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22 December 2009 @ 09:06 am
Our Family Christmas Traditions  
We always had Christmas dinner on Christmas eve. Years later I met a woman from Germany who described her family traditions, common in her region. The tree wasn't brought in until just before Christmas eve and the adults would decorate it in secret. Because it was fresh and still damp outside and had retained moisture internally, they would put candles on it, real candles, and it wouldn't burn down the tree or the house. Then the children were ushered in and it was like a scene from a magic fairy land with the candles and the beautiful branches and presents.

It made me realize that it was probably the influence of the Elschlager side of our family that caused us to always celebrate on Christmas Eve. We didn't have a cool, live tree like that. We had the silver tree with the color wheel, though I remember being fascinated by the colors moving over the tree. At home we had the same kind of thing except Mom had pink bulbs instead of the red ones at Grandma's. I guess with allergies a natural tree wouldn't have worked well for us.

Our meal invariably had Grandma's home-made egg noodles in turkey broth, turkey, stuffing, a baked sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, and gravy. I think some one broke out cranberry from a can but I never liked it. I think other vegetables made an appearance. We didn't have the green bean casserole everyone talks about but Grandma knew I liked green beans, and carrots, so some of these would make their way into these dinners some years. Sometimes Aunt Gin would bring a salad when she was dieting. Oh and there would be cookies and fudge and pies. Grandma could produce enormous amounts of food over a couple of days for this. It used to be my cousins (the ones who aren't speaking to me) and their mom and dad (Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Wayne) would be there, along with Great Grandma (Pearl Paris Elschlager) after Great Grandpa died. (His death put quite a damper on Christmas because he died Christmas day, 1965.) Once in awhile if they were in the area Uncle George and Aunt Pauline would come with their son David. They lived in California most of the time I was growing up.

After dinner we would all be groaning and unbuttoning our top button on our pants or loosening our belts, LOL.