Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Christmas Does Not Come in a Box
The reason? No box is ever big enough to hold the real Christmas. Think back on the Christmases you remember. Those memories have little to do with Santa Claus or presents or decorations. If we recall our fondest Christmases; they never came wrapped in paper and tied with a ribbon . Our little four room house across from the mill Christmas came year after year despite whatever was going on in the world. Sometimes it was the war. Often money was tight. Some years there was grief and disappointment. Other years we had much to celebrate
But year after year we started early in December at the Hardware store where we bought little cans of gold and silver paint. We cut limbs with berries and greenery off the bushes. We sprayed them silver and gold. When they were dry we covered our mantles and made some kind of arrangement on the kitchen table. Next came the cakes. Our little kitchen was weighed down with flour and real coconuts and raisins and spices and vanilla flavoring and lots of eggs and a heaping mound of butter. Our maid, Nancy was instructed to go the liquor store after dark and furtively get the whiskey for the Fruitcakes. We shelled pecans all week long. We used a hammer to break open the coconuts. By Christmas day every spare surface would be covered with enough sweets to send anyone into a diabetic coma.
We always had a live Christmas tree that stretched all the way to the top of our little ceiling. My father chopped and hacked away at the base until it was finally ready for the living room. Next came the big colored lights, the ornaments. We whipped up Lux flakes in the kitchen and loaded the branches down with make-believe snow. Icicles covered the tree and the floor, too.