Friday, February 23, 2018

Ray Dale

Christmas traditions help make the holiday special

Literary Junction

This time of year brings with it a great many memories and traditions for all of us. The traditions we observe during the Christmas season are quite varied and can stem from our religious beliefs, folklore or family. Whatever their origin, traditions at Christmastime are very special to the people who practice them.

When I was a kid in Miles City, one of my favorite traditions was going to my grandparents’ house for Christmas Eve. All my aunts and uncles would be there along with all the cousins, and there was always a big meal of turkey and mashed potatoes, followed by one of the grandkids playing Santa.

My grandfather would read the name on each gift and tell “Santa” to whom she/he should bring it. It was great fun, but the most enduring memory for me was their Christmas tree. It was an artificial tree and, by today’s standards, it was just plain ugly. It really did look like it was made of silver pipe cleaners. They had one of those lights with the rotating plastic discs pointing at it. As the light rotated, it shined blue, red, green and yellow light on the silver tree and I was sure that I had never, nor would I ever again, see anything so beautiful.

These days, as an adult, my family and I observe our own traditions. One our more peculiar traditions is a meal of Mexican food on Christmas Eve. We did that one year and it just kind of stuck, and we’ve been doing it ever since. I know another family that has a family football game in the back yard on Christmas Day. Another family I know spends the afternoon of Christmas Day at the shooting range.

A personal tradition of mine is reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens every December. In the minds of many, this book is the basis for many of western civilization’s practices in how we celebrate the holiday of Christmas. I’ll let others decide if that is true or not. I read it every year simply because I enjoy it.

If you are interested in reading stories centered on Christmas, I can tell you we have a variety of titles available on that theme. One these is entitled The Spirit of Steamboat by Craig Johnson. Another is The Christmas Train by David Baldacci. These are just a couple we have, and there are numerous Christmas books in the children’s department downstairs. What child doesn’t like having a Christmas book read to them?

Whatever your own traditions, we at the Big Horn County Library would like to encourage you to have fun this Christmas season.