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We all have our holiday traditions. One of ours was the annual reading to the children of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Thinking about this, I was struck by the fact the not once, N-E-V-E-R, have I had a vision of sugar plums dancing through my head. It turns out that going back to the 17th century, making candied fruits was a thing. Now, not so much. So, what are other olden traditions that have fallen by the wayside? Here are a few.

1. Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas. Growing up, the tree and carols and other signs of the season stayed up until the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. Indeed, in middle ages England, Twelfth Night was cause for enormous celebration. Today, the 12 days has morphed into 12 seconds. Might do us some good to hang on to that holiday cheer a bit longer.

2. Dressing up for Christmas. I remember this vividly. Today, we don't even wear our Sunday best on Sundays.

3. The Christmas goose. This was so typical, Dickens extolled the Cratchit family's preparation of the goose, a Christmas fave in the 19th century. Today everyone I know has an elaborate dinner of either roast beef, turkey, pasta, ham, etc. Silly geese.

4. Speaking of Dickens, a 19th century tradition was telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve (perhaps the inspiration for Marley and the three spirits). Not counting annual performances of A Christmas Carol, this is another tradition that has bitten the dust.

5. Putting oranges in stockings. This tradition goes way back and was still popular as late as the Depression. It was a tasty, inexpensive treat that even the poorest families could afford. This one ought to come back. Good for the Florida orange growers and all of us can use a bit more Vitamin C.

6. As far back as 12th century France, there was a Feast of the Donkey. It commemorated the beast that bore Jesus on occasion during His earthly sojourn, as the animals were paraded through town. I don't see this ever making a return visit, though if I want to see a bunch of asses, I can switch to C-Span and watch Congress in action.


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