MEANINGFUL MEMORIES - PART 4




Christmas was coming! But this first Christmas season was to be different.  Our whole family got the flu and we were all seriously sick for well over a week.  All our lives the Lord had provided and this was no different. He used special angels to supply our needs. I recall members of the church stopping by the house, dropping off bundles and bags filled with groceries and gifts.  How grateful we were! We enjoyed everything to the fullest - once we were well again. The generosity of the people of our church, their friendship, their love and care for us still brings tears to my eyes. Even though our first Christmas in the new country seemed like not a good start, there were better times to come.

In future years at church at this time of year, our Sunday School classes practiced hard and put on a fabulous program.  Recitations, children’s choir carols, and musical pieces all made for a lovely Christmas Eve. At the close of the program every child received a goody bag – with apples, oranges, walnuts, a small gift, and yes, chocolate and candy.  The bag must have weighed at least 2 lbs.!  (My brother was so frugal that he still had some of those candies at Easter.) After the program was the long walk home to continue the celebrations there!

Our home would be decorated with a small fresh cut spruce tree. Dad and mom usually waited until the 24th because then we could get a little tree at a huge discount rate!  Among the bright and glittery baubles were hung many handcrafted straw stars, paper stars and gilded nuts.
  





To make the gilded nuts, dad separated the walnut halves carefully. We ate some of the nuts, saved others for baking, and then glued the two pieces of shells back together, finally painting them gold!  What fun we had decorating the house. We also had a few individual candleholders brought over from Germany that got clipped on the tip of many tree branches.  Wax candles were inserted and these candles were lit that first evening. Imagine the fire hazard that would have been, but we never had an incident, thank the Lord! The tree always looked magnificent in its simplicity and homemade creativity. Advent and Christmas Eve – evening - were always memorable, meaningful times of each year.  

Even though we had just come home for a long Christmas program, dad would still read the story of Christ’s Birth and we would sing more carols before we opened the gifts to one another. Presents were usually things we truly needed! And yes, we actually LOVED getting something new to wear. Only one person at a time opened their gifts while the rest observed, and were given a fabulous opportunity to learn patience.  There was a procedure to unwrapping gifts too! The wrapping paper had to be carefully removed and folded; for use again next Christmas. None of this ill-mannered, rudely ripping off the wrappings to get to the gift, and creating a pile of garbage in the living room!  Dad and mom were the original recyclers I’m sure!   





We also got a BUNTEN TELLER – a festive goody plate, which was ours alone to consume as we wished. On it were samplings of mom’s delicious SPRITZ cookies, HONIGKUCHEN, STOLLEN and PFEFFERNUESSE, as well as walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, some chocolates, mandarin oranges and apples!

We got to stay up later than usual, but it was up early Christmas morning to attend the worship service at church.  Each family then had their own special dinner, for us it was usually ROULADEN – with mashed potatoes, gravy, red cabbage, a salad and something special for dessert. Boxing Day was then usually a day to relax and visit other relatives in town, go tobogganing until our cheeks were rosy. We’d come home chilled to the bone! To warm up we enjoyed a steaming cup of delicious cocoa and munched on leftovers! Sitting around the kitchen table we finished the evening off with family games.  


A wonderful time and great memories!!
Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

11 comments:

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I feel so privileged to be able to share these memories as you retell them.Thank-you for giving me this special time from you past.
Blessings,Ruth

commoncents said...
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Anonymous said...
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Karin said...

Sorry friends! Need to turn on the comment moderation as I'm getting comments that are advertising only and they leave links to follow. Thanks for your understanding!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Karin, I love reading your story... It's totally awesome and you write it so well. I feel blessed to know you and be able to read your story...

We always saved our wrapping paper from year to year also.

Isn't it amazing how much churches have helped people--all through the years. I don't know what anyone would do without a church family.

Hugs,
Betsy

Karabeth said...

I love looking back on my childhood Christmas memories. Yours are extra-special because of the change of country and culture that you endured.

Family traditions are wonderful! Thanks for sharing yours with us.

Bernie said...

Hi Karin, I popped over after you visited my blog and I am so glad I did....you have a beautiful blog and I loved this post with all your memories....I will enjoy following you......:-) Hugs

George said...

What wonderful memories! I sometimes wonder if today's children will have the kind of memories about Christmas that some of us have. We grew up in a simpler age and I increasingly think that was an advantage.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Solveig said...

I missed a lot but came back today and enjoyed this enormously. Had to go back and catch what I'd missed. Also read a few others along the way and especially enjoyed the story of the young Indian boy and the test of manhood. Thanks.