|By my artist Teresa Fasolino|
My favorite Christmas memory is when my son was a one-year-old and we bought him a bouncing horse, you know the kind, with the coils and springs. Okay, the favorite part of the memory is not when my husband and I tried to build it at midnight so it would be ready first thing in the morning! But my son loved that horse, and the effort (with all the *&*^@#*! words while putting it together) was worth it. Oh, yes, and egg nog, and Christmas breakfast of eggs and ham and sweet rolls, and Santa's visits, Santa eating his cookies and leaving a message for Jack, as well as the reindeer eating their carrots and leaving remnants in the driveway! Memories!
Here's my last year's Christmas cheese cake recipe. Click on the picture to get the recipe.
What are yours?
SHEILA CONNOLLY: Sugar cookies, of course. I'm still using the cookie cutters my mother did, with a few dozen additions.
But the Christmas I was four was a banner year. One of my Santa gifts was a store. Yes, a whole store, child-sized, with a counter in the front and shelves behind. Better yet, it came equipped with tiny replicas of real food products. The following year another gift was a complete set of Revere Ware miniature pots and pans--they were as well made as the full-size ones, and lasted for years. Was Santa trying to tell me something?
LUCY BURDETTE: Miniature Revereware, that's so cool Sheila! Mine would have to be cookies too. My mother had a little aluminum cookie press and she made hundreds of butter cookies in different shapes, with different colors of dough. And then we covered them with sprinkles and those little silver balls that break your fillings:). Merry Christmas one and all--hope you're spending the day doing something you love, with people you love!
KRISTA DAVIS: Christmas was always magical when I was a kid. We celebrated on Christmas Eve with a big goose dinner. I was told that Santa knew we followed the German tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve, so he came to our house first. We had levered doors between the dining room and living room. Wonderful scents floated from the kitchen but they didn't deter me from trying to glimpse Santa. Somehow my mother managed to convince me that I absolutely could not open the doors to peek at him. I remember trying to see through the slats – no luck whatsoever. But I could hear him moving around and leaving packages! You can imagine how exciting that was. To keep us at the table, my parents instituted a table gift tradition. Everyone opened one small gift at the table before we ate. You know what they say – good things come in small packages! May you all have a magical holiday!
CLEO COYLE: What wonderful memories, Krista! I have many lovely memories of past Christmases, too. Just being with my family was a sweet time. My dad liked to pile us into the station wagon and drive us around to see the "Christmas lights," first in our little town and then into the city of Pittsburgh. We would "ooh" and "aah" at the store windows and the glittering six-story-high tree, attached to the corner of the Joseph Hornes' building. (Hornes was an elegant Pittsburgh department store that, alas, is no more.) I remember how cold those nights were and how frosty the winter air. We'd snuggle into our bulky coats, a blanket thrown over our laps, warming our hands with cups of hot chocolate from a thermos. Those were sweet memories indeed. And I now continue my father's tradition by strolling with my husband around New York City to "ooh" and "aah" at all the light displays for the holidays. Instead of cocoa, I now sip cups of coffee, but the feeling...well, it's just as warm. Marc and I hope each of you feels the warmth of the Season in your hearts. May you cherish your own Christmas memories while making brand new ones.
PEG COCHRAN: Krista, my mother's family followed the German tradition, too, and my mother tells stories of her parents throwing open the doors to reveal the decorated tree. When I was really little my parents would decorate the tree on Christmas Eve while we were sleeping so it was all a wonderful surprise in the morning--the lights, ornaments and gaily wrapped presents.
My favorite Christmas memories are of my children bursting into our bedroom yelling "Santa came! He came!" You can't beat that! I had a great aunt who was an awful lot like Auntie Mame--tall, red-haired. She always arrived last with a huge pile of packages (that her boyfriend of the moment would be carrying--she never carried more than her purse. One year she got me a showboat theater. It was shaped like a river boat and had three sets of scenes you could slide in and out along with copies of the plays (I think Heidi was one of them) and figures to use as actors. Needless to say it wasn't long before I was writing my own plays! She always knew just what you were yearning for--your first pair of earrings, your first bottle of perfume. Her packages were always really, really big or really, really small. No medium-size boxes for Aunt Elsa.
Another favorite memory was one year in mid-December, it was after dinner, just about when we would normally be taking our baths and getting into our pajamas (I was around seven). But instead my mother got out our matching red, fur-trimmed parkas (my sister and I were four years apart but my mother still liked to dress us the same), and she and my father bundled us into the car. Where did we go? Into New York City to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and watch the skaters and eat warm chestnuts from the street vendor. The most magical part was that we were normally supposed to be in bed at that time.