T’was the week before Christmas
At Bonaparte Chateau
The crooked tree’s lights
Gave ethereal glow
Some holiday stress was to be my condition
As I thought of my blog
Do I write of tradition?
I’ll write of egg nog and traditions of past,
And wonderful memories that brought joy and did last
So read on and be touched by my words and pic’s sights
And remember who comes in six more wondrous nights!
Just in case your memory needs to be refreshed–the ethereal glow from the crooked tree!
It’s so hard to think of anything to write about during this season of Christmas. I started writing about my filthy gutter mouth and my obsession with the “f” word, but I would much rather wait until after Santa arrives for that. After all, I don’t want coal in my stocking.
Oh. That was LAST year. I think I’ve been pretty good this year!
Instead I will focus on Christmas memories past. And mention of some traditions!
Here’s a goody from Christmas past. Me with the Jack-in-the-Box and my sister, Sissy. I’m guessing my passion for plaid goes back to around 1958. Dig the tinsel!
My parents were crazed with Christmas. They always went overboard every year. They would place the presents under the tree after we went to bed on Christmas Eve, then after midnight they would wake us up to tell us Santa arrived.
My father was obsessed. OBSESSED with tinsel. He was so obsessed that he practically ruined decorating the tree for everyone. The weird thing is, I GET it now. The tinsel had to be just so. It’s funny because I remember all of those ornaments–this pic is from the 1950’s!
I must have been a very good girl that year–1959. Santa brought me two dolls! Who am I looking at? I’ll tell you who–nobody. My mother used to make me look to the side when taking photos so I would not look as cross-eyed as I really AM!
Oh this is much better. My eye looks incredibly crossed! Do we now know why I love to iron clothes so much. It was ingrained at a young age. No wonder I love the color red!
The house was chaotic—especially after the family grew to five kids. Wrapping paper thrown everywhere, screaming with happiness. The kettle whistling just in time to have that last cup of tea before bed…it was fun….
The calm before the storm. I guess my parents ended up with a fake tree for a few years–I have to say–it’s pretty fake looking but the tinsel is FABULOUS!
We had the Florida years…
Christmas. Florida. 1981. Twins 13 years apart. Me with a pixie cut and my brother Pete-the best birthday gift I ever received!
My poor mother, rest her soul. She’s happily opening Christmas gifts. I love her big hair!
After I became a parent, we had the New York City years.
With my little elf, Jake. Two months old and his first Christmas!
One of the few years that Roman sat for a pic with Santa.
Macy’s Herald Square 1987. Roman slept through this.
I drove over the bridge from Manhattan to Paramus Park Mall in Jersey to see Santa. 1992.
Yes. I did. I dressed Jake up and walked over to the studio at Channel 7 to take a picture with Regis Philbin. I wanted a memory of my favorite morning show. Don’t judge! Jake doesn’t look too happy. ……
My “fat ass” Christmas. I think it was baby weight from Oona… *yeah right*
My “skinny ass” Christmas. This is MUCH better. I could cry looking at my ass. I remember that skirt well. Size 4. FOUR! Suede. I need to go on a diet come January 1st!
Oona with a random Santa. I think this was at St. Ignatius or Good Shepherd.
Oh…and just in case Jake wonders if I really AM his mother…….
Then the New Jersey Years.
Oona during the “American Girl” years Christmas! I actually still have that hat. I loved it so much on her that I hoarded it!
More “American Girl” This was the Samantha Christmas!
Jake–ever the Red Sox fan–and the great Fenway pop up book. More plaid pajama bottoms!
Roman and the Giants Christmas. You know, I really like the tree we had that year. We went to a tree farm to cut our own tree and I fell into a ditch. I was seriously cut up. It was the first and last time we cut our own tree!
My brother Pete in the background. Dazed. Just. Dazed!
Now we have the Pennsylvania years and I look forward to Christmas Eve when the kids get home!
Welcome to the Pennsylvania years. This was our tree last year. It wasn’t crooked until it fell. It was just too heavy!
Roman, Chippy, Oona and Jake–before we moved from Wayne to Phoenixville. Chippy looks bewildered!
