Monday, December 19, 2016

Saturday Challenge- Christmas Meme

From GeneaMusings: Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision. Here's your chance to sit on Genea-Santa's lap (virtually) and tell him your Christmas traditions.

Pauleen (Cassmob) who writes the Family history across the seas blog started a Christmas meme in 2012 - see Deck the Halls - 2012 Christmas GeneaMeme.  So we will use that for SNGF this week (since very few readers did it in past years!):

1)  Copy and paste the meme questions into your blog or word processor, and then answer the questions.  You could use short statements, long paragraphs or provide a link to one of your earlier posts.

2)  Tell us about your meme answers in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

3)  Be sure to leave a comment on Pauleen's blog post about your entry in this Christmas 2016 Geneameme.  She'll be surprised!

Here's mine (questions in green, answers in red):

1.     Do you have any special Xmas traditions in your family?  Traditionally it has been Christmas at my parents’ house. I was saying the other day that this will be only the second time in my life that I haven’t spent at least part of the day at their house and the first without either of my parents.

As a child I would get up Christmas morning and see what Santa had brought me. Was it peculiar to my house that Santa never wrapped his gifts, but rather just left them under the tree? Usually some of the family would gather there by late morning and we’d sit down sometime between 12 and 1 and have our big dinner. After the food was taken care of and the dishes done, we got to open our presents that we exchanged with each other.

As an adult it was much the same, however, I was the one arriving there and in later years, the person that got most if not all of the dinner prepared. Mom would still want to contribute and help with things, but as she got older it was more difficult for her and I would try to relieve her of that work.
2.     Is church attendance an important part of your Christmas celebrations and do you go the evening before or on Xmas Day?  As a child we didn’t go often. My Dad was not much with going to church as I remembered, however, before I was born, the family was very involved. As an adult I go to the Christmas Eve service and in recent years have been part of the Christmas “pageant.” It isn’t an actual pageant as it is a small congregation of mostly older people. We do the reading about Christmas Eve and as carols are sung between verses, people take the appropriate figurines up and place them in the manger.
3.     Did/do you or your children/grandchildren believe in Santa?  Of course! I still believe. As I got older and came to realize the myth behind Santa, he was explained to me. For little children many of our concepts are hard to understand. However, they can see such things as love and generosity in Santa’s annual trip from the North Pole. It is the concrete manifestation of these concepts that is Santa and, therefore, he is real, especially in the eyes of the little children.
4.     Do you go carolling in your neighbourhood?  I saw a comic the other day where one of the main characters sings so badly he was paid not to carol. That would be me. Unfortunately, nobody ever does come through with the money!
5.     What’s your favourite Christmas music?  I like best the children’s songs and other upbeat traditional songs about Christmas. All of the hymns are beautiful, but I most enjoy the fun ones.
6.     What’s your favourite Christmas carol?  Go Tell It On The Mountain. (I think that’s considered a carol).
7.     Do you have a special Xmas movie/book you like to watch/read?  The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. Yes, I’m a child at heart. Years ago, after my Dad died, I was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit and decorating the tree. I put the DVD of this on and went ahead decorating singing along and laughing at his antics. It is now a Christmas tradition in my house.
8.     Does your family do individual gifts, gifts for littlies only, Secret Santa (aka Kris Kringle)?  We don’t do much with gifts anymore. The family is spread out so that it is impossible to know what anyone might want or even like. I just exchange gifts with my husband now.
9.     Is your main Christmas meal indoors or outdoors, at home or away?  Indoors. Traditionally at my parents. This year just my husband and I. We’ll be getting together with one of my brothers and some of his family the day after for a meal.
10.   What do you eat as your main course for the Christmas meal?  A nice meal. What is actually consists of varies over the years. Either turkey, ham, or roast beef usually with many side dishes and of course, dessert.
11.   Do you have a special recipe you use for Xmas?  The menu varies so, that I don’t really have any special recipes. We almost always have the holiday salad that I mentioned at Thanksgiving. There are some cookies that Mom always used to make at Christmas time. I’m making some of them this year and will probably make a few more later in the winter.
12.   Does Christmas pudding feature on the Xmas menu? Is it your recipe or one you inherited?  We've never had Christmas pudding.
13.   Do you have any other special Christmas foods? What are they?  The cookies I mentioned. Cream cheese spritz, cherry slices, pecan Tassies and sugar cookies were almost always around. Right now there are cherry slices and Snickerdoodles at my house.
14.   Do you give home-made food/craft for gifts at Christmas?  I haven’t in recent years; however, my Mom was likely to have at least a couple crafted items as presents for people. Knitted items, sewn, beaded or just about anything else. Many years our tree was covered with ornaments that her and I had made.
15.   Do you return to your family for Xmas or vice versa?  In previous years it was my parents’ house. This year some of us will be gathering at my brother’s.
16.   Is your Christmas celebrated differently from your childhood ones? If yes, how does it differ?  This is definitely a year of change.

17.   How do you celebrate Xmas with your friends? Lunch? Pre-Xmas outings? Drop-ins? Sending Christmas Cards and talking with far-flung friends on Facebook mostly. When I worked in the library we would have a staff party just before the Christmas break. The best ones were when we all pitched in and brought something rather than having a catered luncheon.
18.   Do you decorate your house with lights? A little or a lot?  That is too difficult for us the way our lawn is and with a steep pitched roof. We do have a small tree on our front porch that we plug in on evenings that we remember.
19.   Is your neighbourhood a “Xmas lights” tour venue?  There are a few people that decorate with lights, but not too many. The suburbs tend to do a lot more than the city it seems.
20.   Does your family attend Carols by Candlelight singalongs/concerts? Where?  No. It’s usually too cold! I get chilled very easily, so not something that I find enjoyable.
21.   Have any of your Christmases been spent camping (unlikely for our northern-hemisphere friends)?  Yes. Christmas 1987 was spent in Ocala Forest. Between semesters at college that year, my parents and I got in our camper and headed south for Florida. We spent Christmas in a campground outside of Ocala and attended a potluck gathering there as our main meal.
22.   Is Christmas spent at your home, with family or at a holiday venue?  At home, although I thought about going to a restaurant this year instead of cooking.
23.   Do you have snow for Christmas where you live?  Upstate New York? We sometimes have blizzards.
24.   Do you have a Christmas tree every year?  Always. One year when I was too sick to put a regular one up, I bought a small, 3-foot tree. That’s the one that is on the porch now.
25.   Is your Christmas tree a live tree (potted/harvested) or an imitation?  I vaguely remember having a real tree when I was a small child. Then Mom discovered that she was allergic to a mold that grows on the cut stump. Dad went out and bought an artificial one and that’s what we’ve had ever since. Even after I lived on my own I’ve continued because when I’m near a real one I get congested awful and suspect I probably have the same allergy that Mom did.
26.   Do you have special Xmas tree decorations?  A few are special. We have one that commemorates our first Christmas after we were married. I also like to add German stars to our tree. These are folded paper decorations that I learned to make as a teenager. They are also reflective of my husband’s heritage.
27.   Which is more important to your family, Christmas or Thanksgiving?  I’ve always preferred Thanksgiving. However, I don’t think one has ever been more important than the other.

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