Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Today, I spent some time thinking about our Christmas traditions. 

Santa Traditions

When I was a little girl Santa always came to our house on Christmas Eve.  We lived on a farm which had two houses.  As my father worked throughout the day we were at the main house, which was grandma and grandpa’s house.  And then when it was time to go home the tree would be lit and Santa had left presents under the tree.  The reason Santa came on Christmas eve was because my father milked cows in the morning and he would miss out on the festivities.

Santa Memories – A Real Tear Jerker

When I was very young we went to our uncle’s house for a Christmas party.  At the party Santa came and all of the kiddies became hysterical.  There are photos of all of the kids crying.  I remember spending the rest of the time under the kitchen table.  I wouldn’t come out and my aunt game me my present under the table, which was a pretty pastel orange sweater.

Grandma and Baby Jesus

At my grandma’s house we always decorated the tree together.  She had lots of old Christmas tree ornaments and old Christmas cards used for decorating the tree.  Every year we would take this old, broken baby doll and put on a new paper swaddling wrap.  Then we would lay the doll on the boughs of the Christmas tree.  This was our baby Jesus.

Christmas Cards

My grandmother always used to send out Christmas cards. It was always so much fun picking out which cards should go to which people. While she was home she did not miss a year of sending them, and she had lots of people to send them to. Her children alone we’re ten families. In her later years she had really bad arthritis in her hands and could not write. So it was my job to sign all of the cards and address the envelopes for her. I was only 6 or 7 years old, and my handwriting was not the best (seems like it hasn’t improved much with age), but she didn’t care. It is a nice memory. It is too bad the digital age has taken over. A digital Christmas card is just not the same

Oyster Stew

My parents have the tradition of eating oyster stew on Christmas Eve. When I was young we jokingly called the oysters frogs. I am not a big fan of oysters.

I was reading on the internet about having oysters at Christmas and it turns out it is not just my family’s tradition. It appears it came from an Irish tradition, but was embraced by all of the cultures in America. My family happens to be German. Take a look at Roger M. Grace’s article, Tureen of Oyster Stew, Christmas Eve Feast Begins.

Christmas Baking

Baking has always been a big tradition in our family.  We always make frosted sugar cookies, and frosted molasses cookies.  Sometimes we make quarter nut cookies (also called peffernusse), sea-foam candy, fudge, caramel, or pecan fingers.  The biggest special treat we have is kugen (supposed to be pronounced kuchen), which is a sweet bread with raisins and a crunchy sugar topping.  It is really good when it is toasted with butter – real butter.  My husband really loves it, and my mother occasionally breaks tradition and makes a few loaves in the summer.

Christmas Cookies

To this day I really enjoy baking Christmas cookies.  I am always looking for new recipes.  I have every magazine that you see at the check out counter at the grocery store which is featuring Christmas cookie recipes.  I also have a Facebook group page which is a Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange.  Besides recipes it also has other cookie related items.  Check it out, and add one of your favorite recipes.

Christmas Lights

My son and my husband have a tradition of driving around the city to find the best houses decorated for Christmas.  I guess this is like our ride in the sleigh.  When we do this it feels like Christmas.  Warm inside, cold outside, the scent of pine or cinnamon, smiles, and rosy cheeks.

O Christmas Tree

My son and I have created our own Christmas tradition.  Right after we put up our Christmas tree, we turn out all of the lights in the house except the Christmas tree.  Our Christmas tree is decorated with blue lights and all of the ornaments are snowflakes.  This year my son wants to change it a little.  We will still have the blue lights, but all of the ornaments are purple (his favorite color).  After the tree is put up we stand together holding hands, just me and my son, and sing O Christmas Tree.  We don’t even know all the words and just make it up.  Then when the day comes to take the tree down, we do the same things.  It’s like we want to keep that warm memory of the Christmas tree and make that feeling last until the next Christmas. I hate taking it down. I have been known to keep it up way beyond Christmas. My goal each year is to get it down before Easter.

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 Today as we were driving to a nearby mall to find an item that we saw advertised on TV, we saw a man on the corner with a red Santa hat and a cardboard sign that said, “Need money for food.”  The begging Santa caught my son’s eye and he remarked that it wasn’t right to have Santa begging for money on a street corner.

