Friday, December 25, 2009

Waiting for the Animals to Speak

That's the Christmas activity I remember most clearly from my childhood. I'd read somewhere that at midnight on Christmas Eve, all animals could talk, in memory of their generosity to the baby Jesus in the stable so many years ago. I tried as hard as I could to stay awake until midnight. Mostly, I failed, and the dog was outside in her cozy house anyway, and the cats (I now surmise) wouldn't bother to talk to me even if they could.

My grown up traditions now include sleeping late, pumpkin cookies, Johnny Mathis, Christmas Eve pasta, reading the nativity story from Luke 2: 1-12, watching either Scrooged or The Seeker or both. When my son was little I bought him a new Christmas story every year (Eve Bunting, Barbara Robinson, Roddy Doyle and others) and we read them out loud together. Now I buy them for my nephews and niece, and tell them to open them on Christmas eve.

Some people sit down to a lavish breakfast with family, complete with mimosas, and some folks head out to the shelter to serve Christmas lunch to others. Many look forward to a holiday marathon of NCIS or Say Yes to the Dress. Rumor has it there are many sporting events televised as well. Quite a few of my friends observe the Jewish tradition of Chinese food and a movie (Holmes or Avatar?). We make phone calls and texts and update our Facebook status. We mull over the past year and resolve to be better people in 2010. Hopefully, we do all these things with people we love.

I would love to hear about your holiday traditions!


Linda K. said...

Ah, holiday traditions. They've changed over the years as my family has changed. As a kid my aunts always gave my mom money to buy us pajamas and that's what we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve. My sister just told me that she's keeping that tradition with her grandchildren. Now that our parents are gone our holidays are less hectic. We used to complain about having to travel between parents on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Now that we don't have to do that we miss it. Go figure.

Karen said...

I think part of my family's problem with holidays is that we have no real traditions. We celebrate Christmas, we give gifts, go to church, but there's nothing unique or special to what we do as a family. Consequently, I'm embarrassed to say it can get a little...boring. In recent years we've opened Christmas crackers, but even the paper crowns are starting to seem less amusing. I've been singing at church for decades, I always sing on Christmas and it's the one thing I really look forward to because it's lively and I feel like I'm helping other families to celebrate and get more meaning out of Christmas.

Linda K said...

I forgot one of our most important family traditions... trying to get the Christmas tree to stand upright in the living room! Every year as kid, my family would go out to the local tree lot, find the tree, drag it home, and then spend hours trying to get it to fit into the tree stand and make it stand up straight. One year we had three or four lengths of cord wrapped around the tree which were then tacked or nailed right into the wall! Every time our dog Snoopy brushed under the tree to drink from the stand we were afraid it would all keel over. Memories.

Laura A. said...

Decorating the Christmas tree to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. While the Nutcracker may be the more natural choice at Christmastime, my mother started this tradition, and Swan Lake is always beautiful.

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