Friday, December 17, 2010

Then and Now….

 

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For some reason this year I am quite nostalgic. I am remembering Christmases from my childhood and those more recent. In my last post I talked about my mother trimming the tree. You can read about it here. My sister is the one with Madame Alexander bride doll. To this day I covet that doll. I could never bond with the one I am holding and I think the expression on my face clearly reflects that feeling!

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Christmas cards were important and a record of who cards were sent to and received from filled a little red Christmas Card Record Book. As the cards came in they were recorded and then placed in the brass bowl. I use the brass bowl for the same purpose. I do not keep records though.

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Traditions were important to my mother. Christmas Eve was a set meal. Shrimp cocktails were served in special dishes (I have those and will use them this year), oyster stew (as a child I gagged over the oysters – now of course I love them) and meringues topped with strawberries (frozen from the summer garden) and real whipped cream. The cocktail sauce was my father’s job. A combination of Heinz’s chili sauce, fresh lemon juice, and horseradish was carefully adjusted and sampled he ate lots of the shrimp.

My mother made the meringues and carefully packed them in a metal box. We shifted from oyster stew to clam chowder and many discussions took place about Manhattan style vs. New England style. New England won!

Christmas dinner was always turkey when we were growing up. We eventually decided that turkey at Thanksgiving was too close to Christmas turkey. I think eventually we settled on steak cooked on the grill. We always used the good dishes. The pattern is Reynolds by Spode.

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I will be using them this year as well. I gifted the set to my niece. My sister is keeping them for her but generously agreed 4 place settings could come and live with me for a while. Thank you, Jean!

I hope to get the table done this weekend.

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Have a wonderful weekend!

10 comments:

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Carol Sweetie...
What a gorgeous share this morning. I love the look on your face with your doll. I think someone mixed them up. Are you sure you weren't supposed to have that bride doll? Santa must have been confused.

Honey I love your sweet Momma's traditions. As a Momma I too love to have everything in a specific order on the tree. I set it up myself now that our kids have grown and have families of their own. DH doesn't dare touch any of the ornaments. Your photos are exquisite.

How beautiful that you have carried your folks' traditions on into your family as well. Your menu sounds wonderful, I wish I was coming there for dinner. Shrimp cocktails yum.

Love the dishes and I am so happy that you were able to keep at least the 4 place setting for now. So beautiful on the table.

And I mustn't forget the bowl for the cards. That is so nice. Others can look through them as well. It looks pretty sitting on the tale.

Hope you have a wonderful Friday sweet friend. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful traditions with me today.

Many hugs and so much love, Sherry

Cathy said...

What a beautiful post, Carol. Family traditions are the heart of the holiday season. Thank you for sharing some of yours with us.

Claudia said...

It's so nice to hear about your family traditions. We had them, too. That china pattern is so pretty!

xo
Claudia

Zondra Art said...

Beautiful photos and post!
Have a nice weekend.

Sall's Country Life said...

Ah yes, holiday traditions are so important. Shrimp cocktail could be a new one to start at the Sall house (sounds wonderful)!! Thank you for sharing your memories.

Jackie said...

Lovely post as always Carol. I love the idea of the brass bowl for the Christmas cards . We have over 30 already and they are all on the wide window sill in the lounge but I think a bowl for them except close family ones which I will still keep on the window sill is a great, I will have to look for a bowl now and I thought my shopping was done!!

Love turkey and all the trimming on Christmas day and cold on Boxing day, but then we haven't just celebrated Thanksgiving. I don't eat seafood, so a soup will be our starter.

The table won't be laid until Christmas eve. I am going to try one of Susan's (BNOTP) Napkin folds for something a bit different.

If the weather carries on like it is today, we will definitely have a white Christmas

Have a good weekend, Best wishes, Jackie.

Vee said...

You have a great weekend, too, Carol. Thanks for clearing up which doll belonged to which sister. Your comments about your doll hit a chord with me having had a similar experience.

Bella said...

I just love your Spode dishes - beautiful! I'm a New England Clam Chowder person myself - and I make my cocktail sauce quite similar to how your father made it. The ornament in that first photo is gorgeous. Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Brenda Kula said...

I love your dishes on the quilt! We didn't have traditions like that when I was growing up. I lived with my great-grandmother, and I think she was too old and tired. I do like to hear about childhood traditions like this, however. Such great memories!
Brenda

Donnie said...

Loved all the memories you shared. The shrimp cocktail was a special holiday food for us- can't remember which holiday for sure but I think it was New Years Eve. We did the same recipe for the sauce. Hope you and yours have a blessed Christmas.

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