19/12/2023 (Staff Post - Alan McNiven )
Every year we seem to add to the Christmas traditions in our house… My daughter believes that if we don’t go to a particular branch of Tesco on Christmas Eve, park round the back in overspill carpark and buy a long baguette, the whole thing will be ruined. This stems from the usual thing of me doing last minute dashes for stuff and her being with me every year. The fact that I usually end up buying more chocolate probably enhances her memories of this ‘tradition’, a tradition which is at best three or four years old and let’s face it is hardly filled with feelings of yuletide warmth and glow. We could between the two of us decide that it is not so much tradition as just panic, but let’s not kid ourselves I’ll still be doing it. Traditions are weird right? Sometimes we don’t even know why we do stuff but if it doesn’t hurt, why not call it a tradition, and keep going.
I was taken recently with the fact that a Christmas Eve staple in Sweden, watched by millions of Swedes every year, is the Donald Duck Disney special “From All of Us to All of You” (titled in Sweden “Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas”). Seemingly in the late 1950s it ran on Swedish television when there were very few channels, so it was watched by many Swedes and ended up becoming a Christmas Eve tradition. Now I’m not making any comment regards the obvious yuletide attraction of Donald Duck but does it compare with the traditional Christmas films in our house of ‘Home Alone’ or ‘Die Hard’? – I doubt it. But again, that’s traditions for you – experience tells you that it seems to be the slightly kooky, even, on the surface, daft ideas that are more likely to become a tradition - and the festive shenanigans we all enjoy are in my opinion without doubt the richer for them.
The Swedes and Donald Duck are just one example of tradition that shows even great examples of shared heritage can emerge from fairly recent happenings – much like my Tesco tradition perhaps. Growing up I was made aware of some important modernish Scottish yuletide traditions by my mother – but of course in Scotland, with Christmas not being a public holiday until 1958, most of them centred around Hogmanay. On the 31st she would always make sure we had the right ‘buns’ available – sultana and cherry - always had the soup on for the first footers and was sure to open all the windows just prior to ‘The Bells’ – this was to let the old year out and let the next prosperous year in...and of course I do that every year as well…
So, with that I encourage you to share your traditions, fling open yir windaes and have a great festive break – here’s to a happy ’24!
We’ll be back soon – here’s a page that’s worth look - festive opening times around important services in Renfrewshire:
All the best.