I’ve been thinking a lot about culture and tradition lately because of the my work in progress. Specifically, I’ve been pondering how those things are changed and how they grow. Changes can come as a consequence of invasion, or expansion, out of necessity (such as women working when men went off to war), or from knowledge. Some of those examples are harsh and abrupt while others are more gentle and slow. The very best traditions seem to be ones we take and tweak from other cultures and make our own, like many of our Christmas traditions.
Several years ago, when my oldest son was in the 7th grade, I watched a show on PBS. I remember it well because it was my son’s first band concert and I was unable to attend because I was sick. The show was called Rick Steves’ European Christmas and was all about Christmas traditions. It was very enlightening and good insight into how our American Christmas traditions came about and evolved. I watched the show again this past weekend and it was as fascinating as I remembered, only it made me want even more. I love learning new things. 😉 I suppose it’s the writer in me. I went on a hunt for documentaries on Christmas and thought I’d share my list with you: The First Silent Night, The Legends of Santa, Christmas Over the Years, Christmas in England, and finally, The Seasoned Traveler Christmas Markets.
My family does have a few customs we follow every season. We watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as a family, my mother, sister, and I have an annual shopping trip together, and my niece and I make cookies.
During my childhood we drove around and look at Christmas Lights while we waited for Santa. Growing up we opened gifts on Christmas Eve, so, of course, we had to do something while waiting for Santa. 🙂 I grew up and got a family of my own and Santa stopped making early stops at my parent’s home and looking at lights went by the wayside. I have to admit, I miss that custom. It was always so much fun. Perhaps some of it was the excitement knowing that Santa was on his way, but even now I love the thousands of lights and seeing how different houses are decorated. Perhaps tonight when we gather at my folk’s house on Christmas Eve, I can persuade them to take a drive?
No matter how you spend your holiday, I hope you have a wonderful evening and a fantastic day tomorrow. Stay warm, stay safe, and…