Christmas Meme, part 3
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? That is too hard of a question to answer. Our holidays were spent visiting so many locations. Each relative had a specialty that I loved. My mom and I still bake cookies together every year and enjoy the time we spend doing it. I even do quite a bit of my own baking now, with more and more people wanting more and more of my cookies. I was wearing out a hand mixer every December until Mr. Handsome Honey bought me my last hand mixer and a Kitchen Aid Artisan stand mixer, which I adore.
7. What is your favorite holiday memory as a child? I think it was the circus that was Christmas for us. On Christmas eve we would go to see my maternal grandfather's family in South Philly. Most of them lived on one block, so we would travel from house to house visiting aunts, uncles and cousins while delivering my grandmother's presents and baked goods. Then we would head home, late, to see the stacks of presents under the tree. We would exchange presents with my grandparents and my aunt (my mom's sister). Then we were each allowed to open the top three presents on our pile from the parents. They were always the same: robe, pajamas, slippers. I think I mentioned that my mom is a little bit of a control freak. She wanted to make sure that her photo album wasn't filled with pictures of my brother and I in my father's old t-shirts and our undies on Christmas morning. To ensure that we would be our most photogenic, she provided the wardrobe on Christmas eve.
On Christmas morning, we had to wake our parents before we were allowed to go downstairs. They would sneak down ahead of us and make sure the tree was lit and everything was up and running in the proper order. We'd have a little bit of time to open the rest of the presents from my parents, play with the stuff Santa brought and then we'd have to race to get ready for the visiting. We'd start out heading to my father's parents and we'd do the presents and the visit and a meal, consisting of whatever my interesting thing my grandmother came up with. Some years it was a canned ham, one year she bought the whole wrapped deli package of turkey, the lunch meat kind. Then there was the year she went all Stouffer's and the table was covered with the tins she had unboxed and heated in the oven. She also put the most enormous candy canes I've ever seen in our stockings every year. My dad would shatter them and then pick at the pieces.
After the grandparents, we would go spend the rest of the afternoon and evening with my mom's family. When my great grandfather was alive Christmas rotated between two of my great aunts. All the aunts, uncles and cousins would be there. It was great. Since we were so many people, we went beyond the traditional fare for holidays. We always had escarole soup (Italian wedding soup) and lasagna before the traditional American holiday courses of turkey, ham, potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, salad, etc.
By the time we got home we were usually too exhausted to play with our new toys and too overstimulated to sleep. I figured that was the reason that school was closed for the next week. We needed that time to play with all of our new toys and games. I had all those new books to read and records and tapes to listen to.
To be continued...