I did not grow up with the same Christmas traditions I celebrate today with my children. While we did believe in Santa Claus and he visited our house, he never eat any cookies or drank any milk. We didn't leave food for his reindeers and we did not read "It was the night before Christmas." My Dad would bring home a tree a few days before Christmas and I would spend Christmas Eve day with my two brothers decorating the tree. I am not sure artificial trees existed back then and the smell of the fresh tree was pure pleasure. We did not have lights to put on and no water went into the tree stand. The ornaments have been passed on by generations and we took care in finding the right spot for each and everyone. We also decorated with candy, colorful ones, wrapped up in foil and adding a nice shine to our tree. We added white cotton to make it look like snow. On top of the tree we had a star. On Christmas Eve we sang to our tree and light up sparklers. We would gather at our house and practice a few carols so that we could go caroling. My Aunt sang in the church choir and she would oversee our caroling practice. My brothers were good singers and we tried to learn new carols every year. Then we would go caroling to our family and friends. During the evening our group would get bigger, picking up more carolers as the night went on. Everyone offers you something to drink and eat! We warm up between houses and just have a great time. Late in the evening we would all go to church and then back home, only to find that Santa Claus had been to our house! Christmas Day was spent with family and friends, eating away!
One of my favorite traditions I do with my own children is making cookies. For us to share with our friends and family and also to leave for Santa. He visits every year and we don't want to disappoint him.
We have a small family here and not many traditions are in place. I hope to be able to travel to Romania during the winter holidays some time soon. I don't know if the traditions I grew up with were preserved and I hope to not be disappointed if some of the things I remember we no longer do. But I know that Christmas spent with family and friends still holds that magic, no matter where in the world we are. While we still BELIEVE at our house, I am getting ready for next year when Christmas will not be so much about Santa Claus but more about the magic and the traditions! There is so much that can be preserved and remembered and I hope that, many years from now, some of the traditions that we try to keep will still be remembered and passed down from generation to generation.
Merry Christmas everyone!