Recent Posts

Read a Random Post



« | Main | »

Different Christmases

By Daniel Hubbard | December 24, 2013

Every year my family gets questions about how we celebrate Christmas. People realize that I am American but that our family is somehow Swedish. It is a good question. Different cultures celebrate holidays in their own ways. The main Christmas celebration might be the day before. It might be on the day. Some celebrations carry on for several days. In other cases, associated holidays are important. Holidays like St. Nicholas Day in the Netherlands, or Saint Lucia’s Day in Sweden. The Sundays of Advent can have varying importance and Epiphany might be a day of gift giving.

Those of us with Puritan ancestors ought to be keenly aware that holiday traditions change with time as well as place. In Puritan New England and Cromwellian England, Christmas celebrations were banned. Christmas was “Popish” and lacked a Biblical basis—no instruction to celebrate it and no information about when it  actually occurred. To them it reeked of a pagan solstice festival. I was recently reading Massachusetts Court records dated December 25. It was just another day for them. We should never expect our ancestors to see things the way that we do.

As I rush back to preparing for our tricultural Christmas (American, Swedish and German), I thought I would rerun a parody I wrote for a blog post two years ago-

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was noisy, except my clicking mouse,
The descendants were nestled, all snug in their beds,
But I was still searching for great-Uncle Ned,
And a census with Grandma and Great-Grand-pap,
Who just settled down at this spot on the map,
When suddenly arose some noises exterior,
I swiveled in my chair to free my posterior,
Away to the window, I made a mad dash,
And gazed out on the scene of a quite festive crash,
A tangle of decorations surround a miniature sleigh,
Santa flew low over a Yuletide display,
Reindeer and camels and snowmen all mingled,
I knew in a moment that I’d soon be Kris Kringled,
They struggled to pull all the lights they were trailing,
And even the dead heard his most fearful wailing;
“On Probate, on Will Book, On Baptismal Ledger,
On Census, on Plat Map, On Microfilm Reader!”
He entered extra quickly ’cause I’ve shortened this poem,
And he bore in his hands one enormous tome,
A rub of his eye and a shake of his head,
Soon gave me to know genealogists should be in bed;
He spoke not a word but went straight to my work,
Found all my relations then turned with a jerk,
And leaving the curser beside great-grandpa Morse,
Gave me some papers, each a primary source,
He sprang to his team, I yanked the mess from his sleigh,
So he managed to lift off before it was day,
And I heard his great joy at a sleigh minus fetters,
“Next year your getting all Uncle Ned’s letters!”

Twitter It!

Topics: Genealogy | No Comments »

Twitter It!