Christmas Memories

In no particular order...because as I think about Christmas, my recollections are in no particular order.

  • Making rock candy with my mama.  We NEVER got to handle the pot that held the lava-like sugar-syrup.  We NEVER got to carry the cookie tray, with the lava-like sugar syrup in it, outside.  Why outside?  Because lava-like sugar syrup cooled FAST in the winters of my childhood.  We were allowed to pick the flavoring she break it up and dust it with powdered sugar.
  • The gathering of my granny's extended family on Christmas Eve.  Lots of loud talking.  Lots of cheek pinching.  Lots of rib tickling.  Lots of teasing.  LOTS of eating.  We'd go caroling through the neighborhood.  Don't know if the neighborhood appreciated it, but it was fun.
  • Christmas 1996...I reached into my stocking and pulled out a tiny pair of plaid baby shoes.  Mr. Snark and I had been talking about starting a family.  The shoes were his way of telling me that it was time:) 
  • Christmas 1997...Y1 wore those little shoes.
  • A pair of mittens, a 45 record and a package of underwear....that's what was under the Christmas tree because that's what Mama could afford and we needed the mittens and underwear. 
  • One year, Granny and Papa gave Sister a dainty, gold bracelet...maybe it was a necklace.  Anyway, in the hullaballoo of the present opening and cleaning up the wrapping paper, said dainty bracelet/necklace got thrown away.  The next year?  We started opening presents one at a time.
  • The year I asked for cowboy boots and a basketball....and got a doll and some other girly nonsense.  Sister got the boots and the basketball.  (Not bitter, I promise.)
  • Christmas 1997:  I thought a lot about Mary, Jesus' mother.  Every time I looked into the face of my brand-new baby boy, I was overcome by the thought of being asked to sacrifice his life for anyone else.  I'd sooner give my life...and would have, then and now. 
  • Mr. Snark took me to Florida for Christmas 1996.  We have family there.  It was so strange!  The calendar said December and our family's home was filled with all the usual Christmas trimmings.  Lots of love and merriment in the air...but it was just strange!  One house in their neighborhood had Santa's sleigh being pulled by eight tiny pink flamingos...wearing Santa hats.  That was odd for this kid who was all about the "White Christmas!" 
  • During that same trip to Florida, our Bubby made two batches of wassail.  One just plain wassail.  The other was spiked...and forever renamed as "Watusi!"
  • Christmas 2008...we moved into our new house in B'ham on December 17.  By Christmas Eve, the house was about 85% unpacked.  Christmas tree up, decorated, stockings hung, wreath on the door.  MILove arrived that afternoon and our dear friends that evening for a good supper.  It was our first Christmas without FILove.  It was painful, but we survived.  God's mercies are sufficient and unfailing.
  • Making cookies with MILove.  I miss "Cookie Day" and look forward to having her right next God's good time.
  • Christmas Day 2000...sparing the decidedly womanly details, I knew for certain that I was pregnant with Y2.  A couple of days later, a little blue line confirmed my suspicions.
  • Christmas Dinner has never been a subject of traditional menu for us.  One year, MIL and I thought it would be nice to serve Cornish hens.  FILove was not impressed.  It was YEARS before Cornish hens graced my table and when they finally did, it was a remarkable improvement over the first attempt. 
  • MIL's late step-mother made THE best chicken wings for that part of the family's Christmas Eve gathering.  Soy sauce, brown sugar and Vermouth....just thinking about them makes me happy.  She also made really good snack mix...I liked picking out all the little garlic-butter soaked toast rounds.  I really hope the person who invented garlic-butter gets to go to Heaven.
  • Christmas 2003:  Granny and Papa were both gone.  She passed in October 2002 and him nine months later.  We were at Mama's.  It started snowing Christmas Eve, late in the afternoon and didn't stop all night.  We woke on Christmas morning to a gorgeous amount of snow, just begging to be played in.  It was the first time Y2 had ever seen snow.  When he tried to throw a snowball, it ended up flying back into his face. 
  • One year, Sister and I decided that Santa needed something more than cookies to sustain him.  So we made him a "Dagwood" sandwich.  Anyone remember the comic strip, "Blondie and Dagwood?"  If not, he was the king of sandwich making.  They were more like edible towers than actual sandwiches.  Anyway, we made Santa a Dagwood.  Only, I'm not sure just how tasty it was.  We were feeling particularly mischievous and that ingredients included whatever sandwich meat Mama had in the fridge, as well as most common sandwich condiments...pickles, mayo...ketchup, peanut butter.  I don't remember it being a particularly large sandwich, but what it might have lacked in size, it made up for in.....creativity.  To our delight, Santa ate the sandwich.  Mama, however, was not her usual self...said she had an upset stomach.
  • Christmas 2005:  Our first in Rolling Hills...we joined our church in the Village (HOLLA to my Village Peeps) on that particular morning and Y1 gave his heart to Jesus that particular night.  The choir performed their Christmas cantata and Bro. Marc gave an invitation.  Y1 looked at me with his big eyes, all bright and shiny, and nodded his head.  He took his daddy's hand and they walked down to Bro. Marc.  It was all I could do to keep Y2 in the pew next to me.  To those of you who don't think choirs have value in this modern age, I'm here to tell you that they do.  Y1 grew up hearing the Gospel message, but that night, God used the music to make my boyo's need for a Savior so very real.
  • Rum Balls, Buckeyes, Pecan Tassies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Russian Tea Cakes, Pecan Fingers, Ginger Crinkles, Oatmeal Scotchies, Peppermint Stars, Chocolate White Chips, Cranberry Bars, Caramel Bonbons, Angel Wings...the list of cookies is quite near to infinite.
  • My granny's Peppermint Cake...she would make it early in the month of December and keep it out in the shed where it was well below was gooey and minty and took it's wicked revenge if you dared to eat more than one thin slice at a time.
  • Being part of our church's live Nativity was early in December...I was cramming for finals...I was playing "Mary."  Our preacher said that I was really giving off a true sense of weariness. 
  • Christmas my engagement ring!
These aren't all of my Christmases Past.  Things have certainly changed as time continues it's unyielding march.  Some for the better, some for the bittersweet.  The one thing that remains constant in all of my Christmases Past, in this Christmas Present and for those yet to be....if it weren't for Jesus, there'd be no reason to celebrate.  He was born to pay the debt of my sins and if I had been the only one, I would have been enough.  There isn't enough wrapping paper in the world to contain the joy, hope and love that Jesus brought with him.

Merry Christmas, dear readers!