Sunday, December 16, 2018


The definition of tradition is the "transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation".  My youngest daughter loves tradition.  She loves reliving her childhood memories and wants her boys to have similar memories.  She remembers toys that are long gone and details I have long forgotten.  As sad as it is, it isn't always possible to recreate some of those special experiences.  Things change and families grow into their own traditions.   In past years our grandkids would spend New Years Eve with us.  They would stay up until midnight, and we would have a toast with sparkling grape juice.  Now they do their own thing.  This year we didn't go trick or treating with the kids.  Every year, I would tag along with the kids dressed in their costumes.   We no longer host Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas.  Our daughters have taken on these celebrations at their homes.  I'm happy to pass the baton to them, however it is harder to get motivated to decorate and get into the spirit of the season.

One tradition that remains in tact is making Christmas cookies.  It was pretty bare bones this year, but we still had fun.  Saturday December 15, mid-morning our daughter Heather and grandson Ewan came to bake cookies.  I had prepped some dough and made the cut outs and icing before they arrived.  We didn't have the usual hands on deck so this saved time.  Ewan started decorating cookies as his mom and I began making some other varieties.

He had seen the Great British Holiday Baking show and used his creativity to make a special design.

His baking show creation.

Soon he was hungry.  One tradition, tho not traditional, is that I make my kind of dumplings for the kids.  It is usually what they ask for when they aren't feeling well, but Ewan wanted grandma's dumplings.  I got some chicken soup out of the freezer and made him dumplings.

As we continued to work on cookies, Ewan went outside.

Grandpa was outside firing up the smoker.  He had some bacon to smoke.  Oops, big mistake.  We don't host Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas any longer, but we still host our annual St. Patrick Day celebration.  Someone is building a house on the lot next door.  We are not very happy to be sharing the woods on that side of our property.  The leprechaun house was bordering this lot and had to be moved.  Our youngest grandson Ewan is the only one who buys into the leprechaun thing.  That might have been spoiled because the leprechaun house was sitting in the same garage as grandpa's smoker.  Of course, Ewan noticed right away.  Hopefully we gave him a logical explanation for it being moved.  We told him the house had to be moved but that was alright because the leprechaun goes to a warmer climate during the winter.  When Spring comes, we will put the house out and hopefully the leprechaun will move it to a better location.  He wasn't sure about that, but we hope he bought the story.  If not, that tradition will change too.

While outside Ewan decided he wanted to do some ice fishing.  We don't have ice fishing equipment or any fishing equipment for that matter.  He gathered a sturdy stick, found some string and fashioned a hook from a paper clip.  We went to the furnace room to collect some worms from grandmas worm farm.  Heather took a break from cookie baking and walked Ewan down the hill to the ice.  It was pretty warm out and there was some open water .  She didn't want him accidentally breaking through the ice.  It's impossible to put a worm on a paper clip, so his mom tied the worms on.  That's a good mom.  Not many would walk through briars,  slip in muck and bait a fake hook to catch a non existent fish in mucky water.

When the worms fell off Ewan came in the house and asked for cheese.  I thought he was hungry again, but he wanted to put cheese on the hook.  He said sometimes catfish eat that kind of bait.  Hopefully we don't snag a catfish.  He went up on the deck to watch his pole for a while.

He didn't have any luck so he left the pole set up for grandpa to check later.  Nothing so far, and I predict there won't be.

When he came into the house, it was time to watch Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas.  This has been a tradition since the late 1970's.  It first aired on December 4, 1977.  I think we have watched it every Christmas since.  I recently learned it was based on the children's book of the same name by Russell Hoban. If you haven't seen it, it features a cast of Muppet characters by Jim Henson.  We ate again and watched this cute show.  You can still see the strings on the puppets.  I'm glad it wasn't remastered to look more professional.

By now, we were all tired.  We had enough cookies to get through the holidays.  We made sugar cookies, peanut butter cups, Mexican wedding cakes, crack cookies with soda crackers, and turtle pretzels.  I will make some krumkake today and a couple other things I have bought ingredients for. We were going to cut back this year.  None of us need all those calories, but when you put all the different kinds together there are quite a few.

Just as old traditions die out, new ones are made.  I doubt if ice fishing in the swamp will be repeated but I'm sure cookie making before Christmas will go on for many years.