Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Eve.... 2016

I realize this has some troubles- blogger has had bad day, I think !


Christmas Eve....  Such a magical night.

"Say goodbye to November

She must be on her way
The cold winds of December
Feel like they're here to stay
Me, I'll just count the snowflakes
As they start to fall
Getting lost in the beauty
The magic of it all...

And our eyes filled with wonder

As the reindeer take to flight...


It's Christmas eve
Bells will ring
Through the town we gather to sing.
Christmas eve
Has begun
Peace and love to everyone

Light the festive candles

They'll chase the shadows away
Gathering round the yule log
With handfuls of holly
Winter winds will whisper
Through the shivering pines
Never have the stars
Looked brighter than tonight...

It's Christmas eve
Bells will ring
Through the town we gather to sing.
Christmas eve
Has begun,
Peace and love to everyone''
(Blackmore's Night
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzd1qVtItIc&list=RDMMXzd1qVtItIc )


When I was little, I couldn't wait til Christmas Eve. As poor as we were, Christmas was always a huge event. First, school let us all free for the holidays, lots of time to play. We'd tramp out to the woods where the crowsfoot grew, gathering lots of it ,and standing pine, stuffing it into burlap bags. Some weighed more than we did! Home again, then to making wreaths. Adding a huge red bow made each one perfect. We would then, take our treasures to each of our neighbors' houses.   For those who've never seen Crows Foot, here's a picture:



Crow's Foot:


It grows close to the ground and makes a wonderful wreath.

I know our parents liked us finding things to keep us busy as they had many things to be finished before Christmas Eve. We'd make decorations for the tree- popcorn strung on string, cranberries and blueberries on thread.  All of our 'store bought' decorations were quite old- they'd be very expensive antiques by now. We were so careful to not drop one on the tiled floor, but at least one got broken each year.

Our tree was one that'd been chosen a month before from the 'woods'. Our Dad would take an axe and we'd all walk out to cut it down. The little ones were told to ''stand back!"  They did- not wanting to get squished under a big fuzzy tree! When I was young, my Dad told us all a story of how the tree never wanted to be chosen as a Christmas tree... that it wanted to live out it's life in grandeur and in peace in the forest. So, we'd all bow our heads and one of us ( who'd been working on it all year long) would read our prayer to the trees. To thank them for being here and helping Mother Nature to continue living. Some of these prayers of thanks were real short, and some went on and on and onnnnnnnnnnnnnn.  Soon, we had a gorgeous tree in the tree stand, as my parents argued over whether it was straight or not. We kids thought this was silly. After all, what Christmas tree wasn't perfect, no matter what ? Let the decorating begin!

Then the long wait began. Those who already knew Santa Claus lived in our hearts and wasn't 'real', tried hard to not let on that he wasn't... 

I still have a handmade sign that simply reads "Believe". I still believe. Not in Santa or St Nick, or whatever name is given to him, but in Christmas and what it stands for. As I got older, I liked to celebrate the Winter Solstice as well- "Yule"...  Two grand celebrations with in the same week ? How perfect.

 Now that I am older, Christmas doesn't hold the fascination that it did when I was 10 or even 20. I noticed how my parents, as they grew older, got more into the religious side of Christmas. Sure, it's a Huge part of the holiday but as a child , those gifts called my name.  

We tried to go to the midnight service at church Christmas Eve, but it turned out that the littler ones stayed home and wait for Santa. I have some old family photos of various Christmas' and each one brought back such memories. It wasn't long til we were all adults and off on our own. We'd all 'go home' for Christmas Eve though.... The Finnish peoples celebrated Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day.
( http://www.dlc.fi/~marianna/gourmet/xmas_2.htm  , for some reading ) So that's what we did. It was great fun, and even after my Dad was gone, Mom still had that evening for all of us. 

Back to being 8 again!  Morning arrived after, ohhhhhhhhhhh, a good 24 hours of waiting in bed. We were not allowed to get up until our parents did, which was sheer torture. Breakfast and then it was time! We'd each get a gift, and had to wait politely until the first gift was opened, and enjoyed. Thankyous, hugs and kisses on cheeks for the person who'd given it.  It was marvelous.

For me, Christmas is still magical and fun- just different now. My siblings are scattered to the 4 winds, parents are long gone,as is our homestead. No place to go 'home'. My husband and I have a quiet celebration, open gifts and create a wonderful Christmas feast for the evening. It's pleasant and peaceful.... 
but I still miss those early Christmas'...




''It's Christmas eve,
Bells will ring
Through the town we gather to sing.


Christmas eve,
Has begun...
Peace and love to everyone.''

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