A Few Christmas Memories

1) Listening to Dad sing Christmas songs. Sometimes along with his reel-to-reel tapes. Other times just in the house or yard or car. In particular, I remember, "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." Dad has a great voice (was in a barbershop quarter in college). I was sorely disappointed when I grew up and heard the song elsewhere because almost no one knows the real opening to it.

("I just got back from a long, long trip across the Milky Way . . ." Know it? Bing does, of course.)

2) Making gingerbread houses with Mom. Many a year we did one beautiful one together and displayed it on the dining table for all to see. We weren't supposed to eat the candy and ruin the beauty until after Christmas. What we kids did, then, after the front looked pretty, was plaster the back of the house with tons of random candies and then eat THOSE all December long. It kept us happy, and the front of the house still looked nice!

3) My royal blue toy typewriter that really worked. Awesome gift! I wore the ribbon into the ground. (Shocker, right?) Right up there was the printer toy I got a few years later. I loved making posters and signs.

4) Finnish pulla. To this day, the smell of cardamom is Christmas. I've carried this one on with my kids. We make pulla every year. This time it'll be extra yummy, because I brought home some cardamom from Finland, which is much stronger than the weak stuff you get in U.S. grocery stores. YUM! We're making it this weekend. If I have two brain cells functioning then, I'll take pictures and post the recipe.

5) Christmas tree hunting. I think we went two or three times is all, going with a couple of families in our ward (who were cousins living next door to one another) who owned some land. Great memories of hiking through the mountains, cutting down the tree, and then warming up with hot cocoa and singing goofy songs. (Good times, right, Blondie?)

6) REAL trees. Sometimes even flocked ones. They were always gorgeous. Mom made sure of that: sometimes it was pink and silver on a white flocked tree, other times red and gold or some other theme on a regular green one. One year the tree had a Persian theme. This is why I insisted on real trees when we got married. REAL is Christmas. Fake is NOT.

When Mom and Dad became empty nesters, they bought a fake tree. When hubby and I walked into their house and saw it, I gasped in horror. Hubby laughed and laughed. Mom and Dad had a fake one. I now had no good argument. Today we have a fake tree, and we alternate real/fake every year.

And I have to admit, the fake ones have their perks: No need to water them. You can put them up earlier without worrying about them dying. No falling needles. If you have a bare spot, just bend a branch.

But I still prefer the pine smell of the real thing. A pine-scented candle doesn't quite cut it. This year is a real tree year. Yay!


Lara said…
I have two friends who served in Finland, and we (they) used to make Polla together every Christmas until we all graduated from college. I miss it...that's good stuff!
Kristina P. said…
Yeah, I was like you about the real trees, until I got married and we had our own home. I have to admit, I love our fake one. It's cheaper too!

And I will have to look up that pulla!
I love my fake tree. I can put it up any time I want and not wait on the hubby to pick up a tree with his truck. And I don't have to come up with the $. Our last real tree was a major fire hazard. My husband lit it on fire in the middle of the road and it literally burst into flames. We're glad the neighbors didn't call the cops on us. This year my 11-year old put it up by herself and decorated the whole thing. She loves to decorate. So now it's her yearly job :)
Erin said…
I've never heard of pulla. I don't even know what cardamom smells like...

Yikes! I made you gasp in horror with that comment.

(I love how you gasped in horror when you saw the fake tree.)
Kimberly said…
I think I should comport myself such than if one of my kids someday goes to write a post like this one, they actually have some happy Christmas memories to write about. =)
Amanda D said…
I love hearing about your Christmases. Such good memories! Like you, my parents got a fake tree when they were empty-nesters. So disappointing for me. We haven't had a real tree that smelled good for a long time though. Candles definitely don't cut it.

I can't hear Jingle Bell Rock or Silver Bells with out thinking of my mom and dad. It's going to be strange to not be with them this year.
Danette said…
Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, it was fun to see it. You and the other talented ladies on writingonthewall have been great. Thanks for all the encouragement you give us wanna-be's. It was fun to read about your holiday memories, I think thats what its all about--memories!
Happy Holiday's to you and your family.
Sandra said…
I agree, Real is Christmas and Fake is not. Said while I enjoy my two fake trees. If I could find a real blue spruce that I didn't have to mortgage my first born for, I would have it instead.
Heidi Ashworth said…
I am so going to have to find me some cardamom, now. And bake with it. Drat! Wheat is usually involved, isn't it? Well, what is Christmas without wheat? (a question for the ages) I used to feel the same about real trees but then we discovered that we were a bit allergic and it was making us sick every year. Since then I have become a real fake tree convert. However, looking at my listing tree this year and seeing some of my friends' real ones (and being sick in spite of the tree being fake) I'm thinking it might be fun to go real next year.
Luisa Perkins said…
I am dying to try some pulla!
Jan said…
What great memories you have. It is all so happy and festive sounding. I love the smell of the pine tree too. Every year I claim fake. But I have yet to cave in. Oh well. Another year of needles.

Take care.
Melanie J said…
This is my first fake tree in years, but I got it because I didn't want to deal with the baby eating pine needles and dirt. For that reason, I like it.
I love what Kimberly said about making sure my kids have happy Christmas memories. I really ought to get on that.

Oh and just like Erin, Pulla? Cardamon?
LisAway said…
I love that you got a typewriter and a printer when you were younger. So perfect.

Can't wait to see pictures of and a recipe for pulla!
Tristi Pinkston said…
I enjoy a real tree, too ... except that I'm allergic to them. Darn it!
Larsens said…
I made pulla last Saturday. I was able to put two bags into the freezer. Excuse me for licking my fingers while I type. Yes, I just finished the last piece of pulla for breakfast.

We have had a fake tree since 10 years ago when we had a Christmas party at our house and an hour before the party, we noticed that the nicely decorated real tree had dropped all of the needles. We rushed to the store, bought a fake tree, decorated it, and were putting the last ornaments on when the first guests were walking up the driveway. No more real for us.

Also, when we got married in November, we still had all the pretty bows from the wedding gifts, and being a thrifty Finn, I saved them and for our first Christmas, us being so poor, we bought a real tree and decorated it with our bows. We just slipped the Christmas lights inside the bows and it was so beautiful.

Good memories.

Thanks for your post. It made me reminisce.
Rebecca said…
I need to blog about our live tree experience sometime.

My advice? Don't get a wild cedar. They do NOT smell good.

And here's a tip for your fake tree years: You can buy a wooden ornament or some such thing, and purchase some balsam fir essential oil to put on it. Hang it on the tree. I almost got a set through the natural foods buying club I run, but they were sold out. Ah, pretty firry snowflake that wasn't meant to be mine!

I'm really enjoying your blog!
Annette Lyon said…
Hey, thanks, Rebecca (for the compliment AND for the tips)!

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