“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” – Bob Hope
I love Christmas. I love the fuss, the decorating, the lights, the sparkle, the baking and of course, thinking of gifts for those I love. I absolutely adore the entire package and anyone who truly knows me will confirm this.
In our home, the tree is usually up and decorated prior to Thanksgiving. However, we enjoy Thanksgiving and therefore, we do not illuminate the tree until the day after. And, for us, our Christmas season begins December 1st. I know you are wondering, why December 1st ? So, here is the story – one I hope you will enjoy.
“Wake up “darlin!” It is December 1st, the beginning of the most magical, beautiful time of the year.” Those were my mother’s words to me, every December 1st. And to mom, it was a season full of love and beauty. Every December, I thank her so much for this beautiful gift she gave me repeatedly each year, from when I was a young child until she passed away.
Our mothers are so very precious. If they have passed away, our memories of them are our personal treasures we tuck away in our hearts and hold them dear. Mothers instill in us our values and give us gifts we treasure throughout our lives. While many of these gifts “come tied up with strings,” many do not. I was blessed beyond measure with a mother who gave me an abundance of gifts not “tied up with strings.” These gifts, not purchased in a store, were from her heart. She wanted me to understand the real meaning of Christmas, why we give and exchange gifts and she especially wanted me to understand the message of Christmas is love. Truly, I “believe” she was successful.
Each year on December 1st, she always, always did something special for me and others she loved. For me, it might have been her homemade cinnamon rolls, a special dinner, new ribbons for my hair, a new pair of socks, a pan of her famous peanut butter fudge. Or, she would spend the afternoon helping me make pomander balls to give to our neighbors. It was something small, but it served as a sweet reminder as to how special the day and days to follow should be.
As the years went along, I grew up, married and moved away. Always, a tiny package would arrive, marked “Do Not Open Until December 1st.” And, she never failed to phone me before I left for work. I can still hear her soft Mississippi drawl and her kind words. She would ask about my plans to make the day special for others, especially plans I had for Mike. The conversation would always end with her words, “I love you “darlin” – scatter joy.”
Through the years, many friends and coworkers have often looked at me rather puzzled when they were first introduced to my December 1st tradition. However, once they understood how, why and from whom it originated, and relished in the joyful atmosphere, I can tell you they adored being sprinkled with a bit of mom’s Christmas magic. The sweetness of the day lingered with them. As the years unfolded, they would say to me – “It’s almost December 1st.” This special joy has been returned to me so many times. Still today, I often hear from many friends and former coworkers on December 1st. Mom’s tradition – touched the lives of many.
As for Mike – well, he has enjoyed this special day for 44 years. He has more Christmas ties than are in the men’s department of Macy’s Department Store. Christmas ties are a perfect gift for a teacher – also Christmas socks. And, if you were to ask him about his all-time favorite December 1st gift – he would answer, “Merry.” Merry was our black Labrador retriever. Her proper or registered name was Merry Christmas of Crabapple. Her name suited her perfectly – my goodness she was Merry. Every day she lived, glowed like an over abundantly lit Christmas tree.
You see, it is the “simplest of things,” that make our everyday lives and seasons glow. Mom’s sweet tradition enriched my life and, I hope, the lives of many. It costs little, shows more love than there are words and creates such wonderful memories. So, from mom to me to you – “It’s December 1st” enjoy this most wonderful, magical time of year and… scatter love!
See you soon,
P.S. Don’t leave until you see the recipes!
Butter Sugar Cookies – my grandmother’s recipe and a wonderful cookie for any time of the year. Also, very easy.
- 1 cup – 2 sticks butter, softened (do not substitute the butter)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla or almond extract
- 1 egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla and egg, mixing well. Sift flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add gradually to butter mixture, mixing well. Chill dough for an hour or two. Make dough into small balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with fork that has been dipped in sugar. Make sure each cookie is sprinkled with sugar. Bake 15-17 minutes (my oven-14 min.), or just until edges begin to turn golden. Let stand on cookie sheet 2-3 minutes. Remove to rack and cool completely. Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired. Store in airtight container.
Simply Perfect Sugar Cookies – Recipe from StoneGable
When I read this several years ago, on the StoneGable Blog, it looked interesting to me because the ingredients are a bit different from other sugar cookies. Let me tell you, they are “Simply Perfect Sugar Cookies.” Enjoy!