) ( ( ) Good Morning Family! ( \ .-.,--^--. ( Come on in. . . \* ) \\|`----'| - The coffee pot's on. . . .=|=. \| |// ...and we even have decaf, |~'~| | |/ tea, and hot chocolate! | | \ / _|___|_ ------ (_______) Today's topics include: 1. Welcome to new cousins 2. A Family Christmas: part I 3. Christmas Nostalgia: YOU write the story 4. Christmas recipes from 1879 5. Did you know...? TO OUR NEWEST COUSINS ~~ On behalf of the entire family, I'd like to extend a most hearty welcome to those cousins who came into the family fold this past week. We are very glad to have you with us and hope you'll stay and remain a part of our online family. As soon as you're comfortable with us and the list, please send in your list-surname lines so we can all see how we're related to you. We do not have a fancy format for sending in records or queries to the list. Post as many as you wish! If the data has anything to do with our list-surname ancestors that might help someone, please feel free to post it. Every scrap of information is appreciated. You're welcome to share this Coffee with your genealogy friends and relatives. If they are not members of our online family and would like to begin receiving the Coffee, they are now able to. Simply have them send a blank email to <SundayCoffeefirstname.lastname@example.org>. A FAMILY CHRISTMAS: Part I There are times, when our youth is passed, memories of what once was become a lifeline to those who once were. In the following story below, though fictional, a middle-aged woman reflects to a period now decades past... "These are my Christmas gifts to you, honey. You can open one each week, but the last one is to be opened on Christmas Day. Be careful with them, they're very special." Grandmother had handed the five, rather small boxes to her. Open them before Christmas? You bet! That wasn't going to be a problem for her! Eight-year olds aren't really known for patience, especially around Christmastime. She was certainly no exception! She selected the gift with the shiny, red paper and a gold bow. Wondering what it could be, she shook it. "Remember, be careful," warned her grandmother. Opened and unpackaged, she sat on the couch with a snowglobe in her lap. A snowglobe. How disappointing. She'd expected something for her doll collection. Instead, a snowglobe. Okay... on to something else. She hoped next week's present was better than this snowglobe. A snowglobe. She set it on the coffee table. Something in the globe caught her eye, causing her attention to return to it. Did something move? She picked the globe up again and really looked at it this time. On the base was a tiny metal plate bearing the words, "Philadelphia. December 25, 1773." The scene was of people that were dressed in really old-timey clothes, like Pilgrims wore, she thought. They were moving! Hey, this is cool! It's like watching TV, only in miniature! She looked more carefully at the scene in the globe. It appeared to be inside a one-room house. Four children and a woman were in the room. The woman was standing before a lit fireplace, preparing a meal. A man came in the door. She could could see past his shoulder outside, that it was snowing. No, she wasn't shaking the globe... He carried a dead goose by its feet. He handed the bird to the woman who immediately handed gave it over to their eldest daughter, a copper-headed girl 7 or 8 years old. Her own age? She looked a little more closely at the girl and realized they both had the same color of hair. The girl in the globe sat down and began pulling feathers from the goose. The girl's mother said, "When you get done there, I want you to help gut and clean it. After that we'll make the pudding." "Ew! Some Christmas!" muttered the girl holding the snow globe. How could her counterpart inside the globe be having any fun? [What our modern-day girl is watching are preparations for a colonial Christmas. When it was celebrated, it did not resemble a modern Christmas celebration. Aside from the metal plate on the globe, the only other indication of holiday fare was evergreens and mistletoe over the window and door. Christmas celebrations varied throughout the colonies, from the Puritans in New England who outlawed Christmas until the mid-19th century, to the Southern Anglicans whose revelries most closely match modern Christmas celebrations. For those who did celebrate Christmas, December 25th was considered the first day of the season, a season which lasted normally 12 days, until January 6th. Wherever Christmas was celebrated in early America, it generally did not include or emphasize children. Holiday events didn't center around youngsters, nor were they invited to attend. Church was for everyone, however feasts, parties, balls, fox-hunts, and fine entertainments were only for adults. The emphasis on Christmas as a magical time for children didn't come about until the nineteenth century. The Dutch and Germans in particular are to be thanked for centering Christmas in the home and within the family circle. Holiday feasts in the colonial period weren't what we have today. December was the right time for slaughtering, so fresh meat of all sorts they had, as well as some seafood. Beef, goose, ham, and turkey counted as holiday favorites. Some households also insisted on fish, oysters, mincemeat pies, and brandied peaches.] Next week: Gift #2 CHRISTMAS NOSTALGIA Nostalgia: (noun) 1. the state of being homesick: homesickness; 2. a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition; something that evokes nostalgia. This holiday season I'd like to do something different. It's always *my* stories, *my* adventures, *my* nostalgia. This time, let's make it YOURS. We all have memories... we all have memories from Christmas past. What are your most poignant, most nostalgic ones? For the next four weeks, or for as long as I have stories, I'll print your memories in the Sunday Morning Coffee. I'll name your first name only and won't give your email address. Send your nostalgic story to me at <email@example.com> no