Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pink Saturday: Holiday Traditions

Please visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for all of this week's Pink Saturday participants.

Our Pink Saturday challenge this week is to share a favorite holiday tradition.

Our most current tradition (which is to say for the past 13 years) I've spoken of often -- decorating Christmas cookies with Rick and the kids after dinner on Christmas Eve.

These cookies have evolved from simple frosting skills to great works of art. Artist Greg may only turn out a few, but they bear his detailed style or offbeat sense of humor.

Kevin, the athlete, is into quantity over quality -- and when I say quantity, I am referring to frosting! 'Nuf said. (Apart from to say that no one but Kevin really wants to eat his cookies.)

But there was a time when he was a tad more precise!

Rick and I are perhaps the most "normal" in that we use the standard frosting and toppings, do our best, but mostly just savor the joy.

Since I've spoken of this new tradition before, I thought I'd share with you one I miss.

As teens, my Cleveland cousins (Mama K's husband, among them) would come to Michigan for Christmas, arriving on Christmas Eve with garbage bags filled with beautifully wrapped presents.

We're a wrapping family. While we don't deliberately wrap a pair of socks in individual boxes, we have contemplated the idea.

We even 'wrapped' lottery tickets in balloons, and my uncle, Wendell, and I played the Claus duo, handing them out!

Prior to the death of the Moms, we decided to have an "original wrapping" contest. One would come up with the most unique packaging they could think of. We even had sub-awards like, "Best concealment of an obviously shaped object." Everyone voted and the prize was an inexpensive ornament.

It was great fun and after the first year, everyone took it quite seriously. I remember my cousin Patty carefully dripping candle wax over a small, square box of cream to look like a dripped candle. Aunt Iris carved out a green pepper, inserted earrings for me, and tied it up with a red bow. And her husband, Wendell, once did a box entwined in tiny padlocks and a variety of knots.

My dad ruled one year, though. And his contribution now crowns my kitchen tree.

My mother had been very into making small stuffed gingerbread men from felt and tying them to faux popcorn strings. They were wonderful and the gingerboys seemed to dance around the kitchen, on the coffee table, in the basket by the sofa -- anywhere she could stuff and stitch them up.

That year, unbeknownst to her, dad made a giant version, about a foot tall. It looked exactly the same, just bigger. He carefully stitched all the way around -- except for a wee slit in the side, into which he inserted a pair of earrings.

The giant gingerman remains my most precious ornament. We haven't been together at the holidays for years, and the contest faded after the Moms were gone. But it remains a holiday tradition I love and one I'll never forget.


BONNIE K said...

I love your dad's gingerbread man. I knew about the gift wrapping, but I never knew you and Wendell dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus - I love that picture too!

Beth Leintz said...

What fun memories- and its so nice that you have pictures of so many Christmases.

Rosa said...

Your posts always bring a smile to my face. Wish I had a cookie and I love the old pic! xoxo

Anonymous said...

I love that idea of 'wrapped' lottery tickets in balloons. How clever.

You're cookies are beautiful. I used to make that kind every year when my son was young.

Great pictures. They capture all the fun.

Julie H said...

What beautiful traditions your family has. Your Dad must be so special to do that - and I can see why you treasure the ornament.

fitty's pinky rose cottage said...

Happy Pink Saturday & Merry Christmas

CC said...

I loved your sweet tradition..and it sounds amazingly like my own family with so many people. I just loved it and the memories are so sweet. I loved your dad's gingerbread man and the had me smiling at what was magicial traditions. Have a blessed and wonderous Christmas...

beth said...

I can't wait to frost cookies....we always do it at my sister's house....she has everything ready and all we have to do is show up and's like a giant art project for the adults and the kids....

christmas eve, here we come !

Blondie's Journal said...


Your traditions are great. You are a competitive, but fun family!! I love the pictures of the cookie decorating. It sounds like a fun thing to do on Christmas Eve. I like the decorating part the best!

And the gift wrapping!! I bet there were a lot of laughs there, too. I love what you father did with the gingerbread man!! SO sweet!!

Wonderful post!!

Happy holidays! :-)


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