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Nostalgia and Winter

December 14, 2014 , , ,

festive headgear

festive headgear

Christmas is such an anticipated holiday in America that it leaves lasting impressions on children. If I dig deeply into my memories of Christmas past there are certain phases that marked my history of celebrating.

  • My earliest years, 1-4, all holidays were at my grandparents’ farm

The house was small and the farm very big.  My grandmother made bread and cookies all the time.  At Christmas she cranked up the volume and included cinnamon rolls.  We played Chinese checkers, regular checkers, and Parcheesi.  Between baking with my grandma and playing games with my grandpa all my wishes came true.  I don’t know what my parents did, but I was always thrilled to be in Lincoln, Arkansas at the farm.

  • School in Pennsylvania had many holiday traditions, as well as snow.

Pittsburgh had excellent quality building snow, so my friends and I constructed forts and had snowball wars. We had sleds, toboggans, and ice skates.  At holiday break we were free to slip and slide all over town in our preferred method.  We did have caroling in the 50’s with people showing up at your house singing and very cold.  You were to invite them inside and give them hot chocolate.  My mother made fruitcake (of which I was never a fan) and pralines (which were the best).

  • Venezuela is a very festive place, and Christmas is a time to party with aguinaldos

Special songs of the season, often with no religious connotations, are sung by bands of traveling musicians.  The parranda grows as the host at each home visited joins the group and travels to the next home.  Sometimes extemporaneous lyrics are created to flatter the host or the neighborhood.  My parents were huge appreciators of the art form, and my dad was the boss of all the people in the petroleum camp.  For this reason our house was the last stop of the night.  The bar would open and the musicians would stay for hours, playing harps, rhythm instruments, cuatros, and guitars.

  • In my own home as an adult I invited friends for potluck parties for many years.

I had neither funds nor interest in entertaining like my parents had done.  I did still like the large crowd festivities, but preferred to make the occasion pot luck.  I still love this form of celebrating because each cook showcases something special that they want to prepare.  I also like the progressive dinner, which goes from house to house for each course.  Those seem to have fallen out of favor today, but they were fun while they lasted.

  • Holidays at resorts all over the world

There is something excellent about paying others to do all the preparations and clean up for holidays.  I spent wonderful holidays all over the world, in Chamonix, Swiss ski resorts, and one superb Christmas in Maui.  If you have the extra cash and don’t mind traveling at peak times (when I did it the peak was not so hard to take)  being in another land with room service can be a really good way to make the holiday season.  Instead of making effort at home, the energy and money is spent on the travel itself.

  • December at home

We like to stay close to home and make very little fuss about our December now.  I am working hard to clear space and give away old items rather than acquire any new ones.  I use seasonal plants for decorations these days because I just don’t bother with electric lights and other time consuming ways to change the decor.  We have no tree, and each year I give away more ornaments and outdoor decorative items.  Not only are we happier during the season, we have nothing much to strike in January.  This year we may zip up to Scottsdale for a meal at Posh and the farmers’ market.  This is our family trip with our dog, who adores the FireSky Resort.  The low key way to celebrate suits our lifestyle and our budget.

tropical

tropical

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comments

I love this post Pam. I have great memories at my grandmother’s house with company, food, dinners, TV, LOTS of games to keep us kids out of her hair , treats and more.
However I don’t always want that at Xmas time.. especially since my kid is pretty well grown. I would love to travel but holiday traffic at the airport.. not my glass of champagne!

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Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

December 18, 2014

No, not mine either. I did my getting while the getting was good and I was a travel agent. Now a short distance drive will suffice for a getaway. Air travel has become brutally uncomfortable in so many ways.

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Pamela Morse

December 18, 2014

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