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Happy 2023

Merry Christmas, Christmas traditions and blog candy winner

Merry Christmas!  I hope you are all having a wonderful day surrounded by those you love - either 2 legged or 4 legged:-)

On my blog post here, I asked you to share your memories of Christmas traditions.  I read all of them more than once - and wanted to share them all here so that you could all read them.  The thing that struck me is how many of you remember traditions that began in your formative years and how you are enjoying passing those down to the next generation.  That sense of continuity is something that I feel connects us through the ages and brings a smile to my face.  Even today I remember the small things and know that they have must have passed down from generations before my parents.

I grew up in England, not too long after rationing had finally been lifted.  Money was very tight and memories of the bombings of my city were still very fresh.  I still remember walking past - and playing around - old bomb  sites as a kid.  Although money was tight and memories still fresh, it was a reason to celebrate those who had returned and the freedom they had earned.  I remember waking up on Christmas morning and finding my stocking filled with an orange, a brand new shiny copper penny and some nuts.  Oranges and nuts were pretty scarce back then, not something you could pick up in stores any time, and I remember how wonderful sweet the orange smelled and how juicy it tasted and how my brother loved cracking open the nuts.  That stocking and its contents remained constant throughout my childhood.

Mom used to put little chocolate Santa's on our Christmas tree and I was allowed one before bed every night on the lead up to Christmas.  On Christmas morning, I was allowed to open one present after breakfast and then, depending on how many presents I had, I could open one every two hours or every three hours after that.  It was a way to stretch out the day and make the excitement last longer.  To add even more suspense, Mom would hide each and every one of those presents in a different place and I had to go look for it. It was exciting when I got a coloring book, because I knew there was a good chance crayons were coming, too!  I never did receive a Spirograph, a bike, roller skates or a Barbie Doll or any of those things.  But I do remember getting a bouncy ball that bounced higher than our house!  I played with that thing for weeks without getting bored.  For me, it wasn't about the presents so much as the feeling of being together and anticipating being able to go and search for the next pressie :-)  Now, I ask you to imagine the looks on the faces of my future parents-in-law and sister-in-law when, on the first Christmas my first husband and I hosted, I made them all go and search for their presents :-)  I can still see the look on my MILs face - but I'll give them props - they did it:-)    Such wonderful memories.   Now on to yours!!!

I was not surprised to see that baking and cooking came up several times.  From calorie-less cookies :-) to uldrika (I know you are going to look that one up!) to pierogies to churned ice cream and taffy.... you shared your memories made around food :-) I wonder how many recipes have been passed down through the generations.  What a wonderful way to connect with the past.  Mind you, I had to laugh at Linda's mention of lutefisk.  I remember when we first came to Minnesota we were invited to a lutefisk ceremony.  Good heavens that stuff smelled really bad :-)

Anne Marie: And a favorite Christmas memory from childhood...I have so many but one that stands out right now is the tradition of making homemade pierogie a few weeks before Christmas. It was a production...we filled about 50 cookie sheets in preparation for the holidays. My grandmother's kitchen was the home base. I remember fondly being there with my many aunts and my grandma in that kitchen. I am the oldest grandchild by many years on that side of my family, so most of my cousins never had that same experience. Grandma Genny had a "role" assigned to everyone on this day. You might have been making the dough, rolling the dough, filling the dough, prepping potatoes, kraut or cottage cheese mixture. ( I remember the year I was SO excited when I was "promoted" to roll the dough.) My grandma didn't have the counter space that we are accustomed to now, so not only did we use the kitchen and dining room table for assembly, there was an ironing board set up with the dough roller to expand the counter space. That kitchen was SO full of love and happiness and I am so thankful that I learned from my grandmother. I have so many wonderful memories and even though I'm far away from home I try to recreate this tradition every year (on a MUCH smaller scale). Sorry, that was a long comment, but thank you for the prompt to share a memory that s so near and dear to me. Merry Christmas my friend! Sending all of the holiday hugs your way.

LeAnne: My favorite memory of Christmas is making cookies...I make all the same ones my mom and grandmother made...and I've added a few new ones to the mix as well! None of them have any calories, either, HAHAHA!

Jennie: I have many fond memories of childhood Christmases! Probably the part I love the most and still do is making Christmas cookies! We used to bake lots and I still do to this day. My mom is gone so I try to keep this alive with my two girls!

Linda: As a child, we would go to my grandparents house and they were from Sweden. They would serve Swedish food such as lutefisk, sardines, meatballs, krupkrakur, Uldrika, with other food I can't remember and rice pudding for dessert. There wasn't a lot that I liked so pretty much went hungry. I had a cousin who was six months older than me and we enjoyed being together on holidays. After dinner, we were finally able to open our gifts. One Christmas I received a Revlon doll and my mom made a lot of clothes for her even a wedding dress with a veil. She came with high heels, jewelry, necklace and a pink dress with red hearts on it. I really enjoyed being with my mom's side of the family for Christmas Eve. They were a lot of fun.

