Christmas Card

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I was a greedy little kid at Christmas. I really was. I had a recurring pre-Christmas nightmare that I wouldn’t get any of the good stuff on my Santa Claus list. My father never tired of reminding me that a pen knife and an orange constituted a big Christmas-morning haul in his youth, but he enjoyed playing Santa for my little brother and me almost as much as we enjoyed receiving the bounty. Fruit, particularly citrus, was a big part of our Christmas because of my father. He made sure we had oranges, tangerines and English walnuts available. It meant Christmas to him, probably because it was about the only time of the year he experienced such treats in the Depression-era home where he was raised. His boyhood nickname was “Scrooge.” Why, I will never know. However, if you are at all a student of Charles Dickens you know the name was quite appropriate: he kept Christmas better than anyone.

47 responses to “Christmas Card”

  1. I enjoyed today’s strip. We watch HGTV and after a summer of selling and now buying a house, we can just imagine the comments made by young perspective buyers. Of course we try to block it out. We are very thankful that it sold. We close on Friday and then close on our new home on the 30th. We plan to move on the 31st so with the Bowl games on ESPN, we will have to coordinate moving the cable hookup!

  2. My late wife, who was older than me, grew up in the Texas Hill Country in the 40’s and citrus was a big part of their Christmas. Her mother had a rough go of it in the 30’s and it was special stuff to have.

  3. Received my shirt yesterday, and it’s better than I could have imagined. Thanks Jimmy and Merry Christmas! I hope you make a bundle on the shirts – we love them and you deserve it!

    I’m very glad to hear you’re pleased with the shirt, Mark. Thanks for the business! It’s been a fun and interesting and profitable experience so far, but I’m not able to give up the day job yet. — JJ

  4. I always got tangerines and English walnuts in my stocking on Christmas.

    Me, too, but since there was a bowl of them on the coffee table, we knew Santa was padding things a bit. — JJ

  5. Ditto the stories from my Dad of fresh citrus in the stockings on Christmas morning. Also the stories of the family having the fruit, along with sliced Cheddar cheese and saltine crackers, for breakfast, rather than eating the normal large farm breakfast, “saving room” for the noontime Christmas feast. I have kept the cheese-and-crackers-for-Christmas-breakfast tradition alive until this day.

    I could eat cheese and crackers morning, noon and night! — JJ

  6. Nuts, fruit, good summer sausage (Nueske), and cheese from Wisconsin. The last two come from fourteen years of living in the Wisconsin woods.

    The anticipation of the package’s contents grow more with each passing day . Just knowing those lovely tee shirts are so close….. Only nine days to go. 🙂

  7. I, too, love cheese and crackers, though my cracker of choice is Keebler Town House. Adding a thin slice of apple to the stack is very good, too.

    My kids still get an orange or tangerine in their stockings and I get the obligatory “oh Mom…” but they go along with it. They have been known to put a baggie of charcoal briquettes in their father’s stocking as a joke. They have strange senses of humor, just like their Mom. 😉

  8. I missed a good bit if yesterday’s posts because I was at my doctors office taking a pulmonary function test-and I’m happy to say I passed-so I missed getting in on A Nonny Mouse’s surgical well-wishes. Hopefully things are going well and we’ll soon here that she is recovering nicely.

    A dear friend of mine is in the hospital for a few days this week. She has heart problems, and her current meds aren’t doing as well as she’d hoped. Her doctor is changing her to something new, and the new stuff can cause very bad problems so they will watch her closely for the first few days. We are hoping she will be well enough to go from the hospital to the theatre to see the new Star Wars movie on Friday.

  9. TJ’s comment about coal brought back one of my favorite Christmas memories. My daughter was not yet 5 and my son was in grade school. My sister had come to visit for the holiday and was bunking on the couch in the front room. She was awakened about 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. Christmas morning by the kids turning on the Christmas tree lights, rustling packages to see what Santa had brought and whispering excitedly. She pretended to stay asleep to enjoy their comments. Before long they ran into the den, where they had stockings to raid by the fireplace. The family rule was that on Christmas morning, kids could wake up parents at 6:30 a.m. to start opening presents. Until then, they could enjoy the stocking stuffers and candy in their stockings. At that time, there were stockings for me & my husband, but they were empty. Unknown to me, my husband had tucked a little something in my stocking. My sister heard my daughter say in a solemn voice. “Santa didn’t put anything in Daddy’s stocking. He must have been bad!”

