This is my most favorite time of the year. I think about it and plan for it all year long. Sam and I have been on some amazing trips since I retired and he will tell you I spend my souvenir dollars (or Euros) on Christmas gifts for my family and friends.
I love everything about this time of year — the commotion, the chaos, everything!
I’ve decorated the house, as most people do, and have made certain I have non-breakable things on the tables and on the lower levels of the tree(s) — YES, I have two large, one medium and two tiny trees. But knowing there are three grandchildren ages four and under, I want things to be magical while not having to worry about them getting hurt from breaking items.
Our large trees have an interesting mix of ornaments. I don’t subscribe to the idea of having trees with all the same color of lights and ornaments. Those are lovely, but not my taste. We have ornaments from our travels, some interesting survivors from Sam’s and my first Christmas together 44 years ago, some new ones, and some very old ones.
My most favorite ornaments are ones that belonged to my grandmother, from the Depression era. They’re very plain, clear glass, with a little bit of color. I remember the ones that were simply colored glass orbs — boring by today’s standards — but they were always part of the tree.
We also have some that belonged to Sam’s grandparents. They’re quite faded, but just as wonderful as ever! And of course, we have some that were from both sets of parents that Sam and I remember clearly as we grew up.
But perhaps the ones I love the most are the ones our children made. I have two wreaths: a macaroni one and a paper one. There’s a paper tree and a clothespin angel. The best is probably Cooper’s Cub Scout one — a photo of him in his uniform framed with popsicle sticks.
Every ornament brings back fond memories of watching the children as they decorated the tree. I left every ornament where they put it and filled in with my own. The tree look lopsided, often funny, but I never wanted them to think they hadn’t done a good job.
Sugar plum fairies
In addition to the decorations are the cookies. Early in my teaching career, I made cookies for my students, and for several years instead of a tag, I wrote their names on a cookie with icing for their little gift from me.
Once my children were at least two years old, I let them help me bake and decorate the cookies. I even let them have friends over to decorate cookies, too. My kitchen would be knee deep in sugar and sprinkles. And there would be as much icing on their clothes and the table as on the cookies themselves. But again, happy memories.
This Christmas our 19-month-old granddaughter, Sally, and 4-year-old grandson, Mason, will be making and “decorating” cookies with me. No icing this year, but maybe next.
I’m using Sam’s grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe. It is a very old recipe and actually has very little sugar in it so when the icing goes on, at least cookie-eaters don’t go into sugar shock!
The recipe also makes about a million cookies, or so it seems when I’m trying to finish decorating them at midnight!
But I can’ wait!!!
I want our grandchildren to have wonderful memories of Christmas. And if that means my kitchen is covered in flour and sprinkles, so be it.
Nothing is more important to me than my family. I love having them all in the house teasing each other, playing games, being noisy, and just being together.
— Bonnie Dawson, Director of Special Events, Camp Alleghany for Girls