12 Christmas Memories: Part IV

For Part IV of My 12 Favorite Christmas Memories as inspired by Wanderlust Scarlett’s meme, I’m going to stick with the childhood theme. If you haven’t yet, you should also check out Parts I, II, and III.

Now here are three more that come from my earlier years, and since we just talked about cookies, let’s stay there for a moment.

7. Jeanie & Joe eating all the kolaches

Jeanie was my great-aunt’s daughter and Joe was her husband. That might sound rather extended to you, but since my Aunt Babe lived about 30 seconds away from her sister (my grandmother), our families were always quite close, especially around the holidays–and my Aunt Babe remains one of my most favorite people in the world. She knows everything!

And what are kolaches? My mom’s version looks something like this:

Mini kolaches
Walnut goodness wrapped in cream cheese dough and sprinkled with powdered sugar. I made these this year, but I had to improvise because I couldn’t find a square ravioli cutter like she uses. In Italy! I couldn’t find the ravioli cutter I needed! Harumph!

So I used a round one, which makes smaller ravioli and that made rolling these babies a lot more challenging. They’re still delicious though, and that’s what matters, right?

Well kolaches were probably the most sought after cookie at my grandmother’s house (she also made them) during the holidays–so much so that my mom used to make a tray just for my grandfather to keep *in his bedroom*. Yes, this grandfather.

Anyway, Jeanie and Joe lived a couple hours away from us, so they came in for the holidays right as they were beginning, which left their visiting time to a minimum. And so, they’d come over, often individually, on Christmas morning, which as you can imagine, was always quite hectic as anywhere from 5 to 15 people would be eating dinner there at noon.

My grandmother always played the perfect hostess, though, despite having a million other things to do–she truly loved their visits.

But after a while she noticed that there would always be a huge dent made in the cookie tray in the area of the kolaches after Joe left–and let’s be honest, it was mainly Joe who was the culprit. So my grandmother would purposely take most of the kolaches off the tray (she’d leave him a few of course), often literally as he was coming up the walkway.

“Joe’s coming! Grab the kolaches!” *was* shouted.

Jeanie was mostly innocent in the Great Kolache Fiasco but she’s thrown in this memory because her Christmas morning visits were always such a huge part of the holidays, and also because she recently passed away.

Jeanie was just 62 years old, and her husband Joe passed away last year after a long debilitating illness which included a heart transplant. Their children are around my age, and I think of them more often than ever.

And now with the holidays, wonderful memories of their parents have really come rushing back to me, and I hope they do for them as well.

8. I’m Mary!

OK, let’s lighten things up with a fun memory from about fourth grade–when I was chosen to play Mary in the church play of the Nativity Scene.

Lenox Nativity ornament
I was never the one chosen for things like that, and to be honest, I thought one of my best friends who eventually became the angel would be Mary, but nope. I was Mary! Everyone was so proud!

I think we picked names out of a hat or something, so it really was no big feat to have won the non-speaking role. But whatever. I was Mary! I wrapped the Baby Jesus in swaddling clothes!

And I do have a photo of it somewhere, just not here. Sorry. Maybe next year.

Also, attached to this memory? I was also the one who got to put the Baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning in our nativity scene at home. Woohoo! The benefits of being the youngest in the house!

9. Caroling with Friends

They don’t really do the caroling thing around here (not that I’ve seen/heard anyway), but I do have a fond memory of caroling when I was about 12 years old.

A group of girlfriends, probably about 10 of us, went around one evening and sang and sang and sang–and if anyone wonders why I know the words to just about any Christmas song, this is probably why. Seriously, try me.

One blustery December night, instead of going home after school, we all went to the house that would serve as Caroling Central. We got all bundled up (it was *freezing*!), and then walked around town, avoiding slushy puddles and snow piles, stopping at random houses, especially near those that were all lit up, assuming they’d certainly appreciate the effort.

We got invited into so many homes, drank far too much hot cocoa, and even made some cash–which we spent later that night on pizza if I recall correctly. Guess we could’ve donated the money, but hey, we were 12. And hungry.

Ah, and of course there was a huge slumber party afterwards.

I had almost forgotten about this memory until Wanderlust Scarlett and I got “talking” via email. I’m so happy that she reminded me! I don’t have contact with most of those girls anymore, but some of them are still my best friends–and you know who you are–and I’m certainly thinking of you this Christmas.

