A Childhood Christmas Without…

There is a long list of things that, as a child, I had never heard of. But even without those things, my Christmas was just as merry as though I had them. I’ll explain some instances.

I was in my twenties before I ever heard of or had drank eggnog. When I first saw it in the punch bowl, I wasn’t sure what it was. At first, I thought it was milk cream, but it was too yellow to be cream. I remember my grandmother’s cow cream, and it was white. Then, I imagined the drink was melted vanilla ice cream. Wrong again. I was too embarrassed to ask anyone what it was, so when others started drinking it, I got a cup and drank some too. What a delightful drink, but still my early Christmases were delicious without eggnog or any other holiday drinks. I also had never tried spiced fruit punch or spiced apple cider. Today, they are my favorites. Especially spiced apple cider. I think my mother used chocolate for baking, and while I ate chocolate pie, I never drank hot chocolate. We ate marshmallows, but not in any drink as is done with hot chocolate.

Homemade dressing was a staple, but turkey with dressing, I had not eaten. Nor cranberry sauce. Actually, I had never heard of cranberries, but now, they’re a part of my holiday dinners. We ate ham and yams, but not together.

I never ate fruit cake, and to this day, this little, nutty-fruity cake, I can still live without. It has too much stuff in it for my taste buds. I’m “plain Jane,” and I like pound cake. We didn’t have gingerbread cookies, but we had ginger bread. We called it molasses or syrup bread. My Grandmother made the best! Christmas cookies (the pretty, decorated ones) I had never seen. I ate, again, Grandmother’s tea cakes, and again, to me, they were the best! I still haven’t eaten a Yule Log cake, so you’ll have to tell me if I’m missing out on this one.

I had never heard of Charles Dicken’s “Christmas Carol”, nor any other Christmas story. Now this story is my favorite holiday tale.

And when it came to Christmas decorations, we never had mistletoe, holly/berries, garland, ornaments, lights, Christmas table cloths, napkins, plates, cups, place mats, table runners, candles, colorful flatware, gift-wrapping paper, Christmas cards, or anything else “Christmas.”

If there were all the different kinds of candies that exist today back then, I didn’t see them nor was I aware of them. There were the chocolate covered creams and cherries. My daddy loved those. I didn’t like them – and still don’t. There was hard candy that I preferred above any other, especially the softer varieties. Of course, we had the traditional peppermint sticks or canes, and as I can see, they have done well over the years. With all their competition, they’re still holding their ground.

As a child, I never saw any Christmas plants. But today, every Christmas I like to have a poinsettias to grace my table.

My childhood Christmases were complete as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t have all the stuff that I have today, but even without so many things missing, nothing seemed lost or incomplete. And even though, today, I can avail myself of just about anything “Christmas” that I want, they don’t make my season any more merry. This holiday brings with it its own beauty, and joy and happiness, and even if the trinkets and gadgets and foods are taken away, Christmas will still be “the most wonderful time of the year.

Published on Dec 27, 2013

Grit Magazine

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