As Christmas approaches, we partake in a number of traditions. Some traditions are practiced by many, such as Santa Claus bringing gifts and putting up Christmas trees, and some traditions are specific to individual families, such as one of my aunts cross-stitching a Christmas tree ornament every year when I was a child. Here are pictures of the many ornaments that my aunt made for me, which I still put on my Christmas tree decades later as they mean a lot to me and are quite lovely.
This year you may practice old traditions as well as start a brand-new tradition of your own among family and or friends. Traditions may even spawn from various online communities and alumni groups, sharing Christmas cards and or books with one another. I have done this through an online book club on Discord and an Emporia State University Facebook group.
This year is my first Christmas with my daughter who will be 5 months old during Christmastime. I plan on continuing the traditions of gifts in stockings from Santa Claus that I experienced as a kid, and in fact, still do whenever I am able to visit my parents for Christmas, which is seldom nowadays being a few states away, unfortunately. I also plan on putting up a Christmas tree with gifts from family and friends underneath. Here is a picture of me decorating the Christmas tree with my daughter Hazel.
My mother ordered a stocking for my daughter for my husband and I to use. Here is a picture of my daughter with the unexpectedly large stocking that I plan to stuff with a variety of toys for her!
At Salina Public Library, you may check out books about Christmas traditions all over the world and you may find those and other books to inspire you to create new traditions of your own too for yourself and or your family. I will highlight some of these that you are able to check out with your Salina Public Library card physically or digitally.
One book that many may be particularly interested in because of our neighboring Swedish town of Lindsborg and Swedes residing in Salina, either a Swede by ancestry or Swede of heart, is “Swedish Christmas Traditions: A Smörgåsbord of Scandinavian Recipes, Crafts, and Other Holiday Delights” by Ernst Kirchsteiger. https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/Record/85433 A traditional Swedish Christmas evokes thoughts of delicious homemade bread and pastries, beautiful wreaths and ornaments, and handmade crafts fashioned by the fire on a snowy day. Here everyone will learn how to bring those warm traditions into their homes, wherever they live. From glögg to red candied apples, festive hyacinth bouquets to citrus fruit centerpieces, Ernst Kirchsteiger’s classic recipes, and creative projects are simple and inspiring.
If you are more interested in how Germans celebrate Christmas, you can check out “German Christmas Traditions” https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/Hoopla/13452302. This book will take you on a journey through many German Christmas traditions filled with happy childhood memories. Learn about long-standing traditions and customs like decorating your home, baking cookies (Weihnachtsplätzchen), and visiting the Christmas markets from someone who was born and raised in Germany.
Or maybe you’d like to learn about Irish Christmas traditions. If so, you can check out, “Come to Him This Holy Night: Three Irish Christmas Traditions” https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/Hoopla/14987313. This book introduces the story of three Irish holiday traditions, as shared by acclaimed film and television actor, Neal McDonough.
For a look into part of the United States of America, check out “A Foxfire Christmas: Appalachian Memories and Traditions” https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/Hoopla/11719756. This captivating book of recollections celebrates the holiday traditions of Appalachian families as passed from one generation to the next. The memories shared here are from a simpler time when gifts were fewer but perhaps more precious, and holiday tables were laden with traditional favorites. More than just reminiscences, however, this book includes instructions for re-creating many of the ornaments, toys, and recipes that make up so many family traditions.
For a great overview of everything Christmas, you could check out “The Everything Christmas Book: Stories, Songs, Food, Traditions, Revelry, and More.” This book includes party ideas, stories and poems, customs and traditions, gift ideas, and a history of Christmas around the world. https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/Record/7451
Another book with stories and poems regarding Christmas is “The Traditions of Christmas” https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/GroupedWork/7a02f3b6-70c9-1108-afc2-13c6449ab8db-eng/. This beautiful book includes poems, articles, stories, paintings from the Old Masters, and breathtaking scenic views of the world in winter. Each chapter includes little-known facts about Christmas Day, customs from around the world, and traditions throughout history.
“An Old-Fashioned Christmas: Sweet Traditions for Hearth and Home” offers ideas for creating a festive Christmas holiday, including recipes for traditional food and drink, decorating suggestions, and heartwarming stories. https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/Record/190783.
Parents who may want to instill in their children religious meanings of the holiday should check out “The ADVENTure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions” https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/Record/233604. For each of the 24 days preceding Christmas, The ADVENTure of Christmas serves as a fun and handy guide that describes the significance behind traditions. Hanging lights on the house, wrapping gifts, and decorating the tree will become opportunities to share how these customs relate to Jesus’ birth.
On the other hand, parents and others who left religion or never had it at all may want to check out “What is Christmas? Exploring the Secular Origins of Winter Traditions” https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/Hoopla/15219376 to learn about the history of some of the most common winter holiday traditions and ideas to celebrate the holiday.
Maybe you want to add some television show references to your holiday traditions. If you are a fan of the television series “Downton Abbey, check out “Christmas at Downton: Holiday Foods and Traditions From The Unofficial Guide to Downton Abbey” https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/Hoopla/15407326.
Perhaps Jane Austen is one of your favorite authors. If so, you could check out “A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions” https://discover.salinapubliclibrary.org/Hoopla/14321957. The holiday Jane Austen knew would have looked distinctly odd to modern sensibilities. How odd! Families rarely decorated Christmas trees. Festivities centered on socializing instead of gift-giving. Festivities focused on adults, with children largely consigned to the nursery. Holiday events, including balls, parties, dinners, and even wedding celebrations, started a week before Advent and extended all the way through to Twelfth Night in January. Take a step into history with author Maria Grace as she explores the traditions, celebrations, games, and foods that made up Christmastide in Jane Austen’s era. Packed with information and rich with detail from period authors, Maria Grace transports the listener to a longed-for old-fashioned Christmas.
No matter how you celebrate Christmastime, use a free Salina Public Library card to check out any number of books to give the holiday an extra spark of Christmas spirit, recycle an old Christmas tradition or provide inspiration to create a brand-new tradition for yourself, your family, and or friends!