Ah, small town America in the late 1980s.

Come back tomorrow for the final installment of My 12 Favorite Christmas Memories!

I swear this plays 'Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer'

Christmas Memories: Part I

* Christmas Memories: Part II

Christmas Memories: Part III

Christmas Memories: Part V

14 Beans of Wisdom to “12 Christmas Memories: Part IV”
  1. Kristie

    Its nice to see how you feel your Christmas spirit! This year is my first Christmas away from home and as an expat so I will not be with my family like I have all my life, so it is a little tough for me this year. But I can still feel the festivities a little, its just nice to see someone really enjoying it!

  2. sognatrice

    *Kristie, believe me, my first Christmas away from home came with lots of emotion and not much holiday spirit–now I’m kind of like an old pro though 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Stefanie

    I can’t believe you couldn’t find the ravioli cutter you need in ITALY!! Wow.

    I was never Mary, but I think all of us totally understand what a very big deal that was. 🙂

  4. La delirante

    Hi Sognatrice!! I asked myself what kolaches are 🙂 Thanks for sharing! They look delicious!
    Have a great day!

  5. sognatrice

    *Stefanie, I know. Crazy huh! And as long as one person gets the Mary thing, I’m happy 😉

    *La Delirante, glad I provided a photo 😉

  6. dreamingofparadise.wordpress.com

    I love reading your holiday posts. They put me back into the Christmas spirit despite the crappy things that have gone on lately. Those were some great stories you have and what a great idea for a meme!

  7. red

    Adorable! I definitely would’ve angled to be baby Jesus, though.

  8. Wanderlust Scarlett

    I love the memories, and that reindeer is just the best!

    It’s so sweet to stroll with you down this holiday memory lane as you show us your favorites and some precious moments that have been brought back to life, aired out, dusted off and set up nicely on the blog mantle for all of us to enjoy.

    Just like decorating a home with special trinkets collected over the years, these memories are sparkling and glowing, one by one, as you put each one up here every day.

    Thank you. I am enjoying it so much.

    Merriest of Christmases to you Sognatrice

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  9. Taffiny

    Those kolaches remind me a lot of nut kiffles, only no sour cream in the dough.

    Another batch of wonderful Christmas memories.

    Sorry about Jeanie.

    I bought a garland today for our banister (because of you).

  10. Frances at http://blogjem.com

    Don’t be surprised if you see some of these memories you know where!
    Your blogbuddy,

  11. The Passionate Palate

    That grinning reindeer is too funny!!! I love him.

    You went above and beyond the call of duty with this meme. Your memories are wonderful.

  12. Ryan

    Hey! I am leaving today for Rome and then off to America from there on Sunday so I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas now, as I know things will start to get crazy as soon as I get home. So I hope you have a very special Italian Christmas and a Happy New Year!
    PS. my Christmas traditions should be on my blog by the end of this weekend. I just have to sit down and write them between packing…

  13. sognatrice

    *Dreaming, thanks so much for your comment! I’m happy to oblige 🙂

    *Red, it wasn’t a role that was up for grabs unfortunately; some little ceramic figurine had it all locked up before any of us came on the scene.

    *Scarlett, you’re so right! If only there were a way to package each one up an put it on the tree. Hmm, maybe a project for next year?!

    *Taffiny, oh I’m so happy for your banister! And I’m more intrigued than ever about said kiffles….

    *Francesca, be my guest 🙂

    *Jeni, that’s another gift from my mom right there. And he plays “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” too–can’t you just see that glint in his eye?

    *Ryan, sounds great to me! And have a great time in America–happy holidays to you and yours!

  14. Nell

    O.M.G.. I neearly busted a gut laughing at he reidear at he end of your pictiures,terrific, I’d have him out every day of the year.
    My favoriate Christmas memory was when My dad bought my son who was a month old a 3 foot tall black robot with revolving body and it walked and had red eyes and had sirens.
    IT’s what every baby needs, but my dad was so excited that we smiled and grinned like cheshire cats, sure the baby will play with it next year dad, mom luckily bought some Doctore Dentins Pj sleepers and assorted rattles,

    Haha that’s classic Nell; thanks for sharing 🙂



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake