A Memorable Christmas

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Don Alaska, Dec 18, 2022.

  1. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    All the snow and cold recently have remined me of one of our most memorable Christmases. It was 2008, and we had about the same amount of snow that we have now. Our daughters from the Lower 48 had come up to spend the holiday, so we had a real houseful of people--2 daughters and their husbands and 4 grandkids at the time as well as wife and I and two sons still at home. The temperature dropped to -40 and stayed there for two weeks, so nobody could be outside for a prolonged period and all the kids were stuck inside.

    Speaking of kids, we had travelled during the summer and had a house sitter. Said house sitter left a gate open and the buck goats got in with the does and she couldn't figure out how to separate them so she just left them. That led to a bunch of pregnancies and 22 newborn goat kids in the garage, thus evicting the car. Some of them were bottle-fed, but my wife wanted them paired with their dams, so the kids were carried back and forth to the barn several times a day until the weather broke.

    Sons-in-law and our 4 Alaska sons shoveled off the roof and constructed a sled ramp so everybody could climb the ice stairs to the top of the roof and sled sown the ramp and onto the lake. It occupied the house-bound energy. It was the first winter with my tractor, and I hadn't gotten the hang of operating diesel engines at such cold temperatures, so, despite a lot of attempts to heat the thing and get it going, nothing worked and all snow clearing had to be done with shovels.

    We live through it now and it is just a fond memory...thank goodness. The temperature warmed to near zero after everyone left, and it felt like we had moved to the tropics.
     
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  2. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    @Kate Ellery asked me about Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, so I thought I'd respond here and maybe others could chime in on similarities and differences on how their families celebrate.

    Thanksgiving universally has been to celebrate a good harvest. The roots of America's Thanksgiving go back to the Puritans and Pilgrims who not only celebrated a good harvest, they celebrated surviving the prior winter (with the help of the local Native American tribe, with whom they celebrated.) So in modern times we feast and we give thanks for our many blessings.

    Regarding Christmas here: Some people do their gift giving & "holiday" celebration on Christmas Eve. I believe this is prevalent among Latino/Hispanic cultures so as to retain the religious purity of Christmas Day. I know my Peruvian and Bolivian friends celebrated on Christmas Eve. Others make Christmas Day their day of unbridled avarice. ;) My Anglo family always celebrated on Christmas Day, while the Eve was nothing special in our house. America being a mix of cultures, it's done both ways here, although I would guess that celebrating on Christmas Day is most prevalent.
     
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  3. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    I can't imagine how many holidays & events must all be bound up with the memories of homesteading where humans don't belong. My only "out of the ordinary" Christmas memory was the year we moved to Virginia from Indiana. I was riding my bike in a t-shirt as my sled hung [unused] on the garage wall. In Virginia, it occupied that spot forever, with rare exception.
     
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  4. Kate Ellery

    Kate Ellery Supreme Member
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    Interesting @John Brunner Christmas as we once knew it in Australia has changed considerably , I grew up in a town that was to quote what most people said “ every man and his dog is a catholic” so Christmas was based on Christian beliefs altho my parents were another excuse to use food money to go to the pub / club.
    Christmas lunch is Dec 25th .

    I never ever got any any Christmas gifts while the younger kids ( 7 of then ) got a gift the received from a charity
    for some reason I was always classed as to old to get a gift from the time I was 12 .

    Anyway what I’ve seen shops are no longer displaying Christmas decorations at the front of the shops all the decorations are right down the back of the big department stores in one corner , and what is there is quickly removed as soon as shops open on Monday, so it can be replaced by Easter stuff

    So many don’t have traditional Christmas any more many have BBQ ( remember it’s summer here)
    families don’t get together like they did , and many just ignore Christmas as another day ……which we prefer to as our kids all work at Christmas ..not that we were ever big on celebrating Christmas …but our neighbours wont let us stay home alone so the keep nagging for us to come over ……we will after lunch today
     
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  5. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    It's amazing how many adult fail in their duties and deflect blame to the kids.

    I'm not certain how much the celebration has truly changed. When you're a child, you have a child's perspective. And remember we are baby boomers, so we grew up at a time when there were lots of kids our own age, so our mere numbers may have driven the aura of the season. The volume of fractured families certainly has an impact these days. Then there's the retail side of things...

