06 December 2007


Every year I trade out the (quite heavy and large) every day dishes for the (quite heavy and large) Christmas dishes. Then, at the end of Chritsmastide, I trade them back.

It's a lot of work to unpack and repack those dishes twice a year. And when I pack them I do it well enough that we can load up the boxes onto a moving van. Our lifestyle dictates that sort of forethought.

We also unpack and repack the Fontanini manger scene every year. Early in Advent, the gang just sort of hangs out. Here are some of the crew, sailing the good ship Faber and Faber across the sea:

Later on they sailed on into the family room to watch a movie with us.

In the meantime, the Wise Men were hanging out on the coffee table (currently covered in green fleece for the occasion):

Did you know that they didn't get along? It's true. The guy with the gold started calling the guy carrying frankincense "Frankie", so Frankincense Man started getting all sneery and calling Gold Guy "Goldielocks". I have no idea what role Mr. Myrrh plays in all of this, but the whole thing started getting really ugly. It's no wonder the rest of the gang left the Wise Men stranded there on Coffee Table Island.

Of course, by Christmas Eve this will all settle down, MrV will read the Bible story of Christmas, and the kids will act it out using the Fontanini set. It's a cool tradition.

And, let's see, we have numerous Advent calendars going. We celebrate St. Nicholas Day and St. Lucia Day. Lots and lots of traditions. Beautiful, meaningful traditions.

So why, when Kid1's Sunday School discussed family Christmas traditions, did she choose to tell everyone about the freezer-burnt chicken nuggets for Christmas Eve supper? It started in a year that was such a low spot in our Christmas celebrations, having to do with incredibly icky weather, excited little kids whose priority was making butter cookies for Santa instead of making sure we had edible food in the house for supper, and all those stupid luminarias the neighborhood insisted we should all do (it's really hard to light the candles in luminarias when you have strong winds at about -5F -- your lighter stops working, and you can pretty much stick your fingers right into a lit match and barely feel warmth -- just a little tip from me to you). Believe it or not, the chicken-nugget tradition has gone downhill from there. But I always considered it our family's little secret, not to be shared with the general public.

It's moments like this that I realize I've lost control of the magic of Christmas. My children's Christmas memories are apparently full of bizarro, whacky events that we keep stumbling through. Which is probably more fun, come to think of it.


km said...

Our Thanksgiving traditions are so like that. Our best year was when my mom had some new-fangled microwave (it was 1990?). It was a large microwave, so she cooked the turkey in it. The turkey tasted great, but it wasn't golden. And the drippings were almost non-existant and clear. My Gram and I doctered the gravy, but when she decided to add a bit of wilton food coloring...well we ended up with orange gravy. Every year we have one really great thing to laugh about.

Those look like French Countryside Christmas dishes...I have those for everyday. They are heavy!!!

Ami said...

Changing out dishes for the season is a little too ambitious for me. I'll pause for a moment here and admire you, as well as the foresight it takes to pack them for moving... just in case.

I love the strange traditions our family has for holidays. One of my personal favorites is this. We have 4 little Christmas village cutouts, they're of chunky wood, and are just the silhouette of the buildings. Each one has a letter on it, to spell out NOEL. My kids are constantly rearranging them. You'd think LEON would be the most popular, but last year it was ELON.

I also have magnets with letters and little teddy bears. It's amazing how many words one can make from the letters CHRISTMAS.

Some are obscene.