Today the boys made cinnamon applesauce Christmas ornaments. Our house smells like a Christmas memory.
Odd, how many of my memories are tied to food- sweets in particular. Making Christmas cookies, tiny cups of eggnog, candy canes, chocolates in the advent calendar, hot chocolate by the fire in the morning, Christmas breakfast, more chocolates in our stockings on Christmas morning (and don't forget the humble orange)
I have such fond, tasty Christmas memories from my childhood. And at least a little part of me wants to relive all those things with my kids.
The boys' diet may keep us from some Christmassy treats, but I'm determined to do what we can, and find ways to re-create the rest. Just because they can't have all those chocolates in their stocking doesn't mean they can't have the orange!
And thankfully, many of my sweetest memories don't have anything to do with food at all. Here's 10 for this week's listicle.
1. Every December growing up, we'd pull out a battered diaper box from my dad's old wooden trunk. All our ornaments were stored there, wrapped in newspaper, and as we carefully unwrapped the ornaments, we'd tell and retell the story of each one. As I grew older, even the crinkled papers started to look like old friends.
2. The year my little brother went to Kindergarten, he brought home a halloween decoration made from the heart - a tarantula prune made with 8 orange pipecleaner legs and googly eyes. Somehow or other that tarantula made its way into the Christmas box, and onto the tree, and it was included every year after. Though it started out tongue-in-cheek, after a few years, it wasn't a joke. It's was fully petrified and as traditional as the icicles or any one of our first Christmas ornaments. "Where's the prune?" we'd call out, rifling through the stray papers and broken candy canes at the bottom of the box.
3. Christmas was Claymation Rudolph, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Snowman, Home Alone, The Sound of Music, and the dreaded Christmas Story. The Christmas Story remains one of my least favorite movies to this day, but.... it was tradition.
4. But nothing could top our old VHS tape of Christmas singalong songs. Don't try to tell me it was cheezy. "Follow me, 'cause I'm the bouncing ball. I can take you anywhere at all. And though I might be kind of small... follow me, 'cause I'm the bouncing ball." Sure, we might have made snide comments about the elf-host's mullet, but you didn't see any of us reaching for the remote.
5. All throughout December, my sister and I would consult the advent calendar and discuss how much longer it was 'til Christmas. My sister had a patented counting system that always made Christmas seem just close enough to drive you crazy with excitement. "If you don't count today, and you don't count Christmas day..."
6. I've written before about my clandestine love affair with music in the house, as a child. Surely half of Christmas's magic, for me, was "Do You Hear What I Hear" and "Silver Bells", played loudly in the living room.
7. I loved shaking and looking at the gifts under the tree, but I never, ever, ever peeked at my Christmas presents. I didn't want to spoil the fun on Christmas morning.
8. Every Christmas Eve, my brother and sister and I got one special present - our "Christmas Eve present" - to open that night before Christmas. It was usually something like pajamas... something to make that already-magical Christmas night feel even more special.
9. Then, no matter how old we got, even when we were coming home from college, all three of us would sleep together in one room... Christmas Eve sleepover was tradition, and nothing so petty as growing up could stand in the way of tradition.
10. Finally, though we were in on the Christmas secret all along, we'd huddle by the bedroom door and call to our parents to check and see if Santa had come. Those long, agonizing minutes as they'd put on the coffee...
So though my boys may not grow up with a favorite Christmas candy, who knows what parts of our Christmas traditions will be dear to them as they grow up.