Karen: Some of my fondest memories of Christmas in the "good old days" are of my siblings & I pulling taffy......we would each get a "glob" & pull it till it was set. Also, Dad would make homemade ice cream. We would take turns turning the crank on the ice cream churn. The boys were smart & took their turns early when it was easy to crank!! Then after it "curing" we would all sit around the table with a big bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup & peanuts on top. Sometimes it made you so cold we would put our parkas on to finish our bowl of ice cream! We had such a fun times. Wonderful memories!

Then there were others of you who remember having fun in different ways at Christmas from re-arranging words, to decorating trees on Christmas Eve, to $1 gift exchanges, to singing Christmas Carols, to sledding on cardboard until it got too wet to go any further, and little babies dressed in yellow under the Christmas tree.  What beautiful memories you shared :-)

Mary: My Dad was a letter carrier in Ohio and had to work as late as needed on Christmas Eve to get all the mail delivered. As soon as he came home, before he even changed clothes, we started decorating the Christmas tree. He had a hot toddy and started singing Christmas carols. My Mom thought he sounded horrid, but my brothers and I loved it! My Mom was from Ireland and it was the tradition to wait until Christmas Eve to decorate so that's what we did too! I'm 75 and still wait until Christmas Eve to decorate the tree, but no hot toddy for me, I prefer egg nog.

Christy: When I was growing up, my mom always went totally bananas with decorations for Christmas (she still does). She had these four little angels who spelled out NOEL and a kissing Santa and Mrs. Claus, and my brother and I liked to go rearrange the decorations (spell out LONE or LENO or nonsense with the angels, move Santa and Mrs. Claus so they weren't kissing). We still do it if we go to my parents' house near Christmas, just to see how long it takes my mom to notice :) Now we've got to teach her grandkids to do that too!

Claire: Oh, how I miss going home for Christmas. The farm was a magical place and all my memories go back to that little farmhouse in Indiana. My Mom worked so hard to make sure the holidays were special. Lots of cookies, fudge and treats to go along with a new toy every year

Jeanne:  For many years when we both lived in CA, my former sister-in-law and I went to a performance of The Nutcracker. I remember her with fondness as somehow we've lost touch. My love of the ballet was rejuvenated yesterday as my daughter and I saw a wonderful performance here in Burnsville. Her first time seeing it, so now another tradition is created.

Doris: My memory is feeding 32 on Christmas Day with family. We did a $1 gift exchange and passed it around to see who would end up with the prized gift. Lots of love and laughter.

Marina: My God, so many memories!!! My beautiful memory . . . 42 years, 11 months and 25 days ago . . . my son, Sofiane, under the Christmas tree (all dressed in yellow -- for good luck) holding a Christmas bulb.

Jane: I grew up in Mass. so sledding on the little hill across the street was a great memory. We used cardboard and when it got wet, we got more cardboard. My folks would save it for us.

Thank you to all of you who responded and blessed us with your special memories.  I re-read everyone of them several times and I hope you enjoy reading them all together here.

As for me, as I grew older, the visits to see the Christmas lights on the High Street with my Dad faded into memory, but I did begin to build my own including Christmas Eve dinner parties with close friends followed by Christmas Eve Mass by candlelight.  I continued the tradition of hiding presents in unexpected places including the fridge and the washing machine!

Now, on to the blog candy package.  I put all of the names of those of you who shared your memories onto little pieces of paper put them into a little bowl and pulled one out.  yeah, I know I could have done it online with a random generator, but it was so much more fun writing down all of your names :-)

The name that was pulled out of the bowl?   


Jane, please can you send me a message with your address and I'll get your goodies packed up for you.

Have a blessed day and warm hugs and prayers for those of you who need a little lift today and who may be missing precious loved ones that are no long with you this year.




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Jeanne H

Happy Boxing Day to you, Jaydee, and congrats to Jane.

LeAnne Pugliese

So fun to read all the memories!!! TFS, Jaydee, especially YOUR memories. I often wonder in amazement how the English people kept it all together during and after the war. Keep calm and carry on!
Blessings to you in the new year!

Doris D.

Thank you. I enjoyed all the responses to your blog post. In all it looks like family is the one thing that stands out as Christmas. We had 3 people of our 6 for dinner last night who would not have had anyone for Christmas. After dinner we played Mexican train dominoes and laughed and laughed. Ended the night with pecan pie and coconut cream pie. Happy New Year!

Marina . . . . from far Africa!!!

Happy holidays season to each and everyone!!!! I enjoyed to much reading the traditions. I must have confused the words "tradition" and "memory" . . . the one I wrote is my beautiful memory. Any way, next year I will write about a "tradition" -- I have soooooo many!! I will profit to wish you and Lou and each and everyone of your followers a wonderful 2023!!! This world needs lots of love and peace and to you all . . . health!!!!

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