us.

Bear's birthday falls between Christmas and New Year, which gives us another celebration in the season.

We've started a new tradition of going ice skating on New Year's Eve.

Everything wraps up on the 12th day of Christmas: Epiphany. Traditionally this is the day that the Wise Men arrived to give presents to Baby Jesus. As a last hurrah, and bringing the season full-circle, we put shoes out the night before, to find one last gift in the morning. By bedtime, the tree must be down and all the holiday decorations put away for next year.

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