Guest Tim Germain and “The Customs of Christmas”

Today, I bring you something interesting for the the beginning of the holiday season, as many people are starting their Christmas celebrations early this year. I also believe that with so many writers reading this blog, and Christmas being a favorite theme in books, that many will find inspiration and information on pages of The Customs of Christmas.

I am so very happy to have Tim Germain as my guest. Tim and I have a great deal in common. We have deep Christian faith, a strong sense of family and a devotion to traditions.

 I found Tim’s site, “The Customs of Christmas” some years ago, but I had not realized that he has been spreading Christmas joy and information for twenty years. He also has a sister site, “The Customs of Easter”. Let’s find out more.

My easy entertaining and cooking blog, Tonette Joyce: Food, Friends, Family was started on the basic principles of your blog, Tim, that of trying to get people back to family stories and traditions. (Unfortunately, it has gotten sidetracked often to help those who need alternatives to traditional ingredients, which I am glad to do, but I digress).

Welcome!

Thank you for having me, Tonette.  I’m glad you found my sites and are enjoying them.

The Customs of Christmas certainly contains every aspect of the truth and the history of the celebrations of Christmas. It is very informative and is done in simple, clear terms that the whole family can enjoy and use for teaching and discussions.  What were some of the things that you learned while researching the topics? Are there any that you have adopted?

The subject of Christmas customs is large.  When you add all the countries of the world and their Christmas customs to the mix, it’s impossible to learn something you didn’t know before.  For instance, we all hear and sing “The 12 Days of Christmas.”  Then I learn that each of the gifts were possibly codes used to teach Catholic children their catechism.  A kind of fun custom that I learned about was the favorite Christmas dish of Japan.  You must get your order in early if you expect to have KFC for your Christmas dinner.  A strange Christmas custom that I learned about comes from Spain.  On Christmas day a log is placed partly into the fireplace and ordered to “poop.”  To make it “poop” children beat the log with sticks and sing Christmas songs until nuts and candy fall out for everyone to enjoy.

While my family hasn’t adopted any of these customs that I’ve researched we have enjoyed some of them.  One Christmas we celebrated St. Nicholas Day (December 6) with a stollen, a new treat for my family.

In your “Christmas Around the World” page, you expound on the traditions in many countries. Which country do you think does the best job for Christmas?
What is the most unusual tradition that you have found?

Each country has their own special way of celebrating Christmas.  While many of the customs are similar, they add their own flavor to them making them their own.  The Philippines have taken the customs from several cultures and combined them to make a unique Christmas celebration that is all their own.  Christmas in Israel must be something to experience.  Just to celebrate Jesus’ birthday in the country He called home would be beyond amazing.  Personally, I would love to experience Christmas in Germany (many of our Christmas customs came from Germany) with all their Christkindl markets.

ACTUALLY, Today it is 42 days away

I just love your posts. I truly enjoy your commentary and the many links and pages, such as “Carols” and all of the traditions. There is no excuse from your readers not to be able to put on a full Christmas feast with your recipe section, even by those who don’t think that they can cook. (I can, but I still am going to try your ‘No-Bake Fruitcake.’)

What has been your most commented on recipe?

The best comments have been from my family.  Several of the recipes have become part of our family Christmas.  We make several batches of Fantasy Fudge every Christmas.  Other favorites include Black Forest Pie and Chocolate Mint Snow-Tops.  For breakfast Christmas morning we always have Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole.  I tried to change that one year, but my children nearly revolted.  That was a tradition we had to keep. 

I remember one year we made Cinnamon Scented Ornaments.  We had a lot of fun making them and watching the children paint them.  The house smelled so good that Christmas.

On the site are easy, family crafts for Christmas. Where do you get the ideas?

Most of them I got from other Christmas websites.  I saw the Coathanger Christmas Trees being made at a church I attended many years ago.  I made several of them myself to give away as Christmas gifts.  A year or two ago my children and I tried to make the Simple Marbled Christmas Ornaments.  They looked great, but I learned the hard way it takes a long time for them to dry properly.  I closed them up too soon and the paint ran.  The ornaments were ruined.

There are also links to Christmas games with something for just about every learning level.
 You also have fun and interesting puzzles and quizzes, (Christmas I.Q., Santa’s Elf Logic  Quiz,  Christmas One-liners and many others).   Who created these?

Again, most of these I found on other websites.  Santa’s Pack Held 30 Toys is my all-time favorite logic puzzle.  That one came from Reader’s Digest.  I remember solving that puzzle as a young boy. 

You ask your readers for questions and suggestions, Tim. How often do people send ideas to you? Is there anything in particular which you are looking for to add to your site?

Most emails that I receive are from people selling something asking me to put a link to their site.  Some of the best emails came from people who used the information found on my website in unique ways.  The most memorable was from someone who wrote a Christmas play for their church’s Christmas program.  Information from my site was incorporated into the play.

I’ve also found online a newsletter from Central Towers a Presbyterian Homes & Services senior living home in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  They shared information from the 12 Days of Christmas, Nativity Scenes, Candy Canes, Christmas Lights, and Gift Giving pages with their mailing list.

