Christmas Past and Present
Sunday, December 29, 2013
A melodious background of music accompanies chuckling, fine food delicacies, and sagas gone by. These are songs that are known since youth. We have accumulated our collections for this elevated holiday to honor this season. Songs of twirling snowflakes, prancing reindeer,custom gift requests from a frozen toyshop, hot roasting chestnuts,glowing toasty fires, and of course the beauty and hope of the gospel in the Christmas carols.
We're sitting at our oak hardwood table and it is extended as large as possible There're additional fold up chairs between place settings. My husband and I , my sister and her husband and ,two of their three children are with us. Plus my mom and brother are there as well. We are all anticipating the gourmet spread.
It's nearly perfect, except our well loved son ,from the opposite coast isn't here.
Each specialized course produces food comfort satisfaction. There is something significant about indulging in dishes that have been passed on for several generations. The pattern of creating these dishes each year makes one feel rooted and connected .
My Dad once created a biscuit like roll derived from my Scottish step-mother . He also used his southern roots and long lived cooking experience to troubleshoot his recipe. . Yeast is used instead of baking powder. When all those around the table would moan from delight, he'd proclaim, "oh they are a wee bit tight" (tough.) This remark would generate a fury of extra compliments . They were light and fluffy like a cloud . How delightful they were with multiple pleasant textured fruit preserves, pastel transparent jellies, and locally raised honey from their community.
A supplemental part of this feast was the huge array of confections , such as a crystal plate of tree bark colored fudge, with and without nuts. It seems to me that there was at least a dozen of enticing cookies, proudly displayed just like a bakery/ pastry display. I recollect inquiring to how long it took to make all these goodies. My step mom indicated that it was usually four to six weeks.
To me, there was so much more involved than the food... it was the love and effort , to make Christmas special that caused us to feel content and blessed.
My Daddy also had trays of deluxe nuts, various sausages , and gourmet cheese , and stacks of many sorts of crackers. All these snacks were things we rarely ate the rest of the year, so we perceived them as fancy treats.
It's one of those blessed times, that everyone is chattering to their neighbor and anyone else who will listen.
The conversation weaves around work, changes and current affairs, activities, computer chat.
Varied opinions get expressed. It used to be certain people would get a kick out of presenting opposing views. However, nowadays, they usually state their thoughts and it no longer becomes a speech and debate match.
There are tales of childhood, each sharing their own versions. Even grandma is sharing an
account of her mother putting prune juice in her dollies china tea set for her and the neighborhood pals. You should of heard her remorseful pitiful tone of voice , because her buddies all ran away.
My sister reminisces and dramatizes another classic. This one has been dormant many a year. It didn't actually occur at Christmas time... but everyone howled , just like it's original telling.
Our son was a golden haired , sky blue eyed toddler. He was learning to converse in simple sentences. My husband and I had a young couple over from church to get to get to know them and to share dinner.
First he checked out the tall, large husband, then he did studied his wife. He stared at her for awhile. I can still recall his cute chubby cheeked smile on his face.
He walked around the front of the woman ( who happened to be well endowed in her bosom), and pointed at her chest . MILK ? , she indicated, no,"I don't have any milk "( she giggled ) . " Apple juice,"he suggested ???
When I reflect back at the holidays when I was a child, there are just a few that really stand out. There was a period of time that our Mom became a single parent. Therefore, we didn't have the income to do a big production. As a kid, I recall being disappointed for not having more.
Later, I came to recognize that many of these experience enhanced my life to become more appreciative of people and things.
There was one gift that I will never forget as long as I live. I'm estimating that I must of been between 10 and 12 years old . My sister was five and half years younger than I. Excitedly, I ripped open the piece of red and green paper she had concealed my package. Inside was 6 packs of Instant Quaker Oatmeal. Even at this young age, I figured out that she picked these out, because it was my favorite favor. This meant she didn't eat breakfast and saved them for me.
That same year, we got fresh , soft flannel pajamas . Usually this was considered a reject present, because they were considered a necessity , but these were heavier spa quality. There were translucent a fancy hairbrush for each ( probably from a traveling door to door salesman), a bright fashionable dress from my sister-in-law, plus both of use received snow white (rabbit fur) play kittens. It's surprising we didn't wear down their fur from countless stroking. Not only that but we'd rub them up against our faces with glee.
I seems incomprehensible to children nowadays, but my sister and I loved to comb and put rollers in our moms hair. Her hair was the same color as black coal.For some reason we were gratified to part it down the middle. She would squeal , make exaggerated wild faces, and insist we were making her look like a water buffalo.
Another game we amused ourselves was, Hide the Dish and Spoon. It is pointedly light years away from playing on electric devices, but believe it or not, we were actually entertained for over an hour. Somehow we knew how to invent activities that didn't consist of the a box game or any form of media. We were forced to use our imaginations.
When we were raising our family, often our place of employment would have special work party. Sometimes it would involve a semi-formal or formal dinner at a hotel or pretty location. Frequently, the place of business would have a complementary dinner. There would be multiple courses and choices of entrée, salad, dessert and beverages. Some years we had dancing and entertainment. Most of these events were delightful and relaxing affairs. The cherry on top were door prizes.
The event we attended was $50.00 person, and by the time one gets tickets for a couple, pay childcare, and purchase professional attire... it gets costly. The last one I observed in , a lady was putting silverware in her purse. There was only a few of us that objected that day . I was horrified.
There are several things that I have observed in recent years. No matter how old we became , we perked up at the prospect of driving in our either rural places or cities to check out the lights this time of year. Some of us magically morph into wide eyed kids. Others tone down their reaction, but can be seen hanging out windows or leaping promptly from their vehicles. We still find these brilliant decorations, but there are fewer and fewer.
There are light shows at some local parks for a fee by carload. There is also a place I adore, called, “Christmas in the Park. “ It has trees adorned in handmade ornaments from various clubs. The exciting part is approximately sixty Christmas scenes. They go down hills, spin around, play music, fly, and so much more. There was a man who used to use this display at his mortuary and donated his exhibits to the city.
They were able to keep the serene simple nativity scene because they have something for everyone.
The last five years or so, they added food, Santa, pictures, and the like. Now this tradition is supported by a group and not the city.
I'll retell the situation that happened to my husband and I several weeks ago. We went into a hybrid store that contains regular groceries and health foods. The clerk was ringing up our purchases. Without giving it much thought... I blurted out, “ Merry Christmas”. He declared,” it's not even Christmas yet.” I justified myself by stating, “but it's the Christmas season.” He grumbled. I justified myself that I was trying to say something more personable and cheerful
than, Happy Household Holidays( which is a phrase invented by a relative) .He interjected that it didn't matter, because he is happy everyday anyhow.
My nurse friend claims that one can get fired from declaring, “ Merry Christmas”. That is hard to believe. I hope such a thing couldn't happen.
We have to right to conclude any opinion we wish toward an event we are commemorating. This includes historical individuals. Should we take into consideration their lives and contribution to society? We could either respect , admire, and recall their actions , or we have the ability to ignore them, debate their influence, and forget them. However, let's not make a conscious effort to hide the birth this festive holiday is actually about.