View Poll Results: What are your high priority Christmas traditions?
Decorating a tree 72 57.60%
An advent calendar 8 6.40%
Egg nog 20 16.00%
Decorating your house interior with knick-knacks and tchotchkes 40 32.00%
Putting up a nativity/creche 13 10.40%
Putting up exterior lights/decor 32 25.60%
Taking the kids to see Santa 6 4.80%
Giving gifts 80 64.00%
Receiving gifts 45 36.00%
Sending Christmas cards 24 19.20%
Attending (or throwing) a party 10 8.00%
Feasting on the holiday (incl Xmas Eve) with family & friends 66 52.80%
Going to church services 20 16.00%
Going caroling 4 3.20%
Listening to recorded xmas music (streaming, radio, CDs) 55 44.00%
Attending a theater/musical holiday-themed live performance 8 6.40%
Watching holiday specials/movies on TV 53 42.40%
Other (please elaborate) 22 17.60%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 125. You may not vote on this poll

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  #51  
Old 12-12-2019, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
Serious question (for everyone, not just Beckdawrek) Why do you think people enjoy (love?) these things? As an outsider (I grew up in a house that exchanged presents on Christmas but no tree, lights, or decorations). When my kids were younger, we went through the motions, but I fail to see the allure. As Beck notes, it's a ton of work, none of it especially enjoyable. There are crowds, there is stress, there are family obligations. This year I told my adult kids they're invited to stop by that day, and I'll take them out for Chinese food. We will enjoy each other's company, and not have to clean, cook, or stress.
I'm the laziest ass on the planet, and my personal christmas decorating is minimal, to say the least. However, I did put together a six-inch-tall lego christmas tree, and looking at that tiny little tree gives me an inordinate sense of pleasure (as can be determined by comparing it to looking at the other sets around it).

Why does this happen? Nostalgia. My brain associates christmas trees with good times of my youth, and reminds me that the season of family and giving is on the horizon. Other traditions reinforce that the family is still together and is still the same unit as it was before despite all the other changes. And gift exchanging is of course an acknowledgement of interest and care for the people close to you.

Of course I have the advantage that my mom is still alive, and is a christmasophile; I can experience decorations and feasts and events to my heart's content with negligible effort. That will all go away when she passes on (unless my in-town siblings invite me over to their events), but even when there's nothing else I'll still lift a few fingers to pop in a christmas movie and remember the holiday.
  #52  
Old 12-12-2019, 02:42 PM
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It is a somewhat minor Christian Holiday, promoted to supplant various European Winter Holidays. It is also a major celebration of capitalism and has been for at least 80 years now if not longer. But the older carols do go back to a time when it was a religious holiday and the people who wrote the carols probably weren't aware of the history of Christmas.

I think for many of us, be we Christian, Atheist, Agnostic or something else and enjoying the time and celebration, the really important part of Christmas is the gathering of Friends & Families and maybe a little more Good Will than normal.

Santa is a fun little tale for many of us, a shared fiction with our kids.
I don't consider Christmas to be christian at all - it's a pagan winter celebration that went in one side of christianity and came out the other unchanged to a remarkable degree. Sure it picked up a name change, and candy canes, but the more overtly christian stuff that adhered to it (like nativities) can be easily discarded without being missed.

My family's christian (well, mormon), and I simply need to stay away during the occasional pious stuff that happens and come back when it's done. There's so much holiday left over that I don't even feel like I'm missing out.
  #53  
Old 12-12-2019, 02:49 PM
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You forgot "kissing under a mistletoe", but probably no one here does that anymore.
We do!


What are your high priority Christmas traditions?

I voted for several:

Decorating a tree
An advent calendar
Egg nog
Decorating your house interior with knick-knacks and tchotchkes
Giving gifts
Feasting on the holiday (incl Xmas Eve) with family & friends
Going to church services
Going caroling
Listening to recorded xmas music (streaming, radio, CDs)
Other (please elaborate) — on Thanksgiving weekend we go to a tree farm and chop down our tree, then put t up and all the decorations.

It’s been 40 years exactly since my family moved from the northeast / New England to San Francisco and surrounds. I was 18 back then, and am 58 now.

Still, it feels much less Christmassy to me with the snow and cold weather that I grew up with 40+ years ago.
  #54  
Old 12-12-2019, 03:02 PM
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I don't consider Christmas to be christian at all - it's a pagan winter celebration that went in one side of christianity and came out the other unchanged to a remarkable degree. Sure it picked up a name change, and candy canes, but the more overtly christian stuff that adhered to it (like nativities) can be easily discarded without being missed.

My family's christian (well, mormon), and I simply need to stay away during the occasional pious stuff that happens and come back when it's done. There's so much holiday left over that I don't even feel like I'm missing out.
That's fair, we have no Christian aspect left to Christmas except the name of the Holiday. Our tree is stuffed animals, Santas, Gandalf mixed in among the Santas, reindeer, icicles, and winter scenes. We do have a dreidel or 2 and some Star of Davids on the tree.
  #55  
Old 12-12-2019, 03:24 PM
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Well the gift giving part is probably from Christian tradition - though originally it was January 6 that was the gift giving day (being Epiphany) and it was moved to Christmas day during the Reformation.
  #56  
Old 12-12-2019, 03:33 PM
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Well the gift giving part is probably from Christian tradition - though originally it was January 6 that was the gift giving day (being Epiphany) and it was moved to Christmas day during the Reformation.
Not really, gift giving was part of Saturnalia, a roman celebration of Saturn held in December. As Christianity dominated the Roman world the gift giving was associated with St. Nicholas in early December.
  #57  
Old 12-12-2019, 03:36 PM
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Other (please elaborate) on Thanksgiving weekend we go to a tree farm and chop down our tree, then put t up and all the decorations.

