Tuesday, December 16, 2008

DECEMBER SEVENTEENTH

There's never any question about whether we shall have a tree or not. The issues are fur contra pine, and also the size of the tree. Children always will want a tree that reaches to the roof. My Mom prefer fur, cause the needles stick longer to fur. I for some years would buy a pine with roots and plant it out in the garden after Christmas.
Nowadays we have a tree in the attic... save us the problem with waste, not to talk of the complicated process of getting the sticky growth standing upright on the various foot models. S

Nowadays we have a tree in the attic... saves us the problem with waste, not to talk of the complicated process of getting the sticky growth standing upright on the various foot models.

After painful years of trial and error one finds a suitable spot in the living room for the tree. Important thing is; one must be able to move it out on the floor; to walk or dance around it. If the family is small, the homemade nisse can always join in.
In my opinion the tree shall be lit till over New Year.
Some say the Thirteenth day of Christmas ends the celebration. Some let Christmas last till The Twentieth Day. Then comes the Santa Knut and chase the Jul out.

When we were children, my Mom would not decorate for Christmas until the morning of Christmas Eve.
The two living rooms were shut, my Mom running two and from making this complicated Christmas dinner and a light meal for my Dad coming home from the office at 12. My brother and I were placed around the kitchen table, listening to the radio, a program called "While we are waiting",- no TV in the fifties.
Newly bathed and dressed in new costume, juledress, the minutes hardly ticked. About 3.30 my grandparents would arrive, the doors would swing open, and ooh, what a thrill, what a sight! Homemade paper clippings, lights, flag strings and heaps of glitter.

In the early days my Dad was Santa. I guess we always knew it was my Dad, at least after my brother started to cry at the age of two. I remember thinking, "What a jerk, spoiling all the fun." Daddy's clock revealed him.
Later the gifts were placed under the tree. Sad to say; the burden would be to heavy for one single Santa.
My father would always pretend to worry. "Is the gift heap not tiny this year. Then he would produce some big gifts from the bed room. He would always try to guess what was in the boxes. Even though reading the To and From Tags was forbidden. Here Gunnar caught him in the act three years ago.


Song for the Christmas tree,"You Green Glittering Tree"

1. Good day, you green and glittering tree!
We welcome you as we gladly greet you
With Christmas lights and Norwegian flags
And high on the top is your shining star.
Yes, it must shine for us to remind,
Yes, it must shine for it will remind
Us of our God, yes, of our God.

2. The first Christmas in a foreign land
God lit His brilliant star to show
That, as he promised in prophesy,
He sent His Son for all to see.
Yes, starlight shone on the angel's mirth,
Yes, starlight shone on the angels' mirth
'Round Bethlehem, 'round Bethlehem

3. Our mother taught us of Jesus, the Son,
On evenings when in our home we gathered.
We know His law and His gentle words;
We know we'll never them forsake.
The star shines, and our tree reminds us,
The star shines, and our tree reminds us.
Of His love, yes, of His love.

7 comments:

Mrs. Mac said...

Sweet picture of your beloved dad taking a peek at a give tag under the tree :) ... what a most special treat it must have been for you on Christmas Eve to have your parents reveal the tree that evening. The anticipation must have very great! I am so enjoying your traditions that you are sharing on your blog.

Hugs

Amrita said...

Fun reading about the tree and family afternoon.

Childhood Christmas memories one can never forget.
We used to decorate the living room on Christmas Eve. Andmy grandma and ladies of the house started making christmas goodies two days ahead.

and we got nice fruit cake baked too.

Serina looks so charming with the nisse.

Sioux said...

My family tradition was always to put up the tree on Thanksgiving...we would cut down a cedar, and to take it down on the 26th. Being Protestant at that point I didn't know about the 12 days of Christmas. However, we still take the tree down on the 26th...and it is a fake tree already lighted.

maryt/theteach said...

What a lovely song, Felisol! And thank you for the story of Christmas in your life! And for the pix of your family! Happy Holidays to you and all your friends and family! :)

Robin said...

What lovely holiday memories, and I so enjoy hearing how you celebrate.

Merry Christmas.

Felisol said...

Dear Mrs. Mac,
It indeed was a magic moment when my Mom opened the doors and the dining room and living room were both transformed to celebrate Christmas.
The waiting was an agony.

Dear Amrita,
I'm sure your Christmas was mgic as well.
WE had no ladies of the house, so my Mom worked all of December to make ready for the Christmas. She was so sweet though, always let us join in to bake cookies and take friends home for Christmas craft workshop.

All the different kinds of meat for Christmas breakfast, the dinner courses, oh, that was real hard work.

I think you who are working with children even now should be grateful about those wonderful memories you create in the children forever.
There are so many evil forces trying to drag down, exploit and ruin the sacred work of God.
Bless you how are staying put.

Dear Sioux Sue,
how spectacular; cedar as the ones in Lebanon!! Must have been a wonderful sight.
If you have had your Christmas tree since thanksgiving, I can understand that you take it down on Second Day. In Norway both First and Second Day are holidays.
All shops are closed, time for people to go around for Christmas visits.

Oh, yes, the Almanac still shows the Thirteenths Day, (The Day of The Three Holy Kings or Twelfth Night as Shakespeare wrote.) as well as the Twentieth Day of Santa Knut.
If the tree is not harvested by then, that's a bad sign. We still say harvested, cause earlier one used to decorate the tree with candies and filled the small baskets with homemade goodies.
One was not allowed to taste until the tree was to be harvested.

And then, said the elder, it is back to the canvas shirt and the oatmeal flat bannock again.

I guess lots of the old habits were left on the old country.
If you'd lived after our Almanac, tradition would probably lasted longer.
Then again America is a melting pot, and if all tradition s should be upheld, there never would have been an assimilation.


Dear teach Mary,
I also like the song of the Christmas tree.
Christmas is a time for old songs. Churches are filled by people wanting to listen and sing along over and over again.
The young ones learn the songs in kindergarten and schools.

Dear Robin,
as tradition kept your folk together, I also see the value of upholding traditions for the generations to come.
It's what makes us civilized and a fine counter weight to greed and destruction.
As long as we have something spiritual of higher regard, I have a hope for our children's future.
This is why Advent is giving me such high hopes for us.

From Felisol

Raven said...

Thanks again for all the wonderful music. I have similar memories of Christmas rituals. My favorite part of Christmas was baking cookies with my mother... and eating them.