What’s in YOUR holiday tradition?

by Susi on December 23, 2012

in Christmas, Puli, Pulik

Post image for What’s in YOUR holiday tradition?

I never believed in Santa Claus.

I never sat on his lap, left cookies and milk out for his pleasure, or opened presents on Christmas morning. It wasn’t part of my inherited culture.

The tradition of my European-Roman Catholic upbringing had us opening gifts on Christmas Eve that were brought by the Baby Jesus. This was no more difficult for me to believe than that a 250 pound man could shimmy down a chimney stack (particularly in homes without fireplaces) and zip back up again to take his seat in a sleigh guided by reindeer who flew in the night sky.

When I married a man whose customs did include Santa Claus and Christmas mornings filled with the aroma of homemade cinnamon rolls and freshly squeezed orange juice, my only difficulty in accommodating his tradition was in getting sweet dough to rise in the high altitude of Colorado.

Our respective rituals clashed when we had children, and even then, we found a way to make it work. The answer was simplicity itself: Baby Jesus came on Christmas Eve and Santa came Christmas morning. Our children enjoyed the best of both traditions –  and made out like bandits when it came to gifts.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way – and this is why as I head into the New Year, I hold firm in the belief that there is room at the table for all of us who love and believe in the welfare of dogs to work together. There is not one way to celebrate the holidays as long as we remember the message of our respective traditions, and I’m pretty sure that love and peace factor highly in all of them.  I believe that eventually, there’ll be a meeting of minds between dog fanciers and the shelter and rescue world because like the quip about England and America being separated by a common language, two groups who have in common a love of dogs surely can’t remain divided forever.

Whatever your tradition, I wish you good health, contentment, the joy of having loved ones around you, and a warm glow in place of sadness if someone dear to you is absent.

“Jackson,” the family rescue Puli (far left)  is as much a part of our lives as his “cousins,” “Katie” and “Maci.” At the end of the day, they sleep on our beds, covet the best chewie (the stinkiest bully stick in the house) and blame each other when asked who made an unfortunate smell.



{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Randie December 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I love this–thank you and Merry Christmas (I feel pretty safe saying that here LOL)


Susi December 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm

You are indeed safe in wishing me a Merry Christmas, and you would have been equally safe in extending Happy Kwanza. I accept all good wishes – but I confess, I especially appreciate the ones that fly in the face of political correctness. Here’s an interesting, and strictly anecdotal observation. This year, I’m noticing FAR MORE Merry Christmas wishes over Happy Holiday. This means something, I think. Whatever. Merry Christmas, Randie.


Charlee December 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm

We too, were a Christmas Eve family, although we’d mainstreamed enough that Santa brought them. You see, only a very small percentage of children are good enough to be FIRST when Santa flies. I always felt very sorry for all those poor people who had to wait until Christmas morning and not have the magic of Christmas lights at night. Merry, Merry!!!!!!!!!!


Susi December 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

And Merry Christmas to you, too, Charlee!


Alice December 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I stopped believing in Santa the year I was nine and asked Santa for a dog. There were tear stains on my note, because I wanted a puppy so badly. I got a bike, and a note back that said, “You aren’t responsible enough to have a dog. You wouldn’t take care of it.” and I knew then that Santa would not speak so to a child. It was my mom. Fast forward 43 years later on Christmas Eve. I was playing a little game with my 10 month old Briard puppy, Cheyenne. I suddenly realized, with booming clarity, that THIS – THIS was the dog I had begged Santa for! I finally got her! And she was worth the wait. It’s a long story and unimportant as to why no other dogs graced my life up to that point. The point is, Christmas Eve every year since, I can smile with that wonderful feeling of knowing there is still magic in my life. She’s tawny and wonderful and I adore her, and she adores me. Perfect!


Susi December 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Bar none, THIS is a most excellent note for this time of year. I absolutely LOVE your story, and how you had to wait so long to get the puppy of your dreams. I’m delighted you got her, and a little part of me believes that she was 43 years in the making. Diamonds take a long time, ya know? I SO appreciate you sharing this with me.


Alice December 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Thank you, Susi! I have more Briards in my life now. Mostly it’s Chey, and she is number one and knows it. But there is also Apple, another tawny, and this year, I have a black male with me for the holidays while Apple is with her breeder, being a new mommy. Switch, the black male, is still a puppy in that he’s only one year old. Boys mature so much more slowly. He’s a joy. Having no kids, no spouse, no family members with kids close by, these dogs mean the world to me. Fortunately, I have lots of friends, and we have a blessed and lovely Christmas. I hope yours is wonderful, filled with dogs, and friends, and family, and laughter. Mine is going to be crazy fun. I am hosting an all-day open house and supplying lots of food and Christmas music.


Amanda December 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Love this! We were always a Christmas day family but we do a bit of both these days with family spread far and wide.

A blessed holiday to you and yours as well. 😀


Susi December 23, 2012 at 8:32 pm

And a very blessed holiday to you, Amanda, and to those you care about. Have a memorable day for all the right reasons!


Lynn December 23, 2012 at 11:22 pm

when we were very small, Santa came Christmas Eve, put up and decorated the tree, and left us a great bounty to discover Christmas morning.

Though the tradition has changed, we still open the gifts Christmas morning, but the celebration really covers the whole 12 days.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, may it be joyous!


Jenn H December 24, 2012 at 10:43 am

<3 Have a blessed Christmas Susi!


Susi December 24, 2012 at 11:09 am

And a blessed Christmas to you as well, Jenn. Merry Christmas!


Julie Schuh December 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm

You just gave Ian and I the best Christmas present ever! A picture of Jackson with his cousins! Merry Christmas Susi, to you and your whole family. Form Julie, Ian, Jack and Echo


Susi December 25, 2012 at 1:37 am

Jackson spent all of Christmas Eve belly up, being petted, hugged and fussed over. He’s a good boy and we thank you!


Julie Schuh December 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Thrills us that you guys have him and he has such a great life! He was so sad and forlorn when I got him out


Susi December 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Tonight, “Jackson” watched the latest Sherlock Holmes movie nestled between his new mistress, and his “uncle Devon.” Tomorrow, he’ll hit the road – a 10 hour road trip to Montana, where he has an outdoor life to which to look forward: Skiing, cycling, kayaking and hanging out with PhD candidates. He tells them they’re full of it.


Diana December 28, 2012 at 10:59 am

Our big celebration was Christmas Eve with a smorgasbord of deli meats, cheeses, fresh HEAD CHEESE, Gloog (Yum!!!) opening our presents and my Estonian father dressing up as Santa when I was a wee baby. I thought Santa’s hands looked just like my dad’s hands and years later it occurred to me who Santa was that night. My mother had a beautiful porcelain manger with the Baby Jesus under the tree that I loved to re-arrange. Wished I had taken that when I left home. I love Alice’s dog note story. Mine started as soon as I could write clearly (4 yrs??) but it wasn’t til I was 22 that I got my first dog. It was a LONG wait. Thanks for sharing and MERRY, MERRY, MERRY, MERRY Christmas!!!! (Of which I also noticed more of this year!!!!)


Susi December 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

Merry Christmas, Diane! I love hearing everyone’s childhood memories – thanks for sharing yours with me. I can get on board with the Head Cheese – but I once had one glass of Gloog too many. Still can’t touch it.


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