It’s easy to get wrapped up in the modern trappings of Christmas. Even when we try not to mindlessly buy presents for the sake of the holiday, we can’t help but get sucked into the commercialism of it all. At Hacienda Sarria, we’re all about keeping worthy traditions alive. With a setting like ours, it’s hard not to embrace history and appreciate the past. If you’re playing host to a Christmas or holiday party this year, here are some ways to keep it traditional:
Stop Buying Presents
First and foremost, we must learn to recognize that the spirit of buying presents has become an extreme sport that is far removed from its original purpose. Gifts used to be thoughtful, (mostly) hand-made, and meaningful: a pair of knitted mittens, a set of coloured pencils, a helpful tool for making life just a little bit easier. If you’re planning a gift-exchange at your party, cap the spending limit to encourage your friends, family, and employees to get creative and use their imagination.
Traditional Christmas Fare
We’re not saying it’s time to ditch your mom’s famous stuffing, or your uncle’s delicious candied sweet potatoes; some of us look forward to these Christmas dinner staples all year long! If you want to add a traditional spin to your already splendid menu, try adding these delicious recipes:
- Christmas pudding. This British dessert was developed over centuries and reached its heyday in the 19th century. Christmas pudding, or “pud,” generally consisted of animal fat, or suet, expensive spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, sugar, and cloves; dried fruit, such as currents, raisins, dates; and alcohol, usually brandy. Recipes for Christmas pudding vary from region to region, even household to household.
- Roasted Goose or Ham. Turkey has only been the holiday staple for a little over a hundred years. Before that, more accessible meat was enjoyed. Ham was a popular choice and is still eaten in many cultures today, and the traditional Christmas goose was the staple for many middle-class families for centuries.
- Glögg. Also known as mulled wine or Glühwein, Glögg is a traditionally Swedish alcoholic beverage served in the winter months and especially around Christmas. Easy to make (and even easier to drink), Glögg is made by warming up red wine over a low heat and adding aromatic spices and oranges.
A Nod to the Victorians
The celebration of Christmas as we know it isn’t as old as one might think. In many ways, Christmas has become a largely secularized holiday with many non-Christians observing the holiday despite its origin. Many of our household traditions were developed in the Victorian era and popularized by Queen Victoria herself; the Christmas card of the Royal Family around their Christmas tree kick-started a whole new era of yuletide rituals. Here are some Christmas traditions that have only been around for a little over a century:
- Commercially available Christmas cards
- Christmas crackers
- Boxing Day
- Christmas Carols
- Santa Claus (as we know him today)
- Lighted Christmas trees
Both A Christmas Carol and A Visit from St. Nicholas were published in this era, making it the golden age of Christmas. This is often the portrayal we see in stories that attempt to emulate a culture of “good will toward men” and the epitome of Christmas cheer. Looking for inspiration for your party? These two stories are excellent source material!
Celebrating Life: Pagan Style?
It’s impossible to talk about Christmas customs without at least giving a nod to the pagan cultures that inspired them. Before the birth of Christ, and even before Christianity had made its mark in Western Europe, pantheist pagan religions ruled the countryside. Yule, a name which is now synonymous with Christmas, was once the name of Germanic pagan festival held during the darkest days of the year and had its own sacred space in rural country life.
Our ancestors would go out into the forest to find a yule log big enough to burn bright for days on end, symbolizing hope in the darkest of days. Boughs of evergreens were brought inside and hung up to bring cheer and remind people that nature hadn’t abandoned them. Feasts were held during winter solstice as a way to prepare people for the hard, dark days ahead. All of these customs were carried out in reverence to their local deities.
Celebrate Christmas in a Traditional Hacienda!
Do you want to celebrate Christmas in the merry halls of our Hacienda? Impress your employees, clients, or family with a delicious spread of holiday fare and roam the halls of our Spanish-style property, decked in sweet-smelling evergreens and glowing with beautiful string lights. Get a feel for the past this Christmas by booking your special year-end event with us!