Holiday traditions

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Here in the US, it’s become something of a national pastime to marvel at how commercialized our holidays have become, and cluck our tongues as the stores set out their Halloween/Thanksgiving/Hanukkah-and-Christmas displays earlier and earlier.

On some occasions, though, it doesn’t hurt to get a head start. One of my aunts, continuing a tradition my grandparents began, always sends a box of German Lebkuchen around this time of year; the cookies last well through December and I am very happy to have them.

I’m also glad to have the decorative storage tins they come in, which I hoard for various purposes. Most years, the tins feature some sort of traditional winter cityscape (cathedrals, snow). This year, I got a special “Artist’s Chest” with a painting by Egon Schiele. I can’t think of a better place to put my fountain pen inks, which are currently stacked loose on a shelf.

How early do your holidays start?

4 thoughts on “Holiday traditions

  1. That brand of gingerbread is so yummy! I know those art-themed decorative metal boxes from my youth – I once bought one in Frankfurt with Janosch characters (an artist strangely not known in North America) in which I keep old letters.

  2. I try to leave it as late as possible. I only put the decorations up on Christmas Eve and they come down on Twelfth Night. While this might seem curmudgeonly, I think it helps keep the magic of Christmas. I’m not particularly religious but it’s a time when most of the country is on holiday, so a time to see family and friends. Besides, I always remember my Father telling me when small “keep the feast to the feast day”. I thought he was being a killjoy when I was a child, but now I realise he was making sure that the excitement hadn’t faded by the time the Christmas actually arrived. Every year the retailers seem to set up Christmas earlier (or maybe I’m an old curmudgeon) but I try to keep the feast to the feast day. That way I don’t become bored with the whole lot of it and it retains it’s joyfulness.

  3. We start on the 20th of December for the solstice celebrations and it’s all over well before most people’s stress has peaked on the 25th. Luckily we don’t do presents etc – it is just a special family meal.

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