Last updated on July 14th, 2022 at 04:29 pm
Holiday traditions that I have created throughout the years are the presents that I share every day throughout the month of December with family and friends.
These are the traditions of my dream American life in the country.
There are the frosty winter vineyard hikes through the property collecting mistletoe, holly, and wild rosehips, then returning back with muddy boots, rosy cheeks, and an appetite for hot cocoa with fresh vanilla whipped cream and candy canes.
Trimming the tree is a favorite activity, as the ornaments are carefully unwrapped and I tell my little ones about the origin of every decoration.
The first ornament to go on the tree, front and center, is the one from my Aunt Nancy.
She made it for me ten years ago. It’s adorned with buttons from some of my father’s shirts that his mother, my beloved grandmother, made for him as a small boy.
I love Christmas . . .
Only after all the lights are on, ornaments carefully hung, homemade paper chain and popcorn garland draped does daddy lift one of our children up to place the star on top.
This year it was my daughter’s turn to do the honor. I recalled the first year she did this when she looked just like Cindy Lou Who, who also “was no more than two.”
Along with the “Rat Pack Christmas” music ringing through our home this time of year, loads of giggles accompany the joy as we build our gingerbread house and cut out dozens and dozens of paper snowflakes to suspend from the ceiling in the children’s room.
Poking oranges with whole cloves, and creating the intoxicatingly aromatic pomanders is another of our favorite traditions, passed to me by my grandmother, and I think of her in these moments, and count another blessing.
We selected our perfect box of Christmas cards when we were at Crater Lake this year and each member of our family signs, and they are delivered to the post office where we receive packages and cards from friends and loved ones.
This week begins the . . . Baking! Baking! Baking!
While my husband, Bryan, continues to track and make the wines at the winery during the week, the children and I will dance around the cozy home, making a mess of Santa size proportions rolling out dough, cracking walnuts collected from the ground out front, cooling and wrapping up cookies and turning our kitchen into a real elves workshop.
We conclude each day with our favorite story from one of the dozens of holiday books we’ve collected over the years.
Mama reads out loud to everyone until Christmas eve when daddy will gift us with the reading of the classic, “T’was the Night Before Christmas”, which is his very own copy from his childhood.
With my heart full of joy, I share with all, the traditions and blessings that I hope my children will carry in their hearts for always and wish you peace and love now and into a bright, shiny New Year.
Shellie Croft is a farmer, author, winemaker, cook, and enologist in the heart of Willamette Valley, Oregon.
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