Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas traditions

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh

Recently one of my friends, who doesn’t like the commercial side of Christmas, asked me about our Christmas traditions. I laughed and if you read my blog for awhile you’d laugh as well. Is buying a present for one’s husband on Christmas Eve a tradition? If it is, I broke it this year by getting his present back in November.

Despite of feeling that I personally don’t have any Christmas traditions (while my husband has plenty) or maybe because of my perceived lack of commonality between my own and my husband’s traditions, I managed to write her a very long email. And writing that email was the perfect step towards my decision to attempt to spend next year exploring celebrations from our (and maybe even other) cultures, in the attempt to figure out what really works for our little family.

This year our Christmas celebrations are turning out to be somewhat ad-hoc and slightly strange. The tiny plastic Christmas tree, given to us by our friends few years back, is standing in my daughter’s bedroom on her request, which we were happy to oblige due to the lack of good place for it downstairs. The Christmas lights are hanging in our bedroom, because this is the only place truly off-limits to our toddler visitor, who I don’t trust (potentially wrongly) not to try to pull them down. Together with my daughter I started decorating the house. I’m hoping to involve her into writing Christmas cards, baking and wrapping presents.

Snowflake Shadows

She learned two Russian New Year songs about Fir tree and now sings them randomly and whenever she sees anything remotely resembling a Fir tree. At the moment she is trying to master signing Jingle Bells by constantly asking to listen to it online.

Jingle Bells

I thought it would be fun to hear the jingle sounds during Christmas, but since we don't have any horses or reindeer I hanged some bells on our front door tied with the round brocade knot and the cross knots. According to ”Chinese Knots for Beaded Jewellery” the round pattern of the round brocade knot denotes good fortune, so it felt appropriate to have it next to the entrance to our house. I even bought the Christmas wreath to hang on the outside of the door.

I don’t want Christmas to be about getting large amount of presents and toys, but rather keep it as a celebration of our family and friendships, of our differences and similarities, of the gratitude for having food on our table, the roof over our heads, the skills and drive to make our surroundings and our life beautiful, of our joy for life.


Annie said...

I LOVE the bells!

I will recommend some tradition books for you, perhaps. I can't think of the title of the best one, now....they are mostly Catholic but I love old Catholic traditions.

driftwood said...

the bells on the door are wonderful, looks to me like you are finding Christmas traditions that are relevant to your family, and that's really what's important xxx

Lemony Leaves said...

The snowflake's shadows are really lovely! And I think, finding traditions is a process over time - you will know and *feel* it when something is so important to you and your family that you want to keep it and let it become a tradition.

Tanya said...

Yes I like the idea of making Christmas about spending time with family and friends and not about presents.