I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~ Charles Dickens
We live in a crazy world. Angry politicians are running our country, and overseas in one of the most beautiful places in Europe, Strasbourg, a fanatical radical shot up a Christmas Market, and was later shot dead by police. Strasbourg is a place special to my sister and I. We both spent time there many years ago. We are still connected to the families we grew to love.
When you think of Christmas, you try to think of happy things but truthfully many people have a difficult time emotionally during the holiday season. They either can’t find a reason to look for joy or are unable to find a reason. There are so many who sadly feel so alone at Christmas. Or they are just so wrapped in their heads they lash out at people.
This Christmas we also have a missing person that a lot of us are worried about. His name is Geoff Partridge. I wrote about him the other day, and Vinny Vella from The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an amazing article yesterday. I don’t know Geoff, but I know his mother and we share a lot of people in common who are important to both of us.
And if you read what Vinny Vella wrote you will learn about the neighbors and friends of this missing man who have gone out searching repeatedly. I am blessed to have them as friends as well. Those people? They are the Christmas spirit. They are what friendship and love and community are all about. And I know they won’t give up.
Just like the friends and family of Anna Maciejewska Gould of Charlestown, Malvern also won’t give up. I never knew Anna, but I have Polish born friends and I know how much they and their families love Christmas. And how close they all are. I thought about Anna the other day, because she leaves her little son behind. I wonder if she was still alive if she would make Chruściki (also known as Polish Angel Wings) for her young son? I wonder if he has any memory of his beloved mother at this point?
Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
~ Calvin Coolidge
Now, back to things like Christmas traditions. Maybe I am a closet Pollyanna, but I think tradition is important. I think it keeps the season alive in our hearts and brings people together. Take Malvern Victorian Christmas. I loved that event, and I wasn’t alone. It was truly magical much like the Dickens Festival in Narberth, PA and the West Chester Christmas Parade (which is sponsored so generously by QVC.)
This year Malvern Victorian Christmas was replaced by Christmas on King. It was December 1st. I couldn’t attend as we were elsewhere that Saturday. I honestly didn’t hear a thing about it one way or the other. I hope it was a huge success for the beloved local merchants, but next year? Maybe next year they can do both events? Maybe make Malvern Victorian Christmas one night and Christmas on King the next day? I get we have to have new traditions sometimes, but we also need to keep old traditions alive.
Like baking Christmas cookies. That is a Christmas tradition families should keep. Sure you can buy your Christmas cookies, but there is nothing like the happy zone I find myself in baking for friends and family. As a matter of fact, this year I put together a PDF of recipes I collected and a few of my own recipes.
So yes…Fa la la la la. No cookie grinches here! Follow this link ( xmas cookies ) to this collection of cookie recipes from ALL over the Internet and a few of my own personal cookie recipes (which I think I have published here on the blog before, truthfully.). For web-based recipes at the bottom of each page is the link to the originating sites (check out those various sites for MORE recipes.). I gathered them to make my life easier!
Yes a lot of them are in landscape – I do that when I print – easier for me. (I stick the recipes on the edge of the cupboard above my stove to follow when I am baking. If I am using one of my cookbooks, I use my cookbook holder, but for web-printed recipes I hang them right in front of me.)
Another Christmas tradition are Christmas cards. I remember we used to get and give so many more when I was growing up. But once the Internet evolved and with the changing world, this is a tradition I think that sometimes flickers versus burning bright.
I am guilty of not doing cards for a couple of years and today I was reminded by my friends Lynn and James who moved to Maine about why they are such a beautiful tradition which also must endure. Lynn included a letter catching all of us up on what their year had been like. We heard all about their wonderful children as well. As I was reading the letter I could almost see Lynn typing away in my mind’s eye. On a gloomy rainy day it was the perfect gift to open. Cards and letter-writing take time, but the result? The result is a beautiful thing that is such a gift to receive.
My last Christmas tradition is decorating your home. Not paying someone to come in and make your home burp Christmas but doing it yourself. Collecting ornaments and displaying family ornaments and even the simplicity of the green and red paper chains we used to make as children, along with cutting out snowflakes. Yes I am a little Christmas crazy when it comes to decorating, but I come by it honestly. My parents loved decorating for Christmas.
At the end of November, I asked all of you to consider my Christmas blogging idea. It was a thought that has seemingly fallen flat or people have forgotten.
I have not lived here in Chester County long enough to know about all the celebrations continue today or are purely from the past. Parades, festivals, things that speak of the season and community.
So if you have memories of Christmas past and photos you would like to share. Please contact this blog via the blog’s Facebook page. Please tell me about the photos you’re sending and how you would like them attributed. I can attribute them simply “reader submitted” or put an entire name and so on. If you are sending things in for celebrations that still continue today and it something that requires public participation and donations, tell me who it is they are supposed to contact and when the event will occur.
We have 10 days until Christmas, so maybe some of you will consider this? I can only do this if you my readers participate. My idea is to create not just one post about these traditions and Christmas history, but to be able to create several posts throughout the month of December leading up to Christmas. If it doesn’t work this year, I will ask again next year.
Here is hoping the missing find their way home for Christmas.
Here is hoping those who have lost their Christmas joy find it.
Here is hoping for some old-fashioned peace on earth, good will to man.
“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” ~W.T. Ellis