Monday, December 20, 2010

Creating traditions

I love the idea of families having special Christmas traditions. A friend's family has a day each December where they invite over as many people as want to come, everyone brings a rolling pin and biscuit cutters, and they churn out hundreds of gingerbread cookies. The host family winds up with enough that they can give them as Christmas gifts to all and sundry and everyone who attends goes home with a bagful.

One Christmas tradition my immediate family has is that of the Christmas pudding. It is really mainly Dad's tradition and he is the main cook. He and Mum have been using the same recipe for about 20 years. Pudding-day is late in November or early in December. The recipe makes two ginormous puddings that are far more than we could ever eat on Christmas day; fortunately they keep indefinitely (on occasion we have cracked the second one out for Easter!) The recipe calls for huge quantities of dried fruit, 10 eggs, flour, brown sugar and liberal amounts of brandy. We make it a gigantic ceramic mixing bowl. Everyone in the family must have a stir for good luck, if not immediately upon it being put together, then sometime that weekend.

It occurred to me that traditions can evolve organically - which is lovely - but sometimes if you want nice things to occur you have to put in a bit of effort and deliberation and kick start them. So the tradition I instigated this year is that of the tree decoration. D and I never bothered with a tree in pre-E days, we always just had a poinsettia with a few decorations. This year we had big plans for a "proper" tree but that was before E taught herself to crawl! The compromise is a 45cm $8 fibre optic number from Coles and it is placed well out of reach on a table top. In years to come I hope E will help with or be responsible for the year's addition to the decorations, but the photo at the top is my attempt this year (in recognition of E's complete bird obsession).

We also plan to take E to church on Christmas morning. We are not especially religious but both were taken to church on Christmas day as children (and D more frequently). I want E to grow up thinking that Christmas is about something more than presents even if I don't necessarily believe iin all of the Christian aspects of it. D and I both love the carols and hope that E will enjoy the spectacle of a Christmas service. That's the plan anyway.

What Christmas traditions does your family have?

1 comment:

_vTg_ said...

Your post reminded me of this one from last year-
It's nice how families have similar rationales.

We just made our Christmas puddings, and I discovered that the correct day is indeed late-Nov or early Dec, "Stir-up Sunday" (the last Sunday before Advent!) It's not quite a tradition, but it's the only recipe I've used- Consuming Passions' Lighter Australian Pudding. After not doing much for Christmas pre-children, or indeed until last year when BBro was big enough to care, I am starting to feel traditions evolving. Our tree decorations are one- with our small tree it's easy to limit to meaningful decorations. Love your bird, by the way!

This year was our first carols, but we'll be back- I agree, it's good for children to learn the community meaning of Christmas. (And the Christian meaning, but as we attended our council's secular celebration I can't claim to have been wholly good in the Christian education department... we have been reading the Christmas story...)

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