“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”

It is 51˚. The sun is winter bright. The privacy of summer is gone. The trees are so bare I can see the neighbors’ houses and they mine. A breeze chills rather than cools the air. Old Man Winter may not be here quite yet, but there are signs that he’s waiting impatiently in the wings.

When I was a kid, I always wanted a white Christmas because of Santa. I never saw him pictured flying over houses with green lawns. He always traveled in the snow. Reindeer too belonged in the snow. They lived way up north in the Arctic Circle, and any picture I had ever seen of the Arctic Circle always had snow. I remember Eskimos wearing jackets and thick mittens covered with fur when they harnessed their dogs to their sleds. Christmas needed snow.

We had a nativity set made of chalkware. It had all the necessary figures: kings, shepherds, animals including a donkey and a couple of sheep, Mary, Joseph and the Baby. The stable was wooden and had pieces of hay around as if real animals lived there. Over the years the chalkware chipped. Shepherds were missing noses and just about every other piece had a chip or two. It never mattered. Out came that nativity set every year. I remember the Baby had outstretched arms and was sleeping on what appeared to be swaddling clothes though I didn’t know what swaddling meant until I was a little older. My sister has that set now.

 I always think each new Christmas stays connected to all the other Christmases of our past. My mother made decorated sugar cookies and so do we. I even use some of the cookie cutters she had. If I make a pie, it will be lemon meringue, not usually a Christmas pie, but it was one we all loved so my mother made it. I put old ornaments on the tree and one of those old big ones way up high because that’s where my mother would hang it for safety’s sake.

Christmas is wrapped up in family. Traditions are passed down from one generation to another and along the way new traditions are added. They connect us across the years. In every Christmas I see my mother. That is one of the joys of the season.

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13 Comments on ““Christmas is the day that holds all time together.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    The Yule Gnome didn’t ride a sled pulled by reindeers here when I grew up, he either had a horse or a goat pulling the sled. I think our love for Disney changed that so I think most kids today think of reindeers. He tended to be much smaller than todays Yule Gnome too, he was usually very short, thin and look a bit angry if I look at old christmas cards but now he’s big, fat and jolly 🙂 That is a change towards the better 🙂

    I had a nativity set too but I only remember one figure really well and it was also made from chalkware. It was really worn but I think it might have been an angel. It must have come from an older set because it didn’t fit in with the other figures. One year I just couldn’t find it and it turned out my mother had given it away without asking me. I really need to find a new one.

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I know I have seen a horse pulling the sleigh. In Ghana I saw goats but it didn’t have anything to do with Christmas, just you average goat cart. I think gnomes are supposed to be grumpy by nature.

      I have a set made of chalkware and some of them are from other sets. I joined them all as one. One figure i taller than all the rest. I put that one way in the back.

      Have a great day!

  2. Hedley Says:

    Down the MDHs we have a nativity from Santons Fouque which embraces the traditions of Provence. The figures are painted clay.

    The concept of snow seems very remote as the sun continues to shine. Our night was a shade late as our Sparties booked a date with Bama on New Years Eve in Dallas. Our children are both Sparties so there was plenty of excitement as they won the Big Ten Championship against Iowa in the last 22 seconds

    Yes within the body of the season, my Mum is around..

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I have some from Ghana and South America. One is beaded and another from Ghana is clay. I keep them out all year as I collect nativity sets.

      Tomorrow will be even warmer than today, but I am not going to complain.

      I send hearty congrats to your Sparties!

  3. Bob Says:

    Growing up in the southwest guaranteed a non white Christmas. Similar to Christmas in Hawaii. 🙂 A few years ago we had a white New Years but very rarely on the 25th. One nice thing about Chanukah is that it lasts eight days and there’s a better chance of having snow. Somehow having snow on Chanukah is not as important since Bing Crosby did’t sing that song in the movie. 🙂

    I never understood the chalk or any other menger scene. Who were the models for those people? Why was there no black version for all the non European Christians? Or for that matter a black Santa. Maybe the real Jesus was actually black or looked like a current day Middle Eastern terrorist? 🙂

    When I was a kid I would reenact the battle of the Maccabees using my plastic green toy solders on my bedroom floor. When you’re a kid no one cares if the Maccabees wore WWII style helmets, rifles and flame throwers.

