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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Private Christmas traditions

Most families have Christmas traditions of some sort, but what about personal ones? Do you have those?

I tend to set aside a few hours to wrap the gifts I'm giving - I actually love wrapping - while watching Little Women with candles and a lit Christmas tree. It's very cosy and I always look forward to it.

What habits do you enjoy at Christmas?

Selecting and writing my Christmas cards: I enjoy using fountain pens for most personal writing, and, when I can justify it to myself, I visit a pen store and buy a new bottle of ink for the cards. Unfortunately, as bottles of ink outlast the year or two in which I buy them, I've now got three different kinds of green ink, two different reds, and two different browns. (Yes, I am a spendthrift.)

Scented candles, definitely. It's the one time I'm ready to play Christmas music; last year the cards got written mostly to the Trans Siberian Orchestra (wonder what that did to the rhythm of my prose, such as it is?), and I think they'll be brought back for an encore this year.

Why is the verification word the almost-vampiric "lamea"? Or should I just take the first four letters as Blogger's assessment of my Christmas tradition?
Listening to the best Christmas album in the history of recorded music--the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

(Word verification: "tustori" which looks a bit like a drunkenly blurted version of "true story.")
I decorate my lucky bamboo with tree ornaments (usually instead of a tree altogether), I eat I Indian takeout either the 23rd or the 24th (24th is the main day here) - to my family's sometime consternation.. I also thoroughly enjoy making my cards, and putting them in envelopes and writing all the adresses. Wrapping gifts. I listen to christmas music while I commute - last year I got hold of a compilation of punk rock covers of a lot of classical christmas music which always cheers me on a dark and rainy December morning. Also the season's first ginger snaps on December 1st, with a cup of black tea.
I put the Christmas tree up and decorate it nicely with tinsel and baubles. At night, the cats come to investigate. Then, the next day, I put the Christmas tree back up and decorate it nicely...
[I hope this counts] We have a tradition when we gather 'round every night of Hanukkah to play a Bible dice game. One child rolls a set of dice which selects the page number, the other rolls for the passage. We then read and analyze the phrase for how it could relate to our day.

It helps familiarize them to the Tanakh, *and* helps with their critical reading skills: they see how passages can be taken out of context, the draw of confirmation bias, and so forth.

I delight in bringing this up because last night, we ended up with Psalm 39:9. Which is, "Deliver me from all my transgressions; make me not the butt of the benighted". My subsequent shriek of "That book is FANTASTIC" was hard to explain.
One night during Christmas week, when the house is quiet and all the work's been done, sitting near the Christmas tree with a glass of eggnog (possibly with a little something in it), listening to traditional Christmas music and re-reading A Christmas Carol quietly to myself. Or watching the DVD of A Child's Christmas in Wales is also good.

Here's a poet's take on the subject.
I have a set of Christmas music mixes which I play every year. They're a little... unorthodox... but I blame that on the time I spent working in retail.

Also, I try to find time every year for my two favorite Christmas movies: Lethal Weapon and Die Hard.

Now, of course, the Small Boy is three and a half, so we're picking up a lot of podling-related customs: making cookies, watching Christmas specials, and hiding the wrapping paper so it doesn't get used as a light saber.

I enjoy the holiday, I really do, but the holiday season often seems like more trouble than it's worth.
Listening to my CD of "Nine Lessons and Carols" from Westminster after everyone has gone to bed on Christmas Eve.

Also, fuzzy slippers and silk pajamas Christmas morning.

[verification word: "sarrainf", which is an Anglicization of a traditional Middle Eastern dessert, including nuts, sultanas, honey, and sweet spices]
Making Safe the Cracker: Using only the tools you have about your person, extract the explosive charge from your Christmas cracker without detonating it, and with the minimum of compromise to the cracker's structure. Then set it off. Comments along the lines of "clock-stopper on" and "cut the red wire" are optional.
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