Christmas Traditions

Christmas means many things to many people.

If you’re a Christian, you believe in the birth of Christ as our savior, as the Bible proclaims in Luke, Isaiah, and Matthew.

If you’re of the Jewish faith you celebrate Hanukkah, The Festival of Lights.

America is blessed with many beliefs and traditions that makeup the colorful and complex quilt, that is our country.

I’m not going to write about all of that, but about the differences in my own home. The difference between my Husband’s traditions at Christmas, and what I experienced in the Ross household, growing up.

It has, on some occasions, caused interesting discussions when the holidays roll around.

I grew up with the Christmas Story, which we as children performed at each of our school and church programs every year. It was the reason we celebrated. But, Santa was a big deal as well. On Christmas Eve mom would make a large pot of Oyster Stew, and my brother Stan and Dad would eat raw oysters on crackers. I wasn’t a fan of the oysters, but I did like the creamy soup part.

Christmas early 60s

Our parents didn’t have a lot of extra cash to spend on presents, but they always managed to get us at least one of the things we pined for all year. We couldn’t wait for Christmas Eve and Santa. As we got older, of course, Santa slipped in importance.

Now with grandchildren, he’s reappeared!

Caroling with friends after we opened presents was a tradition that I always looked forward to. No matter how cold it was, we– with our youthful bodies and exuberant attitudes, were oblivious to the sub-zero temperatures of Iowa winters.

Phil and christmas train0005

On the other hand, my husband’s family’s focus was strictly centered on the religious beliefs of Christmas. He grew up in the Mennonite faith—Santa wasn’t a part of it. Instead of opening gifts around the tree, that Santa left, their gifts were displayed on the breakfast table on their plates, Christmas morning. I’m sure devotions and prayer were conducted before they were opened. It was tradition that followed his ancestors, Russian-Germans, who emigrated from the Colony of Molochna, in Southern Russia.

The following link explains the tradition…

Also as explained at this web site…

As with all Mennonite cultures, Christmas tradition centered around food and religion, but many Mennonite homes also held on to a German version of Santa Claus. He was not dressed in red, but looked more like a common peddler. To the Russian Mennonite children he was called the Weinachtsmann. He was not expected to go down chimneys, but he did come bearing gifts of tasty treats.

In other homes, a simple Christmas story of the babe in the manger was enough to stir the imagination of the children. It was enough that Mamma and Papa provided the treats.

On Christmas Eve, the children would set out their plates around the table, and on Christmas morning they would find them filled with wonderful Christmas cookies such as Pfeffernusse, and peppermint cookies, maybe some platz if there was fruit available, and, of course their were always candies of every imaginable shape and flavor.

The children were as thrilled with their plates as a modern child would be with a bundle of the finest toys

My wish, this Christmas, is to look around and see the good that is in the world—there is plenty.

So, whatever your traditions or beliefs, I hope your Christmas is filled with Christ’s gift to us, the love and joy he promised us through a baby boy, born in humility to a young couple with little in the way of possessions, but rich in faith and hope.


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