Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.
Dolly Parton's rendition gets me in the Christmas spirit.
I enjoy reading all of your Christmas stories. Our Christmases are simple, as we have family that lives far away. On hubby's side his parents celebrated in the Pacific Northwest with his brother and on my side my mum celebrated in England with my sister.
Growing up, before I was eight I lived on a twenty-two acre farm in rural Pretoria, South Africa. My mother and father's families were from Europe and moved to the African continent in the late 1950's/early 1960's. So even though Christmastime was summertime, we celebrated with European traditions.
My first Christmas was at my Granny's house in Zimbabwe. I was the oldest grandchild, on both sides, so I was doted on and given too many presents, I'm sure.
I remember we decorated our tree with fruit ornaments, and since my dad's passing I inherited the strawberry ornaments - one of which I'd taken a bite out, thinking it was real. To other's looking at that ornament displayed on our tree there was a look of confusion, but to me, and my family it holds a special memory.
That's what makes celebrations, and traditions so important - the memories. When I was eight we moved to a rural village in the heart of Warwickshire, and much of my mother's family lived nearby. We would have the traditional carol services at the village church, many cards were shared (the Brits are very good at sending and receiving cards) and we wore silly crowns on our heads during Christmas dinner - yes, the ones pulled from a cracker.
A few years later my dad's aviation businesses expanded to Australia and the United States. So when it was time for me to go to college, I went to SFCC and later, Marylhurst University in the Pacific Northwest. I was nineteen, studying interior design and had a roommate from Japan. That was hers and a Chinese friend's first Christmas.
Every Christmas after that I would save my summer job money -yes, I worked for my dad's aviation company, and would fly to Europe for Christmas. Firstly, I'd go to my Granny's home in Germany and help her decorate her tree. She lived in a multi-generational home with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Then, I'd go to England and celebrate with my mum's side and see all my old high school friend.
Sadly, in 2009 my maternal Granddad passed away, five months later my maternal Nana passed away. In 2010, my Granny passed away just a few weeks before Christmas - eleven years after my Grandpa. If that wasn't enough loss only eight weeks after my Granny passed, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer - he passed away in 2013.
Christmases since then have been with my hubby. We now live in the Carolinas, and have started a new tradition of visiting the Biltmore during the holidays. This year, my mum and sister came to visit over Thanksgiving break and so we took our Christmas card picture with them there.
On Christmas Eve we attended two candlelight services, it's my favorite sermon of the year. We sang Silent Night as all the candles glowed.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
After the service, I prepared Chicken Gloria and we watched our favorite Christmas movies, relaxed ready for the next day.
On Christmas, we had our 2nd annual Christmas at Biltmore - the largest private home in the United States.
We had our luncheon at The Deerpark, on the estate. The restaurant has windows on both sides - which look into a courtyard. There was a tree all trimmed with red bows.
We're usually seated, make our drinks order then go into the large hall, where a buffet of holiday foods are on display. They also had an ice sculpture. Which was d-r-i-p-p-i-n-g on this unusually warm seventy-five degree day.
All the buffet tables had fantastic floral arrangements. I especially liked this one by the dinner plates.
After lunch, and dessert we
The more we visit, the more we notice the architectural details.
Thank you for having us Vanderbilt's. Afterwards we hiked down to one of the rustic gazebos by the lake and I pulled so many funny faces for a picture - it made us laugh.
Hope your Christmas was just as joyful,
~Kiki Nakita ~