Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent Calendar

Season's Greetings!

Today, I am participating in Jo's Advent Calendar {Serendipitous Stitching}. Of course if you came over from her blog, you knew that, so welcome!

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I've made a little collage of Christmas ornaments past that I don't believe I've featured on my blog. Most were stitched in the late 90s/early aughts. The Christmas orchid is Lilac Studio from the JCS Ornament Issue 1998; the bird is in JCSO 2000, but I took it as a class with Catherine Theron; Fa La La is by Twisted Threads in JCSO 2000; and the green hearts is a Sue Stokes ornament that came from a class at Celebration in New Hampshire probably in the same time period.

Sharing Tradition
A lot of people sit down to a traditional Christmas dinner with roast meat and a couple of courses, linen napkins, and the whole nine yards. We used to do this at my father's parents on Christmas day. We'd have an overcooked roast beef, and my grandmother would be run off her feet getting everything together. As grandchildren married, it became more and more difficult for all of us to sit down together on Christmas day for our overcooked beef. At first we picked another day we could all come--December 22nd or 26th or something like that. Eventually things became too difficult for my grandparents to handle alone (my grandfather was in charge of the beef). So we started rotating houses: one aunt's one year, another's the next. The third year, my third aunt didn't want to host, but it was my mother's turn to host her family on Christmas Eve and there was no way she was turning around and hosting the following day. So we started going to a restaurant. A few years later, we just stopped pretending we liked each other and stopped getting together for Christmas. It was a great relief.

But...what was my nuclear family going to do on Christmas day? What would our tradition be? Roast beef cooked properly? Every other year host a Christmas Eve feast and then make a roast the next day? My mother decided that Christmas should be fun and relaxing for her too. So several years ago, my mother set out three elements for our celebration, and they continue to this day.

1. No one gets out of their pajamas. (The churchgoers go on Christmas Eve).
2. We order in Chinese. (The food fetchers usually throw on an overcoat and shoes to disguise their wardrobes.)
3. We play games. Ever year, my mother buys each "kid" a game (when the boys joined the family, they started getting games too) and we spend the day playing. (If someone gets a DVD we may watch that as well.)

It's low-key, and it suits us well.

Many of our Jewish friends have been doing it for decades; they call it "December 25th."


Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

What lovely ornaments.
I do like the fact that you all decided not to pretend to like each other any more!!
My sis always goes away for Christmas and has a much nicer time than pretending to enjoy wearing a paper hat and listening to old jokes.

Kathy A. said...

LOL girl. You always make me smile.
and here I am forcing my family to wear those silly hats and eat turkey!

EvalinaMaria said...

Lovely ornaments and a great Christmas tradition. Thank you for sharing.

doris said...

Very pretty ornaments. I'm especially partial to the bird.

Your family Christmas plan sounds like a winner.

Mindi said...

I love your tradition! Low key and it seems the biggest argument would be what to order for chinese. I seriously wonder if all the hoopla surrounding the holidays is worth the stress.

Jodie said...

I LOVE your Mom's rules for Christmas day. I'm having my Dads whole side of the family over on the 27th for the first time EVER for a traditional turkey dinner. My Mom commented yesterday that maybe we don't need to have turkey dinner on the 25th and then turn around and have it again on the 27th. I told her to make a big simple homemade macaroni and cheese and sit around and enjoy the day rather than spending it in the kitchen.

Michele said...

I love your family tradition! Sounds like heaven :) Our traditions have changed over the years too. Much more relaxed and seems like everyone enjoys them.

We love playing games in our house too. I've heard the new fun game out there is call Logo. Have you heard of it? Sounds like a blast to play.

Hannah - City Stitcher said...

Your ornaments are really lovely. And i like the spirit of your Christmas, we spend Christmas watching a lot of TV, sometimes in completely different rooms, and we don't care what anyone thinks of that! :)