Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Add Some Holiday Tradition

By Ashlei Jackson, Qlixite

The holidays are centered around tradition! Everyone has that time-honored activity or item that reminds them of childhood memories of Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza...or however you celebrate - these traditions make this ‘Wonderful Time of the Year” special and give meaning to the holidays.    Thinking of adding a new tradition this year? Here are some various traditions that can add to your festive season!
The Christmas Pickle - The exact country of origin for putting a pickle ornament on your tree is fairly unknown but visit any ornament section of the store and you’re bound to find a pickle ornament! The Tradition: The ornament is hidden on the tree on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, all of the children in the house take turns looking for the pickle ornament and the child who finds the Christmas pickle receives an extra present for his or her good work.
Caroling - Also called a noel, song or hymn - the act of groups of people singing outside in the wintertime goes back to the Middle Ages making them some of the oldest musical compositions still regularly sung. The Tradition: Whether you physically go sing in a choir or caroling group - include singing as a family (not just listening) to your regular holiday activities to add an uplifting note.
Hang Holly - To the Irish Celtics, holly represented both life and rebirth; the evergreen leaves symbolized life during a time when all else was bare and the red berries represented the coming of Spring. The Tradition: Add Holly to your home to welcome in the New Year and remind you of hope.
Light a Rememberance Candle on the Winter Solstice - The Winter Solstice is the day of the year when the position of the earth in respect to the sun results in the shortest period of daylight hours. It became very important for many cultures to ‘remind’ people that the light would ‘return.’ The Tradition: On the evening of the Winter Solstice, sit in a darkened area and each person take turns lighting a candle. Whether you choose to light candles to symbolize those people who may have passed away or choose to have the candles represent goals is up to you. Leave the candles lit until bedtime, then use a lid to extinguish the flames instead of blowing them out which would blow away the good ‘luck’ or ‘memories.’
• Stocking Buttons - Children often go through minor depression the day you take down all decorations. The Tradition: On the chosen day of clean up, at dinner, a small box is set next to the dinner plate of each person. Inside is a button that relates to the person/child. After dinner each person sews the button on their stocking which then gets packed away. This special activity makes cleaning up a positive event.
The Higher Gift Box - This is one of my own traditions that I am starting. Every year the term ‘Wish List’ turns into practically an epic quest; find the perfect gift. This year the higher gift box is making us think beyond ourselves all year long. The Tradition: Buy or make a small box. Place it somewhere high on the tree or mantle where it can be easily seen but ‘out of reach’. On a specific day, like Christmas Eve, retrieve the box and have each person write down a ‘gift’ they plan to give in the coming year on a piece of paper - the gift can be to your family, community, God, the world - anyone! But it cannot be something bought with money and forgotten. Put all of the papers in the box and store away. The following Christmas, whether privately or as a family discuss your gifts, whether they were achieved and how important giving is to this time of year.

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