Merry Christmas

christmas-tree

Merry Christmas, everyone!

We don’t really celebrate Christmas at our house – not in the Hollywood way, at least. The 24th is reserved for dinner with A.’s mom and the 25th for lunch with my extended family on the other side of the country (which is like 1.5h drive from Ljubljana…).

But we do most of our gift giving on New Year’s Eve – and the good man who brings presents isn’t Santa Claus or Father Christmas (or Saint Nicholas or however he’s called around the world) but dedek Mraz (Ded Moroz / Grandfather Cold) who wears a gray furry hat (something like this) and a long grey furry coat and carries a wicker basket full of presents on his back. At least that’s how it was for my family – my brother and I always had to write him letters to tell him what we want as gifts, which is a great idea if you’re a parent without gift ideas, if you think about it.

But Christmas isn’t only about giving presents. Despite my reluctance to celebrate a religious holiday, I like the fact that it’s become a time of wishing people well and remembering to be grateful for the good things in life. For me, December is a month of meeting friends I really should see more often, of seeing my grandparents, of small traditions that we’re just building as a new family.

It’s also a time for baking cookies and cooking large quantities of food on the weekends so I don’t have to make everything from scratch on busy weekdays (as I’m writing this, a large pot of bolognese sauce is simmering on the stove, making hissy noises).

So I wish you well, may your holidays be nice and warm and full of delicious food – and may you get lots of books (not just any books but the ones you actually want to read), because let’s face it, those are the best gifts a book lover can hope for.

srcek

What are your Christmas / New Year’s traditions?

What was the best Christmas present you ever got?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

  • Merry Christmas! I grew up areligious myself, and my family used to take the holidays for vacationing and travel, instead of doing get-together dinners and such. Still, I have no problem with celebrating Christmas, personally I see it as more of a cultural tradition than a religious one, and I can’t agree more with your statement about celebrating togetherness and wishing people well! The world needs more of that, any time anywhere :) Have a wonderful Christmas!

    • Huh, I like this word, “areligious”. I always struggle to describe my state of faithlessness (it’s especially difficult in another language).
      Yeah, I agree, Christmas has become more of a cultural thing, everyone seems to celebrate it and Santa Clauses are everywhere – though in Slovenia, this notion that it’s a Christian holiday still persists, I think.
      I hope your holidays have started off well and that you got some snow (we only got fog).

  • Greg Hill

    Merry Christmas! I like that December is a month of fellowship or getting together with family, and celebrating- great point! And cookies. :) Doing presents on New Years Eve sounds like a neat tradition. I like the religious aspects of Christmas but I’m glad it’s a special time for those who don’t as well.

    Hope you have a great Christmas and wonderful family time! And maybe some books too… :)

    • Thanks, Greg! :) Yeah, cookies – I didn’t bake any this year (not yet), because I knew both my grandma and my mother-in-law were going to make huge batches and I was right. So I’m waiting until these disappear to make my own!

      Ha, I rarely get books from my friends and family. They never know what I already own and what I want. And I like buying books for myself, it’s the only way to really get those that I want the most. :)

  • Thank you so much for sharing your traditions with us Kaja^^ I like the idea of celebrating on New Year’s Eve! Like you, I much prefer thinking of the Holidays as a time to be kind and generous and just being together with the ones you love! Like Mogsy said, the world needs more of THAT and less focus on material things! Happy Holidays to you and yours – I wish you lots of love and hopefully some bookish goodness too ;) xxxx

    • Aw, thank you, Micheline! :) I hope you had a good Christmas celebration and that you got some snow – we only got fog and it’s pretty miserable.
      But yes, I agree, the world needs more happy celebrations, no matter the reason.

  • Maraia

    Happy holidays! Such a cute, little tree.

    Christmas for me is all about family and food. My aunts bake massive amounts of Christmas cookies (although my favorites are date bars, not cookies), and we have elaborate dinners. This year will be lower key, since it’s the first Christmas without both my grandparents and the house will be sold after the holiday, but it’s nice that we have one last year here.

    I agree with you that it’s still nice to celebrate Christmas without the religious aspects. It is a good excuse to see people and reflect back on your year. I really like the idea of a Grandfather Cold. :D

    • Date bars? That sounds delicious. I haven’t baked any cookies yet this year because I knew my grandma and my mother-in-law would be baking huge batches, and I was right. So I’m waiting until those disappear and then I’ll try out two new recipes I’ve bookmarked recently (brownie cookies, yum!).

