Virtual Advent Blog Tour 2011 – Small traditions.
Welcome to the Virtual Advent Blog Tour 2011!
Question: This calendar traditionally helps count down the days until Christmas, and behind each number it contains a prize.
Answer: Advent calendar.
Christmas and the holidays have always been understated in my family. I’m afraid you won’t be finding a post about a lot of big Christmas traditions here. My family is small with just my nuclear family (mother, father, and brother) and only a few extended family members (maternal grandparents and my uncle and aunt). When I was a child, we went to my maternal grandparents’ house for the holidays. Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving were all marked with days at their house and meals taken together. I’ve never really thought my family very big on traditions and have often felt a little disappointed by this.
But I realized that even if they were small, my family had traditions too. Meeting at my grandparents’ house in itself was a tradition. It was always a very serious decision to decide which day we were going to go over. Would we meet on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Then my mother and my uncle (her brother) had to decide who was going to bring what to the holiday feast. Who would bring what pie and if my mother was going to bring Russian tea cakes or not. My grandmother cooked. Boy, did my grandmother cook.
Question: In what country did the Advent calendar originate?
My grandmother made the best chicken and, try as I might, I can never make my chicken taste the same. I will always remember going to her house and walking into the kitchen to find all those pots and pans bubbling on the stove and both of the double ovens fired up. Her kitchen had a green tile backsplash and a green stovetop and green doors on the ovens. There was even a green rug in front of the sink. She used to pull a stool into the kitchen so I could get up on the counter and sit to watch her cook.
Question: How do you say “Merry Christmas” in French?
Answer: Joyeux Noël.
Another tradition we had was my grandparents’ Christmas tree. It wasn’t that we all helped decorated it or anything. It was always up before we arrived. But the tree’s mere presence was a tradition. You see, it had green lights. As a child I never realized how strange our tree was but friends often exclaimed how odd a Christmas tree with green light was when they saw pictures. My grandmother had these curious little red and white ornaments. To think about it, the tree must have clashed horribly with itself but I loved that tree. As a child I remember sitting in front of its soft green light and pretending I was on the moon or in fairyland.
Question: How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Spanish?
Answer: Feliz Navidad.
I miss those little traditions that I didn’t even know were traditions until they were gone. There is no grandparents’ house anymore these days. There is just my parents and brother now. We’ll probably have dinner together on Christmas and exchange a few gifts. Nothing special, nothing really big. But that’s a tradition now too.
Merry Christmas big and small!
Sift together and set aside:
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup softened butter
½ cup Crisco (shortening)
Add to this:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon water
Beat thoroughly, then beat in 2 eggs.
Slowly add flour mixture you set aside before.
Remove beaters and add 12 oz. package of chocolate chips plus 1 cup chopped pecans if desired.
Drop by ½ teaspoon on greased cookie sheet (or on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper).
Bake 375 for about 8 minutes. Watch for burning on bottom of cookies if using a dark pan!
Remove, cool slightly, and enjoy warm and gooey!
Thank you for joining me!