Friday, December 21, 2018

Christmas in Ticky Tacky Town

Christmas in Ticky Tacky Town


I don't remember any special Christmas stocking growing up. I think we actually put out one of our old knee high socks. I do remember that we usually got a big apple, orange and candy canes in our stocking and sometimes we also got nut to crack. Fresh fruit was a special treat in winter as was candy.  Mom and Dad separated and later divorced when I was 12 and I think that was the end of stockings. We lived with Dad and I don't think he remembered to fill stockings. 

When my kids became teenagers and we didn't know what to put into the stockings we would spend all year collecting any kind of free stuff to fill the stockings. After a couple of years  it was a tradition and they would look forward to what we found for free to stick in their stockings. I continued the tradition well after the kids left home but haven't collected free stuff for about ten years or so now.  

I made Christmas stockings for my two oldest kids and finally this year made them for the rest of the family - kids, spouses and grandkids. 


We always received pajamas and a new outfit to wear to church on Sunday.  We usually received a book or books.  One of the first and all time favorite books I received when I was younger was The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.  I usually received a crafty gift because I never really liked playing with dolls.   I remember a potholder loom, small weaving loom I still have, paint by number, yarn dolls.  When I was old enough to sew I received fabric so I could make clothes for myself. Green faux suede that I made into a jacket and skirt and a brown plaid that turned into a drindl skirt come to mind. As a family we received a game from Santa that Santa left unwrapped under the tree. We would play it on Christmas. I remember the game of Life and Mille Bornes  (coup-fourre!) were family favorites. 

We opened our gifts on Christmas morning. I have to admit that a lot of the time I knew what was in the gift. Yes, I was a peeker. 


My favorite Christmas carol is Oh Holy Night. I loved hearing it at midnight mass. My second fav is Little Drummer Boy.  I also like Silver Bells. I remember singing it in choir at a Christmas program in sixth grade. 

My husband's family opened gifts on Christmas eve. After a dinner of Oyster Stew and ham sandwiches all the kids, grandkids, and most adults would gather in a room other than where the Christmas tree was (usually the dining room) to sing Christmas carols. Then suddenly we heard a bell ring.  That was Santa ringing it as he was leaving.  The kids then knew to run into the Christmas tree because there would be lots of presents left there. 

Trees and Ornaments 

We always had a real tree when I was growing up. And we've always had a real tree since. A few times when the kids were younger we went to a tree farm and cut our own. 

Dad liked tinsel on the tree. Mom insisted we put it on one strand at a time. That was not fun. Fun was throwing it on in clumps. Also not fun was finding tinsel here and there about the house all the way into the following Christmas.  One year there was Angel Hair on the tree.  That stuff was dangerous and we got cuts from it. 

Most of the ornaments on our tree are handmade and full of memories. Starting when the oldest son was about four we made ornaments every year of some kind.  When they grew up, got married  and had their own trees I gave them the ornaments they had made throughout the years for their own trees.   I started the same tradition with the grandkids.  They would make ornaments for their parents for Christmas and one for my tree.  They enjoyed that until the oldest girls turned twelve a couple of years ago.  When the grandkids leave home and have their own trees I'll pass on their ornaments that I use on my tree to them.  My youngest son, aged 34,  moves around a lot so I haven't given him the ornaments he has made yet.  I have a macaroni laden cardboard star painted gold he made when he was five and a Christmas tree metal punched with a nail into an orange juice lid and a painted cardboard Christmas tree to give him someday. 

I made a Garden Angel for a tree topper, have cross stitched ornaments and crocheted snowflakes and made yarn doll angels.  Some old ornaments that aren't handmade came from a lady named Lois that worked with my husband and me. After we married we didn't have much money to spend on ornaments and I think Lois knew that so she gave us a bunch of hers. Her husband had died years earlier and she said she just kept them in storage so we might as well have them.  I remember Lois every year when I put them on the tree.  Other ornaments commemorate trips to places like Ireland.  And I collect jingle bells. 
Christmas Baking

When mom still lived with us she made cookies at Christmas. I don't remember her making cookies at any other time of year.  She used Betty Crocker's Cooky Book and I still have that very book with pages stained with flour and butter.  She always made Snickerdoodles and Molasses Cookies we secretly called Mole Asses.  We would have had our mouths literally washed out with soap if she heard us. (I actually had a few mouth washings in my time). 

Our family tradition has been homemade Cinnamon Pecan Rolls fresh from the oven on Christmas morning after we open presents.  I sent away a bunch of Gold Medal flour UPC codes for a free cookbook when the kids were younger and decided to make the rolls one year to use some fresh pecans my aunt in Georgia sent us. The rolls were a hit and I've made them ever since. It's a nice recipe because they raise overnight in the refrigerator so you can just pop them in the oven Christmas morning while everyone opens presents. 
 Every year at Christmas I think I should gather all the old Christmas pictures and make a Christmas Through the Ages scrapbook. Heaven knows I have the scrapbooking supplies! 

