Santa?

A place for general chat with Stonewylde friends

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Postby Beantighe » Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:37 pm

Isn't it funny, we've managed to adopt so many customs from America (or was it the other way round?) and yet we haven't taken on customs from just across the Channel? Personally, I think that many of the old customs were taken from here by the settlers to America, and then re-exported back over here, by which time they had been either diluted or lapsed and forgotten, that's why we think we have taken so much from the Americans.

xxxxx
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Postby Greymalkin » Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:08 pm

I must say I think I prefer the opening of the presents on christmas morning than christmas eve.
That whole excitement you feel as a child when you reluctantly go to bed on christmas eve and wonder what delights you will find in the morning.

In fact I wouldn't like to do it the european way at all, especially with kids around. How would you ever get them to go to bed if they open all their new toys on christmas eve?

Personally I'm glad we've adopted more American customs than European ones. I certainly feel a lot 'closer' to the American way of doing things than the european way.
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Postby Sorcha » Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:09 pm

I think that only the last 20 years we do presents at Christmas, and yes then they are unwrapped on Christmas eve. As we celebrate Sinterklaas we do not do Christmas with lots of presents as well, although my kids have friends who do both Sinterklaas and Christmas with lots of expensive things :roll: :roll: . I usually buy for each of us a book or dvd at Yule and put that under the tree. I also usually buy or make small gifts for friends and when they visit I give them their presents to put under their tree. They also bring us some small presents so yes I do have some things under the tree as well! We also have a candlelight dinner and then unwrap the presents after dinner. This Christmas Eve a good friend of mine will be having dinner with us so I put some presents for her under the tree as well.

But when I was young (a long time ago :roll: :wink: ) we just had the dinner with candlelight and a Christmas tree. No pressies then! But festive enough! We did not know any better, nobody did presents at Christmas, but thanks( :roll: ) to American television programs and movies, the Christmas gifts got introduced in Holland as well!

I did look up Sinterklaas and Wodan. According to the book of Freya Aswynn Sinterklaas does have things in common with Wodan, the white horse, the black helpers, the staff, and the cloak. Wodan was in his more friendlier guise seen as bringer of gifts, blessings and fertility. The last is not brought by Sinterklaas, as he is now a Catholic Saint 8) 8) :wink:
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Postby Moongoddess » Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:20 pm

We've always had our christmas on Christmas day......I'm 44 now and mum and dad have always celebrated on chrustmas day. Opening our prezzie on christmas morning. I always remember when we had an open fire and me and my sister always left a glass of milk and a mince pie for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer, and when we got up on christmas morning there was always sooty finger prints around the fire and on the empty glass and plate......that was more exciting that the prezzies. Then it was time for a big christmas dinner before settling down to watch the wizard of oz. Still more or less the same even now.......once things are set in place as a child, it just seems to follows on for the rest of your life :D
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Postby Sujee » Mon Dec 01, 2008 10:33 pm

We have always celebrated on Christmas Day but recently I had a Danish friend round for Christmas Eve drinks and she showed us how to hold hands around the tree and she sang a Danish song to the tree! It was lovely. then Claire and I had to sing an English song around the tree for her to hear. She brought me some cranberry dark chocolate she had made with the cranberries which had been soaking in her vodka for a year....mmmm potent!!

That was so lovely and I wish we had more family traditions with songs like that here, there are so many on the Continent...

We always open on gift each on Christmas Eve and some on Christmas Morning but don't open them all at once, we like to stretch the presents out!!
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Postby Greymalkin » Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:32 pm

I always spend christmas with my family and two years ago I invited my friend from Denmark to come and stay with us because he had just lost both his parents.

My Mum and Dad do a very traditional English christmas, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
My friend was amazed at how much work went into it!

All the running around on christmas eve, and he had no idea we didn't open presents on christmas eve - LOL I remember his face when he realised he had to wait until the morning, he was like a child who had just had his toy taken away.

We all got up the next day at the crack of dawn and then followed the madness that is present opening. Then a big cooked breakfast and all through the day came the Grandparents and Aunties and Uncles and Cousins and special friends. The house was full to the brim.

Then the big Christmas dinner, Queen's speech, big film and sleep in the afternoon.

Then up again for tea, then playing silly games like charades until bedtime.

Everybody is found a place to sleep (even if it's the sofa) and then we all do it again on Boxing Day (minus the prezzies, obviously).

My friend thought we were very lucky to have two days to celebrate rather than just the one they get.
And he even said he prefered waiting until christmas morning to open his presents and said he would continue that once he had gone back home.

He stayed right until new year and we had a huge party with all our friends and family.

He said it was one of the best christmasses he had ever had.

I was so proud. We are so used to hearing people slagging off things that are traditionally British, it was lovely to hear a foreigner saying we actually did something better.
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Postby Beantighe » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:44 am

That sounds like a really lovely Christmas, Greymalkin. And the best thing of all was that you made your friend so welcome and treated him like one of the family. That means so much when you haven't got anyone.

I lived at home until I was 18, and until then it was just me and my elderly parents. As an only child, I used to get spoilt with presents when I was little, but as I got older, fewer and fewer relatives would bother. But when I was under 10, I used to get so excited on Christmas Eve, and would lie in bed listening for sleigh-bells - I could hardly sleep! Sometimes I used to wake up at about 4 am, and all my presents would be stacked on the end of my bed, and I used to sit up, excitedly ripping them open.

We'd all have a huge fry-up for breakfast, and then mother would be bustling round cooking the Christmas dinner, which I think was usually a large chicken. I don't remember turkey, although we must have had it at some point.

After that, it was usually quite boring. The parents would doze off in their chairs, and I would amuse myself with what I'd been given, or write thank you letters, which mother insisted on. When I was only about 5, she used to write a small note for me to copy, so that people had something from me personally. That was one habit I tried to instil into my own daughters, mostly unsuccessfully, I'm afraid, so I had to do it myself.

After mother was widowed in 1984, she used to come to us for Christmas every year, and she wouldn't let my girls open their presents until at least 11 am on Christmas morning, so I couldn't follow the custom I had been brought up with. We had to have the 'ritual' of distributing the presents, and I used to save mine to open later in peace and quiet, because with all the screaming and shouting from the kids, I hardly registered what I'd been given, or who it was from. One year, someone gave me a pair of support tights (or at least I think they were for me) - I never did find out who they were from! I don't miss that chaos!
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