Thursday, 22 December 2011
Some Festive memories . . .
We've had a rather busy couple of days this week, with last minute preparations and all the normal goings on in life. Yesterday afternoon I took myself off up to my craft room and whiled away an hour or so looking at old Catalogues . . . Christmas Wish Books from the early sixties and late fifties. Oh my but they did bring back a lot of memories from way back when . . .
We could hardly wait for the Sear's and Eaton's Catalogues to arrive each autumn. We then had several months to pour over it and dream . . . just enough time to write out our Christmas List for Santa Claus. Not that we ever really got much off of our lists . . . we didn't . . . but I also can't remember ever being really disappointed about anything we did get. We were always pretty happy about our gifts no matter what they were!!
I know that my parents didn't have a lot of money and they did the best that they could with what they had and I have some very lovely memories of the gifts I did receive. When I was about five or six I wanted a Chatty Cathy doll with all of my little girl heart. They were very expensive . . . and I never did get one, but I got a Little Miss Eaton Doll, which came with her own little wardrobe, which contained about 4 changes of clothes, including night clothes. I loved her every bit as much as I would have loved a Chatty Cathy. I do remember tying a string around her neck and pretending she was Chatty Cathy, which was actually a lot better than a Chatty Cathy, because my Little Miss Eaton Doll had a lot more things to say than Chatty Cathy ever did! Imaginations are powerful things, and I had a good one!
One gift I remember very fondly was a baking set that I got one year. I had longed for an Easy Bake Oven . . . but come Christmas morning, the bake set brought me just as much joy. There were tiny cake tins and acoutrements, just the right size for little girl hands. I believe it was a Robin Hood bake set and there was a lovely assortment of cake mixes, icings and sprinkles, etc. I do remember even eating some of them raw, just with the water mixed in. (ever the glutton, what can I say????)
One year my mother saved up all of her grocery store stamps to buy us a little table and chair set. That table was everything under the sun to us! It was a fort and a hiding place, a space ship from Mars . . . sometimes it was even a table! I remember the legs and chairs being made of red metal and the table top was in a pretty print, again metal. Oh , it was lovely, or we thought it so at any rate!
Another favourite gift received was a blackboard, just like the teacher had at school, albeit a bit smaller! I don't know what that blackboard wasn't to us, and remember even using it as a slide on several occasions! Of course when we played school, I was always the teacher and I can remember a lot of lessons played out on that blackboard . . .
One year my sister and I received each a set of hard little rubber dolls, dressed up in costumes from around the world. Each doll looked identical . . . but each had on clothes that were unique from the other which were from a different country. Some of them even had hats. I can still remember the smell of vinyl and felt . . . and Christmas newness that they had.
Another year . . . we were a bit older then . . . my sister and I each received a fashion doll. It wasn't Barbie, but it was one of the first fashion dolls to have moveable/poseable limbs. The joints were very apparent on her, but it didn't matter. She was of hard plastic as well, not vinyl, but that was also ok. She had a blonde bubble hair do and came complete with her own bed and dressing table. The dressing table had a mirror that lifted up and drawers that opened, which contained everything a beauty queen needed to be beautiful. Little pretend plastic lipsticks and combs and brushes, and even little manicure scissors. There was a little tufted seat that went along with it . . . the seat popped off and you could store all the beauty stuff inside. My mother had also gotten a neighbour woman to crochet or knit us some really pretty dresses for the dolls. They were done with a glittery yarn and had little pearls worked into the bodices. They were so very special . . .
We never ever got Chatty Cathy's or Tammy dolls. There wasn't ever a Tressy, or Easy Bake Oven, or Light Brite, or bicycle beneath the tree . . . no Christmas Stockings hung up with care . . . compared to lots of other children what we did receive probably seemed pretty meagre . . . but we didn't seem to be all that bothered. What we did receive was wrapped up in more than paper and bows . . . it was wrapped up in love and we felt it. That was what really counted. We were a family, and we loved each other deeply. We may not have had what the world considered to be the best, but we had the best of all things that truly mattered . . . each other. It was a simpler time . . . a kinder time, and I am so grateful for all those beautiful memories built.
There is still nobody that can cook a turkey like my mom . . . or make stuffing like she did. My dad was the best putter on-er of Christmas tree lights ever. Our tree was always the prettiest. My brother and sister were the best childhood companions you could ever want to have . . . and the Christmas memories and family traditions that live on in my head are probably some of the sweetest and most blessed that anyone has ever had.
If you have gotten this far, I want to thankyou for indulging me this morning . . . y'all are the best. I would so love to read about some of your Christmas memories . . . special things that may have stood out from when you were growing up. I know each one's experience is unique and would love it if you shared . . . that could be your Christmas Gift to me? What do you say? Just leave a comment below. I can't wait to read what you write!
We finally found out yesterday what is wrong with Todd. Apparently he has diverticulitis. It's been documented in his health records and he's had it for some time???? And nobody thought to tell him???? Outrageous! In any case he is on anti-biotics and some other tablets for it now and I am making changes in our diets too. Diverticulitis can be quite serious and I am really quite miffed that it has gone this long without anyone telling him about it.
Speaking of illness . . . this is the season of sniffles and colds and this ginger syrup I have here today is one of the best cure-alls for when you are feeling a bit stuffed up and ill. Well, we like it, and it helps to make us feel better!!
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Ginger Syrup is easy to make and versatile in use. You can mix it into club soda or seltzer and serve it cold as Gingerale, or serve it hot as tea. Makes a wonderful drink when you have the sniffles or can feel them coming on.
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of peeled fresh gingerroot, thinly sliced
2 TBS lemon juice
First make a simple syrup by mixing the sugar and the water in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Add the fresh ginger. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice. Strain into a container and refrigerate until ready to use.
*Note - you can use the ginger left in the pan to make a gingercake if you wish. Just blitz it in a food processor until it is finely chopped and stir it into your favourite gingercake batter.
Over in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Banana Loaf, even if it did get slightly cremated. (Don't ask . . . )
“Christmas is such a wonderful time. No doubt it is all Christendom’s favorite season. Child and adult alike look forward to this time, a time when our best self shines through. What makes it so special? Certainly it is our love for family and friends. But at the heart of it all is remembering the birth of the Savior.”
~President James E Faust, Christmas address, 1998