Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas MeMe

I found this MeMe over at Celtic Woman - do stop over and read about Julie and her christmas - she always has beautiful paintings, as well as wonderful words to share. The MeMe is a little ways down in the post - it is all worth reading. You can learn a lot from Julie's posts.

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?

Oh but of course. I shop almost all year, and really get into high gear for the holidays. I love to shop online - ebay is my best friend right now - as well as Amazon and - oh the bargains I can find.

2. Tell me about some of your special traditions.

The kids sitting in front of the christmas tree - they sure were patient . . .(and how old am I that my kids' photos are in B&W?)

We like to make up plates of cookies to take to friends, and we always find someone who needs a special lift this time of the year to include in those gifts of cookies. The year our oldest daughter got married we were on our way to the rehearsal and our car stopped dead on the road. Don walked to the nearest house and a wonderful older man came out and showed us what was the problem and got us on our way. When christmas came a few months later we took him a plate of cookies and thanked him, and he was so thrilled. It really made our holiday.

Or maybe decorating - and even the cat helps.

Or Don setting up the teddy bears in funny situations and surprising me with the set up. . .(notice the frog reading the christmas cookie book)

Or watching the lighted boat parades . . .

3. Are you a Black Friday shopper?

Absolutely not - unless you consider online shopping - I don't care for crowds or the rudeness to get one little trinket. And if you watch -you can almost always find the items for much better prices, closer to christmas. That's a definite NO - not me!

4. When do you put up your tree?
Our tree - this year

We used to put up the tree on Dec. 11, our youngest daughter's birthday. Now we put it up right after thanksgiving so the grandsons can enjoy it longer - oh well, might as well admit it - so we can too.

The year our youngest daughter was born we thought she was never coming out, finally on Dec. 10th I put up the tree - ambition abounded - the two other kids had a grand time helping me decorate, or helping me undecorate, whichever was their fancy at the moment - and then that evening I went to the hospital and we got our special christmas gift. So from then on we always put up the tree on her birthday - with was two days ago - happy birthday Lori - we love you!!

5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay home?

We didn't really travel in this cute train - it was set up in the park where our son and DIL got married 4 years ago in WV.

These days we stay home - and the kids come to us - everyone will be here this year, first time in several years that everyone has been home. Our son and sweet daughter-in-law will be arriving from WV on the 17th, staying until the 27th - what a time we will have.

When we lived in Wisconsin when the kids were very young we would always travel to one of Don's aunts' houses for christmas - his Aun Mary would cook a feast fit for the farm crew (though they no longer lived on a farm) and we'd eat precisely at 12 noon - two kinds of meat, dozens of side dishes, all the trimmings and a table full of desserts. Then the clean up, and presents - and Aunt Mary began cooking again - another full meal, served at 5 p.m. - two meats- at least - all the trimmings, heaps of desserts and many tummy aches later - we all rolled home. She served no leftovers for the second meal - all freshly cooked dishes - Aunt Mary loved to cook - and we loved to eat - but leftovers would have been fine with all of us, but not for Aunt Mary.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?

Our son has always been the leader when it comes to waking up early and getting to the tree. One year, in CA, all three were living in their own places and Rusty picked up the girls to bring them to our house. As they drove into our driveway we could hear Rusty - "Bec, you download the presents, Lori, get the food - now GO GO GO GO". He always is excited at christmas - I like that.

7. What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time?

As with all questions about movies - I have to say that I never have seen a christmas movie - unless you count Frosty the Snowman, and A Charlie Brown Christmas - I guess they are my favorites, though I don't watch them every year - oh and How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the original one.

8. Do you do your own Christmas baking, what’s your favorite treat?

Oh yes - I do the baking. Don makes the Chex Party Mix and I do the rest. When the kids were at home we would make the first batch of christmas cookies on Thanskgiving night, after the dishes were cleaned up and the leftovers safely stored away (and turkey sandwiches eaten).

Today I have put out butter to soften so I can mix up several cookie doughs to put in the fridge to bake closer to christmas. There aren't so many people to eat up the goodies now (until Rusty and Jamie get here) and they get stale if I bake too early.

I make thumbprint cookies with homemade raspberry and strawberry jam, Russian teacakes (from my childhood in Alaska when we would go to the Russian Bishop's house for tea every christmas), sometimes Rosettes, German Stollen (a fruit and nut yeast bread), Pecan tarts (like mini pecan pies), sugared walnuts,

gingerbread pigs with pink icing on their backs and Spritz (I need one of those electric spritz guns - the hand turned ones are too hard on my hands now).

My favorite treat at Christmas is a really simple one that my mom always made. Mix walnuts, raisins and chocolate chips - don't melt them or heat them or bake them - just mix in a bowl and eat by the handful. I love the taste of the three flavors.
9. Fake or Real Tree?

