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Merry Christmas and other holidays of the season


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Merry Christmas and Happy Ho idays to friends and oved ones c ose and far.

B essings to you and yours this Yu e season!

 

This is my Noel greeting. :)

 

 

I am starting this thread so that we may share greetings and tell of how we each celebrate this season. 

 

I realize that how my husband and I celebrate may seem ho-hum and common but they bring joy to me and so I wish to share:

Our celebrations are very traditional and center on: St. Nicholas Day, U.S. Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Orthodox Christmas Day.

 

December 19th is St. Nicholas Day. Good boys and girls find coins, candy, and small toys in their shoes when they wake up. Later they go to meet St. Nicholas who is dressed as an Orthodox Bishop. He tells them stories about sharing with others and caring for the needy. He often gives them a present. The present I will never forget is a ham which was so large I could only barely carry it. I was so happy I had an important thing I could share with my family and I was so very proud when father many times said my ham was delicious at supper that night.

 

The helpers of St. Nicholas collect from the children small gifts for those children who are less fortunate. The years when we could go to our grandfather's farm we went on sleigh rides. If it was a good year and I was getting many presents then his helpers would deliver them to our home while I was visiting St. Nicholas. 

 

This was an important day for us and it was not only because of the presents and cookies. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, fishermen and others whose lives are tied to the sea. We were a great port city. There were many types of celebrations which were beautiful and pious. 

 

This is one day of year when as adult it is good to have large feet! Any present which may fit into shoe is fair game. Gold coins are welcome at all times. An amazing amount of silk may be stuffed into a shoe.

 

 

I believe that we celebrate U.S. Christmas Day as many here do. We have: 'Charlie Brown' Christmas Tree and often have live tree and have tree which is wall-hanging which my husband knit many years ago as part of rehabilitation therapy for his hand. We made wooden boxes and decorated them as if they are wrapped to represent presents as it is nice to see a goodly number of gifts but we have few for each other on that day and most are not ones which can be put under a tree. I am sorry to say that they will not be under a tree this year as it is not likely that we will have time for a live tree and so they are arranged on table in front of large window.

 

 

New Year's Day is when Father Frost and his grand-daughter Snow Maiden bring presents. A girl from each class is chosen to be Snow Maiden to hand out presents to a lower class. I had honor to be Snow Maiden one year. My dress for this came from cousin and went to other cousin next year. It was deep blue and my mother embroidered a spider web on it. Father Frost visits each class and leaves Snow Maiden there to hand out presents while he goes to next class. I remember that most years there was a present so small that it could fit in pocket and one present which had to be carried. It was often that more presents would be on bed when I arrived home because there was more than a person could carry or presents were so delicate that it would be a risk to carry them through streets.

 

I have shared this link many times but I present it here because I feel that it captures the spirit of the season and its innocence touches me deeply:


The first thirty seconds are poor graphics and raspy audio which are annoying but can be endured.

I should note that Snow Maiden has a long braid and wears blue.

 

 

January 7 is Orthodox Christmas Day. We have Holy Supper on eve. It is twelve dishes with no meat or butter. I am sad to say that there is no sour cream also. It is meal of reverence. There is straw on floor and small sheaf of wheat tied with ribbon on the table in remembrance of birth of Christ Child.

 

It is common that an Angel will bring your most special present of the season during the night. I found it fascinating that my Christmas Day present often showed that Angels embroider in the same manner as my mother did.

 

Christmas Day is spent visiting friends and sharing blessings of the season.

 

 

Please share how you and yours celebrate this season!

 

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Do you have a spider in your Christmas tree?

 

4oUWMnq.jpg?1

 

There once was a widow living in her cramped, cold hut with her children. One day, a pinecone blew in through the broken window and took root in the dirt floor. 
 
The children, excited by the prospect of a tree for Christmas, tended the seedling and made plans about how they would decorate it. 
 
Poverty was a way of life for the small family, and when Christmas approached, the widow knew they would not be able to afford any ornaments. 
 
The children and the widow were sad when they went to bed on Christmas Eve because the tree's branches were bare.
 