    Today is beautiful with clear skies and high temperatures in the 60s.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      We often have a white Christmas either coming down or already fallen. The lights covered with snow are lovely. If there is a lot of snow, the lights over time burn through the snow and become bright again.

      Any picture or statue of God is from the imagination of the artisan. The Gospel is about the birth and we know from that verse that there were shepherds and angels and the Baby was born in a stable. Zwarte Piet (Black Peter) accompanies St. Nicholas in the Netherlands. In Ghana I never saw a nativity set. I did find one when I went back and all of the figures are Black Africans. Maybe he could look like someone from the Middle East or Lebanon where he wouldn’t necessarily resemble a terrorist.

      We’re in the 50’s so I won’t complain!

      • Bob Says:

        What happened to the commandment prohibiting graven images? The deity is best left to the beholder’s imagination. Of course, then we wouldn’t have the art of the entire Italian Renaissance. Maybe Leonardo would have invented the airplane if he wasn’t painting frescoes in Milan. 🙂 Michael Angelo was working for the pope. That’s when a popular saying about the pope was, “His children call him uncle while everyone else call him father”. Those pope’s took the commandment to be fruitful and multiply seriously. 🙂

        I’m glad to hear that there are black menger scenes in Africa.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        That was in the King James version which I didn’t read, but a graven image is really an idol, an effigy that is worshiped.

        The art of the Italian Renaissance was meant to worship God, and it did. The Vatican paid many artisans to create religious pictures to be hung in the Vatican and local churches. Many of the churches in Florence are almost art galleries because of all the art on the walls.

        Julius II did father children but not after he was elected high office.

    • Birgit Says:

      Bob, any popular Chanukah songs? I only know of Maos Zur and would love to hear more. Which songs would you recommend?

  4. Birgit Says:

    Annual Santa invasion in my hometown, he flies in with his reindeers twice a day. Kids love it, I try to avoid crowded downtown especially in December. (See first minute of Christmas market video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpbdzdBAq-8 )
    Usually no snow at Christmas, with a little bit of luck we get a few snowflakes around New Year’s Day.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      The Christmas Market looks so lovely and so much fun with the ferris wheel and the greater than life size candle pyramid or whatever it is called. I bought one from Germany for my sister a couple of years ao.. I love all the lights and Santa on his zip line. If I were a kid, I’d almost believe he flies.

  5. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I have a few ornaments from days gone by but I seldom use them since I don’t always put up a tree. Instead, I have odd Christmas ornaments and small things scattered around the house. I put candles and other Christmasy things in the windows and a wreath on the door. I add in seasonal plants and I’m happy.

    One of the seasonal decorations I remember my mother having was a Yule log. Not a real one but a small wooden one that was decorated with holly berries and leaves and and dusted with fake snow. It was painted to look like a birch log and had inserts for candles. It was nicely done and very delicate looking. It was placed on the dining room buffet in the same spot where the orange spatter-pattern ceramic cornucopia had been the month before. The yule log is long gone but I have a nasty feeling that the orange spatter pattern ceramic cornucopia is still lurking somewhere around the place. 🙂

    It was lovely, sunny and warm here today. Another light sweater and flip-flops day in December. I chopped some bushes back. No leaves and no snow cover made it really easy to see what needed to be whacked.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I think you have the Christmas spirit. It doesn’t always mean drowning in decorations. Whatever makes you happy is enough.

      My mother was a den mother for a couple of years. One of the crafts they made was a Yule log. It was a real log in which they drilled holes for candles then decorated. That was brought out for years.

      I couldn’t believe we had another warm day. I’m a bit afraid we might just pay for it later.


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