As I drove home I was thinking what if  this was Santa and I wondered what events would have led up to him begging on a busy street corner.  Perhaps it would go something like this:

It was a rough year this year, especially for organizations that were manufacturing products.  The raw materials used to build toys was costly and Santa had to find a way to cut back expenses.  So rather than manufacturing his own toys he imported them from China.  When he got the toys, the elves and Santa inspected them and found out that the Chinese manufacturers had used paint that contained lead.  Thankfully Santa caught this before he gave the toys to children.  So that idea didn’t work out very well and was a total waste of money, which made the need to cut expenses that much more important. 

Meanwhile Santa stored all of the lead-painted toys in an old warehouse that they didn’t use any more.  Within a short time he was contacted by the Environmental Agency.  It turns out with the thawing snow, the warehouse was flooded and the whole area was contaminated from the lead paint on the toys from China.  The Environmental Agency fined Santa and he was required to clean up the contamination.  This was just another expense that Santa did not need.

Then Santa tried a new idea which was to find cheaper labor.  He had worked with the elves a long time, but he had to do something to reduce the cost.  So he hired a group in India and he outsourced all of the manufacturing of toys.  This meant he had to lay off the elves, which was really sad, but needed to be done in these hard times.  Thank goodness Obama got the unemployment insurance extended.

After a short time Santa was having issues with the work force in India.  It took all of his time communicating to the Indian group so that they could build the toys properly. This was not allowing Santa time to check his lists of who was naughty and who was nice, which should be his main responsibility. The Indian group required every little detail to be written down, which was a shock for Santa.  His elves did not have to have written procedures and requirements in order to build toys.  They had years of experience and just knew what needed to be done.  Santa ended up hiring back several of the elves to provide instructions for the group in India.  They also had to test every item built to ensure no mistakes had been made.  The other big issue was the turnover rate of the Indian workers.  It seemed like you would just get them trained and then they would quit and go to a competitor that was paying more.    With all of these issues, Santa ended up hiring back the majority of the elves.  As a result of this, the cost for the elves and for the contract for outsourcing was costing him more money than what he was spending before he outsourced the work.

While all of this was going on Mrs. Santa Claus was getting very stressed about the decisions that had to be made.  This really affected Mrs. Claus’ health.  With the anxiety she started to have an eating disorder and was binge eating, which was making her gain weight.  To help her with her anxiety and depression, the North Pole doctor prescribed an anti-depressant and suggested counseling for the binge eating.  She also told the doctor she was having a hard time sleeping.  So he prescribed a sleeping pill.  Eventually Santa found out that Mrs. Claus had gotten involved in so many drugs that she needed to go to rehab.  She was currently participating in a nine step program.  Santa just hoped she would stay and complete the program.

Eventually all of this caught up with Santa.  He had taken out a mortgage loan to make up for the expenses he had acquired from trying alternative manufacturing methods.  Within no time, Santa was late on his payments to the bank, and the bank foreclosed on the North Pole.  Santa and Mrs. Claus were kicked out of the North Pole, and the bank sold Santa’s home and the toy manufacturing business.  Now Santa was without a home and job, the elves had nowhere to work and were back on unemployment, and the reindeer had no place to go.  Eventually the Animal Protection Agency found out that the reindeer had no home, so they picked them up and sent them to the animal shelter.  The animal shelter was trying to find new homes for the reindeer and needed to do it within 14 days, otherwise the reindeer would no longer be.  The shelter could not afford taking care of the reindeer for very long.

Santa himself was looking for a job, but so far he was not having any luck.  There just wasn’t a big need for a CEO of a toy manufacturing company.  Things just seemed to get worse and worse for Santa, and that is how we found him begging for money for food on the street corner.  These hard economic times really affected poor Santa.

Check out this:  Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange.  This is a group page I created.  I don’t know many people in my community and this is my way of having a cookie exchange.  Lots of great recipes.  There are also some other Christmas cookie goodies.  Add your own favorite recipes too!  Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!