Christmas time’s a comin’ and I know I’m going home
Snowflakes are falling, my old home’s a calling
Tall pines are humming, Christmas time’s a coming”
It is that time of the year again- Santa is on his way. The snow will be here to soften the sleigh’s landing. The corn is waiting for the reindeer, that is if the turkeys do not eat all of it. When the snow comes my faithful avian companions visit me every day.
I am busy getting the decorations out of all of the drawers and cupboards. Yesterday I opened one of the drawers to the buffet and I opened a red Xmas napkin and found 4 petrified baby mice- I was not surprised buy not delighted either to think of those animals in my dining room with me. I miss our kitty that was killed by a fox last year. She kept the mice away.
Time to choose a tree and then to try and string the lights. Even after all these years I do a terrible job when it comes to that task- my lights always end up all bunched together –just like the decorations. The children complain and so the story goes.I put on the music and hope that they can stand it- just for a few days. I love to pull out my old trombone- great fun.This year I have learned how to play the ukulele so sing along is scheduled for Xmas eve.
My eldest is still on the hunt for our red and gold angel that graced the top of all of our Christmas trees- through good times and bad. My dear sister had stockings made with each of my children’s’ name cross-stitched on the gorgeous stockings. We hang those each and every year to commemorate my sister. No one loved the season more than my sister Theresa. As children Tizi and I would sit and string cranberries and burnt popcorn by the fire in our family home. My mother would be organizing a “wrapping bee” – with ten of us she had to be organized. Even so we always ended up with some others siblings gift and they ended up with one of ours. Mom would have to set it straight- sometimes a difficult task to ask your child to give her older sister an opened and immediately cherished gift. Mom would always say that she was bound to forget or misplace something- it was a fact and to this day I hear her words each Christmas Eve when all the stores are closed and what is will be.
One year my dad decided to streamline gift giving and give each of us a radio tape recorder- the rage for teenagers at the time but my three younger siblings were not too impressed. As it turned out, dad spent the entire day trying to fix the defective machines. A few were tossed to the ground in exasperation- my father was not a mechanical man. He was a top notch HAM radio operator but he could not even get the Xmas tree to stand up. His solution was to hammer and nail wires into our antique oak walls- my mother was none too pleased.
My parents always insisted on Christmas Eve pajamas and stocking in the morning. My mother did everything possible to make it magical. I still follow that tradition and while my daughters taste in comfy has changed, my son puts on this plaid pj’s as if it were the best gift he could have.
We would open gifts in the morning, then head to Mass and back home to a brunch filled table. My mother would walk around the room with a garbage bag collecting wrapping paper and looking for misplaced gifts that she swore she placed under the tree, My father would have The Messiah pounding out as we sat around figuring out our gifts and trying on itchy clothes that were Italian or French but so not our style. One year when most of us were between 13 and 20, my mother bought all the girls some floor long skirt, handmade and hideous. They were like a vertical quilt- but there was no design. I am busy wearing bleached jeans and work boots, not some itchy skirt that dragged on the ground as I walked. Thew 6 girls spent a lot of time comparing and deciding whose was the worst.
This year I am going to have my children and their respective partners for Christmas Eve and dinner on the farm. I am deciding what we are going to eat – so many food preferences dislikes and allergies- what is a Christmas cook to do?
“Something vegan, something sweet, something salty and surely some meat.”
I have taken a few orders for Christmas goods and next week it is the shortbread marathon- they
are my signature bake. Of course include the Phillips family Christmas Coffee Cake. I am hoping to complete my first cakebook- before the 25th, but if not a New Year, a new bake book.
I am off to bake a cranberry walnut buttermilk cake to serve the local people that drop by to buy my honey. Looking out over the field and seeing all those hives with a layer of white “icing’ that is 4 feet deep, I send all the bees my love.
I hope to get out and snow shoe or alpine ski or even go for a walk. I say that every year and it never happens that way. I never stop dreaming about that family Christmas stroll that so many other families seem to do- I still do not like eggnog or those hard Christmas candies that sit in the bowl for months until they finally melt. I gave up fruitcake for lent and I am never looking back.
Hope you all have fun getting ready for the Holiday season. Merry Christmas!