I’ve made traditions for my own family over the years. One was a birthday cake for baby Jesus. Yes. Me, the woman who is against Hipster Jesus being in any part of politics because church and state need to be separate, actually has a spiritual side. Part of our Christmas dessert was the cake…among other things….
I really really got into baking for Christmas because my mother just never did. All of her baking was done from a box or from the local bakery. I couldn’t understand why she never baked from scratch because she really was an excellent cook. But to me, it ain’t the holiday season if I’m not in the kitchen baking all those goodies from scratch!
I’ll start on 2015 Buche de Noel on Monday!
The biscotti is all done and sealed away for Christmas!
I remember fondly the year I made a great number of shepherd’s costumes for the Christmas Pageant at the boy’s school—and the cool thing is they are probably still being used!
Roman looking angelic at the Christmas pageant. Jake was a shepherd but I can’t find the pictures….
It isn’t a bona fide Christmas pageant without the Angels. Check out the scoreboard in the background! I love Catholic school!
Another tradition is the serving of “Martha Stewart Eggnog“. (click for recipe). Over the years, I’ve adjusted to add more booze than her recipe calls for. I love the fact that she doesn’t add cinnamon either! I also use cheap booze too. Cheap. Expensive. They all have the same effect—which is to make me forget about any issues I may be festering over!
I add a bit more than Martha calls for…but this makes for a delicious Christmas beverage….
The eggnog base is “ageing” in the fridge. Egg yolks, sugar, milk and cream have been added to the booze. Raw eggs you say? The alcohol kills any germs. Trust me! This is gonna be a great batch! I serve it in a huge punch bowl and get out the good china cups!
When we lived in Pennington, NJ, the kids and I would drive to the border of Trenton and Hamilton make our annual visit to “Martel’s Christmas Wonderland”
I wonder if I can get Bonaparte to drive me and Chippy to New Jersey to visit Martel’s tomorrow!
A visual delight for children and adults of all ages. There is nothing—and I mean nothing like this. Sometimes we would visit this illuminated landmark more than once a season. I honestly wish I lived across the street from the Martel family.
Martel’s Wonderland. It gets better every year…
Roman filmed one of our trips to Martel’s….
Oona..dazed at Roman’s film directing.
Then there is the telling not of Mary and Joseph’s trek for the birth of Jesus, but the telling of the “Church” story:
St. Alphonsus. The cutest little church ever.
It was our first Christmas in New Jersey. My father had passed away and my mother was visiting as was my youngest brother. We attended Mass early Christmas Eve so we could get home and have a nice dinner and get the kids to bed early. The church, St. Alphonsus, in Hopewell, was very small and we took up an entire side pew. From the corner of my eye, I could see Roman, who was seven years old, whisper something to my brother, Pete. Pete started laughing uncontrollably. During Mass. Pete whispered something to my mother who almost had a heart attack. She did NOT laugh but looked incredibly surprised.
I motioned for Roman to come over to me. I asked him what he said to Pete.
This time Roman did NOT whisper. He said in a loud voice: ” I told Pete that I ‘m so excited about Santa Claus coming to bring presents tonight that I got a boner!”
I started laughing. Out loud. Father Ralph stood at the pulpit and announced to the congregation: “Well, it looks like the Urbanski family is going to have a fun Christmas!”
The telling of that story, much to Roman’s chagrin, has been recited every Christmas since. These days usually after a few egg nogs!
It is then, when I bring out the greatest short story of all time. “The Haki Sack”. Roman wrote this when he was in third grade and we all get a kick out of it! My Roman. He’s such a good sport!
The best thing about this story was that Roman added a list of all the things he would get us for Christmas when he became a millionaire. I’m getting a Mercedes. Unfortunately the list has been misplaced. I hope that damned elf on the shelf didn’t take off with it!
Traditions change and they evolve—but they are still a part of each family’s festivities. Take a moment and think about your traditions and your memories. Time may be fleeting but memories aren’t.
So have lots of fun making new traditions and fun memories! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!
Remember when the movie “Home Alone” came out? I took Jake and his best friend, Kevin to see it in a movie theatre in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. It was one of the most touching and funny holiday movies ever. Here’s the Divine Miss M with some memories from Home Alone 2!!!