      Ah, I’m sorry for your grandparents. I’m still hoping our family dinners at my grandparents’ house will go on indefinitely but of course that’s only wishful thinking. I’m trying not to think too much about that… I hope you had a nice time anyway!

      Yeah, Grandfather Cold – we have children’s songs about him and all. I didn’t really understand the distinction when I was little, I didn’t care if it was Santa or G.C. or the elves who brought me gifts, really. :)

      • Maraia

        So delicious! I can send you the recipe if you want. Mmm, brownie cookies sound great, too. Let me know how they turn out.

        Yeah, it’s hard to think about things changing. Fortunately my family isn’t one to mope around about death, so there’s been lots of laughter. :D (It’s a little weird now, though, because everything is getting stripped down in preparation for the estate sale.)

        Hahaha, exactly. My cousins all got all their presents from Santa, but my parents only put little things in my stocking, and my real presents were from them. That always made more sense to me, because then I could thank them, haha. Have you thought about what you’ll do for your son?

  • Merry Christmas, Kaja! Jesus’ birthday is a main part of the holiday for me, but we do the family get-togethering and presents, too. Unfortunately, I overdosed on cookies early this month and have been avoiding them since. ^^; I hope you and your family have a wonderful time together, and safe travels!

    • Thank you, Kel! :) I’m glad to see so many different traditions from people – it’s always nice to hear about other people’s habits and celebrations.
      I hope you had a nice time and that you got some snow – we’ve had more for then I remember ever having for the holidays…

      • Haha, no snow this year. I spent the week with family in Florida. It was in the 80s most of the time, but no complaints here. :)

  • Soudha Parsan

    Here too in Mauritius, Christmas is less of a deal than elsewhere in the world. I do love this time of the year though because of the extra family time and the general festive mood. I also love getting gifts for my family.

    • Wow, you’re from Mauritius? I think you’re my first commenter from there. :)
      I like giving gifts, too, especially if I have a good idea about what I want to get people. This year, we were pretty efficient with that and got all our shopping in before the shops got really crowded, I’m glad for that.
      I hope you had a nice celebration! :)

  • I’ve never heard about Slovenian Christmas traditions a la St. Nick, that’s really cool! I hope you had a wonderful holiday with Kiddo and A. :) My family isn’t really religious either, but my stepmum is Lithuanian so we celebrate Kucios (Lithuanian Christmas) on the 24th. It involves 12 courses of fish, and since I’m a vegetarian things can get a bit…dicey. Haha!

    • Hahaha 12 courses of fish :D That would be a bit much even for me and I like fish! There are so many traditions…
      Isn’t Saint Nicholas the same as Santa Claus? Hm. In any case, we also get Miklavž – he’s the third man who comes on the 5th of December but it’s a religious holiday – the guy walks around dressed in a bishop’s hat and a curly-ended stick and has these devil-like helpers (parkeljni) + angels accompanying him. The point is that good kids get gifts while bad ones get dragged off by parkeljni, which is pretty scary. I was really afraid of them when I was little – not because my family threatened me with these devils but because every procession was filled with these men dressed up in red and black, with painted faces and horns, and they always had chains and rattled them at kids so … pretty scary.

  • Neat! I’ve never heard of dedek Mraz. He has a granddaughter who helps him? (Instead of elves). That’s actually pretty awesome!

    One of my favorite presents this year is…actually a hat that I guess I would consider an ushanka.I had no idea they were a military hat though, oops! I just know that a lot of hunters in Michigan wear them, and they are quite practical at keeping heads warm. Runners up are a cat coloring book, new pajamas, and a book about Wonder Woman and feminism!

    • Eh, I think these furry hats are pretty common in cold climates, it’s not just a military tradition. People living in places where it gets to -30 in the winter need fur for their heads.
      New pajamas are always great, I love comfortable clothes. I practically live in leggings and stretchy tops (I work from home because I’m a freelancer so I can afford not dressing up in nice clothes. Nothing beats comfort when you have to sit in front of a computer the whole day.)
      Happy New Year!