My shoes were empty this year. Probably for the same reason I don't win the lottery. If you don't play you can't win.
St. Nick's visit to my growing-up house always included a shoe filling for December 6th. It began the holiday season. We'd get oranges, or candy canes, or maybe some jacks to play with. I continued the tradition with my sons.
The visit from St. Nick was also a way to learn about various holiday customs. Being raised in a Catholic tradition, my Highlights for Children magazine introduced me to a variety of ways to celebrate winter holidays.
St. Lucia Day (December 13) was a little girl wearing a crown of candles. It was also my first learning of the celebration of Hanukkah (December 10). I wanted my own menorah, latkes, and dreidel. I became interested in how one would celebrate the winter solstice (December 21).
I’m remembering today that the joy of beginning the holiday season is my memory. Most will be celebrating something this month. Remembering that there are 14 religious holidays this month tells me I should investigate how many other people will have memories vastly different than mine, but wonderful memories I hope they’ll share.
This year if we’ve learned nothing, I hope I’ve remembered that race and religion and memories matter, whatever they are. Mine are mine, but I’m open to learning and participating in so many others to grow. That's what makes the season special.
What about your memories of celebrating these seasonal special days? Do you still participate in events? Please share.