Prompt for December 11:
Did your immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions from their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned? Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa?
My almost-82-year-old dad is 100% German, I think - three out of his four grandparents emigrated from Germany, and the other was the daughter of a German immigrant. Dad says that when he was a child, they celebrated Saint Nicholas Day on December 6. He and his four siblings would hang their stockings ("the biggest socks we could find") on their phony fireplace in their Chicago area home. The next morning, they would find them full of fruit (tangerines and Golden Delicious apples), nuts (walnuts and pecans in the shell), and candy.
We didn't do this when I was a child, but I'm hoping some of my aunts and cousins read this and let me know if they celebrated Saint Nicholas Day in their families, then or now.
I have some good friends, Jeff and Kathleen, who celebrate Hanukkah as well as Christmas--at least, I assume they do, because Kathleen makes the best latkes!
When my son Eric was growing up, we tried to observe the true Advent (the period before Christmas beginning four Sundays before Christmas Day - so it would often begin in November--as it did this year, on the 28th-- and NOT on December 1). When Eric was in kindergarten, he made a lovely wreath with dried pasta, pine cones, and walnuts sprayed with gold paint. With a simple ring of candle holders added, it makes the perfect Advent wreath. I've put a lovely music box snow globe (it plays "Oh Holy Night") with the Nativity scene that my paternal grandmother gave me years ago in the center. To the right is a photo of the Advent wreath and snow globe music box Nativity scene.
(Post #11 in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Geneabloggers.com. Originally published December 11, 2009; slight variations made this year.)
© Amanda Pape - 2010