My Favorite Tradition

At Christmastime when I was a little girl, I used to gaze across the yard and admire our “English” neighbor’s colorful and sparkling Christmas tree. I used to ask my mother, “Why can’t we have a Christmas tree?” She would normally sigh and give me the usual Amish answer, “It’s just the way it is.” Sometimes this would be followed with an admonishment that I should not ask such questions and just accept the Amish ways. 

When David and I were first married, we began our tradition of cutting, putting up, and decorating a Christmas tree. Even though I have to put up with the cranky mood acquiring and trimming the tree inevitably gets David into (yesterday he threatened to buy an artificial one, to which I responded with an emphatic “NO!), I love when the tree is up and I get to unwrap all the special ornaments that we’ve acquired over the years, putting on some Christmas music, and settling in to decorate the tree. I always follow up with setting up the creche that David made some years ago. There is a quiet space I get into then, which is the same one that I enjoy on the dark winter nights when the tree and the creche are lit, and I can sit in the living room with a cup of tea or hot chocolate, often with David. We either sit quietly or have conversations, surrounded by the festive lights. 

One of the reasons that the Christmas tree is my favorite tradition is that it represents so many things to me… not only is it a celebration of light in the darkest time of the year, but it is also a reminder of the message to the travelers on that long-ago night when the shepherds were given the message about the miracle birth. The tree was the center of the magical Christmases we tried to create for our boys when they were little. 

Here is a photo of the tree we put up last night:

And the creche:

As I was taking these photos, I realized how the living room represents who I am, past and present. My mother could teach me how to braid woolen rugs, but she could not teach me to squelch my inquisitive nature. This was eventually one of the reasons I left the Amish, which is represented in the book. 

I love all the traditions… the homespun arts I learned from my mother, and the traditions David and I started when we got married. I love the blend of my former life and the life I now live represented in our living room.

Sharing is caring

6 thoughts on “My Favorite Tradition”

  1. Your tree is beautiful! We have a real tree too. I LOVE your creche! It is beautiful also! Your husband did a great job making it.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Lovely tree, Saloma. Cutting our own tree has become a family tradition for us, too, since moving to Canada.

    I also know what you mean about the blend of former and present lives, and not just at Christmas. I suspect many people experience something similar (if they stop to analyse it). You always carry bits of your past with you, but then add on your own unique approach to life.

  3. Angela, I like our creche very much, thanks. I will pass your compliment on to David. He is so talented!

    Botanist, thank you for the compliment on the tree. I love the way you phrased it about our carrying a blend of former and present lives. I have to look for these, because the transition between my two “lives” was so dramatic and what felt like final at the time.

    Misha, I’m sure you enjoy your kittens, so it’s a tradeoff. We all make choices about what is important to us, don’t we?

    Monica, the “little” part of this tree is the only part I don’t like. It’s so short and squat… well sort of like me! And yes, I know what you thought, “That looks so Amish!” (Am I right?) Every house I’ve ever lived in had that look. Another aspect of my taste/who I am.

    Thanks all, for your comments.


  4. I recently stumbled across your blog and have been reading it during every spare second I’ve had since. I know it’s almost two years since this entry was posted, but I wanted to share a couple of my favorite Christmas traditions. Sometime during the last week of November we always make candy chains to hang as a countdown to Christmas. They’re made by wrapping the candies in plastic wrap and tying between each one with ribbon. Each day you get to cut off one and eat it the piece of candy after you have done an anonymous kind deed for someone. My children’s favorite years were the ones when all of the candy was homemade. Another tradition is doing the twelve days of Christmas anonymously to someone we have thoughtfully chosen. My sister wrote a beautiful poem to go along with each piece of a nativity set. One piece is given along with a treat for twelve days and then they have a complete nativity scene.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top