If you could go back to any point in time at Christmas when would it be? Mine would be in the late 60’s, early 70’s during the “wonder” years, when I was little and I knew for sure there was a larger than life, fatherly man coming down the chimney after midnight.
Here are the top things I remember:
Tons of Friends Coming Over for Parties:
People like Mary, Rhoda and Lou were always at our house. Mother had such
great friends (just like me) who never had to come up with a reason to
throw a party. Mother and Daddy would have parties for their employees,
a Christmas Eve party for close friends, neighbors and family, then get
together for Christmas day with family for an entire day of eating,
playing, and celebrating. Not to mention the luncheons and coffees with
close friends she’d host mid-week. I remember going with Mother to the
Winn-Dixie to load up grocery carts of jams and jellies so she could make gift baskets for people who dropped by.
Playing Christmas Records on the stereo:
It’s really Christmas for me when I hear songs by Perry Como, Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams. Their smooth musical stylings and TV Christmas specials were the best way to spend an evening.
Mother decorated every room in the Meadowbrook house. She had a storage area that housed all of her decor and would hand me things telling me the room they were to be delivered to. By the end of the day each room in our house was transformed into Christmas magic. BTW — this could easily be her on the ladder decorating the tree…and I swear she had every party supply in this picture, including that rad percolator.
I don’t think we ever had an aluminum tree, rather it was always a giant white flocked tree from Hilscher’s Nursery on East Lancaster. Mr. Hilscher would call Mother right after Thanksgiving to ask her what kind of tree she wanted delivered and within a few days the biggest, most fragrant tree would arrive!
Cheese Grits on Christmas morning:
This was a Christmas brunch staple in our house. Mother would serve her grits in a lovely copper chafing dish on her beautifully decorated buffet
complete with a long centerpiece of greenery and candles down the middle of the table.
Here’s Mother’s recipe
from Jane Justin’s cookbook “Prescriptions for Hunger” copyright 1968:
Preheat Oven to 350
Put 8 cups of water in a large saucepan and add 1 TBL of salt.
When water starts to boil add 2 cups of grits
Cook slowly until grits are thick
Pour grits into a large bowl and add:
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1 Cup of whole milk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp black pepper
3 TBL melted butter
1 Cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Mix well and pour into a greased casserole.
Sprinkle with more grated cheese and a few dashes of paprika
Bake one hour at 350 degrees. She usually served the grits with fruit, scrambled eggs, tiny link sausages and a yummy coffee cake she would get from the bakery.