later than Tuesday, December 3rd. I'll start this off with a memory of my own and I guess I should tell you all, this is a true story... THE NIGHT I SAW SANTA CLAUS My family and I had just come back to the United States from a tour of duty in Japan where my soldier-father had been stationed. In those days, troops (and their family members) took ships not planes. We docked in San Francisco on December 23rd and were picked up at the port by some very close friends of my parents. We went to their home for dinner and that's where I saw THE MOST beautiful tree lights I'd ever seen! They were bubble lights and I was completely entranced by them. (Those lights remained in my memories until adulthood, when I'd finally have bubble lights on my own tree.) My parents had two young daughters at the time, both of whom were very much into Santa Claus! However, our untimely arrival into California meant spending Christmas Eve in a hotel room. Actually, I don't think that was a bad thing, but my mother hated it. I don't know whose idea it was, nor do I know how it got there, but before my sister and I went to bed that night, we had a scrawny, sickly-looking 2' tree in our room with paper decorations on it. To my young eyes at the time, it was absolutely splendid! :) As a 5-year old, I was too excited to sleep. I knew ALL about this Santa business and I knew it meant PRESENTS! I worried, though, about how He was going to find us since we were in a hotel and not at home. There wasn't even a fireplace for him to come down. Daddy said he'd leave the door and the windows to our room open so Santa would be sure to find us. I'm sure I must have drifted in and out of sleep that night, or perhaps I'd really been able to stay awake... I looked around the darkened room. Everyone was still sleeping, so I knew it wasn't time to get up and open presents. Then, over in a corner of the room I saw movement! It came down the corner of the room (really!) from the ceiling. I figured it came in through the window that was a foot from the corner of the room. SANTA CLAUS!!!!! This took some quick thinking... I couldn't be awake! I ducked back under the covers, pulled them over my head, and closed my eyes. The next morning when we woke up, there were presents under the tree! It really was Santa that I'd seen; he really found us! As a result of that night, to this day nobody can tell me there isn't a real Santa. I know there is; I've seen him. :) ...And today, I can't help but wonder if that Christmas night in a hotel didn't today make my own family's Christmas a little more sparkly, a little more exciting, a little more special. CHRISTMAS RECIPES FROM 1879 Many of us are busy with major amounts of holiday cooking. I own a book, "Housekeeping in old Virginia," edited by Marion Cabell Tyree (Louisville, KY: John P. Morton & Company, 1879) that, for your enjoyment over the next couple weeks, I'll extract one or two (actual) recipes from. You can do some comparing of how our great grandmothers cooked, then and now. Keep in mind ~ they weren't cooking over the ranges we use today. Here's today's: CHRISTMAS PLUM PUDDING Half a loaf of bread (grated). 1 pound currants. 2 pounds stoned raisins. 1 pound chopped suet. 6 eggs. 2 pieces of citron, cup up. Beat the yolks of the eggs with two cups of flour and some milk, then stir in the other ingredients, adding a little salt and ginger. If too stiff, add more milk. The water must be boiling when the pudding is put in. It will take two hours to cook. TO ROAST GOOSE A goose must never be eaten the same day it is killed. If the weather is cold, it should be kept a week before using. Before cooking let it lie several hours in weak salt and water, to remove the strong taste. Then plunge it in boiling water, for five minutes, if old. Fill the goose with a dressing made of: Mealy Irish potatoes, boiled and mashed fine. A small lump of butter. A little salt or fresh pork chopped fine. A little minced onion. Parsley, thyme, and a pinch of chopped or powdered sage. Grease with sweet lard or butter. Lay in a pan with the giblets, neck, etc. Pour in two teacups of boiling water, set in a hot oven, and baste frequently. Turn so that every part may be equally browned. Serve with gravy or onion sauce. The above recipe will answer equally as well for duck. DID YOU KNOW...? ... that the first decorated tree was at Riga in Latvia, in 1510? Christmas trees became such a popular practice that by 1561 an ordinance was passed limiting the size of trees cut to 8 feet. Decorations on these trees were elaborate - candles, sweets and dolls. ... that Christmas trees were not popular in England until the German influence prevailed in the 19th century when Queen Victoria married a German nobleman, Prince Albert? He brought the first Christmas tree to Windsor Castle for the royal family in 1834. ... that tinsel was invented in Germany around 1610? At that time real silver was used, and machines were invented which pulled the silver out into the wafer thin strips for tinsel. Silver was durable, but tarnished quickly, especially with candlelight. Attempts were made to use a mixture of lead and tin, but this was heavy and tended to break under its own weight so was not so practical. So silver was used for tinsel right up to the mid-20th century. ... that Holly was considered to be magical because of its shiny leaves and its ability to bear fruit during the winter? It was believed that in a syrup it would stop coughs and that when hung over one's bed, would induce sweet dreams. It was also popular in the celebration of the Roman Saturnalia and it was the Romans who brought it to England. Family ... it's what we're all about. To you December babies - the cousins and I wish you a very happy and exciting year ahead. Happy Birthday! You are loved! Thank you for allowing me to spend this time with you today. I wish each of you a week filled with health, productivity, fun, and above all, filled with love and inner peace. ) ( ) _.-~~-. (@\'--'/. Colleen ('``.__.'`) `..____.'