I am not fond of the Christmas clock.
Can I just say that right now, and kinda get it out there in the open? I love Christmas, and I have no problem with clocks as a general rule, but the combination is simply not to be borne.
It’s just a little clock, about eight inches high, standard Christmas motif. Every hour, on the hour, it plays a Christmas carol.
Not really, no.
See, here’s the problem. Every hour between 7AM and 11PM, it plays a carol. It doesn’t ask your permission first. It just plays.
Each song is in a different, but equally unsingable, key.
Why do you need to sing along, you ask. Simply ignore the clock or, better yet, turn the thing off. You don’t understand, my friend. There is Tradition to consider, and Tradition states that wherever you are, whatever you may be doing, you must stop and sing with the Christmas Clock. Cooking? Let it burn. Sleeping? Not anymore. Performing open heart surgery? Well, pinch something off and start singing.
One does not violate Tradition.
I am blessed in that I am married to one of the foremost experts on Tradition. My Catherine—There, it just happened, I kid you not. I was about to dazzle you with deep profundities, and the clock went off! Now, I can’t remember what I was about to say.
Anyway, Cathy’s attitude toward the Christmas Clock goes like this (and this is a direct quote): “Even if it’s annoying, if it’s tradition, then it’s good.”
How does one argue with that?
Now friends, you know I am not against tradition. I think that traditions help to define a family, sort of bind them together with memories. Our family has some wonderful traditions that I hope get passed on through the generations. For example, the first gift that goes under the tree every year is for Jesus. This decorated box is empty when it goes under the tree, and gets filled as each of us thinks of a gift we would like to give Christ that year. We write our promise to Jesus down on a piece of paper, and place it in the box. On Christmas morning, we open the box and share our gifts. I love this tradition because it reminds us, just before we dive into our own gifts, that it’s His birthday we’re celebrating.
Another, admittedly less spiritual, tradition involves the Christmas tree. Each year, when Christmas is over and we take down the decorations, I save the trunk of the Christmas tree. I keep it until the next year, and on Christmas morning we burn it in the fireplace. Given that we name our trees, it does feel a little cannibalistic, but it kind of gives a sense of continuity from year to year.
Note: I should point out that I instituted this tradition, and I keep it alive. My family would probably lose this one in a minute, but I like it. It involves fire.
There are some traditions that I’ve heard about that I would like to try someday. For example, once upon a time folks used real candles to light their trees. They kept them near the window, so that when (not if, mind you) the tree burst into flames, they could just sort of push it out the window.
Tell me that wouldn’t be fun.
Some traditions evolve over time, and some eventually get paused until the next generation picks them up. I’ve noticed that the kids don’t need me to lift them up to put their ornaments on the tree anymore, and sometime before they’re thirty they won’t be interested in new jammies every Christmas Eve. But the traditions will still be there, waiting for the next generation.
What about you? What are the customs that make Christmas Christmas in your house? Please leave a comment; we’re always on the lookout for a new tradition. Hey…maybe we can swap traditions. I’ve got this great clock…