For years real trees, until we figured out that the real ones were making me sick every year. They spray the trees with insecticide to stop bugs from eating them up - or crawling all over your house, and fire retardant and those both leach out into the air and we breath them - not good.

The year we went artificial Don went to Thrifty Drug (remember those stores?) and found a tree he liked, but they only had the demo tree, none of the boxed up ones left. Using his charms he convinced the store manager that if it was the last one then no one could buy any from seeing the demo so the manager MUST sell him the sample one. The manager finally agreed and Don carried the tree - all 6 feet of it - fully decorated - out of the store and stuffed it in the back of the station wagon. When he got it home he pulled it out and marched up the sidewalk to the house with a fully decorated tree. It was a hilarious sight. We undecorated it and redid it with our own lights and ornaments - and we've been an aritifical tree family from then on. I like the convenience of it and if I want the scent of fresh greens I can always cut some from the trees across the street in our little forest - untainted with bug spray and fire retardant.
Fun Thrifty Ad

10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?

Really no panic - I make lots of lists and enjoy making sure everything gets done on time.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?

Oh of course, and it is fun too. One year we had all of our shopping and wrapping done just past thanksgiving and by christmas eve we were sad that there was nothing to wrap - so we went to town and found a pretty sweater to buy for a present just to have something to wrap up - we don't do that anymore - we always have presents to wrap on christmas eve (see how I made that sound like we PLAN it that way?)

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?

Opening presents - we pass out a present to each person - then go around the room and each one opens their present. This takes some time, so we usually stop and have breakfast and then back to opening gifts.

We also love to take drives to see the decorations on homes in the area, our favorite was a street in SoCal that really went all out - every house was decorated, they played music and Santa handed out candy canes.

Or maybe it is decorating everything in sight . . .

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?

I love any christmas craft - for several years I made felt stockings (some to keep and some to sell). That was a lot of fun. A friend took the samples to a factory where she worked in Wisconsin and sold 400 stockings. I sat at home nights, with the little kids (the year Lori was born) and cut out tiny pieces of felt by the zillions - what was I thinking?
(I'm trying to find the old craft magazine that had these stockings - Better Homes and Gardens? McCalls Needlework? - from the 60s so I can make some of these stockings again)

I love christmas quilts as well - and have plans to make a few more. We have a red/white/green on that is on our bed from Thanksgiving night until New Years day.

14. Christmas music. Yes or No, and if yes what is your favorite song?

Oh, Yes! I like most anything - though I'm not crazy about modern versions of many of the songs. Give me Perry Como any day - and also harp and guiter music, especially if it has bird songs added in. My favorite song of all time is Little Drummer Boy - we sang it one year in chorus in high school and I still think of the boys that sat behind us, singing the rum-pa-pa-pum part.
Or maybe it is The Twelve Days of Christmas - or . . .

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?

I'm almost done now - just another toy for one of the grandsons and one more present, but I won't say for whom, or what it is, that would give it away. Today I bought four things online - plenty of time left to get everything here on time.

If you'd like to do this christmas Meme - please leave a comment so we can all come over and learn more about you. Merry christmas. Merry christmas!!!!


Pat said...

What fun to read your list! Those felt stockings are adorable....and I love the frog reading the cookbook and it looks like another one is changing a CD....hehehe

luv2quilt2 said...

Love your Christmas Meme! It's such fun to remember and celebrate all of those old memories. I hope your Christmas is the best ever!

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Oh boy, so many wonderful memories from the past and ones being made today, too! What fun Christmases you and yours have enjoyed!!!

SandyQuilts said...

I live in WV.

Merry Christmas

Fearless Nester said...

Oh how exciting to have all your kids home together this year! Don putting the bears in funny poses cracks me up! Love your warm family traditions...we always went around the room opening presents one at a time too...youngest to oldest! Sounds like your Christmas will be particularly special this year. Those were great pictures to go along with this lovely post!

Crispy said...

Great post Jo!! Your Aunt Mary sounds just like my Aunt Gladice, what a cook! Little Drummer Boy is my favorite song too and I also HATE all the modern songs, give me anything sang sweetly.


Sara Padrusch said...

That was the best meme ever! Don totally stole the show- that set-up with the bears cracked me up! You guys must really enjoy each other!

Thanks for sharing!


*karendianne. said...

This was really fun! Thanks for sharing and gosh you know I really love your banner.

JoyceAnn said...

Enjoyed reading your Christmas MeMe and seeing your pics. It's like taking a walk down memory lane.

~ Holiday Blessings ~

Julie said...

I really liked this MeMe. I learned a lot about you. I would love me some of those piggy cookies, but I won't be making them. I think I can manage the raisins, chocolate chips and walnut mix though. Mmmm.