Saturday, December 24, 2011

God Jul (Merry Christmas)

My Dad’s family has gathered on Christmas Eve longer than I’ve been alive.  My grandfather immigrated alone from Sweden as a young man. He married my grandmother and had seven children. I’ve lost track of how many descendants there are now.  A few years ago, my aunt started decorating one of her trees with old photos of all the cousins when we were little kids. The toys under the tree are all ones we remember playing with. They’ve certainly been around longer than I’ve been alive. 

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A shot of apricot brandy has always been part of the evening’s entertainment. It is passed around by the patriarch of the family. He hands you the shot, and you salute him with a hearty “Skol” (cheers) . Not sure how or why it was ever started or if it is even a tradition in Sweden, I just know it goes down smoothly, warms you up and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

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Things change. Children grow. People pass on. I hope to carry these traditions on though, so my children can say they remember them for as long as they’ve been alive. I think it is important.
Does your family have Christmas traditions you still practice?

10 comments:

Michelle said...

My maternal grandmother immigrated from Sweden, and my maternal grandmother immigrated from Germany, so growing up, Christmas Eve was my favorite part of Christmas. But for my husband's family, the big event was Christmas morning. My husband has been unyielding in keeping his family's tradition, and I am STILL mourning the "loss" of my Christmas Eve after 27+ years of marriage!

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

I love the idea of decorating the tree with old family photos! Merry Christmas!

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

Ohhh, this made me sad for the commenter, Michelle. Sad that her traditions of Christmas Eve could not be woven into the family tradition. :-(

Karen Anne said...

Yes Michelle, do try again to do something on Christmas Eve as well as on Christmas morning, even if you have to do it by yourself.

My paternal grandfather immigrated from Denmark, and a wonderful "present" this year was finding a third cousin still in Denmark who had photographs of my great grandmother and her siblings. Still no photo of my great grandfather, but who knows what may happen.

Historical Ken said...

Wonderful tradition! We have many traditions in my family, but I believe the biggest one belongs to the homemade cannoli that we make - totally from scratch - from a recipe passed down from my Sicilian grandfather, who passed away in 1972.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Milah said...

We don't have traditions that date back that far, but have started new ones with our children and grand children.

I like yours though.....I'd have to have a shot to tolerate some of my relatives. LOL!

Love the Christmas tree, clearly your Aunt loves her family. ;D

Florida Farm Girl said...

Unfortunately, no, we don't have traditions. With both parents gone, my siblings scattered and our kids over a thousand miles away, we don't do much. Just friends over for dinner, or a nice dinner together. Merry Christmas to all of you. God Bless.

Mary Ann said...

Merry Christmas, Christine, God Jul to you!

Christmas Eve was our family tradition, and how I miss it. The tree with pictures of all the cousins is perfect, and I am going to remember that for next year... what a great tradition!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Tim's family does the same thing. Not apricot, but a shot of something. Called communion shots.

Jennifer said...

Both of my parents are mentally ill (my father actually resides 50% of the time in the VA mental ward) and so holidays weren't carried out in a traditional sense. We are all from different dad's as well and different ages... I am the oldest and therefore created celebrations for me and my siblings from scratch. (We are currently 28, 18-dyslexic and bipolar, and 11-moderate autistic.) So our holiday traditions are INTERESTING :) ....

1. making and drinking rootbeer floats as we set up the tree.

2. fireworks (sparkelers) in the country on Christmas night

3. Christmas Breakfast with "Christmas Toast" (french toast with cinnamon and vanilla)