The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 20, 2011

Remembering your best Christmas presents

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— Do you recall your best Christmas present ever?  Think about it.

The best Christmas present I ever received was a rag doll made from flour sacks that greeted me that special morning when I was about 6 or 7. Mother had made Margaret, and embroidered her eyes bright blue and gave her yarn braids with pink ribbons for them. She was, and is, a delightful present. She is under our Christmas tree each year to remind me of that special time.

Jim remembers the best Christmas gift he ever received was his one and only new bike. Up to then they had been used or hand-me-downs. That wonderful bike had all the bells and whistles that a bike could have. Right after Christmas he had a wreck with it and hit the back of a parked car. That was the end of that bicycle as it was. It never was quite the same after the new wore off and it was wrecked, but he didn’t ask for another one. He just made do.

We didn’t expect everything in the world back then. We were happy with whatever we received. We understood that Santa had only one sleigh and many, many kids to deliver to all over the world. When we hung our stockings by the fire when we went to bed on Christmas Eve, we could expect a bright red apple, a fresh orange, nuts and Christmas candy.

If we were real lucky, there would be a peppermint stick. We crunched and munched on those treats all day.  

I am concerned about those whose only thought is what they will get for Christmas, with little thought of what they will give to others. Even the little kids in our family make cookies and tree ornaments and little surprises for everyone. They know the joy of giving. If too much emphasis is on what we get, we miss so much  joy of the season. One of the best gifts we have ever received was when friends we have cherished for a lifetime called and said they were bringing cookies, and for us to get a pot of coffee ready. What a deal! They came bringing wonderful cookies and we sat and visited and had a delightful time. That is what Christmas is all about. They gave of themselves and we shared a lovely afternoon.  They brought with them the peace of Christmas.

This is what we all need more than anything that could be purchased at the store. We all need the peace of Christmas. There is much too much hustle and bustle and hurrying and scurrying.  There is much too much impatience and waiting in long lines with everyone in a rush and rude. I am probably guilty too. I may not get all the packages wrapped to my satisfaction, nor all the candy made I have wanted to, but life will go on and I will have the peace of Christmas by listening to lovely music and staying calm.

The best gifts we can ever give or receive are not under the tree, but in our hearts.  Family adds to the joy of the holidays. Even with sadness and loss of family members, there is time for joy and peace. Christmas time is a rather sad time in our family, because we lost Mother and a brother-in-law near  Christmas. Even though we mourn their loss, we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. We will think of others. We will sing carols. We will spread joy to those around us. We will remember the good times. We will have the peace of Christmas.

Sometime over the holidays, both our grand daughters will be home. We will get to enjoy the enthusiasm and excitement of our two great-grandchildren. Our home will be filled with joy and love. We won’t have huge presents to open but we will be filled with the true reason for the season. We  thank God for these young lives who touch ours.   

Friends, too, add to the joy of the season. What would we do without them?  What would we do without our wonderful physicians who give such good care? What would we do without those who help us in rehab and guide us daily and inspire us to take care of our health? What would we do without exercise classes and those who lead us and inspire us to care for our health?  Our dentists, our grocer, our car-keeper and others? Their concern makes every day Christmas.  

It seems, the older we get, the more little things become important. Just seeing  friends and family and sharing in precious memories make Christmas a special time of year.  Aren’t those the very best presents in the world? Who could ask for anything more or better?

Again this year we will spend Christmas Day with my brother and family at his ranch in Pawnee County. We will eat and open presents and play games, outside in the barn if the weather is too cold. We will enjoy seeing the little kids play with their new toys and hear about their surprises Christmas morning.  We will enjoy the decorated Christmas cookies that all the grandchildren make every  year with my sister-in-law.  We will enjoy the warmth of the fireplace and the warmth of conversation and sounds, sights, and aromas of Christmas.  We will be exhausted at the end of the day from too much eating and no naps, and trying to keep up with all the little kids. But it will be a day filled with memories to last a lifetime. We can hardly wait.

We will all bring in our specialty foods and have a lovely meal. This salad has become somewhat of a tradition and several readers have ask that I repeat it. It must be one of your favorites too.


Strawberry and Sour

Cream Salad

• six-ounce package

red Jell-o

• one half cup boiling water

• 20 ounces frozen, sliced,   sweetened strawberries

• eight ounces crushed pineapple, undrained

• three to four bananas, mashed

• eight ounces sour cream

Combine gelatin and hot water and stir until dissolved.  Add strawberries and stir until strawberries melt. Add pineapple and bananas. Pour half of mixture in 9x13 dish.  Chill, but do not chill the other half of mixture. When first half is firm, cover with sour cream. Pour on last half of gelatin mixture. Cover and refrigerate until completely set.

May you experience the peace of Christmas and make lasting memories.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.