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December 2023

Carrying On The Traditions of Christmas

My oldest daughter called me the other day asking if I still had our old nativity set. She was so excited because she had found a stable that looked “just like the one we had...the one I played with every Christmas.”  What she was really asking, I realized, was whether or not she could have the nativity set so her children could play with it just like she did. In her own way, she was telling me how important the tradition of setting up the nativity set had been to her and she was signaling that she wanted to carry on the tradition.

The Holly And The Ivy

Other than fitting nicely into song lyrics, what does holly have to do with the celebration of Christmas? Quite a lot, it turns out.

As usual, it was my granddaughter Holly, who sparked the question. We were listening to my Christmas playlist the other day, and her ears perked up when she heard her name being sung. (Otherwise the playlist is incredibly boring to this near tween girl.) “Are they talking about a person or a plant?” asked the precocious granddaughter of an avid gardener. Too good of an opening to miss, I sprung into my teacher's hat and shared everything I knew about the history of holly, ivy and mistletoe at Christmas.

How Do You REALLY Say Its NameĀ ?

Wednesday afternoon I had a doctor’s appointment. Instead of the usual small talk, I found myself in the middle of an interoffice debate. The burning question of the day was “Is it pronounced POINT-SET-A or POINT- SET- TI-A?  And are they really BLUE now? I knew what my nurse Robin wanted me to say, but I just couldn’t lie; I had to tell her…our beloved Christmas flower’s name is really pronounced poyn·seh-tee-uh. It has that letter i in the last syllable. She didn’t love my answer, but at least I could tell her that the plant she was looking at was dyed, not natural.