Tuesday, December 1, 2009

TRADITION!


I was in two productions of Fiddler on the Roof in eighteen months.  
The first time was during my senior year of high school, 
in my high school's production.  
The second time was during my freshman year of college, 
when I was in my university's production.  









In both productions, I got to be one of Tevye's daughters.....
just not the same one each time, 
so I had to learn new songs and lines.  
In the high school production, I played Chava, 
the middle daughter who marries a Gentile and is disowned.  
Very dramatic.  
In the university production, I played Hodel, 
the daughter who follows her husband to Siberia 
and has that very touching scene at the train station with her father.  
Also dramatic.  
Loved singing that song.  
Loved, loved, loved, LOVED 
every single moment of being in those two shows.

Bet you had no idea that I was a theater geek.  

That's how great my acting skills are.

But I digress. The point is: Fiddler on the Roof is my musical.  

So, whenever I think of the word "tradition", I think of it this way:








{sorry, there was a video here. Unfortunately, it had to be removed.}
Ahh, I love that song! I'm doing the dance, right now. Tradition!
Since the Bionic Man and I were married almost 12 years ago, 
we've only spent one Christmas back at home with our families.  
Not that we don't love them, 
but distance and life have often prevented us from making the holiday trek.  
For the first couple of years this was depressing for me.
Actually, I take that back.  
For the first year, that was depressing to me.  
The second year, we were living in Munich, Germany.  
We're talking the place to spend Christmas.

We got to shop here:
Translation: Munich's Christchild Market
See this:

And taste these:

Stollen

Bienenstich








Dampfnudel.  It is what everyone eats while shopping at the outdoor Christmas markets.  They defy description.  Oh vanilla sauce, how I love thee!

We began some of our family Christmas traditions while we were living in Munich.  We made more during the following years, when the pregnancies and heart surgeries and mortgages and little things like that made it difficult for us to fly home for Christmas.  

These are some of my favorites:

1.  Decorating the Christmas Tree.  We use the tiny wooden toy ornaments that we were given by a family we met in Munich.  We began with hundreds, but they break easily.  I think that calls for another trip to Munich.

2.  Letting the children decorate little trees for their bedrooms.  They mostly make their own ornaments, but over the years have collected a few that suit their personal tastes.

3.  Bethlehem Dinner.  On Christmas Eve, I make a buffet of foods that may (or may not) have been available in biblical Bethlehem.  Our selection of food is certainly not accurate....but it is very different from our normal fare.  And there is no ham--that at least is authentic.  We push the table against the wall, and eat on blankets that we spread on the floor.  While we eat, we talk about the story of Jesus' birth, and what it must have been like to live then.

4.  Christmas Pajamas.  We always have new pajamas to wear, so that we'll look spiffy in the Christmas morning videos.

5.  Christmas Eve gifts.  After our Bethlehem dinner, we let the children open the gifts that came from their extended family members.  We feel they are able to express more appreciation and enjoyment of these gifts when they aren't lost in the paper frenzy of Christmas morning.

Four years ago, the stars and planets were aligned in such a way, that we could actually make the trip to Utah for Christmas.  We were glad we did.  Our children, however, have since informed us that they would prefer to spend Christmas at home, but they are more than happy to go see their cousins and do some skiing in Utah after Christmas.  

Tradition!

So, I'm curious.  What are some of the traditions you keep to celebrate Christmas?  What are some of your favorites?  Do you have any traditions that are unique to your family?  What have you done to blend traditions from your extended familes?

Since I've been talking about living far away from my family and my former days as a stage diva (I'm totally kidding.  I was anti-diva.) I feel it is only fitting to leave you with these parting thoughts, in song.  

{again, another video that had to be removed. sorry.}
"Yet, there with my love.....I'm home!"

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