I haven’t played along with the RevGals Friday Five in a long, long time … but this one really caught my eye. So I thought I’d throw in my two cents for the day. Here’s the challenge from RevRodH:
I have debated with myself for weeks about today’s Friday Five.
* Self 1: It should be deep and theological.
* Self 2: But it’s almost Christmas, it should be fun and warm and sweet.
* Self 1: But your last Friday Five was sort of silly. You should show your more serious side.
* Self 2: You worry WAY too much!
So after consulting with my fourteen year old daughter, we’re going playful, pals o’ mine! I love stories, so I hope you’ll tell some about your favorite Christmas memories.
1. What was one of your favorite childhood gifts that you gave:
This was the best all time Christmas moment ever. I don’t remember our respective ages … but I think I was in my early teens (say 13 or 14 … about the age that LightGirl is now). My next brother was about to turn 11 or 12 and my youngest brother was about 10. So this is about my youngest brother. He gave his Christmas list to our mother as we all did. There were several items on it … as all of ours had, but nothing stood out very much. My other brother and I decided to pool our resources and get him one of the items on the list, but we didn’t think too hard about it. It was just one of the items. We bought it and felt kinda good about it, but we were not attempting to get the “best” one or anything. We wrapped it up and felt a little bad, because it was very small and it came from both of us. But it was costly, so we just hoped he would know that.
Now, what you have to know about my youngest brother is that he is very tall. He’s always been tall for his age and when he was young he was very gangly. And at this time in my childhood we didn’t have any money for first hand furniture … we had cast-offs and lived in an old Vermont farmhouse with insulation for wallpaper. It was pretty stark, but we were generally speaking well-fed and happy. We heated with wood so the livingroom was always warm around the woodstove.
I can still remember the moment that my brother opened that gift. It was over 30 years ago. But it is still crystal clear in my mind. I can see him and where he was sitting on that old green sofa … between the woodstove and the window. He was all folded up because it was low to the floor and he carefully pulled the Buck Knife from it’s box, cradled it in his hands upon his knees and said over and over again, “Buck. Knife. WOW!” His eyes were huge and it was all he could do. Stare at that knife, cradle it in his hands and gasp. In my memory this went on for about 15 minutes. More likely it was two or three. But it made a huge impression on me. We still tell the tale between us siblings with huge foolish grins on all of our faces, about the gift with unexpected rewards for all of us.
2. What is one of your favorite Christmas recipes? Bonus points if you share the recipe with us.
Christmas morning Candy Cane Bread … yummy sweet bread made in the shape of a candy cane braided around maraschino cherries and apricots … served warm with confectioner sugar icing on top. I’d post the recipe … but it’s long and complicated. Hmmm … I’ll think about a link to a .pdf document. I have to give credit to my mother-in-law for this tradition. I don’t know where it came from before her, but I love it … so does everyone but LightGirl. She gets to start her own tradition when she has her own family. Ha!
Oh … I couldn’t stand it … I “need” those extra points LOL. Here is a link to download the recipe.
3. What is a tradition that your family can’t do without? (And by family, I mean family of origin, family of adulthood, or that bunch of cool people that just feel like family.)
Having a big tree … as I discovered this year when I proposed having a small, living tree and was thoroughly ridiculed for it. It’s become a family joke. LightHusband has taken to calling me Moses because I want a “burning bush” as he calls my proposal for a small living tree to go with our reduced Christmas. So, apparently, my family cannot go without a big tree with all … every last one of the ornaments out, every last year.
4. Pastors and other church folk often have very strange traditions dictated by the “work” of the holidays. What happens at your place?
Well, this is the first year in a long time that I have not been directly involved in anything churchy around Christmas. I kind of don’t know what to do with myself. My parents are coming to visit, but we realized too late that it should have been the other way around, we ought to have made plans to go to them. Eh … such is life.
5. If you could just ditch all the traditions and do something unexpected… what would it be?
Take my children and all the money we spend on Christmas and go to the local women’s shelter in January. When we get there, we’d sit down and find some families to befriend and walk with. I’m tired of Christmas and all of it’s pressure, both sacred and secular. It’s just too much. We ask too much. We do too much. We want too much. We don’t love enough. I’d want to love more. That’s it …
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