Christmas Eve 2011

January6

I remember a Christmas eve vividly from decades ago.  We were allowed the special privilege of opening a gift early and I spotted a small rectangular box that I was certain was my long-awaited Barbie doll.  What I opened was my first bottle of cologne which was lovely of course but I was SO disappointed.  And then I remembered that Santa hadn’t come-no wonder Barbie wasn’t waiting for me under the tree! And in truth, she wasn’t there the next morning either as Santa thought that I would prefer the red-headed Midge doll.  I will admit here that I was disappointed again, but as is my attitude in life- “a gift is a gift” and I mustered up a way to be delighted by the gesture.  Besides, Midge did look a little bit like Ann Margaret in Bye Bye Birdie……

My Mom and Dad always did the best they could with six kids and one modest income.  Many items were hand-knit and hand-sewn but Santa always came through.  What I do remember perfectly is the indulgence and abundance of food.  My Mom would spend an entire day making potato and Velveeta perogies (she is convinced that Velveeta is better than cheddar), another day holopchi (with lots of sauteed onions, bacon and ground meat in the rice mixture), another day for egg rolls (over-stuffed with bean sprouts, celery, carrots and chicken), another day for her home-made buns and still another for her butter tarts.  Dad was assigned with going to shop at his friends’ who made the best kielbasa in Winnipeg.  But this practice had to cease because no one would sit near us at Christmas eve service later that evening.

On the day of the dinner Mom would make a huge batch of breaded chicken legs and thighs (she can’t understand why anyone would prefer white meat) or a batch of slow cooked ribs or more recently a prime rib roast.  The prime rib is always assigned to Brother #1 who is an expert in ensuring that the middle is served medium rare.  And there always has to be two meat choises, just in case, God forbid, she missed the mark with the first offering.  She prefers turkey but knows that everyone else in the family will dine on turkey the next day for Christmas dinner.

These days, my sweet Daddy is gone and Mom is not able to host any more or manage all these tasks in her kitchen.  Brother #3 and his “saint” of a wife (she hates it when we call her that) have been the hosts for the last number of years.  But Mom is still the co-ordinator of some items and she makes her lists and her phone calls and assigns who will find the best Baba-made perogies and how they must be served with sauteed onions and bacon.  Each item is carefully considered and takes hours in the planning.  So even though Mom is 85 this year and my own kids are grown, my Mom is still gifting us with the indulgences of our childhood-not in things per se, but in demonstrating the abundance of her affection for all 35 of us with food made with love.

 Kath’s quote: “In my experience, clever food is not appreciated at Christmas. It makes the little ones cry and the old ones nervous.”-Jane Grigson

There was an emptiness in our hearts this Christmas; a void left by the absence of my beloved Brother #2.  Tom you always made Christmas a time to honour the traditions of our family and we had to find a way to gather strength and carry on those traditions without you.  You were missed terribly, especially by Mom.


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posted under Food Celebrations
4 Comments to

“Christmas Eve 2011”

  1. Avatar January 6th, 2012 at 9:13 am Laura Says:

    Beautiful and brilliant blog post today Kath.


  2. Avatar January 6th, 2012 at 9:18 am Kathryne Says:

    Funny thing that you should reply so quickly as I was thinking about your Mom and her perogies as I wrote this.


  3. Avatar January 6th, 2012 at 2:24 pm Michael Says:

    Beautiful Kath. You have captured the memories exquisitely, not only with your usual fine detail, but with complete heart and soul.
    Cheers!

    M


  4. Avatar January 7th, 2012 at 4:50 pm Kathryne Says:

    Thank you Michael for this and all of your ongoing encouragement. Love K.


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