By Christina Rich
A few days ago my husband took one look at our tree and asked who put the candy canes on the branches. For as long as I can remember there have been candy canes on our Christmas trees. It’s a tradition I had thought, up until yesterday, that my mother had started or carried over from her own childhood. I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t, it was my dad. I haven’t had the chance to ask him where or when he started this tradition. Was it something his mom did, or had he been out shopping one day, bought some candy canes and decided to put them on the tree? It’s something I intend asking him.
Another Christmas decoration that has always been a part of my childhood is the poinsettia. Now, this one I have no doubt comes from my mother. She loves them, always has. I can remember one year, not sure if it was still during Christmas or if it was several months later as my mom has always tried to get them to survive for as long as possible, but I recall snails, lots and lots of snails. I do believe I was more fascinated with the snails and where they came from. I think I was five or six and somehow believed that poinsettias birthed snails. This year is the first year I’ve received one and I won’t lie, I keep looking for the snails. 😉
Father Christmas has always been present. This is another tradition that comes from my mom. I’m not sure why. I just always remember Father Christmases all through the house. There is something magical, more so than with the cartoon-like Santa Clause, about Father Christmas. Perhaps, it’s because they have more of a human quality to them than Jolly St. Nick. Maybe it’s the idea that a man with a white fatherly beard spreading good will really exists, one who carries himself with grace, kindness and love. Or maybe it’s just the historical feel to them that I love. Who really knows, but I do appreciate the artistry that goes into creating the images of Father Christmas.
Another piece of Christmas that has always been around and that I’ve tried to carry on with our own decorations is the collection of nativity scenes. I heard the Christmas story many times as a child, but it wasn’t until I came into my own faith that I truly understood the significance of the Christmas displays. I have a few nativities. Some were given to me, others I’ve picked up, which have been on the cheap side because (dollar specials) we just haven’t had the sort of finances to spend on some of the more extravagant pieces. This one though, is special. It was given to me by our former pastor and his wife whose friends brought it back from Israel. Pastor and his wife knew how much I love Israel, and the fact that they thought of me… still touches my heart. Although it’s not much bigger than the size of my hand it is one of the more precious pieces I own because of the spirit and heart that it was given in. It’s one that I cherish and keep out all year long.
What are some of your family’s decoration traditions?