Christmas Memories

Welcome! As I write, the Atlantic community is blanketed in snow. Cardinals, blue jays, and mourning doves feast on black oil sunflower seeds at my birdfeeder. It’s such a pretty sight against the brilliant white backdrop. It reminds me of my late Grandma Moore, who loved birds and found joy in winter’s beauty.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is making buckeyes with her. We started this tradition when I was about ten years old.

Grandma was an outdoorsy woman. She loved gardening and sports. I’ve never seen a prettier pink rhododendron than hers. She golfed until she was 82. But Grandma didn’t care much for the domestic arts. She couldn’t sew and wasn’t confident in the kitchen. My Great-Grandma McEntire (whom we affectionately called “Gram”) was the cook in the family. Grandma and Gram lived together most of their lives. The took care of each other and my dad. Grandma Moore kept the yard and garden; Gram kept house and cooked. So Grandma never really cooked or baked much until her latter years.

But Christmas was special, so she baked and made homemade candy at Christmastime. She always made chocolate fudge, peanut butter haystacks cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and my favorite -- buckeyes.

She’d put WGOJ on the radio and we’d listen to old-fashioned hymns as I blended margarine, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and milk. She melted chocolate chips and a little paraffin in a double boiler as I combined my ingredients. Then we’d roll the mixture into dozens of balls. She’d use an old ice pick and meticulously dip these in chocolate. She always put them on a baking sheet and set them in her garage to cool. I found this interesting. Maybe it was a nod to the Depression-Era mindset. Why waste electricity putting warm buckeyes into a fridge when you can use cold winter air to harden them?

Later she’d pack these in cookie tins and save them for Christmas Eve dinner. She never, ever served homemade cookies or candy at any other dinner. She’d bake an apple or rhubarb pie occasionally, but never cookies or candy. She did, however, always keep Fig Newtons in her cupboard, which my dad still considers blasphemy to the name of cookies.

I hope my memories of making buckeyes with Grandma stirred happy memories of either baking with your family or eating baked goods at Christmas. Now, keep eating your spinach, but treat yourself to a buckeye for dessert this Christmas season.

Have you done you Christmas baking yet? I baked four apple pies for John Holland’s benefit dinner on December 8. It was a huge success. They served more than 200 meals. Thank you so much if you came out and supported him.

My daughter, who excels at baking, baked chocolate chip cookies for our troops a couple weekends ago. Fallowfield United Methodist Church donated dozens of cookies for the Support Our Troops collection two weeks ago. We also sent items they requested, such as lip balm, beef jerky, and sandwich cracker packets. Please keep our troops in your prayers this Christmas, especially those deployed far from loved ones. Thanks.

Fallowfield United Methodist Church’s Christmas Eve service is at 7 p.m. Please join us if you don’t have a home church. Come and experience Immanuel, “God with us,” on this holiest of nights. We’ll celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus, whose life, death, and resurrection changed the world forever.

I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas.