How my family celebrates Christmas
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The Advent is spent preparing our souls for the coming of little Jesus. We try to go inside and think what we did wrong and
could do better. We make sure that everybody goes to the confession. We fast and family gathers every evening around the
advent wreath and prays.

Our Santa Clause is Saint Nicholas who comes on December 6th and kids are of course excited trying to be the best they can
be because St. Nicholas is accompanied by a devil who gives spankings if it is established that you were up to no good for
the past twelve months.

The Christmas Eve is still a fast day. We start it with the cleaning of the house and making of the potica. Than we put up the
Nativity Scene and decorate the house. Sometimes we put up the Christmas tree which came to Slovenia from Western
Europe after the Second World War or we would just decorate the house with pain branches, pain cones, lights and other
decorations which use to be all made at home. We would wrap walnuts into gold paper, we would make ornaments from
wood chips, straw and anything else we could find (some of this activity would be already done during the advent). My mum
even made us ornaments from lace.

So when potica is done, house is decorated and the bells are announcing that the evening has come we all gather in the
living room. Dad prepares the incense burner, mum prepares the holy water and we start to pray the rosary. While still
praying the rosary we go and bless with the holy water and essence the whole house, stables, hayracks and other buildings
that are a part of our property. When we come back we finish the rosary and prepare the dinner which is usually just potica
and tee or warm milk. After the dinner we sit down and talk, listen to or sing the Christmas songs and start to get ready for the
midnight mass.

Around 11 at night we start to gather with neighbors and friends who are coming from other mountains carrying burning
torches that are made of birch tree wood that was dried for about a year. Together we go down into the valley to celebrate
the Christmas mass which starts in a darkness. Than the choir starts to sing Silent Night, quietly at first, and than as the song
becomes louder and louder the lights start to come on and pretty soon everybody is singing, church is all lit and a little child
brings the baby Jesus to the nativity scene. Than the Christ is "officially born" and the Christmas season begins.