Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CHRISTMAS: THAT'S THE WAY WE DO IT

The authors of Not Your Usual Suspects share their holiday season with you! We wish all our readers, friends, family and colleagues - and people who are all of these *g* - the very best wishes for the season, and a sled-ful of luck, love, peace and success in 2013. We hope to share it all with you.  




Today we think about our favourite Christmas seasonal traditions....

What about the special food you cook, the songs you sing? Do you have a specific present-giving schedule, and woe betide those who try to buck the trend? Do you have experience of different decorations and celebrations from around the world? Feel free to share with us!


Clare London
website | blog | facebook | twitter

We always have stocking presents first thing in the morning - it used to be the only thing that kept the Sons from waking us up at some ungodly hour OL. Then presents from under the tree. Then there'd be one small present each left for later in the day, when we were stuffed with food and feeling the onset of Anticlimax.
My sister insists that everyone takes a turn opening a present, one at a time - it means she can keep up with who's getting what, and it also extends the excitement to the max!


Marcelle Dube
website

Some of the best Christmases I’ve had came when I moved North to the Yukon. It felt very strange being so far from family, and a little lonely. So a bunch of friends decided to get together for a potluck Christmas. The host cooked the turkey and provided the table (rule #1 was that it had to be a sit-down dinner) and the guests brought everything else. Every year, hosting duties fell on a different friend, then on a different couple as people paired up, and then a different family as our circles grew. Eventually, it became too unwieldy (it’s hard to host a sit-down dinner for 40 people in your dining room…) and we had to quit. But those friends became our Northern family.


Julie Wachowski
website

Christmas morning, we gather in the living room. Open presents from each other—mom, dad, and kids—while we nosh on chocolate croissants for breakfast. Then we start the movies! We watch 3 or even 4 movies over the course of the day. Lounge in our jammies, eat popcorn and leftovers. Best. Day. Ever.


Jean Harrington
website

This is not my family tradition, but it's a great one. A Southern friend said every December, she and her brothers would take their rifles and go out in the woods to shoot mistletoe out of the trees. On the other hand, my brother and I just hung up our stockings. 

From Clare: I can't believe I found a pic of mistletoe-shooting on the web...LOL



Toni Anderson
Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter


I stunned my Irish in-laws the first Christmas morning I spent with them because it was 9 AM and I asked where was the sherry? However, they soon got on board for this crucial Broseley Beddow tradition. As a young child I remember visiting all my elderly relatives on Christmas morning and being given sherry at every one. I have a high tolerance for sherry :)


Wynter Daniels
website 

The winter holidays in Florida don a faux chilly face. You might see frosted windows created with cans of fake frost and sparkly white blankets around lawn décor sitting on green grass! We celebrate Hanukkah at my house and I have just as many decorations—inside the house, at least—as my Christian friends and neighbors. A Mickey Mouse Hanukkah advent calendar, my most unique decoration, hangs near the door. I string a Happy Hanukkah over the glass sliders leading to the pool. We even have Hanukkah stockings around the fireplace! When our children were younger, we gave them a small gift every one of the eight nights, with the biggest one presented on the eight night after we lit the menorah for the last time that year. Now we give them things like gas gift cards and fancy electronics that my husband and I have only a vague knowledge of. One of the highlights of our celebration is the night I make my latkes, or potato pancakes. I usually invite some non-Jewish friends over to join us, which is a coveted ticket since I make the best latkes this side of the Mississippi!


Elise Warner
website

Pre-Christmas in Lucca--a walled city--31miles west of Florence, Italy. We find a small boutique and remember the few presents we haven't purchased yet. the proprietor doesn't speak English and I fumble with my cassette learned 50-words of Italian before remembering the pocket dictionary I bought for the trip. Everyone in the shop takes turns with the dictionary and with laughter and pantomime I describe the friends we need gifts for. The 105-year old mother of our best friend, the neighbor who takes care of our mail, the one who over-waters our plants and momentos for ourselves. We manage to board the wrong train as we head back to Florence--a part of our adventure in a city we'll never forget.


Julie Moffett
website



The food we cook is usually turkey, pumpkin and pecan pies, sweet potatoes, ambrosia. Lots of other sweets, too, of course!




Maureen A. Millerwebsite

We are Ukrainian, but it has been a long time since we've celebrated Ukrainian Christmas. But, boy when we did, was it a big thing!! Ukrainian Christmas is on January 6th. When everyone is back at work and back at school, we used to get all excited because the 'big day' was still to come. Even to this day if my dad passes a house with Christmas decorations up well past Christmas, he'll say, "Oh, they must be Ukrainian." LOL

It was a big feast held at my great-grandmother's house, which was actually a portal to another time. Her house was so old it had a hand-roller to wash clothes, and it had a pump in the back yard for fresh water. It was so old, I hate to admit that there were a couple family wakes on the very same dining room table that we celebrated Christmas on. (I know...too much information!) Fortunately, that was before my time.

Anyway, back to the festive part. Everyone in the family came over for Ukrainian Christmas. My great-grandmother, the stoic old Russian woman who spoke maybe three words during the course of the evening. My great-uncles and aunts, and a thousand assorted cousins. Uncle Paul singing Silent Night in Ukrainian. Aunt Marion making lumpy mashed potatoes. Uncle Wes with a cigar in his mouth at the table. My cousin Pauly, who is a famous doctor now and would rather be caught dead than referred to as "Pauly", was a mere youngster at the time. There are old home movies of me as a little tyke standing at the dining room table, waving my hands in the air because my grandmother wasn't opening my Christmas present quick enough for me.

These were good times. I'd like to believe in an afterlife...and that I'll be able to go back and have Ukrainian Christmas with the whole family again one day.


Entries collected and posted by Clare - any pictures that haven't been provided by the authors have been chosen by me, and any queries about them can be directed here.

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