Monday, December 20, 2010

Traditions and memories of Christmas’s past;

When i was a kid it was always white because i lived in the highest city in Canada, Kimberley, B.C. This picture has a mere dusting of it and i'm sure more will be drifting down soon.

It was a wonderful time all winter skiing, skating, sleigh riding, snow fort building, making snow angels and probably snowmen too although don’t really remember any remarkable ones.

Best Christmas presents were ski’s and skates. This is my little sister Sandy and our best friend Betty
It was taken at one of the many home garden ice rinks in our neighbourhood.

My biggest Christmas regret was the time i climbed the bookcase and craned my neck and could have broke it to be able to peek into the fruit room and i saw 2 pairs of ski’s waiting there….and then i told my little sister!

The whole family went to the woods to search for and cut the most perfect fir and dad got the final pick which was always exactly the right height after allowing for the star and we decorated it with multi-coloured bubble lights and misc. shiny baubles and beads. Silver tinsel icicles were carefully placed to hang straight and none could be crooked or crimped and they must be all the same length but the use of scissors not allowed.

Original mandarin oranges came all the way from Japan in wooden crates and burlap sacks of mixed nuts arrived that had too many almonds and walnuts and never quite enough Brazil nuts to go around.
See what i mean? and what's with those bits of dried fruit in there? I just want my share of Brazils!
Colourful hard ribbon candy something like this came in a big shiny tin pail from The Hudson Bay

along with the hanging of the mistletoe and the paper mache silver bells lovingly handmade in a Christmas past by Mrs. Dixon.
I wonder what ever happened that suddenly one year Mrs. Dixon was no longer a part of our Christmas.
Maybe that was the year that mom and dad began their journey of converting to the Jehovah’s Witness religion.

But up until then festive new dresses and warm flannel pajamas were purchased for the sisters three but sadly, i don’t remember if mom ever got a new dress too but i'm betting she didn't.
Cards were strung on a string from corner to corner and a huge old Merry Christmas card was hung and all visitors were asked to sign that same card each year.
Christmas carols were sung on the radio and sometimes live accompanied by piano, accordian and harmonicas.
Mom made pickled herring in Oct., fruit cakes in Nov. and shortbread cookies in Dec.

I think fruit cake needs a nice marzipan icing, but that's just me.

There was always plenty to eat and drink. Our house was very merry with all adults jovial and happy as they smoked, drank and told funny stories and dirty jokes while the children kept busy playing games.
The turkey was fresh and at least 25, maybe 30 lbs.although in my mind it was much larger than that.
Vegetables served were mashed potato, Brussels sprouts and rutabagas which must be eaten because children were starving in Korea and as well they kept us humble.

Now Christmas 2010
and for the first time in my life the Original Japanese Mandarin oranges are no longer available and if this is a typical monorail for their transportation i can understand why although i don't know for a fact.

A few boxes arrived in early Dec. and there was no warning that was it!  Not even enough time to take their picture!
In their place we’ll have to settle for itty- bitty, teeny- weeny, pitiful little marble size oranges from China that claim to be sweet like honey but in my taste test are really quite bitter.
Should have put something by them to show the size. Oh, wait, the bees are life size.

Hot dam, i sure do miss those Original Mandarins and it dosn’t seem like Christmas without them.

In Christmas music Elvis still reigns as the king and i'm sure he always will.
Predicted weather gives us a chance of cold but sunny, rain, snow or meatballs.

Cards have been sent and 3 names were deleted from the list because they've passed away.
I made a point of choosing cards this year that said Merry Christmas; enough of the balderdash of seasons greetings, happy winter, happy holidays and Bah Humbug to those who don't celebrate Christmas because suddenly this year i don't care if you don't!  We do!

However, there’s no gingerbread house with a musical train circling it while skaters skated on the mirror, uhh, ice.  Just one tree now, not two!
Danish butter cookies are not a tradition in my home; i’ve boycotted them since the 70’s and nobody here has missed them.
Not going to be any homemade fruit cakes either because i’m too lazy now although i just might make shortbread cookies with a little red marachino cherry on each, butter tarts and/or mincemeat tarts providing i get going and buy some pastry crusts.  I might try something new and that's a cookie recipe from the pioneer woman that uses Nutella. Already have the Nutella so it's almost a done deal.

