Happy Holidays

I get nostalgic at Christmastime.

When I and my brothers and sisters were young, we always knew the presents left unwrapped under the tree were from Santa. Wrapped gifts were from mom and dad. Simple. We helped mom decorate cookies and bake loaves of Christmas bread. Stolen, Julekake. Mom made it look easy.

Dad would bring home a pine tree – he preferred balsam – and a wreath for the front door. We’d drag boxes of ornaments from the closet under the stairs as dad got the tree into the stand and put on the lights. Then he’d step back and let us go to town until he couldn’t help himself and join in. He really loved trimming the tree. Remember the dad from “A Christmas Story?” That’s him. My parents even had a coal furnace; I can tell you that clinkers and coal ash are very real.

In the days before Christmas, my parent’s friends would drop by to deliver gifts “for the family.” The highlight was always on Christmas Eve when mom’s friend Betty stopped by with a massive box of chocolates and a loaf of poticia. If you’ve never had the pleasure, think of cinnamon bread filled with a thick paste of walnuts, cinnamon and sugar. Betty introduced mom to putting stockings out on St. Nicholas day. Not beautifully decorated Christmas stockings, you understand. These were our (freshly washed) tube socks. In the morning, they’d be filled with mixed nuts (still in the shells) and hard Christmas candies (unwrapped and collecting fuzz.) It was awesome.

I remember how magical the church looked on Christmas day. How every year I begged my parents to take us to the midnight service (the answer was always no.) I remember going to Grandma’s to open more presents and help them eat their leftovers. And finally, driving around on the way home looking at Christmas lights, with dad complaining we were breathing too hard and fogging the windows. (Darren McGavin must have been channeling my dad in that movie.) I loved every minute of the holidays.

And we here at Carlson Craft couldn’t do what we love without you. From our family to yours, we wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with people you care about and moments you’ll remember all your life.

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