Thursday, 5 December 2019

Tradition

I have to confess that where Christmas is concerned I am a bit of a traditionalist.   When I was a child we had the same things came out for decorating each year.   We had a 'real' tree which was lifted from the garden each year - although I don't remember it really getting much bigger.  What we certainly did have was the same ornaments on it.   None of your plastic rubbish back in those days - the ornaments were glass and VERY breakable so they were treated with great care and when not on the tree wrapped in tissue paper until it was time again.   At the most we had a dozen glass ornaments plus one little silver house - made out of cardboard I think and then covered with glitter (my favourite) and a few bits of tinsel draped around.   It was wartime, mybrother was at the front - I don't suppose my Mum and Dad felt in the least bit like decorating.

For Christmas dinner we usually had a goose (a present from the butcher for my mother dressing the poultry for him) with all the trimmings.   In the evening we played cards or dominoes or (if we could pursuade Dad who though it a daft game) tiddley winks.  I had maybe three presents at the most and I don't ever remember my parents exchanging gifts - there wasn#t the money for a start.

Now the sky seems to be the limit with all things Christmas - stockings full of presents, a groaning Christmas table and decorations festooned everywhere.   And that is the bit the drives me mad.   Across the road from my bungalow the sitting room window is suddenly festooned with row upon row of blue flashing lights.  I don't like flashing lights for a start - there is nothing subtle about flashing lights - but worse than that - BLUE flashing lights.   I like my Christmas decorations to be red, green or silver.  Blue is a cold, icy colour.  I remember they drove me insane last year - well they are here again and at the moment I donot feel particularly Christmassy about them.   Maybe they will grow on me over the next month.

32 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

Did you have that tinsel which was made of almost pure lead? It hung on the tree nicely, it was so heavy.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I still have the glass ornaments that my mother bought over sixty years ago from Woolworths, six which was all she could afford one year and another six that she bought the following year. I remember that we had little candles on the tree instead of lights - not much talk of Health and Safety in those days!

Debbie said...

I am really struggling to get "christmassy" this year - and I don't know why. I think that it may be because everything is so over-the-top now and it's not faith, love or gratitude that drives the season but cold hard cash (well plastic really).The anticipation and build up starts earlier every year and the recent trend for "Xmas Eve Boxes" (for the children of parents who just cannot say to them: "NO wait until Xmas day") just confounds me.I do like to walk around and look at people's lights but am glad that my house is not near one that is done up like Blackpool Illuminations - I always wonder how much it's costing them in electricity!!

Yes I am getting old and I reserve the right to say Bah Humbug!!!!

jinxxxygirl said...

Lol! I can take the blue Pat... it seems to go with winter... maybe the flashing would get on my nerves though... Now i don't like the pinks and purples that have crept into christmas.. Like you i like red/green/silver and gold... traditionalists... you and me..lol I have made alot of my ornaments on the tree.. I have Mr.and Mrs. Santa Claus ceramic that i painted while pregnant with my daughter (and she is 33). It has travelled everywhere with us.. even to Germany and back... I put out the same decorations every year.. they have become dear to me. I enjoy seeing other people's outside displays... We don't do much outside... I can see where they would disturb ones peace though if it was right next door.. Hugs deb

Tracy said...

Flashing lights are horrible. The people who live opposite us put up a string of large solar flashing lights a couple of years ago. The stupid thing was that they couldn't see them from inside their house, but every nice twilight was ruined for us by them. I was so glad when they stopped working!

Bettina Groh said...

The tree I remember, while we still lived in London, was small. It sat on our dining room table and had white candles and those glass prisms taken from a dismantled chandelier.. Beautiful.... late 1940's

busybusybeejay said...

I can remember the real candles on the tree.When we are on holiday we always look for a little ornament to put on the Xmas tree so every year we are reminded of past holidays.In the middle of winter that is quite nice.

Sue in Suffolk said...

I'm not keen on blue lights outside either - makes me thing the Emergency Services are on the way!

But I'm enjoying all things Christmas this year, as I said in my blog I got over the Christmas Grump a few years ago

VC said...

I work in a hospital so blue flashing lights mean one thing to me and it isn't Christmas! Flashing lights seem to be a fashion that has been and gone around here so hopefully it will be a short lived thing in your area too. People have so much stuff all year round nowadays, waiting for Christmas with great anticipation is a thing of the past. Where the hell did Christmas eve boxes come from all of a sudden in the last couple of years?

angryparsnip said...

I have seen some blue tiny lights that are so pretty but blue flashing light a big no.
Out here in the desert I use lots of small tiny clear lights. They look like tiny stars. It is so dark out here so a few lights is welcome.
Can you talk to your neighbors about the flashing ? That is very awful.
parsnip

Susan said...

I had the most wonderful treat the other morning. Our house backs on to a forest and overnight there had been a heavy rain. When the sun rose the light refracted through the droplets on the cedar trees creating brilliant twinkling lights of red, green, white and yes, blue but a very beautiful one. I would be happy with nothing but Nature's light.

Jules said...

I'm not a fan of blue lights either but I do enjoy Christmas traditions, both old and new. X

Rachel Phillips said...

My parents never exchanged gifts either, nor at birthdays. My father would bring my mother a bunch of flowers or greenery from the hedgerows. He brought her a bunch of wheat stalks from the harvest field as the last present before he died. My mother kept them for 40 years, dried, in a cupboard.

