Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Handmade Christmas part 2


Another sweet Christmas post from Connie at Happy Housewifery.


You know what, Christmas Mothers? Children don't know that you are poor unless you tell them. Some years, we had so very little money to spend at Christmas, and some years, we had more. But you know, if you just have a little gift for the children to open up under the tree, that is enough.

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We mothers used to mainly make our Christmas with our hands. I would make the cut out cookies galore. They are so simple to make with just the most basic ingredients, and then I would frost them with simple butter frosting. Just melt some margarine in a pan and add a bit of milk, and then start adding powdered sugar until it is thick. Add a bit of vanilla if you have it. I would frost the cookies and then sprinkle colored sugar over the top.
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I made my colored sugar with food coloring. Just put some sugar in a cup and add the food coloring and mix it up. Beet juice could be used to color sugar, just a little bit ... it willl turn out an old fashioned red. Making the colored sugar with the plain white crystal sugar makes the cookies look so much more old fashioned and pretty. If you have some kool-aid, you could mix it with a drop of water and color your sugar with that. Just put about a half cup of sugar in a bowl and put the coloring in, just a drop, and then it will dry pretty fast. I save mine, too, until I decorate again.
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I have the old Amish mother and father cookie cutters. Mary has made so many cookies with these and decorated with maybe 3 different kinds of sugar on each cookie. Just smooth it on with your fingers. We haven't made any cookies yet. I have been making other things.
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You can just take an afternoon and make cookies with the children. They would love that. Tell them that this is their Christmas and that they can make their own cookies. We used to always save our coffee cans and decorate them with Christmas paper, and then we would put cookies in them. Maybe the children could decorate their own containers and put their own cookies in them. It's a simple project. I used to cut a brown paper sack, lay it out flat, and then wad it up so it would look old, then cover my can with this. Then I would tie a brown string around it. Maybe the children could color on the paper that covers their cans. And then maybe you could make special cookies for them to open on Christmas morning, too.
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You know, the old time Mothers never bought much for the family for Christmas. It was mainly handmade things. And their Christmases were so beautiful.
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I think a mother who can set a festive Christmas table is worth her weight in gold. To just put a candle on the table and light it, and just make it pretty. My grandma Jaunita used to use her red and white linens at Christmas. She didn't have fancy tablecloths with a Christmas design, but she would just use a tablecloth that had red and white flowers on it. Oh, she would set a beautiful table. So many of us have dishes that we never use. Let's get them it out and use them this Christmas. I have a lovely set, white with red roses on them. I must get them out tomorrow. Papa has a box under the tree for me. I know it is a set of Christmas dishes. The children and their Daddy always know what to buy Mama ... "dishes." Danny, last year, got me dessert plates at the dollar store for a buck each ... the Currier and Ives, each with a different winter scene on them.
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Also, I left my big table out with the two leaves in it from Thanksgiving. This way, I have fixed a place at the end for us to eat our meals, and the other end I use for baking. I have my white poinsettas in the middle. I don't have the counter space, so I just make a space to mix my sausage and to do other kitchen chores at the end of the table. I made a second batch of sausage this afternoon. I have to knead it on the table. I will give some of this away for Christmas.
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I try to have my cassette recorder out and the Christmas songs playing, and the candles lit on the table as I cook and make things for Christmas. I think that Mother brings in the Christmas spirit to the family. We need so much to make a shelter for family, and the Christmas season is the time to do it.
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One year, I had a lot of cranberries in my freezer and strawberries, too. I made the cranberries as usual, as the directions said. Then I added the strawberries and mixed them up, adding sugar until I thought it was good and tasty. The cranberries thickened the strawberries and it made a wonderful jam. I called it Christmas Jam. I put in in jars and gave it away for Christmas. As long as you have the cranberries to thicken the jam, you could use red raspberries or apples to make your jam, and even apricots. Oh, yum, that sounds so good!

3 comments:

. said...

do you know when I was younger we also decorated coffee cans with wrapping paper. Then we would use cello paper to put the goodies tied with a bow inside the coffee cans. We also used them for our paint brushes, pens, pencils, erasers and so on. lovely memory. Thank you. Hugs. Tammy

Hampers said...

Nice blog on Christmas. It really light up my day. Merry Christmas to you and to your family!

cathleen said...

Tracy, Merry Christmas! Hope it's cozy and warm and magical for you and your family.