Several teachers have included a link to CustomOfChristmas.com on their class resources pages.  It’s fun finding all the links.

Your other site, The Customs of Easter, seems like natural growth from your devout Christmas site.  I truly enjoyed the superstitions of Hot Cross Buns; (who knew?). The directions and link to the science of dyeing eggs naturally is incredible. Do you get a great deal of feedback on this?

No, I don’t recall any feedback from The Customs of Easter.

 The Easter site also contains great information on the history and changes in Lenten observances, Shrove Tuesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and others, plus a few lesser-known traditions, such as “Carling Sunday” in Scotland.  Are you going to be adding world traditions as you have for Christmas?

Both of my websites are one of my hobbies, and I treat them as a hobby, meaning I probably don’t add as much content as maybe I could or should.  While adding world traditions to the Easter site would be great, I’ve still got a lot of countries to do for the Christmas site.

I seem to recall this and other Christian observations being on the Customs of Christmas site, (like St. Patrick’s Day).  Will they be back?

My Christmas blog site, customsofchristmas.wordpress.com, may have other holidays and Christian observations there.  I keep the main sites for the specific holiday only.

Tim, is there anything that you would like to add?

How did CustomsOfChristmas.com get it’s name?  https://customsofchristmas.wordpress.com/2020/09/25/the-customs-of-christmas-the-story-of-a-website/

A favorite page:
I love old time radio shows from the 1930s to the 1960s or so.  The Christmas radio show The Cinnamon Bear was first aired in 1937 and has been aired on at least one station every year since then.  Because The Cinnamon Bear was aired in 15 minute segments from November 29 to December 24 I created an advent calendar page using the episodes of that radio show.  A friend of mine created the images used to play each day’s episode.

The beginning of my Christmas blog:

Before my Christmas blog went to customsofchristmas.wordpress.com, my blog was on MySpace.com.  My MySpace name for the blog was SD Kluger because he could “answer all your questions because I know all about [Christmas].”  Sometimes I would interact with people who friended me on that site as if I were “Special Deliver Kluger, SD for short.”

Thank you so much for sharing your site and insight with our readers for the Holidays, Tim. I hope that everyone who sees this will check into the links below and get as much out of  your sites as I have.

Links:

www.customsofchristmas.com
http://customsofchristmas.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/The-Customs-Of-Christmas-166257553449577
www.customsofeaster.com

About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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17 Responses to Guest Tim Germain and “The Customs of Christmas”

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    Welcome to 4F1H, Tim.
    I’ve long been interested in the various — “strange” to my own senses, of course — ways other countries and cultures celebrate Christmas. My earliest awareness that there even WERE any “differences” was in my childhood when I saw — must have been a magazine — illustration of the German Santa. My juvenile thought was that they’d gotten it totally wrong. It never dawned on me, as a kid, that Christmas traditions (including the appearance and name of the santa figure) could vary!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, even in parts of Italy you have the witch that brings gifts; (this was not my family’s traditions nor those from their area). I saw the hitting of the make-shift donkey on a kids’ show about a decade ago and was pretty shocked, but as long as it isn’t a real one,(who wouldn’t be able to poop presents anyway), I’m OK with it, I guess.
      St.Nicholas Day is when many places, France included, has the children receive their presents. I remember my D.C. suburban schoolmates being thrilled to hear that, thinking it was ANOTHER day to get presents, but our French teacher set them straight and added that children there generally got ONE gift for Christmas, which st the kids’ minds reeling.
      Lots of great stuff at Customs of Christmas, Jeff.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I remember doing a double take listening to Andy Williams sing, “There’ll be scary ghost stories…” I thought, “Ghosts stories at Christmas???” Then I remembered A Christmas Carol with its 4 ghosts. Combine that with La Befana, Italy’s Christmas witch; and yes, Christmas does have ghost stories and witches.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Welcome, Tim! I checked out your blog. Lots of great stuff! I love the anticipation, preparation, and family gatherings at Christmastime, especially now that my family consists of more than just my parents and my two brothers. All my aunts, uncles, and cousins live in Japan, so I had to laugh at the Japanese KFC tradition. I’ve never been there for the holidays, but the last time I went, they pulled out all the stops and served “KENN-tukky” for dinner!

    Liked by 2 people

    • How very funny! It’s amazing what other cultures consider delicacies that are common American fare. I once had a teacher whose husband was very upset. He was in a country where they made great pastries, but for dessert at a dinner party, they proudly gave him a bowl of canned fruit cocktail.
      Yes, I think everyone should check out Tim’s sites.

      Like

  3. What a wonderful website, Tim. Thank you. I’ve long studied the various customs for Christmas and how they came about. It’s very interesting. People should know where customs come from. Thank you for the work you’ve done. Your interview has been shared on my other sites. God bless you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Welcome, Tim. I’ll check out your site today. What a fabulous topic.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you, Tonette, for giving me this opportunity. Another hobby of mine is old time radio, radio shows from the 1930s – 1960s. I’m planning to post to my blog some of my favorite old time radio shows including another show that could make a great advent calendar.

    Like

  6. I will definitely be stopping by your blogs. I am home schooling my youngest and had decided to do a Christmas around the world unit.

    Liked by 2 people

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