Heather said...

Me too Pat. I have 2 or 3 surviving decorations from Christmases nearly 60 years ago and prefer the traditional colours for decoration. I liked to use fresh foliage for many years but am a bit lazy these days and use artificial with a natural look. It all lives in the wardrobe in my spare room from year to year.
I remember most of my childhood presents being homemade and some years I made my own children's presents. Over time, Christmas has become big business and has suffered for it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh gosh I had forgotten all about those little clip on candle holders that held real candles on the tree. And I knew nothing about tinsel/lead - but I don't care for the stuff anyway.

Gwil said...

I was just reading on a calendar I bought last Christmas about a custom in Italy for decorating the tree quite early - on 8th December this year. And also putting the crib out with the baby Jesus and his parents. It all seems a bit early to me. As you know I put a Christmas card on the blog today. That’s all of my Christmas activity so far. Today we went to see a film called But Beautiful. One of the people in it was the Dalai Lama who observed that millions of people of all religions had been praying for over a thousand years to no avail. And it would continue to be so. And then he laughed. I like the Dalai Lama and his amazing sense of irony and humour. I was once had the honor to shake hands with his sister another amazing person. I don’t like blue lights flashing or otherwise. I like soft yellow lights - like gentle sunshine.

Bonnie said...

I don't care for the flashing lights either. I remember when I was a child we got fruit and nuts in our stockings and maybe a candy cane. These days children would be shocked to get that! You mentioned tiddlywinks - I loved that game! I don't think anyone knows what it is these days!

Janice said...

Over here I think presents on Christmas Eve depends on your heritage. My husband was born in Canada but his mother and grandmother were from Russia/Germany. They always gave their gifts on Christmas Eve. Same with my SIL whose parents were Hungarian. My family is from England so we always did Christmas Day. When our kids were little and even now our tradition, for the last 47 years is that the kids all come over on Christmas Eve. We put on a big appetizer spread and that is when all the gift exchanging is done. Christmas Day we go to whoever is doing the dinner this year and it is eating, visiting and fun and games. We had the traditional red, green and gold lights along the roof line up until this year. We had new shingles put on the roof so the lights were taken down. I absolutely will not let my husband (he's 84) get up on a ladder to put them back up, so we'll go without!!

Joanne Noragon said...

Yes, Christmas has gone from a nice little bit to way over the top. I think we're getting old, Weaver.

Red said...

Our Christmas's during the war and late forties were very Limited. I remember three of us sharing one present.We had lots of great food as we were on a farm.

Granny Sue said...

My English mother had so many traditions: the mistletoe ball, live greenery that was not put up until Christmas Eve, tiny gifts for St. Nicholas Day, the baby Jesus not in the cradle until midnight Christmas Eve, fruitcakes made on stir-up day...lots more. Traditional food, and the same decorations every year, except that she bought a few glass ornaments every year until one year when I was in my 20's I believe she had 1000 balls on the tree! All the ones from my Dad's parents and all those she bought, plus the ones we made. She made Christmas so special not with money or gifts--we had little of the former to buy the latter-but with all of her traditions that built joy and anticipation. I still carry on with some of those traditions.

Sue said...

I grew up with a simple farm and family Christmas in rural Pennsylvania in the 1950's. How is it, really, that "less" is somehow, so much more?
Thanks all, for the lovely memories in these comments.

Cro Magnon said...

My childhood Christmases were much like yours, but we ALWAYS had Turkey, and I did receive far too many presents (I even thought that at the time). These days I imagine that many families go for their Christmas lunch at McDonalds. How times change.

thelma said...

What a lovely spate of comments on Xmas. I shall not add, the sight of heaving tables of food advertised is rather revolting. I think the theme of Xmas should be the 'Holly and the Ivy' a carol I love and the dark green foliage a welcoming sight.

Librarian said...

Like you, I want my traditional decorations over and over again. The ones that my parents have go back not only to my childhood, but partly to theirs - we have plenty of glass baubles, straw stars and delicate birds, as well as the clip-on candle holders for real candles. My sister and I would start a rebellion if my parents would ever have anything but real candles on their tree!
Ever since I've moved out from my parents at the age of 21, I started collecting my own decorations. Every year when I open the Christmas box, I greet them like old friends. I have also developed my own traditions, such as hosting the Secret Santa for my girl friends.
I don't like blue flashing lights, either, but I suppose they are your neighbour's own tradition for this time of year.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely response. Thank you all for stirring up memories.

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Mindo said...

I was feeling particularly un-Christmassy one year and didn’t feel like forking out for a tree. The children decided to drag out the decorations and make their own grotto, and dress up like elves which they enjoyed greatly! Then, when we were buying ‘emergency’ apples in Christmas Eve, they spied a very misshapen and inexpensive tree and I relented. They spent a happy few hours decorating the tree as they wished, and remember that Christmas very fondly. After that they were in charge of decorating and I enjoyed sorting out presents and food and this became our traditional Christmas.

pam nash said...

My tree is covered with glass ornaments, many of which came from my parents. It also has all the things made by my children when they were small and now, grandchildren. Each one makes me smile. I don't try to decorate by what's trendy; only by things that bring happy memories.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Mindo - what a lovely story.

Thanks for brightening up my day everyone.

Midmarsh John said...

I still have the Christmas tree decorations from my childhood. As you say all made from glass and very fragile. I do believe some are older than me.

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