Christmas traditions?

I assume that everyone who celebrates Christmas has a tradition or two. Growing up, my family probably had a few more than the typical American family. To begin with, we kept St. Nicholas Day, which meant putting out shoes on a windowsill, the evening of December 5. This is a German equivalent of stockings on Christmas Eve. The morning of December 6, our shoes would be magically full of candy, small toys, skis, etc. (I’m kidding about the skis). We would also light Advent candles on each of the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. The tree would go up, usually, a week or so before Christmas. It would receive its fair share of decorations, of course, but then would also be festooned with lighted candles in the evenings (flame plus dry tree is not a great idea, but there was always a fire extinguisher nearby), while we would gather around singing carols. The one somewhat odd tradition we’ve had for years is that we draw names in the summer or fall and then are required to make something by hand for that person. These hand-made presents are given out on Epiphany (January 6), the day associated with the three wise men bringing gifts to the Christ Child. The hand-made gift tradition has always been a double-edged sword. Sometimes, the gifts don’t exactly achieve, er, what they were meant to achieve. Other times, they have been fairly amazing and ingenious.

What Christmas traditions do you celebrate? Feel free to borrow any of these…

2 thoughts on “Christmas traditions?”

  1. Hah! Our tree goes up about a week before Christmas, too. It’s my compromise between the American tradition of having it up all of December, and the German one of not getting to see it til Christmas Eve. I’ve never put candles on the tree here, but I do use tree candle holders on my advent wreath, which is hanging in the living room. And another one is sitting on the kitchen table.

    1. Yeah, that’s our compromise as well. My mother has always pushed for Christmas Eve. I like the German tradition better, because it falls more in line with the timing of the wise men/Epiphany traditions.

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