I know I will get a lot of flack for this post, so let me put up my shield and protective armour before you read this. Ok, sorted, let’s proceed! Everyone has a different view of what Christmas is or means to them which in turn influences the Christmas traditions they adopt. Being part of a Christian family, there are a few things that we do slightly differently to the movies you see on Hallmark or Netflix. So as a little disclaimer, I don’t condone anyone who follows these traditions and would actually just play along if needed. That is basically what I’ve done for the past decade or so anyway! The only difference is that I see these as harmless bits of fun that don’t really make much sense.
Without further ado (puts on the Grinch suit), here are the Christmas traditions that I do not follow:
1. Santa who?
This one makes me giggle because I have quite a few pictures of my dad in a Santa suit, giving us gifts. The thing is, I don’t believe in Santa because I wasn’t raised to believe in him. So naturally, I will not teach my daughter to write letters to an imaginary man with a big belly who might bring gifts in the middle of the night. Oh and to tell her she has to leave cookies for this stranger? I thought we were supposed to teach our kids not to let strangers into the house… Oh wait, but it’s ok if he’s wearing red and shouts “Ho! Ho! Ho!” right? I get that it’s cute and all, but Santa will not be a part of my Christmas traditions because that’s not what Christmas is about.
2. Mistle-Toe in… South Africa?
Just to be absolutely annoying, I decided to do some research on this kissing tree/ branch. I needed to know where this myth came from and which parts of the world said tree grows in because… well, just because. If anyone wasn’t sure, I’m based in South Africa. Surprise! So the white Christmas, pumpkin spice November and all that jazz doesn’t quite happen that way down here. But we’ll get to that in a sec – back to the tree. So this mistletoe thing is a parasite that people (strangers even) kiss under? Can someone please explain why anyone would do that?
I wasn’t too surprised to see that the mistletoe grows in South Africa. Maybe it bought a plane ticket and flew over or something, who knows? But what I was curious about was the story behind it. A romantic parasite?
Digging a little further to see how it became part of the Christmas traditions…
So my curiosity got the better of me so I decided to research said parasite. Here’s what I found. The mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on other trees including apples, almond and cherry pine (amongst others). Farmers actually remove these plants because they are a nuisance. Also, in ancient times, the Greeks decided to add the mistletoe to their mythology, linking it to their gods. Apparently, whatever grew on the oaks was a gift from heaven, so the trees were often worshipped.
Skipping over a few details, the mistletoe story turned into a symbol of the goddess of love thanks to the English. And this parasite magically became one of the symbols linked to Christmas. So now, if you’re a gal and you linger under a parasite, another parasite is allowed to come and kiss you. Brilliant, isn’t it?
3. Elf on the shelf
An enchanted Christmas with little elves – how precious! I think that is quite adorable and magical for the kids. The only issue I have with this (and the other traditions) falls back on my faith. Decorating is one thing but to me, adding meaning to each item of decor pulls away from the ‘Christ’ part of Christmas. I would make a full on winter wonderland or whatever themed Christmas once my kiddo is old enough to know why that’s even a holiday. But for now, she can’t just link the Easter bunny to Easter and Santa, Rudolf and some elves to Christmas.
So what Christmas traditions will I follow?
How kind of you to let me force the question into your mouth!
Since you asked, I will be giving gifts, spending time with family, loving strangers and spreading the Word. I will definitely have a tree because it is very fun to decorate and really pretty to look at!
Regardless of how you choose to spend your Christmas, this is such a beautiful occasion that merits all of the celebrations. I am grateful that you have made it to this time of the year in good health and hope you have a splendid time with your loved ones!