Sunday, December 23, 2007

#90.... Holiday Memories

Some times holidays are holy days. Other times holidays are days where we take a break from the mundane, day to day chores of living. At this time of the year, for some, many I hope, a holiday is both a celebration of a holy day as well as a break from our daily living.

Those breaks are reasons for extended family to connect for a time, usually a day, and have a feast of some sort to renew the knowledge of each other and to remember times in the past when we chuckled over faux-pas, shared pleasant happenings, ie the joy of living and being together, and just plain sharing and creating new memories.

As the days and years go by traditions are created with each get together and the recreating of these traditions become as crucial to the holiday as the holiday itself.

What to serve at Thanksgiving dinner is never a problem. We'll have what we've had for the past 60 years, and the sixty years before that. We''ll have Aunt Nellie's pumpkin pie, Aunt Mildred's Date bread, Grandma's meat pie, And great grandpa's dandelion wine that uncle Fred and then cousin Carl has continued to make from the original recipe crafted 400 years ago.
Turkey! Turkey you ask? Of course there'll be turkey, and it'll be cooked in Aunt Nellie's roasting pan that she inherited from her mother and we've cooked every turkey in since.
How about something new? Ok, how about "Chelle's" pis-pudd?

Will we get an artificial tree for Christmas this year? Nooooooooo!!!! comes the cry from across the miles. We've always had a real tree. It won't be Christmas without a real tree.
Where's the ornament I made in 1st grade, it's always the first one we put on the tree. Will there be a Tavern Puzzle under the tree this year? How about a Tom Clark gnome, or a special coin set. Who knows? Only Santa knows!

"Mom" where are the Christmas albums?" We want to see the picture of us standing on the stairs in those goofy Christmas hats that dad took.

"What can I get for my brother? He's got everything!"
"Make the brazilnut bread that your mother always made for him, You know he always loves that"

Let's not forget The sending of Christmas cards; the chance to touch a special someone that you rarely see but want them to know that you still think of them and to those you see frequently but want to extend a toast to them in the season of giving.

Occasionally new things are introduced but rarely are the old habits laid aside.

This year we added something new to our traditions for Christmas: Santons

In the fall of this year we took a holiday/vacation to France. We visited the Provence region and met a blogger friend and her family; Corey Amaro.
During our stay, Corey introduced us to French flea-marketing. D. was beyond delighted, and during one such browse she discovered these little clay figurines depicting French folk from all walks of life. Corey explained to her that these were called Santons and they were products of Provence and were used for creating Christmas Scenes depicting the birth of Christ.
"During the French Revolution, a ban on religious expression halted the midnight mass on Christmas Eve and churches were closed. The clever people of Marseilles outwitted the ban by replacing the religious figurines of the Nativity with everyday people of the village. They began by using people as members of a public nativity. From there the idea came to make the clay statues representing those people who had participated in the manger scene. The main idea was people giving a gift of their labor to the Baby Jesus."

One of the traditions in our home began in 1995, when I purchased, as a gift for my wife a Stable and creche starter set manufactured by an Italian company; Fontanini.
Every year I purchase 3 or four additional pieces and give them as gifts to D.. Currently we are at 40+ pieces, not counting this year. Well ,that is if there are any forthcoming this year.
She may have to make do with the addition of the French connection; the santons of Provence. Some were purchased at a flea market in Provence, two more were found at a Brocante in Paris, and two very precious santons were parting gifts form Corey.

Now every year when we celebrate the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth, we will add our French Santons to the creche and remember the new friends we've made in France.

Corey and rel sitting, D. and French husband standing. Dinner at Chateau Nans des Pins.

Here's to New friends and new traditions!

To all who pass by here; may all your holiday memories be full of love and kindness, and may your gifts bring broad smiles to their recipients.
Thank-you one and all, old and new, for making our lives all the more richer!

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Blogger Becca said...

How nice that you can add a new tradition based on your very special trip to France! I like that :)

Have a joyous holiday, Rel!

6:46 PM  
Blogger twitches said...

Loved reading about your traditions!

Happy happy!

10:44 PM  
Blogger tongue in cheek said...

Hello Santons!

What a pleasure it was to meet you and to share time with you at the flea market! D found the best things for a song, I have told that story a million times.
I love your creche!

5:50 AM  
Blogger Churlita said...

I kicked around the idea of fake tree, but my girls would never stand for it.

Here's to holiday traditions...No matter how much work they take.

11:57 AM  
Blogger susan said...

My first visit to your blog and what a gift. I'll be back.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous UL said...

Have a wonderful holiday season, rel, hope you have tonnes of fun.. thank you.

10:39 PM  
Blogger tumblewords said...

I always enjoy your posts! This one is no exception...lovely photos, as well!

8:50 PM  
Anonymous UL said...

Thank you, rel. Just got to read this too...I am glad our paths crossed albeit cyber, here's wishing you and yours a wonderful season...thanks for sharing these lovely thoughts.

11:26 PM  

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