Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday traditions

"I see myself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks." Harry stared. "One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a pair. People will insist on giving me books."

Several years ago we got socks as presents on the Epiphany. Um, perhaps I should back up and explain what the Epiphany is, since I know that most people don't celebrate it, at least not where I live.

When Tall One and I were little mom was unable to celebrate Christmas with us one year. I can't remember the exact reason, but it was either because she had to work or she was sick. She was rather disappointed, and mentioned it to a co-worker.

The co-worker told mom that where she came from people celebrate the twelfth day of Christmas -- January 6th. Incidentally, I discovered recently that the family of one of my fellow bloggers also celebrates this day.

On the evening of January 5th everyone in my family puts a pair of shoes on the table in the dining room. We used to also put alfalfa in the shoes, but since we no longer have guinea pigs who we buy that stuff for we make do with some kind of fake stuff. Exactly what the fake stuff is differs from year to year, depending on what we have on hand and how creative we feel.

You know how Santa Clause flies through the skies with his sled and reindeer and gives everyone presents on Christmas? (By the way, I still get presents from Santa since I tell my mom that I definitely still believe in him.) Well, on the Twelfth Day of Christmas the Three Wise Men come around with their camels and leave presents for people in the shoes they leave out. Or anyways, that's how it is in my family. Magaly's is slightly different:

In my family we exchange presents on January 6th. The presents are usually put under the dining room table, right next to the plate where we left juice and cookies for Magic Kings and grass for their camels.

So, back to the socks. In addition to the yummy treats that we got in our shoes, we also got socks a few years ago. A quote from Dumbledore was on the table, where he bemoans the fact that he never gets warm wool socks for Christmas.

Ever since then we have gotten socks at epiphany. The socks have sort of developed into a family tradition. Maybe it seems like an odd one, but I like it.

Do you have any unusual family traditions for winter holidays? What are they?

ps. This is too funny, I have just got to share what the spellchecker is suggesting that "Dumbledore" is a misspelling of: tumbledown, battledore, Wimbledon, and dumbwaiter.


Dalesings said...

It's worth noting that the 12th Day of Christmas is always January 5th; Epiphany is the next day, January 6th.

I was taking a visiting New Zealand friend around Ohio's Amish area one year on January 6th--just to find that all the Amish stores and cheese-making places--everything!--was closed down, since the Amish celebrate "Christmas" on that day. In part, that follows from the fact that the gift-giving aspect of the story arises with the three wisemen, not the shepherds.

Sarita said...

So the Twelfth Day and the Epiphany are separate days? I didn't realize that. I never counted the days on the calendar, either.

So either my mom misunderstood it, or I misunderstood it when she explained it to me years ago and it was never straightened out for me.

Thanks for clarifying!

And I hadn't known that the Amish celebrated on that day, rather than December 25th. Thanks for that tidbit, also. :)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I think your socks custom is charming!

Sarita said...