  10. Santa never put an orange in my stocking when I was growing up in Orlando – a couple of family friends brought boxes of them from their groves. Time has taken those old friends; freezes and “progress” have taken most of the groves (and citrus greening threatens the rest).

  11. Another favorite memory – both kids were in grade school, and still “believing in Santa” – at least at Christmas. I think my daughter was in 2nd or 3rd grade by then, so she was not sure about it all but giving it the benefit of the doubt, but my son was just enjoying the game. That year it took a little longer to get the kids into bed and quiet enough we felt we could do the preparations – fill the stockings, drag out the “Santa” gifts – take a bite out of cookies – put together things that needed to be assembled – etc. etc. Then my husband got the wild idea to change the time on the clocks so the kids would wait until 6:30 a.m., but it would really be 7:30 a.m. It worked like a charm, but we both woke up by 6:45 a.m. (real time) and went out to tease the kids and put them out of their misery. We couldn’t get away with that again; every year one of the kids would turn on the TV to check the time.

  12. Ruth Anne – my head must have been in the sand – I did not know about citrus greening! The things you learn in The Village. Sorry to hear about your friends.

  13. Jean dear, I have to admit that there have been times when Gouda-and-Keebler-Club-Crackers have been substituted for Cheddar-and-saltines. There’s tradition, and then there’s tradition. 🙂

    The other cowboys in the bunkhouse decided to play a joke on The Littlest Cowboy. They waited until he went to sleep on Christmas Eve and filled his stocking full of “road apples”. The next morning one of the cowboys asked, “What did Santa bring you, Little Ennis?”

    “Well,” The Littlest Cowboy said sadly, “it looks like he brought me a pony, but it must have run away.”

  14. Christmas was never a big deal for my (Jewish) family, but when we owned a restaurant, we always closed so that our crew could celebrate, and we could all be off work at the same time. Growing up in Southern California, citrus was never part of our holiday tradition, and there was a big black walnut tree next door.

    I hadn’t known, before, about citrus greening, but so far it’s not affected the Meyer Lemon tree just outside our back door.

  15. Anyone else have problems getting to this site today, somewhat after noon, CST? I had to sneak in the back way, via the site. Seems OK now, though.

  16. Yes, c xp, wouldn’t let me in but now it came up properly. This morning a lovely long upbeat letter from Jackie, she didn’t sleep last night — “why bother,” she said. Was getting ready to leave for hospital, her only worry was her little ten pound dog! On Facebook, I forgot to say. Have been a little afraid to check this afternoon, but with the good news from David in Austin, now I will.

  17. Our Christmas food tradition was interesting and this is the first year the chain of it will be broken in our house. Christmas eve a dinner of Swedish meatballs and rice, then after clean up the “Goodie Table” is opened to all. Consisting of unlimited home made cookies, nuts of all kinds, fruit in abundance, cheese, cheese ball, crackers of all kinds, home made candy, store bought candy, summer sausage. You name it, it was on the table, and recharged throughout Christmas day. It has been pared down some since Mom’s death two years ago, but this year it may not exist at all. We are going to my daughter and son-in-laws for Christmas and I don’t think they have kept the tradition. The only family tradition I will insist on is reading Luke 2:1-20 on Christmas Eve.

  18. Ursen:

    ‘Christmas eve a dinner of Swedish meatballs and rice.’ Sounds yummy. Since wife died 28 Dec. 2010, granddad has dictated that we will do Christmas in summer when the roads are less icy. Tomorrow [16 Dec., Beethoven’s birthday] = anniv. of the day we learned about her acute leukemia. 17-28 Dec. = 12 days of Christmas that she spent in Sanford Health Fargo. Good hospital care throughout.

    But I do observe a Swedish meatball tradition, about a dozen meatballs. Last Thur. = last of three annual lutefisk suppers at 3 local ELCA churches. Always have lutefisk, Swed. mb. and gravy, rutabaga, potatoes, lefse [spread with cranberries at two of the three], etc. Used to overeat, but have learned not to make myself uncomfortable.

