Service of Holiday Memories II

December 21st, 2020

Categories: Family, Holiday Memories, Memories, Pandemic, Tradition

Since 2008, when I launched my blog, I’ve occasionally written about holiday memories. As many will be spending this season without loved ones–Dr. Fauci said it’s the first year since his daughters were born that he won’t be with them at Christmas–I suspect that those who do gather will be saying, “Do you remember the year…..?” Others will recollect quietly.

As I draft this post salt-free butter is reaching room temperature in the kitchen. I plan to make the Christmas cookies I’ve baked–or helped make–since childhood [photo above]. I shared the recipe in 2009 in “Season of Seasonal Treats.” One year my mother and I made hundreds which we gave as gifts. Together, on her last Christmas, we baked them so she could enjoy the familiar fragrance in her apartment.

I remember a Christmas Eve my oldest nephews, in their late teens, carved the turkey for the extended family sit-down dinner celebration for 30 I hosted alone. I dipped into the kitchen to check on progress and saw them dusting off soil from the bird. I never asked how they knocked over a plant that hung well above the counter on which they were working, nor did I acknowledge the accident at the time. I was most grateful that everyone pitched in that year.

Were or will your 2020 Hanukah or Christmas gatherings be different? Have you thought of past celebrations more than usual? At every fête, before we dig in, our family toasts “les absents,” those missing from our holiday table. This Christmas I will raise a glass to all of you.


9 Responses to “Service of Holiday Memories II”

  1. EAM Said:

    In 1997, my family reunited in Costa Rica for the Christmas holiday. We went from frigid temps and swapped our winter clothes for shorts and T-shirts. We visited the tropical forest, a volcano, and ate foods like plantains. It was a memorable vacation. Merry Christmas Jeanne xo.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Lovely! I’ve been away from family during the holidays when I lived in North Dakota and Turkey but our family never gathered for a destination Christmas. I bet it was great fun! And a Merry Christmas to you, too, EAM!

  3. BC Said:

    I remember first Christmases as a child, sledding down the driveway,
    drinking hot cocoa my Mother brought to me when I was ice skating at
    the public park in my hometown, and all the lovely seasons spent with
    those loved ones from the past and present. Strong memories of the
    snow play with our son, building snow forts, watching our malamute
    pull our son on a small sleigh in the front yard in the snow, and singing special
    music in church at Christmas . Now, church is virtual😢

    I/ we are coasting onsweet memories as we plough through this COVID time. It ain’t over
    Til the fat lady sings- now there is a new strain of COVID in England
    and Europe. Pray for the current vaccine to afford some protection
    from that! The flu viruses have mutated for years. Anyway, enjoy the
    Holidays as you live one day at a time.

  4. Loretta Adams Said:

    Loretta on Facebook: I have a Christmas Journal Book….each year writing down who visited, special gifts, dinner menu and other tidbits. This year reminiscing through the book will be even more special, and my notes about 2020 I hope, will never be written again.

  5. Francine Ryan Said:

    Francine on Facebook: I keep track of all my holiday menus and who attends each Christmas gathering. This year, we’ll be much smaller, due to family who can’t leave Rhode Island because of COVID.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Francine and Loretta,

    The only thing I keep track of year to year are the gifts I’ve given, the cards I’ve mailed and the tips for building staff [so nobody gets less than the year before by mistake].

    Food is pretty much the same year to year. Our family loves lamb or rib roast. For a few years I’d make a buche de noel [Christmas log] with meringue “mushrooms.” The first time I did my father shared one of only two stories he told me about being a prisoner of war in WWII. The prisoners received care packages. They gave the baker among them the chocolate and cake and other ingredients he could use and he made a buche. When he presented it to the men many cried.

  7. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda wrote on Facebook: Pretty sure everyone’s holiday celebration will be very different this year, but as the song goes “we’re still here” and should be grateful.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    As the characters on Blue Bloods say, “Copy that!” The thing about memories is that the pandemic can’t chase them away.

  9. Lucrezia Said:

    First I hear of a soil basted turkey! Who knows? It may have enhanced the taste! Merry Christmas and Happy (bloody better be) New Year to all!

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