‘Tis the season … and Tameri is here too!

Today was our 4-year-old grandson’s Christmas concert. They are still allowed to use that title at his school and rightly so as the greatest majority of families in that community celebrate Christmas …  not necessarily from the religious perspective.images

IMHO, it was just the way a Christmas concert should be with excited, joyful children proudly singing the cheery  holiday songs and classic carols they have been practising for weeks. Each group, from JK to Grade 5, looked like a representation of a classic Norman Rockwell painting. Beaming faces, toothless smiles, waving to their families, nudging each other, gazing off into space, a few doing nasal maintenance, some loudly singing while others shyly murmured, fidgeting, bouncing  … you know the scene … absolutely delightful!

Needless to say, I teared up a few times as I watched those innocent children sing about peace and love and goodwill to  mankind. If only we could have every adult in the world doing the same.

happy_diwali_mainThey also sang Hanukkah songs as well as a beautiful Diwali selection that was accompanied by a sitar. All the cultural traditions represented in their school community that are celebrated at this time of year were honoured. As they should be.

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How timely that the concert was today when I have one of my most favourite people visiting here and she surprised me by writing a post about traditions at this time of year around the world. I want to 6172_1063464157386_1549453496_30141997_5185181_ntell you that Tameri Etherton is one of the nicest, brightest, most thoughtful and seriously hilarious women I have never met … True! At least not in person. Our friendship has blossomed since the summer of 2011 when we were both enrolled in one of Kristen Lamb’s well-known online blogging courses. We had the great good fortune to bond with an amazing writing group that has become a family. The in-person meeting will happen this summer at the RWA annual conference in Atlanta, if all goes as planned. Woohoo! It’s a party waiting to happen!

Tameri is a talented writer whose blog is always a great spot to visit and you can do that by clicking right here.We are all eagerly awaiting the pending release of her first novel!

So, with even greater trumpet fanfare than usual, accompanied by a magnificent and festive drumroll … please welcome Tameri  (I notice she is quite restrained and behaving herself today … guess she’s keeping her eye on Santa’s naughty list)!

When Patricia first invited me to be a guest on her blog, I was thrilled. I mean, Patricia Sands! International Woman of Mystery!  (Note from Patricia – LOL,okay Tameri, I liked it better when you called me the Kickass Crush of The Month on your blog!)

Then a moment of panic set in. What would I blog about? 

I knew that it had to be something international and since we’re so close to Christmas, which I adore, I figured it might be fun to write about some different customs around the world. Thank you, Patricia, for giving me this chance to hang out with your readers and have some Christmas fun! 

What better place to start our Christmas World Tour than in France, since it’s practically Patricia’s second home.

In France they call Christmas Noël and Santa is Père Noël. Father Christmas, how romantic is that? I love it.

 Instead of hanging stockings by the fire with care, children in France put out their shoes on Christmas Eve for Père Noël to fill with fruit, nuts, and small toys. Am I the only one thinking those children should find their cleanest, largest boots to put out? You can’t put many toys in dainty slippers, now can you?

 The focal point of most French homes’ decorations is the nativity, not the tree like in the US.

noel_1

 

Over in Australia they decorate trees, but also have a Christmas Bush that they will surround themselves with when they go out caroling. In 1937 Carols by Candlelight began in Melbourne and today in excess of 10,000 people will join in to sing their favorite Christmas songs. I bet that sounds amazing.

 Something you won’t find in Australia? A white Christmas. Since it’s summer there, you might see Santa arriving by surfboard and it isn’t uncommon to find families having a traditional Christmas dinner on the beach. Can you imagine swimming or playing cricket in the back garden on Christmas Day?

 

I can, but then, I live in Southern California, so unwrapping gifts in 80 degrees plus weather isn’t surprising to us.

 The Aussies partake of a similar meal to the US with turkey, ham, and pork dishes. Their traditional dessert is plum pudding, which is neither made with plums or is a pudding. It’s more like a fruitcake. Sort of. The coolest thing about the pudding? It’s served flaming! Back during the Australian gold rush, a nugget of gold was baked into the pudding. Now days, a small trinket is inserted before baking. Whoever finds the favor is said to enjoy good luck.

 In Ireland they won’t be surfing on Christmas Day, but they will be celebrating the second of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Yes, you read that right. Traditionally, the twelve days referred to in the popular song start on Christmas Eve and continue until January 6th, when Epiphany is celebrated.

 December 26th is the Wren Boys Procession when children in Ireland go door to door singing carols. They carry a stick topped with a holly bush and a wren. They used to have a dead wren tied to the stick, but thankfully, now they use a fake one. When they finish singing, the children will ask for money for the ‘starving wren’. Sounds a bit like Halloween, to me! The best part? The kids get to keep the money.

 I hope you’ve enjoyed this little jaunt around the world. There are many more customs and traditions we didn’t have time to explore, but are equally fascinating!

 This holiday season, no matter what your tradition or customs, I hope you’ll find joy in the simple things and love for those in all walks of life.

 What are some special traditions you have? Do you think you might try some caroling with a fake wren? How about surfing with Santa?

Tameri, you sugarplum fairy, do you have your Christmas tiara all polished up?  Thank you for all of this fab information about other Christmas traditions. I’ll bet you will be writing about what I imagine will be over-the-top Etherton traditions on your blog, so send us the link when you do. In the meantime, dear readers, when you visit  Tameri’s sparkly blog, A Cup of Tea and Sorcery , you will also find links there to connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. Go ahead. Do it! You will be very glad you did! She is simply THE best kind of friend!

