At this holiday time of year, I find myself overcome with nostalgia – more so than any other time of the year. All the sights, sounds, smells and activities of the season conjure up memories of Christmases past for me. This in turn can bring a smile to my face, or emotional tears to my eyes. But regardless if smiles or tears, I have established some holiday traditions just so I can experience that nostalgia.
I love hearing Bing Crosby singing White Christmas on the radio as it brings thoughts of my dad to mind. He has been gone since 1981, but I remember when I was growing up we had a whole collection of 45 RPM records of Bing Crosby singing Christmas carols , and how my dad loved Bing’s version of those songs. (If you are too young reading this, you probably don’t even know what 45s are!)
My older sister Bonny, took me to see the movie, White Christmas, when I was about 7 years old, and I loved it; so, re-watching it every year is a tradition I keep, and that too, is a nostalgic activity for me. The New England ski lodge setting of that movie, seems very appropriate for thoughts of lovely, snowy Christmases, so puts me in a holiday mood.
Another traditional activity during my childhood was making and decorating sugar cut-out cookies each Christmas. So, I have now included that as a must-do activity with my two grandsons sometime during December.
I don’t know how much longer they will be interested in frosting and decorating cookies, but I am milking it for all it’s worth for now. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without having a plate of those cookies available to put out for Santa with a glass of milk. (I don’t really know if the boys put out cookies for Santa, but I’d like to think they do!)
Though I no longer spend hours in December making lots of Christmas cookies and candy, I have not given up on making fudge each year. First, and foremost, I love the stuff; but, for me, it is another “must-have” to serve for Christmas celebrations, to give as gifts or to enjoy a piece with my Christmas tea.
When I was a kid, my mother would make a variety of cookies and candies, including fudge, to serve throughout the season as family and friends came to call. It was always fun to help put together the cookie/candy plate for serving during our family get-togethers on Christmas Eve. I still enjoy putting together such a plate even though these days, I have far fewer varieties of goodies to put on it.
Here are some other activities I remember from my youth with fondness at this time of year. Do any of them sound familiar to you?
- having a cup of hot chocolate (and frozen toes) after an afternoon or evening ice-skating on the ice rink at the nearby lake – I no longer ice-skate, but I do indulge in a cup of hot chocolate now and then;
- going through the Christmas ornament box and remembering the story behind each one while decorating the tree;
- writing letters to Santa – making a list of what I hoped to get for presents, and actually mailing it to the North Pole;
- participating in the Sunday School Christmas program – I got to be Mary one year simply because the “quiet” girl in my class who the teacher thought would be perfect for the role, didn’t want to do it and I was bold enough to speak up and say I would do it!
Sometimes the nostalgia experienced at this time of year seems painful – remembering loved ones who are no longer here. But, maybe instead of being sad, I should be grateful that I have happy memories of my childhood Christmases.
I’d love to hear what traditions you keep during this special season. If you are so inclined to share, please leave a message below.