The adventures of a knitting grandmother

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She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Meme Part II

Continuing the Christmas meme I started last time:

11. Snow. Love it or dread it? I grew up in Michigan, on the east side of Detroit. So I dealt with snow for many years. And I miss it a lot sometimes. One thing about southeast Arizona is that everything in winter turns a basic shade of brown; it gets to be very dull and drab after a time and one begins to dream avidly of spring and greens and colors. Snow covering the landscape would be a definite improvement. We usually do see snow in the mountains, and can get a couple snowfalls each year in town, but it all melts pretty darn quick. I really enjoy seeing it. If we travel in the springtime to Northern AZ or even further north, I always hope to see some snowfall. Maybe I wouldn't enjoy it as much if I lived with it all the time. But no, I don't think I would ever dread it.

12. Can you ice skate? Well, I haven't done it since I was a kid. So it would probably be an interesting experiment. My mother each year would build a bank of snow all around the perimeter of the back yard and would spend days flooding the yard with the hose. We had the neighborhood ice rink as a result, with floodlights up for night time skating. All the neighbor kids were allowed to come any time day or night; the only caveat was that they had to turn off the floodlights at night when they were done. Before she started doing that, though, we used to go to Belle Isle in downtown Detroit and skate on the frozen inlets of the Detroit river.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Isn't it terrible how memories fade with time? I do remember a couple, although I'm sure that there were many as a child that I loved. When I was still quite small, I loved to play Cowboys and Indians, and I remember getting a set of the little plastic cowboys and indians and horses that I played with for hours. Then as an older teen, I remember getting a stamped embroidered sampler kit. I enjoyed doing that kit tremendously, and it was part of the kick-off that got me going with embroidery and knitting and needlework in general.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? I think it's a sense of spiritual and personal renewal. I really, really reject the materialism and the idiotic Christmas movies of nowadays; give me Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life, and the uplifting kinds of movies like that. I concentrate on the real reason for Christmas; the Baby in the manger and the love and goodness and kindness that seems to come so naturally with that. I do spiritual reading each day during Advent and try to give everyone at least one gift with a spiritual theme. If I could do it, I would give everyone at least one handmade gift as well. Of course, we always end up with some modern, technological type gifts - we don't live on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, after all - but the spiritual is very important and the church schedule is a major part of the season. Joe the deacon in one of his homilies a couple years ago suggested to everyone that they keep a small manger scene somewhere in the house all year long, just as a reminder of the sharing and the goodness that we feel at Christmas. Then perhaps we would remember that feeling all year long. And I do keep a tiny manger scene that I got as a child on my dresser in the bedroom.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Hmmm. Joe's homemade stollen. Nana's butter cookies and star cookies. Anybody's homemade candy. And our own tiramisu.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Well, I know what my dream tradition would be. It would be to go early in December to Greenfield Village and see everything done up in authentic detailed decorations. Everything there is decorated as it would have been in the actual historical time and place; costumed docents would be cooking Christmas recipes from the proper time period and others would be crafting gifts and decorations that were found back then. I've been able to do this a few times and it would always send me into a paroxysm of crafting and decorating and total nostalgia for wanting to live in a timeframe a century or more ago. My dream job would be to work as a docent in a place like this.

Nowadays the best traditions are to go to the Children's Mass on Christmas Eve, followed by a supper of bug soup and German bread. Then a return to church for Midnight Mass, where Joe assists as deacon and I sing in the choir. At the very break of dawn it is a trek to the shrine in the mountains, where gifts are taken to the manger on the hillside, then it's back home for sausage and mushroom breakfast strata and the opening of gifts. We take turns opening the gifts one by one; it takes a couple hours and is a good, fun, family time. Then later in the day Joe makes his holiday punch (non-alcoholic) and the rib roast is put in the oven. The menu this year? Roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, lime and pineapple jello, crescent rolls and for dessert, tiramisu, stollen, and cookies.

17. What tops your tree? On my Victorian tree, a gold star made of woven wire that we got a number of years ago in Sedona. On the children's tree, an angel that I stitched together about twenty five years ago.

18. What is your favorite holiday book? Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? There have been many songs arranged for choirs and choruses that I've sung over the years with various groups. They were very special and beautiful songs and arrangements and it would probably bring tears to my eyes to hear one of them again or get to perform one again. It would make me think of a lot of friends that I haven't seen in years and years and probably won't see again on this earth.

20. Candy canes. Yuck or yummy? I can take 'em or leave 'em. They're good for decorating. I'd rather have some German Christmas chocolate -- spiced chocolate bars that only were sold at Christmastime. And cinnamon chocolate almonds. And sugared almonds in a paper cone from the Christmas market in the town square. All of which I can't have anymore. So I think I'll get a box of Trader Joe's chocolate truffles instead.


I've been very bad, again -- hope Santa isn't watching. I've gotten badly behind on Bloglines again, but I hope to catch up with everyone over the next couple days. Now it's off to the German bakery in town to stock up on loaves of rye and bauernbrot.


Blogger Roxie said...

What a lovely post. I so enjoy visiting your blog! Delightful photos, too. Thanks!

8:16 AM  

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