It’s Christmas time! I have a secret love for this time of the year. Especially when I am living in the Northern Hemisphere and it is a White Christmas!
It is the essence of Christmas I adore – the simple pleasures of: being with people I really love, singing Christmas carols, drinking mulled wine, eating delicious food, watching the snow fall and feeling truly content.
The commercial aspect of Christmas is one I do not like – the apparent “need” for people to buy a lot of presents and seemingly, how much you love someone depends on how big, or expensive, the gift is that you give them.
For this year it would be nice if we could all “get back to basics”. I have spent many Christmases in Poland, and they have two beautiful traditions that I would like to incorporate into every one of my Christmases – whether I am in Poland or not.
The first is the setting of the table. It does not matter which Polish house you enter – the table setting will always be the same. If there are 10 guests for dinner, there will be 11 place settings. The Polish always set an extra setting, just in case a stranger may knock at their door and need a place to be on Christmas eve. This tradition is obviously deep seated in the strong religious beliefs of the Polish, however I love the simple message it portrays:
“YOU ARE WELCOME HERE”
please come in, be warm, and eat.
The second tradition, that all Polish people will follow happens before eating the meal. Each person – whether family, or new acquaintance, Polish speaker or not – goes to each other person that they will be sharing the meal with and gives them wishes for the up and coming year. These positive messages are delivered in a close and personal manner, with everyone coming away smiling, laughing and some even crying with happiness.
These two very important traditions in every Polish house “make” my Christmas when I spend it there. Forget the presents, forget the elaborate meals and other festive paraphernalia – these gestures of love and kindness are what Christmas should be about.
Who will you be sharing Christmas with this year? How will you be sharing your Christmas? Do you like the “superficial” Christmas of today, or the “traditional” Christmas of years gone by? How do you celebrate Christmas?
The last thing I would like to share, with you, is my favourite Christmas song. Please, if you have one, share it here too – collecting new Christmas songs is a hobby of mine (but don’t tell anyone, I think it is a strange hobby!!).
MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS
AND A WONDERFUL 2010 TO YOU ALL