Christmas at our house was the happiest time of the year. My mother loved to decorate and her taste was ecclectic. Our tree was filled with lights, shiny ornaments, and tinsel. We had gold garland and silver. The neighbors would come over every year to see our tree.
Garland and greenery were draped and hung around pictures on the wall, lamps, the stairway banister. Christmas bells were hung on the door. Santa Clauses, elves and other figurines were placed on knick-knack shelves and end tables. The front porch was adorned with Poinsettias and Christmas cactus. The smell of evergreen permeated the house. Those smells, mingled with the tantalizing aromas coming from the kitchen were enough to delight even my allergy-sensitve olfactory senses.
Mom would start the holiday baking a week early, singing and dancing in the kitchen as she worked. She didn’t make the same cookies every year. Every year she would try at least one new recipe. There were snowball cookies, chocolate chip, oatmeal, no-bake chocolate-coconut cookies, gingerbread. Oh, the smells of cinnamon, mace, cloves, and ginger that wafted from our kitchen. . .mmmmm. Are you hungry yet?
On Christmas Eve she would make two or three pounds of powdered sugar candy. Some people call this potato candy because they mix in a potato that has been cooked until mashable. My mom didn’t use the potato. She made extra thick buttercream frosting, rolled it out on a surface sprinkled with powdered sugar, and spread peanut butter on it. Then she rolled it from the narrow end into a log shape. Then it was sliced and put on a wax-paper lined plate. A fresh sheet of wax paper was placed between each layer of candy.
Christmas morning was a race to see if we children could get up before Mom and Dad. They were as excited as we were, even though they knew what was in our packages. There were never any disappointments in our house on Christmas morning, even though there wasn’t much money. We had been taught from an early age to be content with whatever we had. The best part of Christmas was the laughter, the merriment, and the one day of the year we could indulge in junk food for breakfast (except Mom and Dad who still wanted a real food). Then we watched the parade.
Was there enough detail? Could you smell the cookies, taste the candy?