CALIFORNIA, USA: Merry Whatever
In Poland preparations for Christmas are huge. Unlike the U.S., they do not rely on excessive buying gifts for yourselves, or all of your family and friends. They do not rely on competitions of showing off how richly we are able to decorate our house and Christmas tree.
In Poland we decorate our Christmas Tree on the morning of Christmas Eve or the day before. Sometimes, the week before (which is rather a new tradition), but not earlier than that. In Poland we keep the tree up till 6th January – the day when the Three Kings arrived to Bethlehem, but in some homes it is kept longer, sometimes even till the end of the carnival.
On top of the tree Poles usually put a glass star to represent the star which led the Kings to Bethlehem.
Presents are opened after the Christmas Eve meal. It might vary in every household, but in general that’s the rule. Poles teach their kids that christmas gifts are brought by Baby Jesus, Angel, Star (we start our Christmas Eve supper when a first star lights up in the sky), Father Christmas, Grandfather Frost, Saint Nicholas or simply by Santa Claus.
Preparing for Christmas is, above all, a thorough cleaning of the entire house. (more…)