But the household's spiders heard the children's sobs and spent the night spinning intricate webs on the tree's fragile branches. 
 
Early on Christmas morning, the children cried, "Mother, mother wake up and see the tree. It is beautiful!" 
 
The widow rose to find the delicate webs glistening with frost were far lovelier than any expensive ornaments.
 
As the rays of the sun crept along the floor and silently climbed the tree, the glow touched the threads of the webs, turning each one into silver and gold. 
 
From that day forward, the widow never wanted for anything.
 
 
5vhs4sn.jpg?1
 
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Merry Christmas and Happy Ho idays to friends and oved ones c ose and far.
B essings to you and yours this Yu e season!
 
This is my Noel greeting. :)
 
 
I am starting this thread so that we may share greetings and tell of how we each celebrate this season. 
 
I realize that how my husband and I celebrate may seem ho-hum and common but they bring joy to me and so I wish to share:
Our celebrations are very traditional and center on: St. Nicholas Day, U.S. Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Orthodox Christmas Day.
 
December 19th is St. Nicholas Day. Good boys and girls find coins, candy, and small toys in their shoes when they wake up. Later they go to meet St. Nicholas who is dressed as an Orthodox Bishop. He tells them stories about sharing with others and caring for the needy. He often gives them a present. The present I will never forget is a ham which was so large I could only barely carry it. I was so happy I had an important thing I could share with my family and I was so very proud when father many times said my ham was delicious at supper that night.
 
The helpers of St. Nicholas collect from the children small gifts for those children who are less fortunate. The years when we could go to our grandfather's farm we went on sleigh rides. If it was a good year and I was getting many presents then his helpers would deliver them to our home while I was visiting St. Nicholas. 
 
This was an important day for us and it was not only because of the presents and cookies. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, fishermen and others whose lives are tied to the sea. We were a great port city. There were many types of celebrations which were beautiful and pious. 
 
This is one day of year when as adult it is good to have large feet! Any present which may fit into shoe is fair game. Gold coins are welcome at all times. An amazing amount of silk may be stuffed into a shoe.
 
 
I believe that we celebrate U.S. Christmas Day as many here do. We have: 'Charlie Brown' Christmas Tree and often have live tree and have tree which is wall-hanging which my husband knit many years ago as part of rehabilitation therapy for his hand. We made wooden boxes and decorated them as if they are wrapped to represent presents as it is nice to see a goodly number of gifts but we have few for each other on that day and most are not ones which can be put under a tree. I am sorry to say that they will not be under a tree this year as it is not likely that we will have time for a live tree and so they are arranged on table in front of large window.
 
 
New Year's Day is when Father Frost and his grand-daughter Snow Maiden bring presents. A girl from each class is chosen to be Snow Maiden to hand out presents to a lower class. I had honor to be Snow Maiden one year. My dress for this came from cousin and went to other cousin next year. It was deep blue and my mother embroidered a spider web on it. Father Frost visits each class and leaves Snow Maiden there to hand out presents while he goes to next class. I remember that most years there was a present so small that it could fit in pocket and one present which had to be carried. It was often that more presents would be on bed when I arrived home because there was more than a person could carry or presents were so delicate that it would be a risk to carry them through streets.
 
I have shared this link many times but I present it here because I feel that it captures the spirit of the season and its innocence touches me deeply:
The first thirty seconds are poor graphics and raspy audio which are annoying but can be endured.
I should note that Snow Maiden has a long braid and wears blue.
 
 
January 7 is Orthodox Christmas Day. We have Holy Supper on eve. It is twelve dishes with no meat or butter. I am sad to say that there is no sour cream also. It is meal of reverence. There is straw on floor and small sheaf of wheat tied with ribbon on the table in remembrance of birth of Christ Child.
 
It is common that an Angel will bring your most special present of the season during the night. I found it fascinating that my Christmas Day present often showed that Angels embroider in the same manner as my mother did.
 
Christmas Day is spent visiting friends and sharing blessings of the season.
 
 
Please share how you and yours celebrate this season!

