Monday, November 19, 2012

How we all blend our traditions together.......

Winter sun is wonderful. It lifts the spirits and cheers the heart and makes me believe the darkness and gloom is being held at bay. Just for me. Blue skies. The only problem is that it then shows every single molecule of dust in the house.

Maybe we can get around that by taking off the glasses.

I have some aprons cut out and will get around to sewing them, but when the sun shines I want to be out there walking. Anything. Just enjoying the light.

I have photos to upload, and will get around to that too. Later.

You know, I have been thinking. Always a dangerous thing around here. Well, I have been thinking about how wonderful it is to have traditions from so many parts of the world poured into a pot and mixed and stirred and out of it all comes a blend which is unique to each of us.

Take me, for instance. I have South African Christmas traditions, British ones, and a huge helping of Swiss/German/European ones as well. Add to that the American influence through the blog world, and we have a really fascinating stew. Robin will discover this too, when she heads home after spending so much time in Europe. These things all combine to add so much to our worlds.

I know my British friends have also adopted some of the things I do or make or decorate the house with and used them in their own homes and families now. It adds a wonderful richness to the season. Small things, maybe, but with huge significance in our lives. And who knows what traditions our children will adopt over the years ahead - my daughter has New Zealand to add to her mix already!

The blend can come simply from 2 families being joined by marriage. And also from the people in the home coming from different counties/states. Each of us brings something with us.

Of course, if your Christmas traditions are of the simplistic/no fuss/ minimal sort, you may be overwhelmed if you happen to marry someone at the opposite end of the spectrum. Geoff was a little dazzled when we first got married. But he learned to enjoy it all too. I will ignore the fact that there was much shaking of the head and rolling of the eyes at times. He learned to love it all too.

I love changing my home around. If you have been here a while, you will know that. And that I got from my sister. European people celebrate the seasons, and all their significance. Northern European people, especially, and while this is not very British at all, things are changing and there is more and more encouragement to make our homes reflect the seasons.

The advent of the Internet, Pinterest, Ikea, and the availability of just about anything in the entire universe, makes this simple. And it also fuels the economy. Or not, in my case. I love looking at things and then coming home and making them from what I have at hand. Remember those little stacks of twigs, tied with raffia and with a pumpkin or leaf wired on top? You can see them here if you click on the second last photo. Those twigs were picked up in a parking area at a shop (by my sister) - all you need is a little ingenuity and voila - you have made a start.

But, thinking fo Christmas, we have some traditions now that spell out the word HOME to my children. The carol service in the Square on Christmas Eve, followed by fireworks. The midnight service. The crib service. The huge tree. The letters to Father Christmas, the sherry and mince pie and carrot for Rudolph, left out. Kenny singing Oh Holy Night as we open our presents on Christmas morning.......

In Europe, most people open presents on Christmas Eve. Weihnacht. For my brother-in-law, Christmas IS Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is normal holiday time. The whole significance of Christmas is Christmas Eve. So when we are in Switzerland, we open one present on Christmas Eve with him, and the rest on Christmas morning. A different tradition. Mince pies. Christmas cake. Stollen. Dreikönistag. Chocolate coins. Swiss Lindt Father Christmas. Custies. Fruit salad. Home-made ice cream. The Queen's speech at 3pm. The Sound of Music. Church bells ringing. Cold winter meets hot summer.

A wonderful mishmash. A blend. This is who we are now. Different from when I was a child. Very different. But bringing with us, everything which makes that mishmash, that glorious essence of MY family. Right now.

I am using Christmas as an example, but there are loads more times and places when the same thing applies. So we celebrate the differences, and glory in the richness that the melting pot delivers. Melting pots - so many of our nations are founded on the idea of melting pots. Or have evolved to be melting pots .

Oy, I do let the words run away with me at times. Now. I need a walk.


Vee said...

And I thought that the U.S. was a melting pot. I think you've got us beat in spades. I smiled at your reference to Geoff's bedazzlement. John would prefer my taking a more relaxed approach I am sure. Must ask him.

I love Christmas can often feel more like Christmas than any other part, but then so can a snowy night in February.

Enjoy the season, Linds. You've got a head start on it.

Needled Mom said...

The traditions are so different and so much fun. I love melting them all together within the families.

Anonymous said...

All very English.

Anonymous said...

Looking very much forward to sampling the home made ice cream and fruit salad. Don 't forget the sherry for Santa's deserving helper.


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