The Ten Best Things We Didn't Realize Make Our Holidays Special

Published: June 9, 2014

This list is about the holiday parties and celebrations we have and items that immediately remind us of the meaning of the holiday and make our holiday more than just a pre-packaged display of consumerism .These are things that are timeless aspects of celebrations big and small and whether expected or unusual, take us instantly into a memory of days we hold dear.Some of these things are steeped in the symbolism of the season,and indeed some are physical representations of the spiritual ideaology of what our holidays represent.Some of the motifs go back for generations,sometimes centuries or even millenia.Others are failry new but are still a happy tradition for all those who gather to celebrate.Some items originate as a representation of myths and legends or of family folklore;others are more generalized in spirit.

  1. The children's table

    The children's table is a tradition in many holiday gatherings,often made necessary by the lack of real estate in a house where a holiday dinner is held.Jokingly thought of as a sort of booby prize in the universe of seating assignments,it is nonetheless a great place where guests of the same generation--the newest one--find out about one another and if related,all the better.A good way for cousins to meet and have a base for future identification.Many cousins meet for the first time around the kids' table.What a way for youngsters--and sometimes not as young--to learn what makes them alike and what makes them different,sometimes across cultures and language differences.

  2. Holiday pies and cakes

    Holiday pies and cakes are a universally anticipated part of our holiday meals.Here we have pumpkin pie,pecan pie and gingerbread with some marzipan added in the frosting.Pumpkin pie is especially common due to the popularity In America of growing pumpkins,squash,zucchini,cucumbers and other crops which are marveled at because of the propensity for growing to enormous sizes.Pumpkins especially get quite large and often get entered in pumpkin-growing contests.One result of such cultivation is the abundance of pumpkin available for pies,soup,smoothies,and other dishes.Pecan pies are especially popular in the South and traditionally are very rich in flavor.Gingerbread is especially associated with Christmas and is great with cider or tea.Families look forward to the special recipes of relatives and pass on the recipes for others to use later.

  3. The bouquet centerpieces

    Seeing a bouquet of flowers on the table as a centerpiece is not something we always think of ,but the presence of a floral arrangement symbolizes rebirth and renewal,and a continuity of life across the years.When something dies,it is replaced and when flowers fade,new ones grow in their place.Plants represent the cycle of life.Plus,the arrangement of flowers contribute to the feeling of good luck and being one with nature.People often gather flowers from their garden to use in floral arrangements and use nice vases to display them in.Food seems more appetizing when you dine with beautiful surroundings.The scent of fresh flowers rejeuvenates your feeling of well-being.

  4. The backyard garden

    Each garden is a little special place on earth for us to quietly contemplate and also a place to observe the small things like the birds,the squirrels,the butterflies,the ants,the moths and other fauna of our small kingdom.It is also the place where the stars are watched at night,fireworks heard and seen,and outdoor barbeques are anticipated.When guests see the garden they immediately see a great place for outdoor photos and a place for blowing bubbles.The garden becomes a focal point for a sense of place and a sense of destination to come back to again and again,time after time.it is,in a way, a way to feel at home even if you are thousands of miles away from home.

  5. The games

    Games are a big part of most family celebrations,often with visiting friends joining in.many a time,the games played during holiday celebrations are informal,consisting of things like jump rope,bouncing ball,climbing trees,playing in a tree house or play house,or swinging on a swing set.Kids could be letting off steam but also the gathering is made more lively when play occurs,and it beats just sitting around and watching television.Freinds and relatives get a chance to really congregate together and form lasting memories.Good,pleasant weather is definitely a bonus for outdoor play.Who doesn't enjoy a game of tag outside on the lawn,or blowing soap bubbles and watching the dog try to catch them!

  6. The dogs playing

    Dogs are our companions.They are members of our families.So,naturally,we should include them in our family celebrations,and make sure they appear in our family portraits.What better than having our dogs at our family gatherings is to have two or more dogs that are friends with each other at family gatherings.This gives them an oppertunity to romp around with each other and enjoy each other's company.Dogs that are good friends with each other cherish an oppertunity to chase each other wildly and generally have lots of good,frollicking fun with one another.Dogs love each other's company,so they should get together as often as possible.

  7. Pine cones

    Pine cones are much more than meets the eye.The are beautiful in and of themselves, and their symmetrical shape lend themselves to many ideas for decor and centerpieces.They represent warmth when used an kindlinfg in a fireplace or bonfire,and bounty is represented when they are used to feed birds,coating them with peanut butter or bacon grease and coating them with seeds.They make great Christmas ornaments and as accents for gift wrap.They bring to mind an evergreen forest and the abundance of nature.They can even be painted with spray paint in colors like gold or silver to make them just a little more unique and make them catch the light.

  8. Bird nests

    Birds' nests do not immediately seem like a holiday item but they are often seen during spring holidays like Easter.They are wonderful to behold when outside during a stroll in the back yard and bring to mind the cycle of life and tge rebirth of new generations and life.They are often made from found items like dog hair,grass,leaves and even paper symbolizing renewal.The cozy nest symbolize the warmth and comfort of our own homes and hearth.

  9. Fall foliage

    The splendor of fall foliage is almost a celebration in itself.The autumn leaves are like a display of fireworks,and if you are travelling and passing by a bunch of trees whose leaves have changed color you feel like you are watching something akin to a display of fireworks.The warmth of the colors bring feelings of vitality and exuberance.The golden leaves are like a fire warming the soul.Maple trees,especially Japanese maple, are especially beautiful. Willow, and ginko also have really beautiful leaves and a blanket of golden ginko leaves on the ground just looks like a warm golden blanket.it really just looks warm and inviting.

  10. Little native songbirds

    native songbirds bring beauty to any celebration,and the unpredictablilty make a great way for partygoers to enjoy the beauty of nature.it is especially enjoyable when different types of birds gather together at the same bird feeder,symbolizing the meeting of different families and cultures.Children especially enjoy watching birds in flight and at the feeder,but watch out for those squirrels ready to climb on it and poach the seed for themselves!Hummingbirds are especially festive with their metallic feathers and rapid movement,almost like the flickering of a light.

You expect things like brightly wrapped gifts and Thanksgiving turkey and fireworks to symbilize holiday memories.However,sometimes it is the unexpected that really help to bring to mind the essence of the season and of family gatherings. Holidays are a time of hope and renewal and spirituality, and sometimes one thing is worth many words.