 

...and Happy Hoidays to you and yours, and all the hoi polloi.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Ho idays to friends and oved ones c ose and far.
B essings to you and yours this Yu e season!
 
This is my Noel greeting. :)
 
 
I am starting this thread so that we may share greetings and tell of how we each celebrate this season. 
 
...

 

 

Thank you so much for all of this, SF!

 

You have given me a lot of traditions to learn more about! I am especially grateful for your reminiscences and stories. It is not with hyperbole that I say that your posts are very nice gift!

 

No, I do not have a spider web on my tree. In fact, I don’t even have a tree. But I found the story so charming that if I ever again decorate for the holidays, I will make sure that there is a spider and spider web prominent among the decorations. And I hope someone will ask me about them so I can relate the story you told us here.

 

I wish that I had a story or a US cultural holiday tradition to offer you in return, but I suspect that you are already fairly conversant with US holiday traditions. My family was never close, so I don’t have any nice personal holiday stories to tell you either. My childhood was spent in a Christian environment, so my experiences with US holiday customs and traditions are centered around Christmas. I am mostly ignorant of Chanukah traditions, or any other traditions here in the US, but I hope there are others here who can tell us about them.

 

I also hope there are others who have first-hand knowledge of, and experiences with, other holiday traditions from around the world, and that they will tell us about them.

 

The only other holiday traditions and lore that I know of – not first-hand, of course – are of Sinterklass and Zwarte Piet, Sinterklass’ Moor helper, and variations thereof. Perhaps there are others here who can give us first-hand stories about those traditions.

 

Thank you again, SF! The videos you added have given me the idea to do some research, and feature a playlist on my YouTube channel (a world music channel) with videos of holiday songs and traditions from around the world.

 

I really appreciate the time and effort you made to share these things with us!

 

Blessings to you and yours this Yule season, too!

 

N.

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You have given me a lot of traditions to learn more about! I am especially grateful for your reminiscences and stories. It is not with hyperbole that I say that your posts are very nice gift!

 

 

I thank you for your kind words. 

 

I have been in U.S.A. six years so I have come to learn a few things of holidays as they are celebrated in this area. I do not yet have my legs for some of them.

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My Mother used to hold what she called "Polish Christmas".  Why, I don't really know----mostly, I think because the FAMILY was mostly Polish, or it was VERY loosly based on the Polish Wytola, which was a several day celebration in which family would gather, due to long travel times, much earlier than Christmas day, but I can't be sure.  HER reason for HER gathering( "Polish Christmas" at her house was usually about the second weekend in December) was because on Christmas day, we each had commitments to visit other families or family members( you know, like on the WIFE'S side, or the HUSBAND'S side),  so the only time we could ALL get together was on this "Polish Christmas" day.

 

Haven't had one since Mom died 15 years ago, and we do miss them!

 

 

Sepiatone

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My Mother used to hold what she called "Polish Christmas".  

 

I am sorry to say that I can not cite literary references but when I hear a phrase: "Polish 'something'" that I think it is: "make the best with what we have" type of thing. It is akin to: 'jury-rigged' but in a nice way. 

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I am sorry to say that I can not cite literary references but when I hear a phrase: "Polish 'something'" that I think it is: "make the best with what we have" type of thing. It is akin to: 'jury-rigged' but in a nice way. 

HAH!  In THIS country---"Jury Rigged"  IS the nice way of putting it!

 

Anyway, the "Polish Christmas" my Mother used to host was NOT a "make the best with what we have" type of thing.  Like I stated, it was an occasion for many family members to get together and celebrate Christmas(even though Christmas WAS a ways off) due to NOT being able to, for whatever reason, ON Christmas day.

 

And, check out my PM for some clarification.....

 

And like I posted elsewhere,

 

Merry/Happy Channukwanzaamas!

 

 

Sepiatone

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HAH!  In THIS country---"Jury Rigged"  IS the nice way of putting it!

 

Anyway, the "Polish Christmas" my Mother used to host was NOT a "make the best with what we have" type of thing.  Like I stated, it was an occasion for many family members to get together and celebrate Christmas(even though Christmas WAS a ways off) due to NOT being able to, for whatever reason, ON Christmas day.

