Several weekends ago my mother-in-law’s famous pepparkakors made their appearance on the dining table, and they were as yummy as ever. The recipe for these traditional Swedish spice cookies that we use in our family is over 100 years old and immigrated from Sweden with my mother-in-law’s family. Immigration is a very good thing.
For us, the appearance of these cookies marks the beginning of the holiday season, although I must confess to listening to Christmas music in the car over the last two weeks—because I am ready for the holidays.
I am not ready for shopping. Frankly, I’d rather not shop; I’d rather not have to tell people what to get me for Christmas. I’d rather dispense completely with the commercial part of the holidays (although I do still enjoy toy shopping). What I want is time—time with family and friends. Time laughing around a dinner table, telling old stories and creating new ones. I want to decorate a tree, to fill the kitchen with the aromas of a baking ham or pumpkin. I want to slow down and inhale deeply the scents cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, friendship, family, hugs and warmth. Continue reading “It’s About the Presence”
This weekend was devoted to renewing existing family traditions and creating new ones. We began this Saturday with breakfast with Santa (sponsored by the Milton Optimist Club). It’s a new tradition for us, but one that our daughter enjoyed immensely, and one that we will probably repeat. The afternoon was spent on a trek to our favorite Christmas tree farm for a wagon ride out to the Christmas tree fields, the search for the perfect tree, a chance to meet and greet Dancer, one of Santa’s reindeer, and enjoy hot cider and treats. The weather wasn’t ideal for these activities. The hot cider and donuts are a little more magical when you have been trudging in the snow and cold looking for your tree, but still it was a very pleasant afternoon.
Christmas, when you have a five-year-old in the house, takes on a completely new look. Seeing the continual wonder in her eyes, hearing the excitement when she spies yet another house decked out in twinkling lights for the season, sends you back to your own childhood. You can almost feel your own eyes getting wider and wider as the season approaches.
For the last I-don’t-know-how-many years, I have complained that Christmas was approaching too quickly, that I wasn’t ready, that I had too much to get done. I’m just as behind this year as usual, but still, just this week, I found myself in earnest discussion with my daughter, whole-heartedly agreeing with her that Christmas seems such a long way away! Continue reading “Through the Eyes of a Child”
There is nothing quite as magical as Christmas to a child. I remember how excited we used to get when my mother brought out our Christmas decorations and put up our tree. In addition to the tree, she used to hang paper streamers across the ceiling and put holly sprigs in the picture frames. I still remember the excitement I felt when I helped hang the ornaments on the tree and saw the orange, green and purple streamers covering the ceiling. Now when we remember our old tree we laugh about it. It was a tiny silver tree that sat on top of a table. It was about 3 feet high and had about 4 sets of branches made of silver tinsel. But when we were little, it seemed magical.
As we got older and saw some other options for Christmas trees, we started to want a different one, but my mother would not budge and each year she faithfully brought out the old one. I still remember one friend who came to our house and stood at the door to the living room. “Is that your Christmas tree?” she asked, pointing incredulously at the small silver object on the sideboard and then collapsing with laughter to the floor. Continue reading “In Search of the Perfect Christmas Tree”
“Oh by golly,” (make a fist and swing arm across in front of body) “have a holly jolly Christmas, this yeeeeeeaaaaarrrrr!”
I’m not sure that I am supposed to have seen that much of the Holiday Sing routine, but my daughter performed for her dad and me the other night, and we even got her to ham it up for the video camera. She’s excited about Christmas.
She’s excited about snow.
She’s just excited.
We dragged her out shopping the other day, and she said “Merry Christmas” to everyone we passed in the aisles of Boston Store. I am happy to report that an overwhelming majority of the folks she greeted returned the greeting and usually with a smile.
I’m glad she’s excited about Christmas. I’m glad she’s excited about snow. I’m glad she’s glad that Swiper is off Santa’s naughty list. If only she were as excited about eating her dinner (including the green beans), or taking her bath, or putting up her toys or even going to sleep.
I’m beginning to feel like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. No. Not the Grinch, he was sneaky and quiet in his displeasure. More like the Abominable Snowman, loud and growlly. Continue reading “A Holly Jolly Christmas”