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Christmas of My Youth

I was always enchanted by Christmas when I was young. The beautiful lights and lovely music that were ubiquitous with the season made my heart sing with pleasure. The aromas of pine and cinnamon filling the air were an olfactory delight. The best part of Christmas was the joy on the faces of my family.

Decorating the Christmas tree together was a family tradition at my house. Dad brought the six foot tree and all of the decorations inside from the shed. Mom unpacked everything and told us a story about each special ornament she unpacked. My sister and I carefully hung each delicate bauble on the tree as Elvis Presley’s voice belted out “Blue Christmas” from the record player.

Once the tree and other decorations were in place, we gathered around the kitchen table to make Christmas candy. My favorites were peanut butter balls and pecan brittle, but we made a variety of other things. We made coconut bonbons, fudge, rocky road, chocolate dipped pretzels, and Mom’s special divinity.

The trick to making amazing divinity is beating it until you can beat it no more. We took turns stirring it with a long wooden spoon until Dad got smart and bought Mom a Kitchenaid stand mixer. Until then I didn’t know that divinity could be made without using a heating pad on my shoulders afterward. It also made Mom really happy because she wasn’t forced to wait until we were home to make her favorite holiday treat.

It’s been many years since we decorated for Christmas together. Time stands still for nary a soul. My sister and I grew up and had families of our own. We created our own traditions in our own households. I love my own decorations and music, but nothing will ever come close to the magic of Christmas from my childhood.

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