Nuts will be cracked with the crappy old hard to use nutcracker because the only one i could find to replace it was $28 + tax and there’s no way Mrs. Scrooge will pay that for a simple nut cracker. Bah humbug again.
I’ll probably buy a jar of pickled herring, lots of misc. sausages, crackers, cheeses, potato chips and dips, chocolate and macadamia nuts

The turkey will be a 20lb. pre-stuffed bird placed in the oven directly from the freezer.They are good!
Our tree these days is a fibre optic job that’s ceiling height but it stands on an end table and in pictures looks like a blah undecorated tree but in reality is quite beautiful and so easy to put up and take down.

Notice the theme here?  Old Scrooge or Old Age?    No....i've become an efficiency expert!

Here's a pretty tree in Sao Paulo, size small/petite to keep in theme with the oranges.

Now i think there’s just one traditional old thing i’ve retained from the past and that’s Mrs. Dixons old paper mache silver bells and they’re hanging already from the dining room light. 

Merry Christmas everybody!


A Plain Observer said...

well, you have certainly found a way to make your Christmas efficient.

I wish I had known how important the "growing up"christmas were going to be in my older years, I would have written them down and be able to recreate them now. Instead I moan and groan when I was little over the things my family made. If I had only known how much they were going to mean later.
Nice post. Made me remember.

Lorraina said...

Thanks Myriam, i wish i would have known alot of things too. I wish i would have been a better daughter, better sister, better person back then and now! But alas, we are what and who we are.
It's a good thing my sister dosn't read my blog; she'd be saying "why did you tell that?" and "why didn't you tell about?" etc. and it would be something i'd totally forgotten about.
And it's funny when family members remember the same things but in different ways as well as things the other has no memory of at all, like the big Christmas card that was signed by visitors over many years...she remembers it because she has it and still puts it up every year. I remember the silver bells because i have it and put them up every year. And what we've all forgotten is long gone.
And then there's also the sudden insights that happen sometimes when you read what you wrote; such as about the tinsel icicles that had to be hung so precisely. It all of a sudden came to me - of course! mom had to get us out of her hair for a while at a very busy time for her. Who knew? I didn't until i read it here.

Snowbrush said...

I like Mr. Dixon's bells. You know, I've never run up against an iced fruit cake. I quite like fruit cake though, and quite dislike all the jokes about them. Thanks for sharing your memories.

Bunnym said...

Sweet post! I love fruit cake too and when I tell people that and they make negative comments, I just tell them they just haven't had a good fruit cake. I love the black and white photos of long ago. Wishing you and yours a very Merry and Joyful Christmas ~


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your memories of Christmas past. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you and your family.

Lorraina said...

Thanks Snow. A Christmas fruit cake is a wonderous thing if properly made in time to age for a couple months covered in a rum soaked cloth and the fruits have been pre soaked in rum as well and it has fresh walnuts and with the marzipan topping decorated with a sprig of holly it makes for an exquisite Christmas treat.
My hubby simply removes the part that offends him; it lifts right off. I think it consists of ground almonds and sugar (purchased ready made in the bakery dept. of any food store)and it's rolled out to about 1/4" and then carefully applied over the cake like a smooth sheet. I love the stuff.

Lorraina said...

Thanks Bunny, i enjoyed your Christmas memories and traditions too.
Re the old photo of my sister and our best friend; i said their names backwards; sister Sandra is the one on the right side. Our friend Betty was a year younger than me and a year older than Sandy. Betty died very young of lung cancer leaving 4 small children. May she rest in peace. I think of her often and especially miss her gentle ways,kind understanding and great smile. She was the best friend and an excellent mother who practiced for the part from about age 3.

Lorraina said...

Thanks Linda,i know you're having a beautiful and wonderfully white Christmas. Thanks for the gift of your awesome photography. All the best to you and yours in the coming new year!

Snowbrush said...

Peggy's father orders us a fruitcake from someplace in Texas each year. They don't do the rum thing--and that's too bad--but the cakes are still very good. I asked Peggy to suggest to him that he leave us a bequest for a yearly fruitcake in his will. I wasn't serious, of course, but I sure would like it if HE thought of doing so on his own.

Lorraina said...

When you receive the cake you can still sprinkle or use a brush to paint it with rum and wrap it in a rum soaked cloth; it makes it so good. Also the almond paste can be added if you like.
I really like the idea of him beqeathing you a yearly cake but he might not realise it's important enough to actually do and that's too bad cuz it's the nice little things like that that make Christmas special and what a wonderful gift that would be!

I always think of making up boxes of cookies to give the kids but somehow never do it anymore although i used to; now they have to come here to eat cookies.
But now you've sparked an idea that maybe what i can at least is give them a collection of the favourites old handed down family recipes before they're lost and gone forever, like mom's Swedish cake recipe. The sister who got it died a long time ago and none of her recipes saved.