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Christmas Customs

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Post by polgara on 11th November 2010, 3:18 pm

I know it is a bit early, but would love to know other peoples customs for Christmastime.

The first one for me is the Advent calender, WITHOUT chocs or gifts.

When the boys had grown up I did not buy one for a year & they all moaned. Now text messages go back & forward "Whats in yours" makes for some fun!!

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Post by mark barker on 11th November 2010, 3:34 pm

I didn't "do" christmas for years... As a kid I never enjoyed the falseness* of it all, and was quite happy to ignore christmas altogether. (IIRC I was 14 when everyone realised I wasn't playing the game, so that'd be 1988). It wasn't until my daughters were born that christmas made its way back into the house, and that was only because of other people! I guess the advent calendars will be up at the end of the month and 3 little girls will grow increasingly hyper for 25 days, then within a week the boredom will set in again!


*I don't come from a close family, so being all lovey for a day just because it was christmas seemed wrong, especially as I'm not a religious person.

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Post by Compostwoman on 11th November 2010, 4:02 pm

Mmm don't really do Christmas here as such, apart from what comes in from outside ( school etc)

We do celebrate on Yule as the sun will start to shine for longer the next day ( hurrah!) and also exchange presents, have a rest, nice meal etc on the 25th ...but as am not Christian, it seems a bit silly to celebrate the religious side so no Church related stuff here.

Do put up a tree, lots of greenery, have candles, fires, decorate the rooms, but more a midwinter/holiday celebration

Also celebrate 12th Night and then go a wassailing in the local orchards with mummers play and local Morris side etc!

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Post by Hathorite on 11th November 2010, 4:55 pm

I always was chuffed about christmas, and I didnt really get into the bah-humbugness of it which seems to have become the norm. It is enough to see the excitement on my sons face when the lights come out and the tree goes up, and we do our best to have fun with it and "reclaim" it from all the general "scrooge-vibes". Especially as I spent several years homeless and as far as I can remember, someone somewhere made jolly sure I had a Christmas, even if it was just dinner. That's what the day is about to me. I have friends doing the same for me this year as sprog will be with his dad up Narth, so I won't be alone for Christmas this year either. I have some really awesome people in my world!

In my very-nuclear family, our tradition is "two Christmases" of Yule and what friends of mine dubbed "X-mess". I make a big dinner with all the trimmings even if it's just the two of us, we do some sort of handmade decoration for the tree, and I keep these. Oh, and of course being Gawth as Hell, my tree is black and I have Nightmare Before Christmas baubles. bats

Halloween just hallmarks the beginning of my season mwahaha.
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Post by polgara on 11th November 2010, 5:56 pm

I must admit I do not really class myself as a Christian anymore, but that is because of the actions of so called missionaries who insist that we believe in the same things they do.

However I am willing to believe that the Christmas season is a good time to think of others.

I get imense pleasure seeing peoples faces when they open cards or gifts etc.

We have good food & do spend family time together, and afterwards I have at least a week of doing what I want.

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Post by Compostwoman on 11th November 2010, 6:19 pm

Oh yes Pol I agree with all of that stuff!

The idea of giving and sharing and so on...i JUST FIND THE "Christmas" stuff, commercial , consumeristic etc...dreadful.

I love to make, select, give and recieve stuff which I know has been thought about and obviously with a child we do participate in school Christmas stuff...

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Post by Dandelion on 11th November 2010, 7:46 pm

I must come clean and admit that I hate Christmas - at least I hate all the commercial pressure and having to conform to someone else's idea of what it should all be about. I used to hate what all the annual wind-up did to my ADHD son - when he was growing up Boxing day brought a sense of great relief. I think I might become a Puritan (I'm very disappointed that I couldn't find a 'Puritan name generator' on the Internet - I'm thinking something like 'Homity Makepeace' would be fitting). Seriously though I suppose that the meaning I find in the festival is something very seperate to the actual holiday itself.
My daughters do a lot of the preparations as they know I'm useless at it - they put up the tree (about a fortnight earlier than I would...), DD1 does the cake, DD2 sticks up the cards. I do the writing of the cards (we do a lot of these) and every year we do a letter. No, not one of those letters; no music exams passed or foreign holidays (as we don't tend to do either!) We save up all the silly things we've seen in the local newspapers over the year, and do a kind of 'Have I got news for you' thing.