This is an old picture of us in our new PJs (except for my brothers) one Christmas. I'm the oldest and on the left with a book on the arm of the couch next to me. It was probably the book I received as a Christmas gift and I probably didn't want to put it down to have a picture taken.  I'm not really smiling. 
I'm thinking this is a year later than the previous picture but it might be the same year. Of course the picture isn't labeled as to year.  Looks like I'm the only one that didn't get dressed for the picture. I have one some horrible looking ruffly robe I probably received for Christmas.  At least I'm smiling in this picture - one of the few pictures that has captured me with a smile. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours! 


Libby in TN said...

I love Christmas traditions, no matter how silly. We were allowed to ask Santa for only 3 gifts, and our lists would change daily almost until Christmas Eve. I have no idea how our folks narrowed down the lists. Our stockings were full of fruit, nuts, and one toy. We started having vegetable soup for Christmas Eve the year my mother was in charge of the Scout caroling around town. I carried that tradition forward to my young family. My first husband's family didn't put up the tree till Christmas eve! and left if up till 12th night (January 6) which was convenient since that was our anniversary. Even with a new husband I like keeping it up till 12th night!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

What a fun post to read, Cathy! My parents were the same about the tinsel, you could only put one strand on at a time. And Betty Crocker's Cookie Book was a staple in our house - I still have my mom's copy up in my cupboard! Thanks for sharing your family memories and traditions! Have a wonderful holiday!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Tinsel one strand at a time at my growing up house, too. It took FOREVER (which I think was part of a secret plan by my mother). There was cookie baking and present wrapping - we opened gifts on Christmas Day with the three living grandparents who came to our house. Ice skates were a common gift - we lived on a lake - my sister didn't get new skates as often as I did since she could grow into my old ones. But we were SO happy when the lake was frozen hard enough to use those skates in the afternoon. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

MissPat said...

Our tree (real for many years, until my mother bought an ugly stiff artificial one) went up on Christmas Eve and was taken down on New Year's Day. And yes, tinsel had to be put on one strand at a time. Some old German glass ornaments. Strings of lights with what seem like very large bulbs now. An orange in the toe of the stocking. Presents opened Christmas morning. A visit to Santa Claus at the department store in downtown Albany and years later Christmas parties at the Elk's club (lots of good cheer for Mom and Dad). Big turkey dinner on Christmas Day. Thanks for sharing and bringing back some wonderful memories. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

---"Love" said...

What an enjoyable read! It brought many similar memories of my childhood Christmas traditions with my family. I still have my hot pad weaving loom too! We always had a live tree, and also hung the tinsel one strand at a time! What fun times we always had at Christmastime, with friends and family. Thanks for sharing your traditions with us; I thoroughly enjoyed reading all about how your family celebrated Christmas. ---"Love"

Angie said...

Merry Christmas, Cathy! Thanks for sharing so many of your Christmas memories! Some of mine are very similar, but we changed things up a lot when we moved from Wisconsin to Florida when I was 10 years old. Still good traditions, and wonderful family memories!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Merry Christmas Cathy.
xx, Carol

Nann said...

Thanks for a delightful post! Merry Christmas to you and all your family.

Sue McQ said...

Thank you for sharing a your trip down memory lane. My family and I had wonderful Christmases as well. We were blessed. DH and I reflect on those memories. Merry Christmas and Healthy, Happy New Year to you and your family.
Love those adorable ticky, tacky houses.

Ann said...

So many wonderful memories of family Christmases together. We made ornaments annually, too. I like the way you passed them along. We had so many but they've dispersed now. Although one set is lost in the closet or attic; I must start looking.

gayle said...

Thanks for the Christmas memories! Very similar to mine - right down to the contents of the Christmas stockings! (And we didn't have special stocking, either. I can remember in the month before Christmas auditioning all our socks trying to find the biggest and stretchiest, in the belief that a bigger stocking would get more stuff to fill it up!) An apple, a tangerine, nuts in the shell, and a handful of little chocolates - such treasures!
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

I always love your stories too. They bring back so many memories of my own childhood. A very merry Christmas to you as well Cathy!

Karen in Breezy Point said...

The cinnamon roll tradition sounds yummy! My favorite kind of Christmas tree, like yours, is one decorated with meaningful ornaments—so much more special. Have a great holiday!

Emily said...

I enjoyed reading about your Christmas traditions; thank you for sharing them. I made punched orange juice lid ornaments as a kid, I'd forgotten until I saw the photo of your son's. I'm going to try cinnamon rolls that rise in the oven this year, though they will probably not be as good as yours with the pecans. Merry Christmas!