Most of us celebrate Christmas by decorating a tree, baking cookies, having a turkey dinner with family and friends, going to church, hanging wreaths on our doors and opening presents with the children. Many of us sing traditional carols, attend Christmas parties, wear holiday sweaters, send Christmas cards and light Advent wreaths. But some of us have rather unusual Christmas traditions that have become personal favorites and are repeated year to year and generation to generation.
Marjorie does not roast a turkey or ham for Christmas dinner, but makes lasagna instead. This is her unusual tradition, and one that stands out because she makes the best lasagna I have ever had. On her Christmas dinner table there will be casserole dishes of wonderful lasagna with salad and bread sticks, but never a turkey or a ham.
Gail and Tommy do not give or receive gifts. They traditionally celebrate Christmas by giving to their favorite charity and asking their family and friends to do the same rather than giving gifts to them. This year, I bought toys for the children of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as my Christmas gift to them and they donates to the Susan G. Komen fund for breast cancer research for my husband and me. There is no wrapping paper or ribbons, but it does feel good to give to a good cause rather than give or get something we really do not want or need.
Paige, a person who can well afford the very best Christmas dinner there is, fixes nothing for herself and her own family. They pack everything up in the car and spend Christmas dinner time at the mission serving Christmas dinner to homeless people in Columbia. I truly admire them for doing that, and almost feel guilty that I don’t do it myself.
Dolores makes an Advent wreath and she and her husband share the readings with their two sons each week as they light candles and prepare the way for Christmas. This, in itself, is not unusual, but they traditionally make their own candle as people did over one hundred years ago. The children make the white candles and the parents make the Christ candle.
My own odd Christmas tradition is now shared with my younger daughter. Like me, she loves thrift shops and consignment shops and we often go together seeking bargains and ‘finds.’ The last treasure she found for me was a pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans in “like new” condition for one dollar. Every Christmas we give each other things from our wish lists that are purchased new. But, we also exchange one special gift that is second hand from a thrift shop. Each of us tries to search out the perfect clothing item at our favorite thrift shop and we wrap them just like new presents and exchange them on Christmas day. I guess you can take the girl out of the thrift shop, but you can never take the thrift out of the girl! Maybe I know why I write this column!
As we approach Christmas, it is interesting to think about your own Christmas traditions and, perhaps, some rather odd ones that you and your family celebrate. Whatever they may be, ‘tis the season!
As always, maximize your style and minimize your spending~