We spent two and a half weeks home during the Christmas Season. Only our oldest boy would be coming home. Our youngest lives in California and would be spending the holidays there. Since we would not be home long, I only did a little decorating. We put up a live tree, a reef on the door, the kids photos with Santa, and a few tabletop arrangements. I love decorating the tree, except for stringing the lights. Does anyone like that part? Last year, I bought new ornaments in a green, red and white color scheme, but this year I decided to go back to my old, cherished ornaments. Some are homemade, some are vintage ornaments which use to belong to John’s mother, some are beachy of course, and some were gifts from dear friends and family. As I hung each one, the memories of Christmases past filled me with warmth and love.
We attended a couple of Christmas parties, always a lot of fun. I love Christmas parties, seeing the different Christmas attire the ladies are wearing and seeing so many friends that I haven’t seen in months. And what is Christmas without some holiday baking. I made fruit cake cookies – a first for me, and John loved them. I also made a nutroll and a green coconut cake. The nutroll is a recipe my grandmother tweaked and became a Lee tradition at Christmas. The star of the Christmas season is my green coconut cake. It is not green. Green just means fresh, which means that I grated the coconuts. This cake is also a Lee tradition. We only make it for Christmas . . . . well, actually I did make one during the summer once. John and I brought home coconuts we collected while down in the Keys. They seem to be sweeter than the ones I have bought in the grocery stores. John gets the coconut out of the green outer shell, not an easy feat by no means, which leaves you with the brown, hairy coconut that you see in stores. After I drained the milk from them, John then cracks them open and pries the white meat away from the shell. Then the grating begins. I usually settle on the sofa with a Christmas movie on while I grate mine. A lot of work goes into this cake, but it is so worth it.
Christmas Eve, we always have oyster stew. Oysters are Todd’s favorite food. We watched Home Alone. I really am into watching Christmas movies. Christmas morning was quiet with just the three of us at the house. Todd humors me every year by wearing a Santa hat and passing out the gifts. He is such a good sport.
Later in the day, we gathered outside our neighbor’s house to fry turkeys and enjoy Bloody Marys. Several other neighbors joined us. We put out Christmas cookies and treats, and this year our neighbor provided steamed oysters. We fried two turkeys, one turkey breast and one chicken. Afterwards, our neighbors Jacky and the Smiths joined us at our house for Christmas dinner.
Christmas always makes me feel sentimental. I was thinking about when I was young and what were the special times I remembered. We always drove around town one night to see all the Christmas lights. Going to the Burlington Mills Christmas party, which is where my parents worked. The Christmas programs at church are etched in my memories. Christmas Eve was always spent at my grandparents house. All of my mother’s family would gather there for a huge meal and watch my grandparents open presents. Mama had eight siblings, but one lived in Maryland and was seldom in NC for Christmas, so the house was full of cousins running around all excited. On Christmas morning, after finding what Santa left and having breakfast, we all piled in the car and visited our other cousins to see what Santa brought them. I really miss being around a large family in a small town at Christmas time. Here are some very old pictures.
Christmas was indeed good, but I sure missed having Kevin, Susie, Eliza and Hazel with us. With them, it would have been perfect.