Christmas Makes you Feel Emotional!

The smell of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves filled the air of the tiny, little, yellow, vertically striped kitchen. The aroma of Pine needles billowed through the house as Barry Manillow’s “Baby it’s Cold Outside,” played in the family room painting the holiday portrait that is Christmas. Twelve excruciating months I’d been waiting to sing Christmas carols avoiding any chastisement associated with skipping all other holidays.
    Decorations blossomed around the house. Poinsettia shaped lights garnished the mantle, dangling down the sides and framing the fireplace. Each year I would ask mom, “If just maybe I could put up the nativity scene?” They were miniature, tan works of art, even for my petite, plump, little fingers. Of course my favorite part included singing along to the sentimental, hokey, holiday music. Annually I went to Grandma’s house to help her set up her tree. This was the ideal task for a child who bored so easily. She had an artificial tree; which was set up the same each and every year, with glistening blue lights and only blue. The tree couldn’t have been much taller than me, and the lights danced right off the pages of a bed time story. I hoped to someday have a tree just like hers. The short, little tree seemed majestic then, showcased in her gigantic living room. A room which had windows in surround from ceiling to floor, like looking in on God’s Christmas shadow box.
    Our tree, much like Grandma’s, was full of memories. Bundled up in the mini-van, snow falling softly around us, Dad’s venture for the perfect tree became an impossible task. “This one doesn’t have a good top. I don’t like the shade of green on this one. See here, it’s too dry, too short, and too sparse,“ he would exclaim. I know there was a method to his madness. Our tree was dotted with sentimental, intricate crafts. Silver tinsel adorned the tree along with shapes like snowmen, sleighs, and angels. Most ornaments were handmade out of strange salt clay. Some were beads strung on wire to create the daintiest of angels. Others were old fashioned, wooden clothes pins painted to look like toy soldiers. My parents were talented in making due with what they had. Turning something so plain into something you could buy at any store.  In this holiday season, those things consisted of: not only ornaments, but the most delectable confections a person could dream of.
    Watching the metal paddle scrape against the marble slab on the counter, turning the fondant became mesmerizing. Next to me a bowl of bright, fire engine red Maraschino cherries waited to be covered in the taffy like substance. It was warm and buttery, transforming from liquid to chalky white play dough. Thin fondant patties formed around the marble cherry balls. A quick dive and swim through a bath of melted milk chocolate ended the process, but for me, the hardest part was yet to come. Days went by as they firmed in the study, yet as I waited, an eternity crept along. It was nearly torture, but with mom making divinity, it became bearable. There was no better word to describe the fluffy, melt in your mouth substance than just that, divine. They were pillows of goodness, clouds of love if you will. Divinity was slathered in mom’s homemade caramel, and rolled in chopped pecans.
    Time drifted by and it was finally okay to eat the gooey, chocolate covered cherries, which had been waiting patiently for me in the study. Mom would only let me have a few, as we had really made them for others and not for ourselves. Making goodie baskets, to deliver while caroling, became a tradition for years to come. Caroling, in essence, wraps up the true excitement of Christmas: the joy written on the faces of the recipients as they watch you shivering and singing in the cold. It was even better when they joined in. Christmas for me, isn’t a day. It truly is a season.

Merry Christmas!

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