Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas in Noisy Village

Day 10: We took care of some errands on Monday, mailing some Christmas packages. I hope this is the last we see of the post office, as it took way too long despite the best efforts of an efficient and courteous staff.

I associate cardinals with December, but usually there is snow as well...
Day 11: We had a lovely time at our friends’ home in Simpsonville, admiring their Christmas tree and playing with some very cool toys. Note to self: do not bake any “no-guilt” recipes that do not contain sugar, as there is a reason they are healthy – they taste like it. What’s more, do not bring the finished sugarless product to friend’s house without tasting it first.

We "spotted" a hairy woodpecker "hanging out" on our most recent stroll
Day 12: We received the most wonderful news today – our good friend gave birth to a baby boy. Welcome Edward William! Congratulations to beautiful mom, proud dad and adorable big sister B!
Day 13: Our holiday activity of the day was showing a visitor around downtown Greenville, giving a tour of Falls Park and Main Street. In the evening we skipped the trolley ride as the traffic on Main was immobile, but did enjoy the nighttime view of the official Greenville Christmas tree and skating rink, as well as a delicious dinner at the best barbecue joint in town, Henry’s Smokehouse.

For us, the holidays are a series of traditions – some smaller, others larger, some newer, some older – but together forming a collage unique to this time of year. There are customs that are associated with our heritage, such as baking piparkūkas, the Latvian Christmas cookie. Other traditions we remember from our childhood but haven’t really repeated every year, like making a gingerbread house. (I remember making a gingerbread train one year, another we made a house with stained glass Lifesaver windows, but this year is the first in many we’ve built a house, and the first together with the boys.) Some of the newer traditions have accompanied us from France, such as riding the Christmas train (or trolley). Others are so old they have become habit, like writing Christmas cards or decorating the tree. I’m certain there will be new traditions formed now that the boys are growing older, as there might also be some that take a rest for a few years.
It’s Lauris that is prompting a few of our Christmas activities that have become a daily tradition of sorts this year. My favorite is reading Christmas books every day, most often Ziemassvētki Rezgalē. A Latvian translation of Astrid Lindgren’s Jul I Bullerbyn (featuring the six Bullerby children), it was released in the US as part of the series “The Children of Noisy Village” and follows the adventures of the children in their Christmas preparations. The illustrations provide such a cozy, warm image of Christmas that immediately our spirits are bolstered and the day’s difficulties eased, if not forgotten.

The important thing about tradition is that it helps bind our family together, and gives us a sense of belonging. To Greenville, to the Latvian community, to the expat community, to the parents club… And the very best thing about traditions and customs are doing them as a family, which was why I was overjoyed when on…
Day 14: Roberts came home after his week-long business trip.
(The end – of the post, and any remaining energy and intelligent observations I might still have had!)

Throwing snowballs with dad


  1. A child absorbed in a book under a Christmas tree - one of the most beautiful sights in the world.
    Hope you are well, Liene and that you settled back to your American life.

    1. Thanks Zosia, wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas!


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