My youngest sister, Jean, and I were talking recently about our memories. Although there is 8 years difference in our ages, neither of us has many Christmas memories. And there aren’t many pictures of our Christmases. So here are a few random Christmas memories:
One Christmas when Judy and I were young, our dolls got baths and new clothes for Christmas! We were thrilled – they seemed like new dolls to us. Several years later, I asked for a “Ginny” doll for Christmas – a precursor to Barbie. One of the cereal companies was offering her as a box-top special. I ate the cereal, Mom collected the box tops, and Ginny arrived in time for Christmas. By my sophomore year in high school, Judy and I were making most of our clothes. My senior year everyone was wearing matching pastel skirt and sweater sets. It had to have been quite a stretch for Mom’s budget, but I received a light mint green skirt and sweater that year.
I am sure Mom loved all of the Christmas gifts Mom received over the years. Judy and I would save our money and go to the dime store and buy her Evening in Paris cologne; or we would buy more loops for our looms and make her pot holders. If Mom got pot holders, Dad got handkerchiefs!
One year, Mom was getting ready for company to join us for Christmas dinner – probably Aunt Marge and Uncle Bob. Anyway, Mom had the vacuum and was cleaning up in the living room. She lifted the wand to turn around and sucked the tinsel off the tree!
A couple more Mom memories. One year she drove us into Grayslake and while there decided to get the Christmas tree. It was close to Christmas and the tree was definitely a “Charlie Brown” tree. Dad teased her about the pitiful tree she selected. Another year, Mom dropped the turkey as she took it out of the oven. I was walking into the kitchen at the time. She picked it up and put it back in the pan and suggested we not tell anyone!
Sometime after we moved to the lake, Tinkerbell became a regular visitor. Somewhere Mom got a small Tinkerbell knick-knack. She told all of us that Tinkerbell reported our behavior to Santa. All year long, she would move Tinkerbell around the house to keep an eye on us! She was way ahead of the Elf on the Shelf!
The highlight of the day was Christmas Dinner. It was not always the same thing, usually turkey, ham, or roast beef. Judy became the family baker and at an early age was making a variety of Christmas cookies.
In the fall, Judy and I would go into the pasture behind the house in Indian Hills and pick up hickory nuts… bags and bags of nuts. In the evenings, we would shell the nuts. Mom always made white nut bread with a powdered sugar glaze and a row of maraschino cherries down the top as our gifts to take to our teachers. Here is her recipe.
White Nut Bread
¾ cup sugar
2 Tlbsp soft shortening
1 ½ cups milk
3 cups sifted flour
3 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ cup chopped nuts
Mix together thoroughly sugar, shortening and egg. Stir in the milk.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into the milk mixture.
Stir in the nuts.
Pour into a well-greased 9×5 loaf pan.
Let stand 20 minutes before baking.
Bake at 350 for 60 – 70 minutes or until pick comes out clean.