In case you are still hungering for more Yuletide talk,  here’s a cool Christmas website that talks about Christmas in every country around the world.

 

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26 responses to “‘Tis the season … and Tameri is here too!

  1. Wonderful to share and acknowledge all the festive traditions at this time of the year and to see it all out and about.

    Some years ago when I was visiting Bethlehem in Palestine, they had a wonderful exhibition in the Peace Centre on Manger Square of all the different nativity scenes created around the world and it was such a joy to see – something universal and yet each country also has a quite distinctive theme, it was something I’d never thought about before, but now know for instance that the French scene is always made up with santons, the small handmade ceramic figures sold at Christmas and it is a tradition to add one new figurine each year, so your scene builds up over the years. And of course only 50 metres from there was the Nativity Church where we could visit the supposed birthplace itself, no longer a manger sadly :)

    • Claire, those nativity scenes sound marvelous. Do you happen to have any pictures? I would love to see them. I love the santons of France ~ a Christmas trip must now be put on the itinerary of my dream trip. Thank you so much for sharing. Why is the manger gone now? Did they say?

      • Sadly I didn’t have a camera so didn’t get any photos, but still remember vividly the experience.

        The manger no longer exists because 2012 is a lot of years to have passed by since the birth of Jesus, more than one church has been built on the site (one in 339 A.D. which was damaged in a fire in the 6th C) The site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches, as well as bell towers, terraced gardens and a pilgrimage route. Today you enter the Basilica and descend into the grotto, more of a shrine than anything, the exact spot is marked beneath an altar by a 14-point silver star in a marble floor, surrounded by silver lamps.

        I do have photos of my 2 children sitting on the 14 pointed star, I returned many times carrying prayers and loving intentions for family members :) Perhaps I should dig them out for a Christmas Post on Bethlehem.

    • The Santons are quite special aren’t they? I kept planning to buy some and never did so I will put that on my list for 2013. Your Christmas post idea about Bethlehem is a great idea. I’ll be waiting for it!

  2. Definitely not surfing with Santa, but I love the picture. My favorite tradition is waffles and bacon on Christmas Eve, followed by a tour of Christmas lights. Merry Christmas, you two!

    • Merry Christmas, Piper! Waffles and bacon. Yum. That’s usually our Christmas day breakfast, but I love the idea of it being your dinner. Touring lights is one of the highlights of the season for me. We make cocoa, pile the kids and dogs in the car (the cat stays home to protect the presents), and off we go. I love it! Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

    • Waffles and bacon = Christmas breakfast at our place. Our Christmas Eve tortière is a tradition my family refuses to break but I may try to tempt them with your suggestion. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful Christmas. We will all hold each other just a little closer this year.

  3. Two of my favorite people in one place…SCORE! Love it.

    Tameri, I loved the insight into other places Christmas cultures. It’s so interesting. When we’ve celebrated Christmas in the Dominican Republic with my Mom’s family, it was wild. They do the 3 Wise Men and the shoes for candy and fruits. No big meal but the adults party Xmas eve till the wee hours and Christmas Day is spent at the beach. My kind of Christmas!!!

    Alas…I dream of an 80 degree Christmas…instead I’ll be surrounded by the “white gold” and ice….and about -20 degree (Celcius) temps…brrrr…we’ll have to snuggle up to keep warm…DARN! LOL!

    Sounds like a wonderful Christmas concert Patricia….

    Happy Holidays to BOTH of you with huge hugs and tons of love! Here’s to the continued friendship, fun and fabulousness in 2013!

    • White Gold! Love it. Yes, snuggling definitely is in order when it’s that cold. Some year you’ll have to come out to SoCal and spend the holidays with all of us WANAs on the West Coast. It’ll be a blast and I’m sure we’ll stay up until the wee hours!

      Merry Christmas my darling friend!

  4. Oh Patricia! You’ve made me cry with your sweet words about me. When we meet in person (which is not soon enough for me and I think should happen in France), it’s going to be way too much fun! I still think we should reserve the entire floor just for us WANAs.

    As for the concert… I miss watching those! My kids are too big now, but I would sit in the audience with a huge grin on my face, tapping my foot to the beat. Thanks for the great memory. You’re such an amazing grandma!

    Thank you again for having me on your blog. Your readers are amazing ~ as are you.

    • Tameri, it’s always a pleasure to have you visit! We will do it again soon. Love your idea of meeting in France … but the RWA is probably more realistic … and a WANA floor is a brilliant idea!

  5. Lovely b;og…full of cheer and Christmas, and I loved your introduction also. Thank you for the invitation to Christmas through your eyes and through the eyes of Tameri/

  6. Wow. I never would’ve guessed Australia. ;) I’d do a lot in Santa’s company, but surfing doesn’t make my list. As for traditions, waking up insanely early Christmas morning and my mom’s awesome cardamom bread rank high. I love the Christmas blog posts throughout the season, too. Three cheers for this one! ==>>+

    • I still wake up insanely early, too! I get so excited to see the kids open their presents. If they aren’t up before 7am (it used to be 6am, but the minions mutinied), I wake them up with hot cocoa and cinnamon rolls.

      Cardamom bread. I keep repeating that in my mind. I’ll bet it’s fantastic.

      Merry Christmas, August!

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