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Topic: Winter celebrations people participate in

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Subject: Winter celebrations people participate in
Date Posted: 12/21/2008 9:18 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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I hope this can be a friendly chat.  As December brings brings in many holidays from Christmas to Kwanzaa to Chanukah to Winter Solstice, I thought it would be neat to talk about the celebrations we all participate in and the different ways we might celebrate them.  Or perhaps you've heard of a different celebration and would like to share it.

My family celebrates Christmas though we are not religious.  It's a family holiday for us.  We decorated our tree yesterday (angel Bullwinkle is on top) with the train underneath, sang songs, read Sophie's Surprise (a Christmas book), made paper snowflakes and God's Eyes, and had dinner together.  We'll go to a small party at my sister's house Christmas Eve.  Christmas morning is always spent at my house opening presents and having breakfast together.  It's the only time my entire family is together.  Everyone leaves around 1.  Then everyone goes to dinner at different places.  Amongst all this crazyness, I like to think of it as a time to spread some goodwill and to meditate on the possibility of peace and hope.

Tell us what you've celebrated in December.



Last Edited on: 12/21/08 9:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/21/2008 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,488
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This was in my newspaper today and I thought it was interesting.  I had never head of it before.  It is the celebration of Yalda, a Zoroastian celebration, and takes place in Iran. 

It is a winter solstice type celebration and represents the victory of light over darkness.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jmZJSujjIewp8JV3UzfjBLOLdBJgD956NUGO2

What I found interesting was during the revolution of the late 1970s they tried to prohibit the celebrations, but the Iranian people refused to stop celebrating though the country is majority Muslim.   There is a smaller Zoroastrian community than their once was but Yalda lives on.   According to the article "Almost all Iranians, no matter their religion, language and race, celebrate Yalda," said Hooshang Sohaei as he stood in a long line at a confectionary shop in north Tehran to buy sweets and dry fruit."

 

Date Posted: 12/21/2008 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 2,087
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We celebrate Christmas as well, even though both my husband and myself are unbelievers.  Wedon't celebrate the religious part of it but we observe the holiday and make it what we will.   We give presents and have a "Christmas dinner."  We don't even think about it being Jesus' birthday, but just enjoy the holiday.

 

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 12:15 AM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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Last Edited on: 1/20/09 7:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 12/22/2008 1:16 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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We don't really have a celebration, but we do have a feast, and we put up a tree in the Pagan tradition.  We don't exchange gifts but we do ezxchange cards/letters.  Our home decor is white, lighted, five-pointed stars in the windows and colored lights behind the glas-block window in the front of the house.  We burn a Yule log, and light the Chalice on the night of our feast which is usually Dec. 24 or sometimes on Yule.

 

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 1:46 AM ET
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Last Edited on: 1/20/09 7:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/22/2008 3:07 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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Rainey, we've done gingerbread houses too.  I admire you starting them from scratch.  They are alot of work and take tremendous patience.

 

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 12/22/2008 3:50 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
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Thanks, Rainey!  The only pic that is mine is the pic of J (about 6 mos old, IIRC...)

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
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That pic of J is the CUTEST! 

Being Italian, our main Christmas tradition is just eating.  A LOT!  :)

What seemed like a tradition as a kid was just being out in the glorious snow.  Sledding, skiing, making snowmen/snow angels.  But as the years passed, there are less Christmases with snow.  It's kind of depressing.

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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Last Edited on: 1/20/09 7:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 12/22/2008 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
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Thanks for the recipe Rainey!!

/singing: All I want for X-Mas is an oven that's fixed! /singing

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 1:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
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Last Edited on: 3/26/09 2:29 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/22/2008 4:29 PM ET
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Last Edited on: 1/20/09 7:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/22/2008 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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Rainey, maybe some day when I am adventurous. I am all for the doing, but I get half way through, look at the mess and decide I don't really want to be doing it anymore.  LOL

Another tradition I have is for New Years.  By New Years Eve I usually have all the cards down and holiday newsletters in a stack.  I read each and everyone on New Years Eve.  It gives me a feeling of hope and goodwill from the little notes my friends and family have send to me in December.  It's just a nice way to start the year.

Date Posted: 12/22/2008 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,488
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Kris, that was a wonderful retelling!  My family was also big on giving.  We were encouraged very young to give a present to our siblings.  We were encourage to see our chore money as something to be spent on others as well as ourselves.  My parents were always good about making sure everyone had equal presents.  And, if there was a new boyfriend or girlfriend in the family, they always had something under the tree.  We left no one out. I think the spirit of giving was why my mom let us go through our stockings but we could not open anything else until my Dad got home from work (he worked graveyard at got home around 9 am).  And, then we had to open our presents one by one.  It definitely made for anticipation and for a long day since their were 5 kids to be addressed.

We were also encouraged to donate to Toys for Tots.  I've always got one or two things put aside because everyone needs a little Christmas cheer.  When my Grandma was still alive we always donated small presents to whatever rest home she lived in so that those who would not have family around would have something out of Santa's bag.

On another note, when I was growing up we always went to my Dad's parents for Christmas Eve.  All the cousins were there.  My Grandma was an excellent seamstress and sewed many things.  For Christmas everyone got pajamas.  But, poor Grandma, every year, lost someones pajamas.  It became sort of tradition to find out who would be the person left out.  Grandma would be so fretful, but the pajamas were nowhere to be found.  Sometime around February or March, Grandma would find the pajamas in a closet, under the bed, hidden under her hope chest, in the wine cellar in the basement...LOL  It really was funny.

Date Posted: 1/20/2009 7:14 PM ET
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Date Posted: 1/25/2009 7:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
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I'm a Heathen, and my husband is Pagan. I celebrate Mother Night, Twelfth Night and the twelve days of Yule. He celebrates Yule, and we celebrate Christmas with my In-Laws, who are Christian. My family is mainly protestant Christian, although Dad's side is Catholic and Jewish. My sister is Muslim and I'm not sure what she does in December, but she says "I always accept gifts from family. :-)" So, we eat, drink, and celebrate... a lot. Mary