    I do lots of rice, but not at ELCA suppers. When we first came to Bemidji in ’58, almost everyone assumed rice was only for making rice pudding! Mom was from Miss./NO area, so I grew up w/ rice as a staple supper food, and wife learned to cook it after we married in ’52.

    Peace, emb

  19. Got an early Christmas gift in the mail today. Great T shirts! They really look good. We have had warm enough weather the last few days to actually wear them outside! Thanks J.J.

    As above ditto on the nuts and citrus. My father grew up in an orphanage in VA in the 19teens. He always reminded us how good we had it. Wish I had listened a little closer.

  20. From FB Page:
    Update: Jackie is out of surgery and did fine. She’s in recovery ICU and probably won’t have her own room til tomorrow. Hope everyone sees this. I don’t have everyone’s name OR email.

  21. Thanks David for giving the word on Jackie! Afraid that I have been away from Facebook all day. Don’t get on it at work. No time! Yesterday, I worked 13 straight hours and 9 straight today – grabbing a bite to eat… perusing spreadsheets while noshing. But… today I left at 5 and went to a friends for a little Christmas get-together. Fun… sitting and talking with girlfriends… with small libations, of course! Nice…

    I did check Facebook as soon as I got home and saw the message that David posted. Am so thankful that Jackie came thru the surgery OK. She probably will not be rearing to go anyway soon, but she will!

  22. Good morning Villagers…

    Thanks David, for the good news report on Jackie…..please keep us updated.

    Gal, sorry to read that you are overloaded at work, hope that turns around soon for you. End of the year paperwork, gotta have that paper trail.

    One Christmas Eve, Santa sent a special truck to our house. A new Kimbal upright piano. Yes, I did take lessons….five years from a nun. Still can read notes, but I sure could pound out ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’. Still have the piano, it is at Sister #3’s house.

    I think I told this one last year….we woke up to bras hanging on the tree 🙂 Sister #4 had the training bra….there’s a pic of it somewhere among my sisters.

    Did not know there was another Star Wars sequel …is Harrison Ford in it???? Love the movie “Henry” and the one where he was president…”get off my plane”!

    ya’ll have a blessed ‘hump’ day…..

    Sandcastler, I can’t believe you are torturing yourself by not opening up the T’s….too funny.

  23. Old Bear…love the Catmas tree. Went to True Value with your SKU numbers, they had the Tacky glue, which we purchased, but not the lip balm. The sales clerk said she saw it over at Rural King though.

  24. Jimmy’s talking about how his dad made sure his kids had many presents reminds me of the strip in which Arlo said that his dad “always busted a gut” to have a Christmas morning loaded with presents.

    My parents did, too. I was too young to understand why they did it; I just took it as natural.

    Years later, I found out about the lives of deprivation they lived on rural farms near Mammoth Cave during the Great Depression.

  25. Since Ursen mentioned traditional Christmas food…in my Mom’s family Christmas Eve supper was always oyster stew. Not sure why, except it was easy to make. On Christmas morning stockings and Santa presents were found and played with. Dinner was eaten around 2pm, and my grandfather insisted that the dishes were washed as he said (and rightly so) that after cake and presents nobody wanted to go clean up the kitchen. And of course dinner was turkey and dressing. Now-a-days the oyster stew is out, as nobody likes it, not even me. The only “traditional” part is that it’s easy to cook and clean up, as I’m usually still wrapping presents. And since Husband is not fond of turkey from Thanksgiving to Christmas we do something special for dinner. We have done everything from salmon in pastry to mushroom stuffed pork roast and gumbo. We don’t tell ahead of time what’s for dinner, so that’s as much a surprise as the presents. 🙂

  26. Debbe
    They really should have had some of that Lip Balm – We can’t keep it on the shelf.
    Perfect stocking stuffer. You can order on line and have it delivered to your store.
    No delivery charge if you can’t find it elsewhere.

    If you do not find it or Your T.V. will not order it, let me know the address of the
    chicken house and I will send it there.

    Keep the Jackie reports coming.

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