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 11th November 2010, 8:15 pm

I find a great deal of stuff that the rest of the world does consumerist and commercial. Pop Music, television, shopping, Easter, holidays, etc etc.
It doesn't mean that I don't enjoy those things myself. I just take the bits I want and enjoy them in my way.
At Easter we avoid all the huge choc eggs but have a treasure trail around the house and garden with clues written in Rupert Bear rhyming couplets for the children to find the next cache.
At Christmas we have advent calendars, stockings, huge tree, leave mince pies and port for Father Christmas and carrots for his reindeer, all of that schlemozzle. And it is super fun. We don't turn the telly on unless A Charlie Brown Christmas is on and the Cheryl Cole Christmas Extravaganza does not impinge upon us at all. Our little rituals are ours our own.

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Post by Compostwoman on 11th November 2010, 8:20 pm

Much like us here Billy....We take the bits we like and make up other rituals of our own

Isn't that the point of family traditions and rituals?

We have had an Easter egg hunt here in the garden for a gaggle of children for the last 8 years, since the children could toddle around. As they got older, it got more extensive and difficult.

They now write their own clues and split into teams, and have a choc fest after. Very Happy

Cg has (just) finally addmitted to knowing FC is actually not real....and has said she knew last year but "didn't want to spoil it for us" .....

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Post by Hathorite on 11th November 2010, 8:24 pm

Compostwoman wrote:

Cg has (just) finally addmitted to knowing FC is actually not real....and has said she knew last year but "didn't want to spoil it for us" .....

I just spluttered on my tea. That's awesome!! I love it!
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Post by Adrian on 11th November 2010, 8:32 pm


My dad used to say that christmas is for kids and I understand now what he meant, as adults it means very little to us in our householdt, so its pretty much just us time these days. Prior to our emigration we would drive to see the MiL and spend the week with her, but now we go cut a tree from the back 40 and just spend the time relaxing together.

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Post by Compostwoman on 11th November 2010, 8:33 pm

Hathorite wrote:
Compostwoman wrote:

Cg has (just) finally addmitted to knowing FC is actually not real....and has said she knew last year but "didn't want to spoil it for us" .....

I just spluttered on my tea. That's awesome!! I love it!

She wanted to know how we managed to make it look like Rudolph had eaten the carrot and who, actually, drank the port and ate the mince pie.....

She also admitted to knowing about the Tooth Fairy..but still can't work out where/how the fairy dust got on the windowsill and her pillow......

I am keeping shtum..... Laughing

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Post by Dandelion on 11th November 2010, 9:02 pm

I was covering an English lesson today - a year 7 (first year) group, so about 11 years old. One boy asked me (apropos of nothing) how Father Christmas could fit down the chimneys. It took me a little while to realise that he was serious, so I just told him that it was a secret. Amazing that an 11 year old could still believe in Santa....

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Compostwoman on 11th November 2010, 10:13 pm

I find either children are really cynical and jaded and know by aged 6 OR they don't know until 9 or 10 or even older...if it gets to 12 they seem to feel really daft for not knowing...sadly.

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Post by Lottie on 12th November 2010, 9:21 am

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:I find a great deal of stuff that the rest of the world does consumerist and commercial. Pop Music, television, shopping, Easter, holidays, etc etc.
It doesn't mean that I don't enjoy those things myself. I just take the bits I want and enjoy them in my way.

Ssssssssssssssssssssssnap!!! Laughing

well, I'm breaking a ritual just posting this!!! Shocked I don't do anything til December, I ignore it completely, the kids now know not mention it cos I just won't answer... Twisted Evil Laughing
Then on December 1st I go round my bestest mate's who still maintains FC lives... Rolling Eyes I think she may have muddled him with Ellvis? And we become slightly um.. happy? Embarassed And I just relax and enjoy our daftness really... flour on the floor with boot marks, still, I know they're too old.. don't care... Laughing
I'm not religious, just shallow, I think..... Cool Laughing
I don't buy loadsa crap, or "do" anything that doesn't feel right, we don't do cards, we make alot of stuff, we just enjoy the fun bits I guess. Last year was awesome with the snow Very Happy fingers crossed for this year!!

Right...... it's November so now shhhhhing til December.... Cool Wink

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Post by Hathorite on 12th November 2010, 9:37 am

Sprog is starting to ask about this now (granted, he started in September!). It's a shame we don't really get to do a lot of the traditional stuff as - since I'm a US transplant- I find many of the UK traditional customs fascinating. Roasted chestnuts (I realised sadly I'm not a fan but I did try them), mince pies, and wassail, I know it's popular to complain about Christmas but honestly it is a very fun time if you take what you want from it and leave the rest.

I'm on the mission this year for a green-clad Father Christmas. A friend of mine said she saw one in the shops and I really want to go and see if I can scrape some pennies together for it! In the States, a friend of mine worked for a display store and they had what he called the "bad santa" - it was a representation of the Santa who delivered coal to people and it was the most disturbing mannekin I've ever seen; of course I wanted it for my house!