 

 

I am sorry for typing: 'jury-rigged.' I see now that proper phrase is: 'jerry-rigged.' It is sad to say that I am not fully conversant with American idioms. I have much studying yet to do.

 

I truly hope that I did not offend you with my interpretation of: 'Polish' as an adjective. How I meant it to apply was that you did not have opportunity to be together on appropriate date and so you did best thing by meeting when you could.

 

Notice from local bank: "Happy Holidays! If you are already having happy holidays, please disregard this notice."

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Truthfully Sans, I've seen BOTH "Jury" and "Jerry".  But, sadly---most people I know say "N***er Rigged"   Oddly, I've even heard several BLACK guys use that phrase! 

 

And no offense taken about the "Polish Christmas" thing.  In fact, I thought celebrating Christmas way early and calling it "Polish" Christmas was my Mom's way of making a sort of "insider" Polish joke!

 

 

Sepiatone

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Truthfully Sans, I've seen BOTH "Jury" and "Jerry".  But, sadly---most people I know say "N***er Rigged"   Oddly, I've even heard several BLACK guys use that phrase! 

 

And no offense taken about the "Polish Christmas" thing.  In fact, I thought celebrating Christmas way early and calling it "Polish" Christmas was my Mom's way of making a sort of "insider" Polish joke!

 

 

Sepiatone

If the term "Polish Christmas" was laying the foundation for a series of Polish jokes, you could say that you've seen Polish people who use a shoe tree as a Christmas tree.

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If the term "Polish Christmas" was laying the foundation for a series of Polish jokes, you could say that you've seen Polish people who use a shoe tree as a Christmas tree.

OK, how about THIS one----

 

The "Polack" who was disapointed when he got to the "Christmas Tree" lot because none of the trees had any decorations on them?

 

 

Sepiatonicz

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OK, how about THIS one----

 

The "Polack" who was disapointed when he got to the "Christmas Tree" lot because none of the trees had any decorations on them?

 

 

Sepiatonicz

Sounds like a good idea. For lazy people, stores should sell already-decorated Christmas trees, as well as already-wrapped gifts for Junior.

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Sounds like a good idea. For lazy people, stores should sell already-decorated Christmas trees, as well as already-wrapped gifts for Junior.

 

Two stores here sell pre-decorated artificial trees and both have contact information for local civic group which will deliver and install tree in your home in exchange for small donation. It is possible to do: "order on-line for in-store pick-up" with option of gift-wrapping at one store here and may be available at others. Several handymen advertise in local paper that they will install lights and decorations.

 

I believe that an entrepreneur could with ease establish service to provide complete holiday at reasonable cost. Customer would have to only give them Christmas list and chose style of decoration. "I will take a number five non-denominational Christmas with a side order of caroling snowmen."

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...

 

 "I will take a number five non-denominational Christmas with a side order of caroling snowmen."

 

Hah! That's a good one, SF! And yet, sadly, not too far from the mark.

 

And let's not forget the "Super-size" option!

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While researching world holiday traditions (re-inspired by SansFin’s thread), I found some very nice music in celebration of Saint Lucia Day. Even if, like me, you are/were unfamiliar with the Scandinavian appreciation for Sankta Lucia, or if you are not particularly inclined to the religious aspects of the holidays, you may find some of the music aesthetically pleasing, nonetheless.

 

To put some of this in context, as some of you who are acquainted with Latin or the Romance languages may know, the name Lucia is derived from the Latin word ‘lux’ (lux, lucis) that means ‘light.’ (And yes, for those in the know, another religious entity has a name that is also derived from the Latin word for ‘light,’ but that is a whole other story and potentially meaty debate.)

 

The pertinent tall-and-small of Lucia’s (Lucy’s) light-based name, as related to the Scandinavian tradition and their affection for her, is suggested by the amount of darkness the Scandinavian latitudes of the world must endure during the winter.

 

This particular video has several beautiful songs:

 

 

 

In this video, there is a particularly pleasing performance by the Swedish a capella group, Kraja, of the song Den Signade Dag:

 

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