Its been 40 years exactly since my family moved from the northeast / New England to San Francisco and surrounds. I was 18 back then, and am 58 now.

Still, it feels much less Christmassy to me with the snow and cold weather that I grew up with 40+ years ago.
We do too! And since we're both in the Bay Area, we could be prowling the same tree farms and fighting over the same tree.

(Although this year, it rained so much on the Saturday after Thanksgiving that we opted to just head for a tree lot, grab the first good looking one, and get out of the rain.)
  #58  
Old 12-12-2019, 03:45 PM
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But wasn't Saturnalia's gifts more of the 'gag gift' sort of thing (or terracotta figures)?

And while small gifts may be associated with St. Nick's Feast Day, Epiphany is also well known for gifting (though these days more in Eastern Orthodoxy or Latin American - Three Kings Day, etc).
  #59  
Old 12-12-2019, 08:13 PM
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OK -- I'll add something I love not on the list; all the various "fractured Christmas songs" such and Bob Rivers and others do. And a personal shout-out for my all-time favorites from the Electric Amish.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvOwEZiA9MI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE7mX8mkyxM
  #60  
Old 12-12-2019, 09:25 PM
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Vacation days are about the only thing I care about anymore, Bah, Freakin humbug.
  #61  
Old 12-13-2019, 09:33 AM
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Only 18% of celebrants send cards. I had a feeling that this tradition was fading.
  #62  
Old 12-13-2019, 09:35 AM
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Vacation days are about the only thing I care about anymore, Bah, Freakin humbug.
You get vacation?? Must be nice.
  #63  
Old 12-13-2019, 09:59 AM
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Only 18% of celebrants send cards. I had a feeling that this tradition was fading.
I did the cards/letters for maybe 4 years and then decided I didn't want to do it. So I stopped about 20 years ago. I felt a little guilty about it at first, but that didn't last long.
  #64  
Old 12-13-2019, 11:37 AM
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We go to my parents house for opening gifts and a meal each year, they do the whole decoration shebang. At our own house we'd be hard pressed to even put up a tree (maybe every other year)
  #65  
Old 12-13-2019, 01:55 PM
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Only 18% of celebrants send cards. I had a feeling that this tradition was fading.
Anybody I might want to send a card to I see at least weekly, and thus cards seem pointless. When I lose contact with somebody I don't do it by halves, so anybody I don't see at least weekly I don't think about at all.
  #66  
Old 12-14-2019, 12:44 AM
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We do too! And since we're both in the Bay Area, we could be prowling the same tree farms and fighting over the same tree.

(Although this year, it rained so much on the Saturday after Thanksgiving that we opted to just head for a tree lot, grab the first good looking one, and get out of the rain.)
Cool. The tradition, not the bad weather this year. That was a stormy weekend! We drove to Oregon and Washington for Thanksgiving weekend, our first Thanksgiving away since like forever, so this year we got our tree the weekend before. We used to go up to the Santa Cruz Mountains but the last two years weve been going to Half Moon Bay. How about you guys?
  #67  
Old 12-14-2019, 01:46 AM
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Santa Cruz mountains every year, all my life. (Weve changed farms 3 or 4 times, though)
  #68  
Old 12-14-2019, 11:00 AM
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Other, gathering with family/loved ones for a happy time is what's important to me. I (sort of) don't mind gift giving to the younger kids but my thinking is that it should be ended by age twelve. This partly stems from how bothersome I find the utter commercialization of holidays generally to be.

Yes, I'm the "scrooge" of the family and have been since I was a kid.
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  #69  
Old 12-14-2019, 04:17 PM
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100% Agreed. I think it's because it's Christmas, there is a bit of anti-religious sentiment (well, anti-Christian anyways) in wanting an option that I'm not going to celebrate it because I don't believe it.

I wonder if there would be this much pushback if it was "What Sports traditions are important to you" or "What Hanukkah traditions are important to you".
Obviously there wouldn't be. I'm OK with special anti-Christian sensitivity (due to the religion's real or perceived negative role in society or in particular individual's lives in those people's opinion). That's how those people feel and are entitled to their feelings. But I do sometimes have to suppress an eye roll when it's claimed such reactions are not specific high sensitivity about/against Christianity. If you bother to post on a web thread to complain that a poll 'what Xmas traditions are important to you?' didn't include 'none' as opposed to letting your lack of any vote signify 'none', you've pretty much proven you're particularly sensitive about it. Just like all the people who would raise a similar objection to the sports or Hanukkah traditions polls... basically nobody.

Last edited by Corry El; 12-14-2019 at 04:18 PM.
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