I'd also like some purple fairy lights again - I had them one year but my daft elderly cat has a thing for fairy lights, I have no idea why but I found him eating them (!!!!!). Not the sharpest knife, that one.

Oh, I forgot to add, as I'm rather multicultural, I try to include something from every background I've got in the X-mess and Yule meals. I make black eyed peas for my father's family, and Irish soda bread. It's hard to find now where I am but flotbred and Gjetost was kindly donated one year by a Norwegian friend (and I think I've found another supplier, I love the stuff), and on New Year's I make bison soup with frybread for my adoptive Lakota ancestry.
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Post by polgara on 12th November 2010, 10:09 am

Foodwise, we are quite traditional.
Mum used to make loads of mince pies & sausage rolls, Dad used to make the puds & cake.

I make the pies & saus rolls, but as OH is the only one who likes pud & cake I buy those.

Since the boys left home we have chicken & not turkey, but I do small beef & pork for Boxing Day cold table.

Not many sweet things now, but lots of savoury nibbles & cheese oh & more cheese.

DSs & GKs all join in the spirit of FC & fairies. More about that another time.

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Post by Sparhawk on 12th November 2010, 12:34 pm

Compostwoman wrote:Cg has (just) finally addmitted to knowing FC is actually not real....and has said she knew last year but "didn't want to spoil it for us" .....

Shocked He is here, which is why I always make an effort to especially good when December comes... whistle2

Never failed yet... :bigclap:

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Post by Dandelion on 12th November 2010, 5:46 pm

Unlike one of MrD's cousins, who was given coal in his stocking instead of presents one year because he had been so bad! (I believe he had presents later on....)

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 12th November 2010, 8:20 pm

I find it odd that the idea of Father Christmas being real is regarded with indulgent mockery, but the idea that Christ or Lugh or Brigit or Kali or the Hippopotamus God of the Nile are still treated respectfully.
Father Christmas is completely real in our house and the tooth fairy too. because we mote it be. And that's all there is to it. I see no difference at all between saying a prayer of thanks to the departing spirit when I kill an animal to leaving carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve.

If you believe, it is so. And what better to believe in when you are a small person than Christmas?

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Post by Adrian on 12th November 2010, 8:31 pm

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:I find it odd that the idea of Father Christmas being real is regarded with indulgent mockery, but the idea that Christ or Lugh or Brigit or Kali or the Hippopotamus God of the Nile are still treated respectfully.
Father Christmas is completely real in our house and the tooth fairy too. because we mote it be. And that's all there is to it. I see no difference at all between saying a prayer of thanks to the departing spirit when I kill an animal to leaving carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve.

If you believe, it is so. And what better to believe in when you are a small person than Christmas?


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Post by Compostwoman on 12th November 2010, 8:33 pm

Nope, Father Christmas WAS real in our household, for as long as Cg thought he was...as was the Tooth Fairy. A bit like Tinkerbell, as long as you believe in fairies they still exist

I believe in all sorts of things which are beyond direct proof...so why would I think any less of my child for believing, likewise...

And I agree, a belief in a red coated man who can travel the whole world in one night and visit every child, whilst knowing ALL their desires for presents and if they have behaved for the previous 364 days...sounds as believable ( or not) as many other ideas on which many faith systems are based.

Not wanting to denigrate any other beliefs anyone else may have , here.

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 12th November 2010, 8:35 pm

Didn't you say you didn't do Christmas chez CW, though?

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Post by Compostwoman on 12th November 2010, 8:37 pm

Not religious Christmas, but yes to tree, presents, decorations, carols ( which are rather jolly songs) and all that stuff.

And Yule as well.

And the 12 days of Christmas.

And old New Year and Wassailing.

So really we cover a lot of ground , here...and it is quite merry for a good 3 weeks, in all...

I guess I do more "Christmas" than I thought...just not very "Christ" oriented....

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Post by AngelinaJellyBeana on 12th November 2010, 8:49 pm

I'd love a Christmas on my own, to laze around the house in my pyjamas just eating and drinking what I want without having to think about anyone else. Is that selfish?? I know I could do that any old weekend but then I'd never get anything done. Christmas is different

But guilt and family mean I do otherwise. I make the dinner so I know what I'm eating, and it's a bit much to expect my mum to cook for me, Lucy, Henry & his girlfriend and my nephew these days.

I still enjoy it though and we always have fun. I do put up a tree and greenery around the house and lots of fairy lights

Oh and of course.....watching the Dr Who Christmas Special in my PJs with a large Baileys


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