Sunday, November 28, 2010
Thanksgiving is over.....now on to Christmas
Thanksgiving and Black Friday are over....now on to Christmas. Not only do we have Christmas next month we have December birthdays..our step-mother and mother-in-law, Bessie, our brother-in-law, Mike and our niece, Emily.
It is time to start decorating our home for Christmas. Since Rick is not feeling too good right now...I will probably not decorate as much as usual. It takes me days to decorate our home. I spend at least a week just decorating the 6 foot tree. Due to Rick having allegies we do not have a real tree. In 1983 I bought a 6 foot artificial tree that was made in West Germany. Everybody that comes to our home has to feel the tree...they don't believe it is artificial. I was lucky and found it on sale at K-Mart in Medford, Oregon. It was originally $400 and I bought it for $99. The tree looks as beautiful today as it did the first time I set it up.
Our tree is different from most people's trees. We don't have Christmas Lights, Tinsel or Tinsel Garland on our tree. All of our ornaments are handmade, gifts or one-of-a-kind ornaments. Each and every ornament has special meanings to us.
For the first 14 Christmas' of our marriage we spent Christmas Eve at Rich's Uncle Everett and Aunt Jo's home. It was so much fun. Their home was filled with parents, children, grandchildren and friends. There was always a 12 foot real tree decorated by everyone. The kids would stand close to the tree and ohh and ahh over all the gifts.
We always had a potluck dinner. Everybody brought their specialties to share. Grandma Cassman always made Rice Krispie Bars, Cousin Sally made Chocolate Cream Pies and Homemade Rolls, Cousin Dory made Taco Salad, Uncle Everett and Aunt Jo provided Turkey, Roast and Ham. Cousin Jo Carol would make tiny sandwiches, veggie trays...one year she made a shrimp cocktail tree. When Mom Bishop was living she would make a Tomato Hamburger Pasta and Crazy Chocolate Cake. We would take assorted dishes until after Mom passed away and we inherited the tradition of taking Tomato Hamburger Pasta and Crazy Chocolate Cake. Others would bring olives, chips, dips, pickles, and assorted dishes. Sally prepared a lot of the food. We would all jump in and help her with everything. After dinner we would help clean the kitchen and do the dishes.
After dinner it was a tradition for Aunt Jo to read the Christmas story from the Bible. As she was reading you could hear a pin drop....everybody thoughly enjoyed listening to her. Then after she finished reading everyone would sing Silent Night!
Now it was time for Christmas stockings. Each and every person that was enjoying the festivities received a Christmas stocking. The stockings were brown bags decorated with our names. Each stocking held a dime, kleenex, orange, candy, a small gift individualized for each person, pen, pad, and a Christmas ornament. Every year the ornaments were different. Aunt Jo would shop for just the perfect ornament for each person. She knew everybody likes and dislikes. Those ornaments mean the world to Rich and I as we place them on our tree.
After everyone had received their Christmas stocking and enjoyed seeing what they received it was time to open gifts.
All the adult cousins and friends would draw names at Thanksgiving. We all spoiled the kids and bought gifts for them. Uncle Everett, Aunt Jo and Grandma Cassman all bought gifts for everyone.
The older kids would help pass out the gifts to everyone....and then the fun began. Aunt Jo would give each family large plastic bags to keep opened gifts in during the gift opening. With 20-25 adults and oodles of kids it was the easiest way.
After all the gifts were opened and everyone had time to play with their gifts....it was time for dessert. There was pumpkin pie, mincemeat pie, chocolate cream pie, vanilla cream pie, apple pie, fruitcake, banana bread, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, Crazy Chocolate Cake, brownies, and all kinds of candy for desserts.
Rich and I loved spending time with Uncle Everett, Aunt Jo, Grandma and all the rest of the family and friends. We would have to leave a little early as we needed to go to my Grandparents for Christmas Eve too! We would arrive after dinner and open gifts with everyone. Grandma always sent us home a huge Christmas care package for snacking on later. She would make each of us a plate full of Turkey, Dressing and Gravy, Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Corn, Olives, Pickles, Rolls and any other dishes that others would bring. Then made sure we had plenty of desserts too!
The next day we would have Christmas breakfast with Rich's family. After breakfast we would open gifts. Then we were off to my family. We would open gifts and then later in the afternoon have our Christmas dinner.
Those days are gone now that Uncle Everett, Aunt Jo, Grandma Cassman, Grandpa and Grandma Shaw, Rich's Mom, my Dad and Mom have passed away. It seems like the family is so scattered and so busy with our lives that we don't get a chance to get together as often as we like.
More Christmas memories to come................