Friday, December 20

Christmas Memories by Jana Richards

When I think of Christmases past, it’s not the gifts I remember. It’s not even the decorations, although there are a few decorations that are dear to me, like the ornaments my grandmother made from egg cartons, glitter and pipe cleaners. The Christmas memories that are most precious for me are those spent with family sharing the food of the season.

When I was a little kid, I participated in the children’s concert at church on Christmas Eve. I’d have a part to recite and Christmas songs to sing along with all the other kids. For our efforts, we received a small brown paper bag filled with candy, nuts and a Christmas orange. How I loved that little treat bag! Today getting a mandarin orange is no big deal; you can get them at the grocery store year round. But back then, they were only available at Christmas, making them very special. I still love them.

After the concert, we gathered at my maternal grandparents’ house to open gifts. How we all got into their tiny house I have no idea; Granny and Grandpa had six children and fourteen grandchildren, yet somehow we squeezed in. I know we opened gifts, and I was probably excited about them at the time, but I can’t name one gift I received back then. What I do remember is Granny’s dining room table overflowing with food. Everything was homemade, from the fresh bread, cookies and cabbage rolls, to the pickles Granny had preserved. The potatoes and carrots and other vegetables came from the massive garden Granny and Grampa lovingly tended over the summer. But the star of the show was Granny’s apple strudel, also homemade. It was light and flaky and delicious, and since Granny’s been gone, I’ve haven’t tasted a pastry nearly as good.

Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, we went back and forth each night for dinner to the homes of my aunts and uncles on both sides of the family. So much food! I remember my mother baking cookies and Christmas cakes for weeks leading up to Christmas. None of it ever went to waste.

To this day the thing I most enjoy about Christmas is being with friends and family, sharing some laughs and a good meal. May all our Christmases be spent with the people we love, eating the food we love.

What are your favorite Christmas foods? Is it your mother’s famous shortbread cookies, or your Aunt Mabel’s turkey dressing?

The Word Wranglers are taking a little Christmas break, but we'll be back just after the New Year. Nan Reinhardt starts off 2020 with a post on January 7, 2020. Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Merry Christmas, Jana. I remember so many things, including the food--divinity and peanut brittle in particular. Memories make our greatest traditions, don't they?