When I was a child I adored the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas because there was so much buzz and excitement. I remember my mom being so stressed during that time and could never figure it out. But now, as an adult, I get it!
Rush, rush, rush! Buy this gift for that person. Go to this party or that function. Fight the crowds at the malls. What's wrong with this picture? I think it's easy to forget the true meaning of the holidays. Here are some of my favorite memories from childhood.
* Putting up the Christmas tree. It was definitely more fun for us kids than my parents (especially when the tree fell down by accident while decorating).
* Baking banana nut bread. I can still smell the sweet aroma. My mom did several loaves as gifts for the nuns at my grade school. Little did she know, these were the women who continually slapped me on the arm with their scary rulers!
* Making spritz cookies. My granny had this cool copper and aluminum spritzer with lots of shapes. What fun! I still have the spritzer today but it's a bit dusty.
* Delivering an anonymous gift each year to friends of my parents. My mom sang in the choir at midnight mass. We'd then sneak down the street in our car, turn the lights off and place the present on their doorstep, ring the bell and run! It was always some crazy joke gift. Then, they'd call us at 2 am when we arrived home, and we'd laugh so hard we'd cry.
* We had a giant reindeer head with a red light for his nose. We hung it on our front porch each Christmas and plugged it in. We lived on a busy street and he stopped traffic every year. I think he even made the local newspaper. We nicknamed him Rudolph of course!
* Sneaking downstairs at 5 am Christmas morning to look at all the presents and hear the still quiet or look out at the powdered sugar snow. It was magical!
* Breakfast of egg casserole and eggnog after we opened presents.
* Leaving cookies and milk for Santa on the fireplace hearth. I should have suspected when they were my dad's favorite brand of cookies!
* Christmas caroling with the Girl Scouts -- except for one year. My friend Kathleen, who had beautiful, long black hair, had her flowy locks burned by someones's candle . That was scary!
Ahhh. To be a child again with visions of sugar plums...