Good morning, dear friends. I know you didn’t expect to hear from me this morning. However, it is December first. And to me, it is a magical day. A day of importance.
I wrote this post exactly two years ago. I felt in lieu of our crazy year, perhaps you would enjoy this story. If you have followed along with me for the past few years you may remember this post. Although, if you are reading it for the first time, I hope you will smile. Perhaps, the story may be just what you need to begin this glorious month on an exuberant note. So, as I said two years ago, “Find your coffee and a comfy chair, and let me tell you what December first means to me.”
“Suddenly December…the magic begins.” ~ Unknown
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie
I love Christmas. I love the fuss, the decorating, the lights, the sparkle, the baking and of course, thinking of gifts for those I love. I absolutely adore the entire package and anyone who truly knows me will confirm this.
In our home, the Christmas season begins December first. I know you are wondering, why December first? So, here is the story ~ one I hope you will enjoy.
“Wake up “darlin!” It is December 1st, the beginning of the most magical, beautiful time of the year.” Those were my mother’s words to me, every December 1st. And to mom, it was a season full of love and beauty. Every December, I thank her so much for this beautiful gift she gave me repeatedly each year, from when I was a young child until she passed away.
“I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
Our mothers are so very precious. If they have passed away, our memories of them are our personal treasures we tuck away in our hearts and hold them ever so close. Mothers instill in us our values and give us gifts we treasure throughout our lives. While many of these gifts “come tied up with strings,” many do not. I was blessed beyond measure with a mother who gave me an abundance of gifts not “tied up with strings.” These gifts, not purchased in a store, were from her heart. She wanted me to understand the real meaning of Christmas, why we give and exchange gifts and she especially wanted me to understand ~ the message of Christmas is love. Truly, I ‘believe’ she was successful.
Each year on December 1st, she always, always did something special for me and others she loved. For me, it might have been her homemade cinnamon rolls, a special dinner, new ribbons for my hair, a new pair of socks, or my favorite ~ a pan of her famous peanut butter fudge.
She also might spend the afternoon helping me make pomander balls or cookies to give to our neighbors. Always something small, but it served as a sweet reminder as to how special the day and days to follow should be.
“It’s Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” ~
As the years went along, I grew up, married and moved away. Always, a tiny package would arrive, marked “Do Not Open Until December 1st.” The sweet package was from mom, and she never failed to phone me before I left for work on this special day. I can still hear her soft Mississippi drawl and her kind words. She would ask about my plans to make the day special for others, especially plans I had for Mike. The conversation would always end with her words, “I love you ‘darlin’ – scatter joy.” Just a note ~ absolutely no one can say ‘darlin’ like someone from the Deep South.
Through the years, many friends and coworkers have often looked at me rather puzzled when they were first introduced to my December 1st tradition. However, once they understood how, why, and from whom it originated, they relished in the joyful atmosphere. I can tell you they adored being sprinkled with a bit of mom’s Christmas magic. The sweetness of the day lingered with them. As the years unfolded, they would say to me – “It’s almost December 1st.” This special joy has been returned to me many times. Still today, I often hear from friends and former coworkers on December 1st. Mom’s tradition touched the lives of many.
As for Mike ~ well, he has enjoyed this special day for 46 years. He has more Christmas ties than are in the men’s department of Macy’s. Christmas ties are a perfect gift for a teacher, also Christmas socks. And, if you were to ask him about his all-time favorite December 1st gift, he would answer, “Merry.” Merry was our black Labrador retriever. Her proper or registered name was Merry Christmas of Crabapple. Her name suited her perfectly ~ my goodness she was Merry. Every day she lived, glowed like an overabundantly lit Christmas tree.
“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find the simplest things give off the greatest glow of happiness.” ~ Bob Hope
It really is “the simplest things,” which make this special season glow. Mom’s sweet tradition enriched my life and, I know, the lives of many. A lovely tradition which costs little, shows more love than there are words, and creates such wonderful memories. So, from mom to me to you – “It’s December 1st” enjoy this most wonderful, magical time of year and… scatter joy!
Do you have a special tradition which you and your family enjoy during the Christmas season? I hope you will share.
Wishing you and yours, a most beautiful and special December!
And, until we meet again… “May you have heaven in your heart, starlight in your soul, and angels all around you.” ~ Unknown
Sweet friends, I wish I could bake these and give each and every one of you a lovely bag full. But, as I can’t, I am doing the next best thing and sending you the recipe. Happy December 1st!
Butter Sugar Cookies
Note: This was my grandmother’s recipe. She submitted it to be printed in her church cookbook, The First Presbyterian Church of Collins, Mississippi.
1 cup – 2 sticks butter, softened (do not substitute the butter)
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla or almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla and egg, mixing well. Sift flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add gradually to butter mixture, mixing well. Chill dough for an hour or two. Make dough into small balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with a fork, or bottom of a glass, that has been dipped in sugar. Make sure each cookie is sprinkled with sugar. Bake 15-17 minutes (my oven-14 min.), or just until edges begin to turn golden. Let stand on cookie sheet 2-3 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool completely. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles if desired. Store in airtight container.
Note: I do not claim ownership of these photos. These photos are the work of tremendously talented people and I simply compiled them for your enjoyment.