Well, perhaps not really, even though it has been snowing, snow on snow on snow. And it does feel a bit like the bleak mid-winter. But visually, it’s still a winter wonderland.
Yesterday Alice and company went to cut down their Christmas tree and bring it home. And it’s really beautiful! However, one sad thing happened. Their big Christmas surprise for the boys, a Lionel train which was planned to appear under the tree Christmas morning was shipped without any covering box and was at the back door when they returned home. Nathan and Stephen saw it right away, and so the big surprise was an early big surprise. This is so crazy to me. The company in question, a large company which once sold only books and now seems to offer pretty much anything one could want, usually uses much too much packaging. Still, Nathan and Stephen are thrilled as they told me at the Bethlehemezes yesterday evening. I’ll explain about that in a few minutes, but first some photos from the tree cutting.
During our Christmas season the Hungarian Scout groups have two special events based on folk customs of Christmas in Hungary. The Girl Scout Troop has a day when they go from house to house (homes of people associated with the troop who want to host this) Christmas caroling, and they always come to one of our houses. And I am proud to say they tell us we are one of the few homes where the people know the words to the Hungarian Christmas carols….
The Boy Scouts or the folk dance group goes from house to house another day to perform a Bethlehemezes. We have not had them offer to come to us very often, so last night when they came to my sister in law’s was very special… They come in costumes. The shepherds are dressed in what would have been a Hungarian shepherds best go-to-church outfit in past times. The three kings are more imaginative. And there are angels and a star, as well….They carry a fairly large manger scene, perhaps two to three feet high, which is set up on a piano bench or sometimes on the floor, and they narrate and sometimes act out, the nativity from the Gospel of Luke. Afterwards, the hosts offer food and drink and gifts of money to support the scouts. Aniko, my sil, outdid herself with all the food she had set out for them. She made traditional Szekely Gulyas, and lots of pizza (not a Hungarian custom, but always popular with American teenagers) and all sorts of delicious desserts: homemade vanilias kifli and beigli (nut and poppyseed rolls which are always made to celebrate Christmas) and lots more.
I am terrible about remembering to bring my camera and hope Alice will have some photos from last night that I can share. Next Saturday the Girl Scouts will be at Alice’s house for caroling. But here is an old photo of a Bethlehemezes with younger actors than we had last night…
It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here!