Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Twas the night before Christmas - and all through the house -
Preparations are going on for the big day - food is being prepared - gifts are being wrapped - plots are hatched for treasure hunts for special gifts and plans are being made for that extra special surprise for loved ones.
I love Christmas eve - the excitement - the fun - the smells - the food. We have a drop-in day - with the table laden with food and music playing. We don't have anything traditional in the way of food - just things that our family loves.
A CHARMING CHRISTMAS EVE POEM
Last night I had a lovely dream,
But strange as it could be,
For on the hill beside our house
Was a great Christmas tree.
It glowed with lighted candles,
High at the top, a star,
And 'round it, dancing in a ring,
Children from near and far.
There were little English girls,
Swiss boys with funny skis,
Dutch children in their wooden shoes,
Joined hands with shy Chinese.
Turkish lads is tussled fez,
Tots from France and Greece and Poland,
Laughing as the children do
In the safety of a free land.
Perhaps my dream's a prophecy
Of Christmases to be,
When little children everywhere
Can sing because they're free.
I surely wish with all my heart,
On this day joy and mirth,
That peace and love and happiness
Shall soon cover the earth.
Trees are glowing with lights. I love holiday traditions!
In Germany, the last ornament on the tree is a pickle shaped ornament. In the morning, the child who finds the Christmas pickle gets a special present.
Traditionally, the doors of the home were thrown open at midnight on Christmas Eve to let the trapped evil spirits out.
The Christmas candle is left burning in a window all night to enlighten the path of the good luck for the coming year to the household.
Sweeping the threshold on Christmas eve was thought to clear out trouble for the next year.
Lucky birds are welcome on Christmas and signify good luck.
Many traditions go along with eating at the holidays
Three sips of salted water before Christmas dinner was said to bring good luck.
It was believed to be lucky to eat an apple on Christmas Eve.
Fish scales were placed under the dinner plates for luck. (don't have any pictures of fish scales that looked christmasy - so we will look at snowmen on pretty red dishes)
A pot of honey on the table was thought to be a protection against evil.
Mushrooms were served on Christmas dinner table to give health and strength.
Young unmarried girls used to cut a twig from the cherry tree on St Barbora's Day or 4th of December and put it in water. If it bloomed by Christmas Eve, her marriage was predicted within a year.
If shaking an Elder Tree on Christmas Eve makes a dog bark, then the young girl was said to find the man of her dreams in the general direction of the bark.
According to English customs, 'If you do not give a new pair of shoes to a poor person at least once in your lifetime, you will go barefoot in the next world', so English people often give shoes as Christmas presents to the poor.
Unmarried girls may throw a shoe over their shoulders and towards the door. If the shoe lands with its toe pointing towards the door the girl will marry within a year.
So we travel about the world - having fun with traditions and ceremonies - may your Christmas Eve be wonderful in every way.