Christmas Traditions

Every family has its own Christmas traditions, I think. One which isn’t always observed in my family is playing some sort of board game or Scrabble after Christmas dinner. This year one of my nephews got a new Risk game. I had never played this and neither had his dad or brother. But he assured us it wasn’t difficult and he would help us. So the four of us settled down to play Risk.

I must say I believe this is more a “guy” game in that it involves strategy, moving armies, etc. That’s not to say girls/women can’t play it; I just don’t think they will find it as interesting as a childhood favorite, Park ‘n Shop. Risk is related to Monopoly in that the games last a long time. Even though I had held my own fairly well against the three guys, I gave up before the game was over. I was getting exhausted and I didn’t see an end to it very soon. The nephew who received the game promised to play for me just so the others could continue the game.

There are other things which are traditions in my observation of Christmas. I try to find a church service to attend on Christmas Eve since my own congregation doesn’t have one. This year I attended the nearby Methodist church. This was my first visit with them. The service was interesting but I was distracted by a woman in front of me who kept turning around and waving to people behind me. I wondered at the need for the guest musicians who were duly noted in the program. Does this congregation lack musicians of their own? The service concluded with our singing Silent Night as we lit candles, one from the other, and then we processed outside where we were to “share the light with the world” while singing “Go Tell It On The Mountain.” This was a great idea … except it was so windy the candles went out almost as soon as we stepped outside.  A woman who had shared the pew with me introduced herself and commented on enjoying hearing me sing alto during the congregational singing.  I forget that others don’t automatically sing harmony.  I’m an alto and have sung that part for so long it’s natural to me to sing it.

On my way home from church I recognized another personal tradition … listening to the Christmas Eve programming on one of our local radio stations. As I started home, they were broadcasting “The Littlest Angel” with Loretta Young narrating. I still enjoy hearing the cherub try to compose a prayer. I get a tear in my eye when I hear him give his treasured box to the Christ child and have it accepted.

Other programs included the rebroadcast of a concert by a local choir and a performance of  “A Cup of Christmas Tea.” This, too, can bring a tear to my eye. Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a broadcast of part of “The Pickwick Papers” and “The Christmas Carol” with Lional Barrymore taking the role of Scrooge. What is it about Dickens which makes him such a satisfying writer to celebrate Christmas?

I wonder if it would be possible to get copies of these treasured broadcasts. Does anyone know where they might be found?

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