2020 is for creating new Golden Christmas & Hanukkah traditions
The holiday season is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year”, but this year the atmosphere is different.
Celebrations are being pared down to prevent the virus from spreading and “bubbles” now means less gorgeous MCC but rather a defined group of people. Nevertheless, it seems more important than ever to acknowledge the festive season - especially as we take small steps towards normality.
We will be spending the festivities in a more contained way. Out with the big parties, kisses and hugs, and in with Zoom celebrations, online shopping and pandemic -themed ornaments. Who is adding mini-masks and sequinned sanitiser bottles to their decor theme this year?
To create some semblance of the holiday spirit, families are redefining traditions and rituals that they might not ordinarily think of changing. One tradition that never gets old is the hanging of Christmas stockings, and there are some great stories about stockings.
This legend (from the olden days when things were very different) caught our fancy and is about a dad and his daughters, who lived in poverty. The father was worried that his daughters would never get married due to their financial situation. Santa just happened to catch wind of this and later that night, filled up the stockings of the daughters (the stockings were out drying by the fire) full of gold. When they woke up, their financial status wasn’t an issue any longer, and the dad no longer worried about them not finding a spouse.
Who wouldn’t mind waking up on Christmas morning to find a stocking filled with gold?
Rael Demby CEO of The South African Gold Coin Exchange & The Scoin Shop, says “the kid getting gold from Santa is winning the Christmas stocking jackpot! Gold coins and collectables offer a safe store of value, are a currency hedge, combat inflationary concerns and are moveable.”
2020 has changed just about everything. Maybe this year a masked and sanitised Santa will add a 1/10 Krugerrand to some lucky youngster’s stocking and inspire a lifelong passion for gold bullion and numismatics. “A commitment to incremental investment in gold is a positive habit to create, and it is never too soon to get started. Santa is onto a good thing with gold coins and collectables,” adds Demby.
Another holiday tradition is Hanukkah gelt. This refers to money given as presents during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. The origins of Hanukkah gelt are found in the shtetls of Eastern Europe where gelt was an end-of-the-year tip for workers. “By the end of the 19th century," Demby notes, "you see, the custom switch from giving tips to these guys to giving a little gift to your children.” Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, starts on the night of Thursday 10th December and the flickering candles won't be the only things shining on the table.
Nowadays many families celebrate with gelt chocolate coins covered in gold and silver foil. But while this treat is beloved and echoes the past, 2020 could be the time to adopt a new tradition of gold coins and collectables. "Hanukkah gelt has morphed into chocolate coins. This could easily be adapted back to the original meaning of gold coins. The focus could shift from gift-giving to incremental saving by way of gold. Hanukkah gelt is an opportunity to educate children about the importance of saving. A child receiving a physical gold coin is getting a holiday bonanza” concludes Demby.
Adopting new traditions and connecting them to the past is part of the larger story of belonging, and ritual, and nostalgia no matter how you choose to celebrate this holiday season. Don’t forget the treats for Santa and his reindeer. Since he is travelling across borders and making contact across the globe how about a hand-decorated disposable mask and a large bottle of hand sanitiser, instead of the traditional mince pies and carrots?