Saturday 3 December 2022

All Things Nice . . .



A little dapples horse, a scarlet ball,
A wooly lamb . . . a doll with sleeping eyes,
A small white angel for a Christmas tree,
A Christmas stocking with a bulky prize.

Red mittens on a string . . . a pair of skates
A toy baloon to drift above the house
Tinsel to glisten in the candle light
A little scarlet coated Mickey-mouse.

A set of dishes for a little girl,
With tiny brier roses here and there,
A locket on a golden chair,
New patent leather shoes for her to wear.

O crisp December gay with mistletoe
Holly and cedar hanging on the door,
Old folks to love . . . carols to sing in church,
And little children to buy presents for.
Edna Jaques, Christmas Toys
Roses in December, 1944


I was thinking about favorite Christmas presents I got when I was a child this morning. We did not get a lot of toys and things when we were children. My parents did their best, but my mother was unwilling to go into debt for things like that (she was a smart cookie) and so we only got what was within their budget to buy for us. My father was in the airforce and a junior rank, so he didn't really have a huge income. 

I can remember my mother saving up stamps from the grocery store to get things. One year she saved enough to buy my sister and I each a highchair for our dolls. I know my mother had to save a lot of stamps to get those.

One toy that my sister and I both remember with great fondness was this Marlene doll we got one year.  It seems to me that ours also came with a bed.  She was jointed and you could pose her and came with a lovely vanity that had all sorts of bits and pieces in it as you can see from the photo above.  She was not as fancy as a Barbie doll, but we loved her just the same. My mother also had one of the neighbor ladies crochet us each a really pretty dress for her to wear, which had small pearl beads crocheted into the bodice and a shawl.  Mom also knitted us jumpers and sweaters for our Barbies.  

We didn't have dedicated stockings that we would hang up each year like some children had. I always wanted one, but we did occasionally get one of these. A plastic net stocking that was filled with cheap games, noisemakers, toys and candies. They delighted us all the same.

There was always a little glass dish on the coffee table with some Christmas Candy in it. Boy did we love the Christmas candies.  Ribbon candy and hard pillows, starlight mints etc. my favorite were the round hard ones with a picture in the center.  

We would also get barley candy toys.  Those things were so hard. You could not bite them or chew on them. You had to suck on them. They lasted all day.

And then of course we also got a candy cane.

We always had a real tree.  I don't think my parents got a real tree until we were in our teens. It was always a big deal, the bringing in of the tree. My father would go and get one and it would sit outside until he could saw a piece off of the bottom so that it was fresher for drinking in the water. He would drag it in and put it in the tree stand. It would sit in the stand overnight so that the branches would settle in. 

The lights would go on first. That was always a long-drawn-out exercise. My father would have carefully wound them up the year before so unwinding them was not a problem, but they would always have to be checked to make sure that they all lit up. Inevitably one would not light and so the whole string would not light and then he would have to check each and every one until he discovered the one which was the culprit.  My mother would have us sit on the sofa to stay out of the way and we were scarce allowed to breath lest we disturb him. It was very stressful for him, I am sure.

I don't remember us being allowed to decorate the tree either. Mom was very particular about that. We might have been allowed to put on one ornament and some tinsel, but that would have been it. Mom decorated the tree.

There were a couple of things in the box of Christmas ornaments that we only got to see once a year, at Christmas time. One was this little German girl who was crouching as if she needed to go to the bathroom. A nasty little thing really when I think about it now. We won't talk about that. It was probably a gag gift that my parents had gotten at one of their Christmas parties. The other was a little box that held a miniature toilet and a pee pot. They fascinated me because they were so tiny.

Not our tree but it looked pretty
much like this.

We always dressed up on Christmas day, wearing our Sunday clothes.  After all the gifts had been unwrapped mom would take a photograph of us lined up holding one of our gifts. There would be Christmas music on the radio, and we would spend the rest of the day playing with what we had been given, munching on Christmas candies and smelling the great smells coming from the turkey baking in the oven. We knew we were in for a real treat.

We would have our Christmas dinner early in the afternoon. There would be turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, gravy and then mom would have baked a few goodies, like shortbread cookies and date squares. There would be fruit cake or maybe a war cake, stuffed with plenty of sticky raisins.  

We didn't really live near family so there was no visiting done.  After dinner dad would relax in his easy boy hair and we would color with the inevitable new crayons and coloring books we would have gotten while mom cleaned up. Poor mom.  Most of Christmas was down to her, but I never remember hearing her complain. Not ever.

We were happy.  Well loved and cared for. It was a much simpler time and in many ways a much better time, but perhaps that is just my rose colored glasses.


My own family called me the Christmas Queen. I would spend weeks baking treats and freezing them in the run up to Christmas. We spoiled the children when it came to gifts. We always got them at least one thing on their Santa list.  The girls always got a brand-new doll every year. 

I made gingerbread houses and homemade ornaments for on the tree. When we lived near family, great efforts were taken so that we could spend time with them.  My children had handmade sequin decorated stockings. I tried really hard to make sure that all of their Christmas's were the best that they could have.

We always went to church on Christmas Eve.  And it always seemed to snow. Funny that. I really hope that Anthony and his family are able to make it over for this Christmas. That would be really, really nice.  But we will have a nice Christmas nonetheless, Cindy, Dan, dad and me.   I can't wait and yet at the same time I enjoy the anticipation almost more than the day! 

