Christmas Traditions Make the Holidays!

One of the fun things about Christmas is traditions. Take for instance, the Land Down Under, because, well, someday I want to visit there, just probably not at Christmas. The English and Irish predominately settled Australia so it stands to reason their traditions reflect those countries. Here’s a few of of their Christmas Traditions.
Christmas Bell FlowerAussie’s decorate their homes with ferns, palm leaves and evergreens along with Cockatoo Christmas bushblooming flowers of Christmas Bush and Christmas Bell Flower. It’s summer time in December down under, when most of the United States is looking forward to big flakes and blankets of snow for a white Christmas.
Carols by Candlelight is one of the popular events in Australia. People come together under the stars at night to light candles and sing Christmas carols. Seems to me, it’s not far from our own tradition of Christmas carolers. I just can’t imagine Christmas without snow, that’s why I live in Colorado.
christmas-dinner-1 AussieChristmas rooChristmas Day is when families and close friends gather from all over Australia for a holiday midday dinner. Some enjoy a traditional British Christmas dinner of roast turkey or ham and rich plum pudding doused in brandy and set on fire before it is brought to the table. Other families head for the backyard barbie to grill their Christmas dinner, maybe shrimp, in the sunshine or go to the beach and enjoy a picnic of cold turkey or ham and a salad. To the delight of children,  Father Christmas  in shorts may appear to greet children at the beach on Christmas! If you can’t have snow, that’s the way to celebrate Christmas.
Because I am of Swedish descent, let’s take a peek at Christmas Traditions in Sweden where in December the days are quite short, the nights long and the ground is usually snow covered. The Christmas season begins at church on the first Sunday of Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Children use an Advent calendar to keep track of the first day of December until Christmas, just like some of ours do. Each morning, they open a flap in the calendar’s Christmas scene to see the charming picture behind it. This year, I have a Victorian Advent calendar on my computer and enjoy a surprise behind each door daily.
Christmas princessThe festivities in Sweden really begin with St. Lucia’s Day, December 13th, a swed treecelebration of the patron saint of light. A Christmas market held in the old medieval section of Stockholm is where you can find handmade toys, ornaments, and candy. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Some people write a special verse to accompany the gift and even seal the package with colorful sealing wax. I have enough trouble with scotch tape and wrapping paper, I can’t imagine what would happen with hot sealing wax. Not a pretty sight, I’m sure. A Christmas tree is selected by the whole family just a day or two before Christmas and decorated, while the delightful aroma of gingerbread cookies in the shape of hearts, stars, or other festive shapes waft through to house. Christmas Christmas-TableEve is when the main feast is eaten. Presents might be brought by Santa knom(Jultomten) or  by gnomes/elves  named Tomte or Nissar. Many families set out a sheaf of grain on a pole for hungry birds. My hubby and I always put out special treats for the wild birds on Christmas.

christmas treeAs for my family, we put up the tree, Christmas decorations inside and out, the weekend after Thanksgiving. Or try to. No it’s not a real tree, only because I’m allergic. <sigh> We watch Christmas movies throughout December and make candy such as Divinity, Fantasy Fudge and Beaver Dams. What are beaver damsBeaver Dams, you ask. Well, take a package of butterscotch chips, melt them in a double boiler, stir in half-package of crispy Chow Mein Noodles and one half can of cocktail peanuts. Spoon the concoction onto foil and let set. They look like beaver dams hence the name. YUMMY.

This year I’m going, to once again, try my hand at gingerbread cookies. Its become a Christmas Tradition of sorts, an make my family cringe. Why you ask?  I haven’t had a lot of luck in previous years getting a good tasting cookie. Do any of you have a favorite recipe that I could try? Feel free to leave the recipe in the comments section.

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In my book A Witch’s Holiday Wedding, Pepper had Christmas Traditions too, came with her Irish heritage!  Magic of family & friends a Christmas tale of true love. A Sequel to A Witch’s Journey.

Next week My Favorite Things About Christmas. What Christmas Traditions do and your family observe on Christmas Eve and Day? Or during the month of December? I look forward to hearing from you.


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