    I'm not sure I could ever view Christmas as just another day because even when I'm alone, it just seems to have a special feel to it. It sounds like you have good neighbors (so do I.) Methinks we all protest too much, and welcome a little prodding. ;)

    I'm going to a Christmas Eve service tonight at a church I've never been to. I do this every once in a while. It's nice to get out and meet new people like that, and the church I used to go to does not have a Christmas Eve service. This new church also has a service tomorrow morning, as does the church I used to go to (because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year...they don't normally have a service on the holiday.) I may go to one of those, if I can drag my butt out of bed early enough...and it's gonna get to 10°F/-12°C overnight.

    You have a nice Christmas, Kate.
     
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  6. Mary Stetler

    Mary Stetler Veteran Member
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    The neighborhood we are in now has a tradition of lining the roads with luminaries on Christmas eve. They load up a trailer with sand and drive through the neighborhood, put sand in waxed paper bags and stand a candle in them. At sunset we light all the ones in front of our houses.
    Tonite we could not get ours lit because of the wind. Others had the same problem and the wind blew bags over and started them on fire when the lighting was a success.:(
     
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  7. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    When I was growing up, we always had a family party on Christmas Eve and exchanged gifts that evening. We usually had seafood on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning was the excitement of Santa Clause and my mother being busy in the kitchen preparing a wonderful turkey dinner.

    When I had a family of my own we continued the tradition; we opened gifts with the kids on Christmas Eve and had a seafood dinner. Since marrying my second husband, Christmas Day has always been at my MIL's home; a huge gathering of extended family. Everyone takes a dish and contributes to Christmas dinner. Now that our children are grown with families of their own, they are establishing their own traditions so things have changed a bit.
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    As a child, we also exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve. There would be a large supper on Christmas Eve, usually just for the immediate family. After supper, we would open our presents. Of course, dad would delay ending supper by asking for more dessert or another cup of coffee.

    On Christmas morning, we would get up for the traditional 4:00 am Christmas Service at church. Very little was ever remembered about that service and we'd go back to bed as soon as we got home, awakening later as if getting up earlier had been a dream, On Sunday morning, there would be one more gift for all of us. This would be the one big gift. If someone was going to get a bicycle or a Robbie the Robot toy, that would be saved for Christmas morning.

    If the grandparents, the pastor, or someone outside of the immediate family was going to be visiting us for Christmas, they would be there for dinner on Christmas afternoon, which was another large meal. Generally, one of the meals would feature turkey and the other would be ham.
     
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  9. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Merry Christmas, Jake-from-State -Farm!!!
     
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  10. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Supreme Member
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    Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates the holiday!
     
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  11. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Merry Christmas, Don!!!

    Merry Christmas, all!!!
     
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  12. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Don.
     
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  13. Kate Ellery

    Kate Ellery Supreme Member
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    I’ve seen that in magazines about homeowners putting candles outside’s in a brown paper bag it would create a great community spirit for the surrounding neighbours.

    We wouldn’t be allowed to do anything like that here due to it being hot and dry here at this time of the year and
    as well as being surrounded by cereal growing paddocks .

    We have fire bans on any outdoor naked flames including BBQ’s on extreme fire danger days .
    The fire bans usually start Mid November until about Easter time @Mary Stetler
     
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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2022
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  14. John Brunner

    John Brunner Senior Staff
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    Another thread reminded me of a couple of Moravian Christmas Eve services I've attended. The Moravian denomination dates back to the 1400s, founded in central Europe in what is now The Czech Republic. They established themselves in North America in Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and then later in North Carolina, where I attended these services (in Winston-Salem.)

    The service included Moravian traditions. There was traditional music played by a brass band, choral music, and of course congregational singing. My favorite part was the lovefeast (a communal feast) they incorporate halfway through the service. Services are paused, you remain at your pew, and they serve the entire congregation hot tea (in real tea cups) and Moravian buns:

    [​IMG]

    You share this meal and take time to chat with those who are sitting around you...and it's quite a bit of time to get to know one another as they serve a full church, you eat and you drink your tea, then they come collect all the empties.

    It is quite the experience. I was going to find that church so I could post a picture of it, but I was visiting from out of state and don't recall specifics...there's a number of Moravian churches in Winston-Salem:

    Moravian churches Winston Salem.jpg
    I grabbed those details about the Moravian church from the web. I hope those who are more conversant in this denomination chime in, for I had never heard of it outside of the context of the Christmas events I attended.
     
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  15. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    In my job, I have had to become somewhat familiar with all of them, including the Moravian Church.
     
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