I was reading a chapter in my "Come Unto Him" book last night.  The title of the chapter was "Come unto me," and was written by Hank Smith. He's a brilliant writer.  He started off the chapter talking about a description of a home for sale that he had recently seen. From his description it was clearly a home which would require a lot of work. It sounded really dilapidated. Then he posed the question, what if we had a listing for our souls like real-estate agents have for the homes they are trying to sell.  What would our listings sound like? Realistically speaking.  This was food for thought.

I'm no longer beautiful to look at, if I ever was. (Never would you ever have considered me to be such, or even cute.) I am overweight, not just pleasantly plump. I have plenty of scars and wrinkles and lots of grey hair. I don't hear so good anymore, and my sight, if it weren't for my eyeglasses, I would be blind as a bat! My hair is too frizzy, I don't have pristine white teeth. (Too cheap to pay for teeth whitening, but at least they are all my own.) My legs are swollen and my feet too. I hobble when I walk because of arthritis.  And I am just getting started on the outside. Don't get me started on the inside.

I am a house with broken windows, peeling paint, and a cobwebbed attic.

Things have happened to me because of bad choices I have made and there are terrible things which have happened to me because of the poor choices of others, through no fault of my own. I think it is the same for everyone. Life is difficult for us all and has a way of spreading out the trials to everyone in one way or another. There is no such thing as a charmed life.

Good thing there is a Master Builder on site. He doesn't force, but beckons and it is up to us whether we choose to come to him or not. All we have to do is repent and follow him. He can fix the peeling paint and the broken windows, and clear out the cobwebs. He's not concerned with the outside of our house, but more with our heart.

I always thought that repentance was a negative thing.  That it was 40 lashes after a sound talking to and wearing a hair shirt whilst crawling over broken glass. 

Not so.

The bible dictionary defines it as the following: "The Greek word of which this is the translation denotes a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and the world." Repentance "comes to mean a turning of the heart and will to God."

Hank's question: How often do we think of repentance as a change of mind?

I can do that. I can change my mind. Repentance is a gift and a new starting point, and Christ tells us He will forgive us as often as we repent. He doesn't want to shame us, but change us, and He is the God of second and third and as many chances as we need to get it right.  Two steps forward, one step back. The important thing is we keep moving forward. We will get there in the end. That's what counts.

I have a broken toilet this morning. It won't flush. The thingie on the handle snapped. I managed to use the pully inside and flush it once, but now the cistern is not filling up and it is constantly running. 😕 I don't pay for my water, but I doubt the landlord will want to be paying for that much water use either. I need to get it sorted out.  That's my job for today!  Why don't these things happen on weekdays? I have tried calling the motel where we call for the landlord, but nobody is answering, all I get is leave a message.  Sigh . . .  this too shall pass.

And with that I best leave you with a thought for today . . .

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★
*Sometimes you find yourself
in the middle of nowhere,
and sometimes 
in the middle of nowhere,
you find yourself.•。★★ 。* 。

In the English Kitchen today  . . .  Walnut Cherry Slices.  A slice and bake shortbread type of cookie that is oh-so-delicious!

Have a wonderful weekend!  I hope it is good to you!  Whatever you get up to, don't forget!

═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════
═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════   

And I do too!  


  1. Ah the green stamp store...I well remember that!!! But I think my mom mostly used it to buy gifts for others, outside our family, for wedding and shower gifts etc. We were given a couple presents each and it was enough.
    Elizabeth xoxo

    1. I am not sure what kind of stamps they were Elizabeth. My mother collected them at the IGA. I remember her getting them each time she purchased her groceries and putting them into her book. We didn't get a lot of gifts when I was a child either. But you are right, it was enough! xoxo

  2. Even in the late 70's in England I remember collecting books of Green Shield stamps and Co-op stamps. Memories are wonderful. It is pouring rain today with a wind warning, rain is better than snow but not as festive. Have a good weekend, despite the broken toilet.

    1. They didn't have any programs like that when I was in the UK, no coupons really. I have a great memory for things. I should write them all down for my children someday. Hope you had a great weekend! xoxo

  3. Lovely to hear you reminisce about your childhood Christmases, Marie. They were very similar to mine. I'm going to make your cookies, perhaps this weekend. Love and hugs, Elaine

    1. I hope the cookies will be enjoyed Elaine! Also, that you have had a great weekend! Love and hugs, xoxo

  4. Oh must be "toilet trouble day" around the world. Suddenly this morning my toilet got clogged (I will add it was after a little pee, not anything that normally causes a clog)...I "plunged and plunged" I Googled. I said also "why on a weekend?" Anyway Google to the rescue!! 1 cup of baking soda, let it sit 5 min., then 2 cups of vinegar (stand back for the bubbles/foam), wait 10 min..flush......It worked!!! There must have been some toilet comet that hit the earth today, do you think??? Hoping for a solution foryou too, Marie!

    1. Oh dear Lynney! What bad luck eh! Thanks for the solution for the instant plunge stuff! I need to stock up on soda and vinegar! Thanks so much! xoxo PS - What would we do without Google!

  5. The cookies look so good!You have great memories..My family was not well to do but they looked it:)A lovely mom who didn't need anything to make her look so beautiful and elegant..and my dad was raised in opulence so I guess some stuck to him..I feel like I was raised alone..both brothers had moved out by the time I was 10.Gifts were not over the top back then but I remember some and the last.My mom had Pinkie stamps..Steinberg's:)

  6. What a delightful poem by Edna Jacques.
    I really enjoyed reading this post, Marie--the memories of your childhood Christmases and when your on children were growing up. And Hank's question is definitely good food for thought.


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!