I grew up with an atheist mother. There was very little celebration around our year, apart from our birthdays and Christmas… a christless Christmas. But a family gathering. The biggest happening of the year. I remember looking forward to that time. We would decorate the tree and place the little village underneath it, carefully placing the empty Christmas ornament boxes to make hills and ponds underneath the glittery white felt drape. And there would be the food. Oh the food! Little picky me would delight of all my favorite meals at the same time! The big bowl of olives for me to pick as much as I wanted, the little cubed cheese, and the bowls of chips to put in our plate while eating the main dish, a cipailles (I’ll give you the recipe!).
I definitely want to recreate this hype with my children! The exitement in the middle of frozen days, the waiting, and the willing to create gifts for those I love.
But I also wanted to give everything a meaning other then “gift giving and recieving and over-eating”. The first time I talked about this holiday with my partner, he confessed that he didn’t really care for Christmas, that it was totally meaningless to him! How painful to hear!
So I explained him what all that fuss what meaning to me. To me it means that the Sun is coming back. I told him that I actually prefer the Solstice day as the celebrating date, to which he totally agreed. I explained him that people would feast for the days would get longer, and that is was a reminder that warmer weather was indeed ahead. When you would have poor housing and little food supplies, the rationing of food was a big deal, and so was the one blessed day you could eat the best beef and bake sweets. It does not apply to today’s bountifullness, but as a son of farmer, he could relate to the changing of the seasons.
We are a new family; so “traditions” are new…We are in the process of building them. They are what we want them to be!
I couldn’t relate to the Christ nativity scene. We had a plastic one under our tree, but no one ever bothered explaining who all those people were, what they were doing there (camels in the snow!) and why they were there. My mom eventually stopped taking out the set when I got too old to play with it…But I remember loving to play with the characters, so I decided to pursue that traditions, only with my little twist. I want to do a full post on how to make your own pagan nativity, but I can roughly explain the characters above: The woodland animals and creatures are looking at the Sun God who just had reborn. Nearby is the Goddess in it’s trinity form; The Maiden, The Mother and The Crone, carefully watching over Him. The Moon hangs above them; another protecting sign.
What I instored that I didn’t have in my childhood are the stockings. Instead of having a billion of gift, I’ve made a rule that most gift should fit the stocking, and 2-3 non-fitting wrapped in silk. They are to be fill the eve of the solstice (children are too curious!) and should be open after the meal. Beads, stickers, but mostly things I made myself and handmade by the wonderfull artists on etsy.
(to be continued…)