Tradition has always been very important to me. I stubbornly abide by traditions each and every year. To me, they are something to be relied on and something to look forward to. You know exactly what to expect and disappointment usually only comes when plans change. I am a stickler for upholding holiday traditions, much to the annoyance of my family who like to mix it up from time to time. The night before Christmas has always been dear to my heart, probably moreso than the actual holiday (and you know how much I love that).
One of the selling points when I bought my condo was the large kitchen with ample countertop space. I pictured myself playing hostess to friends for dinner parties, festive get-togethers, and celebrations of all seasons. I imagined yummy foods and delicious drinks atop every available surface. Happy faces would be everywhere and laughter would be the soundtrack of the evening.
I just knew I had to have a party before the year was up.
This is my time of year. I love Christmas! It’s the season of giving and everyone seems a little jollier. You’ve got the great Christmas classics on TV and the radio. Houses and shops are festively decorated. Packages arrive at the house almost daily and cards are delivered with joyful wishes and season’s greetings. And let’s not forget about the eggnog! It’s a happy time to be a happy person. Though this year, the holidays seem rushed and have come out of nowhere, I am getting into the spirit and helping others get into it as well. Baxter has his stocking hung by the fireplace and I am hosting our family’s Christmas get-together next weekend. As much as I love this time, I have some holiday confessions I need to get off my chest.
For the last few months, this blog here has been pretty quiet, though I’ve tried to be an active reader and commenter so you all know I haven’t completely disappeared. It’s not for lack of wanting to or lack of inspiration. I could give you all the typical run around of being so busy and focused on other projects, but there’s just more to it than that. A while ago I decided, much like some of my favorite bloggers also seem to have done, to focus on living life rather than writing about it. And boy have I been living! Continue reading
With heavy hearts and thoughts to those in the States, we packed our bags, left the beautiful Schweizerhof, and headed to a boat cruise along Lake Luzern before heading to Zürich. From the lake, we took in the beauty of the Swiss Alps, the gorgeous homes along the water, and just a little bit of Brazil. Ok, maybe just a statue similar to Christ the Redeemer.
Once we got back on the ship after wandering around Rüdesheim, our Cruise Director Nick held a discussion session about people’s holiday traditions. Guests helped trimmed the various Christmas trees while sharing stories of writing letters to Santa and night before Christmas rituals (ours include dinner at In-&-Out, driving around looking at festively lit houses, and watching The Santa Clause). Everyone had different takes on the same holiday and it was fun to hear how everyone celebrates Christmas. Being that we were in Germany and most everyone on board was American, Nick shared with us some of the European traditions we may not have known about. I certainly had never heard of them.
In particular, there were the stories about Saint Nicholas and the Krampus. Now, Saint Nicholas, the European equivalent of Santa Claus, is somewhat of a familiar character. He brings presents to good children on Saint Nicholas Day and fills the stockings hung by the chimney with care. The Krampus on the other hand is almost the yin to the saintly yang. He is a hairy, beast-like creature with hooves and horns whose mission is to punish the poorly behaved children. Not one to mess with.
As Nick told us these stories, he requested that each of the guests (if they wanted) leave one shoe outside of their cabin before they went to bed that evening. My mother and I did just that.
In the morning, we each had a foil-wrapped chocolate in our boot. At first, I didn’t notice that there were different characters on each of the chocolates, but on further inspection, it was clear that we received both Saint Nicholas (me) and the Krampus (my mom). Yes, it is official… I am the good one in the family!
No really, it is.
Despite my desire to celebrate one holiday at a time, the Christmas season is my favorite time of year. Everything is bright, shiny, and covered with sparkles. And what kind of girl doesn’t like sparkles? I love the movies, the TV specials, the photo cards from friends and family, the sense of togetherness, everything. It’s just a magical time. And it’s only just begun.
Is it just me or is the Christmas season starting earlier and earlier each year?
At the end of August last year, I marvelled that Costco, a local warehouse store, was already selling Christmas items when most people were gearing up for Labor Day barbeques. Wrapping paper, artificial trees, and pre-packaged gift sets were out for all to see and purchase. I couldn’t believe my eyes, but, given that I was a new Costco shopper, I figured that the brand had a different retail schedule than the stores I was used to.
Clearly, I was wrong.