Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Memories

Amused Momma tagged me for this meme. I've enjoyed reading hers and others who are tagged and I'm glad I get to play along.

Memory 1 : The children's Christmas program was on Christmas Eve. After it was over all the children were given a brown paper lunch bag filled with peanuts in the shell, oranges and apples and candy canes. I thought that was the neatest thing ever, well next to the great big bushel and half-bushel baskets filled with fruit, cheese, and nuts (in their shells) that my dad was given as gifts for Christmas from business associates. We ate so much fruit and cracked the various nuts with the neat dog-shaped iron nutcracker. I also liked the spreading cheese Dad would be given. It came in a crockery jar with the metal wire attached on each side to come over the top of the lid and clamp it down to seal. Mom would use one of the empty ones to store bacon grease on the stove. Last fall, I finally found one for my own bacon grease.

Memory 2: My family is a "his, hers, and ours." My mom's first marriage was blessed with 5 children; my dad's first marriage was blessed 3 children, and when mom and dad married they were blessed with me and my little sister. Yes, you counted right, ten children. But all were out of the house, most were married and with their own children when my sister and I were growing up. But usually everyone came back for Christmas; sometimes it was held on Christmas Eve after the service, sometimes Christmas Day, sometimes the week before. Mom would make a huge dinner which included ham and homemade crescent rolls (a must!), beef-n-noodles (homemade and often hand cut especially for one son), mashed potatoes and corn, pies and cookies and probably lots more I'm forgetting. It was so good. We used the good china and set the tables so nicely. Mom always made sugar cookies and my sister and I would help decorate them with colored frosting. I always thought they were so good until an older sister brought hers for dad as part of her gift. Her frosting was so scrumptious, thick and creamy, and I could never get enough. I know those cookies were suppose to be for dad, but I loved them just as much. At gift time, especially when I was little, I was the one that took the present from under the tree and brought it to Dad. He would read the name and then I would take it to that person. Mom always made food gifts for the older kids. Each son and son-in-law got a bucket (Schwan's 1.5 gallon ice-cream pail) of homemade caramel corn. Some years it was fruit pizza, (not the sugar cookie with cream cheese and fruit, but more a pie dough on a pizza pan with different pie fillings - again often homemade - spread to look like a cut pizza, with frosting on the dough that was in between each "piece"), or cookies, or jelly rolls.

Memory 3: Christmas memories I am making with my own family stem from the memories I have from being a child. Each year I make sugar cookies and have to decorate them with colored frosting, no all-white with sprinkles for me, unless it is a snowflake with white sugar crystals. I use to do this with sister-in-laws when we lived close, now a Looper friend has come the last two years to help and our children are old enough to help and have fun.
Christmas dinner includes many, if not all, of the same foods Mom made. I even have the dining room table we use to gather around, which, when there are no leaves is a circle but can stretch to seat comfortably 14+ people and all the food.
I give food gifts to many people just like Mom did. Cookies and homemade hot chocolate mix, caramel corn, homemade buns and jam, homemade cinnamon rolls, homemade candy, etc.
Two of my favorite Christmas memories from David's childhood we've added to our family's traditions. One is the advent calendar. On a large, rectangular shaped piece of burlap is a green felt Christmas tree with 5 rows of felt pockets, numbered for the first 25 days of December. Inside each pocket is a felt symbol which in some way represents the Christian faith. For example there are many crosses, an ark, stars, a lamb, the manger, an apple, the bread and the chalice, a dove, etc. The four Sunday's in advent also have a felt candle to add to the tree. Our children really love taking turns taking out the symbol, telling Dad what it is and watching him pin it onto the tree. Being a good dad, David also takes the opportunity to review and explain what the symbol means quizzing the children to see what they know.
The other memory from David's childhood we brought to our own family is the 12 days of Christmas. The children open their gifts (one from us, one from Santa) on Christmas Eve. Then starting on Christmas Day and the following days of Christmas they find one present in their stocking. The first day is always an ornament and the other days are little things like chapstick or glue or gum or a deck of cards. But they have such fun getting up each day to see what is inside their stocking. David and I have fun watching them and trying to remember to put it into their stocking the night before! If it doesn't fit in the stocking (one year we gave them their favorite bag of chips), we leave a note telling where it is hid in the house. That is almost more fun for them than pulling it out of the stocking.

There you have it, Christmas memories of Glenda. I think I'll tag some others and if you've already played, let me know, I'm far behind on blog reading. I'll tag Jenny (it will be fun to see what memories she has growing up in the same home), Laura, Uvulapie's Girl, and The Rebellious Pastor's Wife.


AmusedMomma said...

I like the idea of the 12 days of Christmas. We've done that a few years, but not in that way. How fun!

Thanks for sharing your memories, I enjoyed them.


Cheryl said...

I didn't know you were from a "blended" family! So am I! My dad had four, mom had 6, and they had me (the "baby"). Sorry, I guess I beat you by one! :-)