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Christmas Traditions: Old and New

While the majority of the year I dream and plan about where I am going next, there is one time of the year when I completely content staying home: the holidays. That is not saying that I do not wish to visit the European Christmas Markets one year or spend New Years somewhere exotic (because I most definitely do), but there is something about the holidays that grounds me and keeps me close to home. Part of it is the desire to spend time with family and friends, part of it is celebrating my favorite traditions. Traditions are intertwined with the holidays for me and while there are some that are ingrained in my holiday season, there are new ones that arise each year. This past week I had the pleasure of reliving one of my favorite Christmas traditions along with the addition of a new experience.

OLD TRADITION: CHRISTMAS POPS AT SYMPHONY HALL

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been attending the annual Christmas Pops performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra, which is the Boston Symphony Orchestra minus its principal players. Currently in its 133rd season, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is one of the United States’ five major symphony orchestras and sets a standard for orchestras worldwide. The Christmas Pops is a lighter version of their typical set and this year included new takes on classics such as The Twelve Days of Christmas, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and Joy to the World while delighting the audience with the traditional Hallelujah Chorus and A Christmas Scherzo. The Polar Express was narrated with the orchestra playing along to the story to end the first half and Conductor Keith Lockhart took us through A Merry Little Sing-Along to conclude the night. It was the perfect way to celebrate the Christmas season with friends and continue one of my favorite and oldest Christmas traditions.

Welcome back to Symphony Hall!

                                                                                                                    Welcome back to Symphony Hall!

Festive touches

                                                                                                                                                  Festive touches

I was just as excited about the Pops back in 1997...

                                                                                    I was just as excited about the Pops back in 1997…

NEW TRADITION: CHRISTMAS TEA AT THE FOUR SEASONS

On my travel wish list is to have afternoon tea in England someday, but until then I needed to hold myself over with a more local experience. A lifelong lover of tea and its tradition, my grandmother has always been someone with whom I would love to share the experience. Luckily for me, I got to accompany her, my mom and my aunt at Christmas tea this year at the Four Seasons. The dining room was decorated festively and we were seated directly in front of the fireplace on a cold, snowy Sunday. All around us, families gathered to enjoy the Christmas season in a similar way and children, accompanied by their teddy bears, participated in the Teddy Bear Tea. After selecting the apple berry tea, a tray was brought over with a selection of sandwiches and desserts. Among my favorites were the cranberry scones, the bite-sized shrimp sandwiches and the gingerbread whoopie pies. I do not see this being the last time I do tea, especially at Christmastime. Another wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season with family!

Christmas decorations all around

                                                                                                      Christmas decorations all around

Tea snacks

                                                                                                                                      Tea snacks

IMG_2338IMG_2335

Cozy spot by the fire

                                                                                                                Cozy spot by the fire

So while I may be venturing out to find some new Christmas experiences next year, there are some old traditions that will remain. For the time being though, I am perfectly happy spending the next week with family and friends, enjoying new and old traditions alike!

Do you have old or new traditions that you have celebrated this holiday season? 

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great post, I have written a Christmas themed piece too, give it a read and let me know your thoughts in the comments! http://lukehastings.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/christmases-commercial-cold/

    December 19, 2013
  2. Afternoon tea is so lovely – I really enjoy it (and it makes me feel a bit posh)! But I love what you say about the holidays grounding you and keeping you close to home. I’m just about to jet off for a few days in Germany, but I couldn’t really imagine spending Christmas itself away from home. Family and friends are what it’s all about for me, regardless of how much I love travelling.

    Btw – LOVE the picture from 1997 🙂

    December 19, 2013
    • I’ve loved your posts about afternoon tea! It did make me feel posh and I look forward to trying to again 🙂 Hopefully in England sometime soon!

      I am glad other travelers agree! As much as I love traveling, I love not traveling over the actual holidays. Have the best time in Germany, looking forward to reading all about Dusseldorf!

      Haha thank you! The picture was too good not to include!

      December 19, 2013
  3. Cat J #

    This all sounds fantastic!
    Afternoon tea was the best thing I did while in London (The Corinthia Hotel, highly recommend). All the tea sandwiches and Christmas fancies you could eat followed by carol singers, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine on the patio… basically it was a Jane Austen fever dream realized.

    I love the idea of making it a Christmas tradition, especially with your family, so glad you all were able to go and have a cozy, lovely time.

    December 20, 2013
    • Oh my goodness that sounds fantastic! Mulled wine also?! I will have to ensure that I visit London during Christmas season to partake in this Jane Austen fever dream! Great recommendations, thank you!

      December 21, 2013
  4. Joanie #

    Afternoon tea sounds divine – Boston or London! What a wonderful tradition for the Christmas season.

    December 20, 2013
    • Yes it was! Cannot wait to try it in London someday!

      December 21, 2013
  5. What a special post and such great traditions! I love the fact that you have old ones but are creating new ones as well. I’ve never been to the pops before, but I am going tomorrow with some girlfriends and this post has made me even more excited!

    December 21, 2013
    • You are going to have a blast at Pops! Such a wonderful show they put on during Christmastime. Enjoy!

      December 21, 2013

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