Appropos of nothing, Wordamour has decided to post some holiday photos. Maybe with the semester starting this week and some big responsibilities looming (like shepherding the Great Bear Writing Project as it sponsors the national Rural Sites Network Conference in March!) she’s feeling nostalgic for the end of 2010. But if you want to read about writing or reading, you might want to skip this post.
So. We made our traditional Gingerbread cookies and decorated them, along with my favorite sprite L. who would have won the prize for loading up a cookie with the most frosting and sprinkles, if we had one. I guess feasting on a sugary treat like that is prize enough in itself when you’re five.
(That’s my grandmother’s rolling pin in the first picture. I just inherited it and I’m pretty psyched. That rolling pin rolled out a LOT of apple pies over the years.)
This is a tradition in my husband’s family begun by my mother-in-law and practiced by most of the cousins (Wordamour’s husband has seven siblings). We love it. I don’t use her recipe any more though, which was delicious and healthy but I found the dough tear-inducingly hard to work with (and mothers have enough tear inducing stress around in the run up to Christmas without bringing on more). So I switched to Tasha Tudor’s recipe from the book Take Joy, which my mother would get out every Christmas. I am a big Tasha fan. Anyway, the recipe is much easier to work with and still very tasty.
Our decorations were relatively low key this year as we have a nearly year old puppy set on chewing to bits everything in his path. We adore this puppy but I didn’t need the further tear inducment of finding an heirloom ornament one of my kids made in pieces on the floor every morning. So we only put out about 1/3 of our ornaments and decorations and only decorated the tree starting about four feet up this year. Let’s hope next year the chewing obsession calms down, though I have to admit it was kind of a relief to simplify a bit.
Someone asked me once why I didn’t collect those china Christmas Villages, that I seemed like the type. I’m not sure what that means, but while I think they’re perfectly nice, I don’t collect them for a few reasons.
1. No one in either of our families collected them and I kind of tend to lean on family traditions when it comes to the holidays.
2. I really like vintage stuff and if I collect anything for Christmas, its old Golden books (which I collect year round anyway) and shabby vintage paper houses.
3. Those china Christmas villages are really expensive. Old shabby paper houses are cheap.
4. I really don’t have a lot of surface area for a big village display.
However, I do have one china decoration that means a lot. It’s a replica of the Silent Night chapel in Oberndorf, Austria, outside Salzburg, where Silent Night was composed for guitar on Christmas Eve 1818 (when the organ went out). My great great great great grandfather was Franz Gruber, the humble music teacher who composed the music of that song. I’m kind of proud of that and it’s my dream one day to be in that chapel with my family during the Christmas Eve service.
May your dreams come true in 2011.