Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Five: It's Almost Christmas!

RevHRod of RevGals invites us to have some fun and tell about our favorite Christmas memories. She asks:

1. What was one of your favorite childhood gifts that you gave?
I got one of those loom thingies where you weave loops of cloth back and forth to make potholders. If you make a bunch and hook them together you have a a large one suitable for setting hot dishes on the table. Are you excited yet? I was. My eight-year old mind saw these things as beautiful. I gave them to every adult woman I could. Men did not, of course, cook in 1958. I also recall a "decorative" wooden holder for a salad fork and spoon. I sanded, measured, sawed, varnished and applied the little hanger thing on the back. That valuable and essential piece of kitchen decor hung on the wall for many a year, getting stickier and dustier. Funny thing, my kids made the potholders too. Do they still sell those little looms?

2. What is one of your favorite Christmas recipes? Bonus points if you share the recipe with us.
Okay, my relations were Texans. No southern feast is complete without some sort of Jell-o dish, and this one really is a family favorite. If I suggest we make something different my husband howls in protest. It originated with one of my aunts, hence the name.

Aunt Maxie's Jell-o Salad
Dissolve one large box of orange or lime flavored Jell-o in two cups of boiling water.
Add one large package cream cheese, chopped in pieces, and whisk till mostly blended. I like to leave it just a little lumpy. Add two cups cold water and chill till syrupy.
Add one large can crushed pineapple, drained well, 3 small carrots (grated), 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, and about 1 1/2 cups white miniature marshmallows. Mix well and chill till set.

I know, it is just Jell-o, and I'll bet you are thinking, "carrots?" but I have never made it without compliments and someone asking for the recipie.

3. What is a tradition that your family can't do without? (And by family, I mean family of origin, family of adulthood, or that bunch of cool people that just feel like family.)
In my family my father always read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve. Churches in southern California (at least Baptist ones) rarely had Christmas Eve services. We continued that when we had our own family and Ken read the story to us each year. That changed when we started having Christmas Eve candlelight services in church. That has become my favorite service of the year, except just once I'd like to sit in a pew and relaxt. My family always opened gifts on Christmas Eve, but when I had my own family we always opened one small present on Christmas Eve and saved the larger ones for next morning. Present opening waits till after breakfast, which always consists of orange nut bread (another family recipe) and Norweigan JuleKage.

4. Pastors and other church folk often have very strange traditions dictated by the "work" of the holidays. What happens at your place?

Christmas Eve is a candlelight communion service, a sort of "lessons and carols" event. My husband and I spend Christmas Day at the prison where he is a chaplain. It always irritates me to have to interrupt my own plans to go off to the prison for a large portion of the day, but once I arrive I am always glad, and I feel bad for complaing. It is one of the best parts of my Christmas. I posted about it here a while back, if you'd like to read why.

5. If you could just ditch all the traditions and do something unexpected... what would it be?

Well this year I'd go to Minnesota and spend it with our kids and the grandbaby, and we would go to the Guthrie Theatre and see "A Christmas Carol."


RevHRod said...

They're still making those looms! And kids are still making pot holders. And let's be honest, they may not be aesthetically pleasing but they are VERY functional. ;-)

Thanks for a great play.

revhipchick said...

revhrod beat me to it, yes, the looms are still popular!

wonderful play!

thank you for reminding me of one of my favorite presents i gave! i couldn't think of one!

i loved reading about how you crafted your own gifts! that's what reminded me of mine--a key holder that was really a piece of wood painted like a piano keyboard with black painted clothespins to hold the keys.

wonderful play!
Merry Christmas!

revhipchick said...

sorry, just one more thing--thanks for sharing the Christmases at the prison. truly wonderful.

Lori said...

I want one of those looms! We used to make ropes with homemade spool looms with nails sticking out.

And Christmas at the prison! You and your husband are truly blessed for doing this.

chartreuseova said...

I loved (perhaps it was an addiction) my loom too. Little Sprout got one a few years ago, but the loops available seem to be poor quality, lots of them wouldn't stretch enough to reach the loom pins and she gave up in frustration.

And I remember the spool thing Presbyterian Gal mentioned...they make Knifty Knitter circle looms (marketed for adults) that have lots of "nails" now and you can make hats and scarves, but it is the same technique as the tiny rope ones.

LutheranChik said...

I LOVED my loom! I made scads of potholders and hotpads for everyone!

I remember, as an adult, seeing instructions for an afghan made from weaving regular worsted yarn in one of these looms...that got me so excited I went out and bought one; but I wasn't able to figure out how to weave the yarn, at least not as well as the woven yarn squares I saw, so that loom quickly became yard sale material. One thing: The only looms I see nowadays are plastic, not metal, and I don't think they're as sturdy or work as well.

Now, spool knitters...that's something I think I could get into even today!

RevDrKate said...

Thank you. I went back and read the prison post. And cried. I've been posting about my "jail guy" through Advent so this really resonated. Also loved the loom reminders...been there had LOTS of pot holders and coasters! Great play.

rev h-d said...

Thank you for sharing your story about the prison ministry. Beautiful.
Also, I'm envious, I always wanted a loom but mom and dad said NO WAY!

Unknown said...

I have no idea what loom is, even though you told us, I just can't imagine it. I am sure someone in my family would know though. Good one.

leah said...

oh, i loved those looms too and i'm extremely happy they're still making them! actually, i've always been so into color i thought and still think the squares are both beautiful and functional...i love (almost) all jello salads. did you know jello salad is the national vegetable of utah? great play!

zorra said...

Oh, I loved making those potholders! How I wish there were still one or two of them around, just for sentimental value.

And Christmas at my MIL's house is not complete without some sort of jello "salad"...