The Chain Smoking Angel is a Christmas Tradition in my house

I have spent considerable time reflecting and remembering on Christmas past. I decided to take on the Weekly Challenge at WordPress: Just Do It. My buddy over at Brown Road Chronicles inspired me and reminded me of the oddball assortment of Christmas decorations that adorn my tree. I am one of those Christmas Geeks who ‘theme’ out my tree. This year I have a Tiffany & Co tree,151071_10151349105206337_749003960_n

a Disney Tree,577823_10151359535226337_541165187_n

a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree404982_10151307316561337_1108099625_n019

and of course, the regular tree.

Decorating the tree was always a huge deal in my house. It was my mom’s favorite time of year. Now that her favorite little one’s (the grandkids) are all bigger than her, some of the magic sparkle has left the holidays. We cheer her up by sitting around after dinner/breakfast/lunch/dinner and reminisce about Christmas Past.  (Proof that I existed):73256_10151359512121337_124215547_n

That is me (pre-clown hair) in 1968 with my groovy cool dadeo.

When I was 4, we moved to row housing in Sherwood Park. This was my first Christmas memory. I remember getting Baby Tenderloin and 64 crayola crayons. All I remember of my brother was him in flannel pjs. I remember my mom hanging a box of angels on the tree. It was the 60’s, angel’s came in bulk. These fancy angels all were holding ‘so called’ candles. They never fooled me for one minute. These angels were chain smokers.

In those days everyone smoked, so it never occurred to me that angels wouldn’t. This drove my my crazy, “THOSE ARE NOT CIGARETTES!!” The more she denied it the more my brother and I were convinced she was lying. Mom carefully bent the ‘candle’ perpendicular with the angel and my brother and I spent hundreds of hours bending the candles so the angel could smoke. Tell me what you think.

Non-smoking angel:photo 1 (2)

Smoking Angel:photo 2 (1)

She even had a groovy black filter and kind of looked like Phyllis Diller. See for yourself:Phyllis-Diller-post-new

This year the after dinner conversation will start with “mom, why did you hang Phyllis Diller on our tree every year?” This should generate some heated frustrated conversation from my mom. You can’t call it Christmas and not have the mom go a little crazy.

 

Merry Christmas to all my Edmonton Tourist readers. I appreciate you more than you can every really know. Happy Holidays 🙂

This year would be a new tradition!

The last post of 2011 goes to my dear friend Kelly, known to the WordPress world as My Naked Bokkie. Odd name yes, she explained once to me that it was a South African term of endearment for a boy or something…I am SURE I have it wrong. At any rate, I call her Bokkie and she calls me Ed. Bokkie has been through her share of ups and downs (mostly downs) but still manages a laugh and a smile for her friends. To read the prequal to this post, I invite you to take a peek here. To just hang out with Bokkie, visit here. You will see me and Brown Road over there. We like to frequent South Africa for a change of pace now and then.

Now on with the words!

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A new tradition would take place this Christmas!!

I had made that decision a few weeks into December. Why? The main reason was because the last few years had taken ALL the tradition we once had. This year I would find something that was really all about us, about our home, and perhaps about South Africa.

Although we had all decided NO Christmas gifts this year, I still wanted to give everyone “something” for joining our Christmas lunch. I thought about making fudge or coconut ice. I thought about buying little Christmas cakes. I thought about ordering individual cupcakes. /9You can see the baker in me coming out- and running hey?) But these things just didn’t make me warm and fuzzy!

Sometime in November, just a few weeks before, I had been looking into our hill behind our house from the guest bedroom with My Princess. I commented about the amount of bird’s nests in the trees. It was a realistic comment, I would not be exaggerating if I suggested that there must be a couple of hundred.

Do they look like bird's nest to you? This is the view from our guest bedroom.

You see my eye sight has diminished somewhat…. Turns out that these were not bird’s nests at all but Protea flowers, and those trees were specifically Protea Plants. (Let’s credit my knight for bringing that realisation to hand.)

Here is a better photo. Those could very easily be mistaken for bird's nests, don't you think?

Doing a bit of a “google, I” found that there are in fact more than 80 species of Protea Plants, and they don’t all grow in bushes 1 meter high (Clearly my confusion….?) I don’t sound very patriotic, do I? The fact is we learnt about the plant in school, we would see it on excursions, but it didn’t grow in our back yard.

Why so special? The Protea Plant is one of our national symbols for South Africa. It is also the name of our cricket team! As far as I know (I could be wrong), you need to have a licence to sell the Protea flower/plant, and they don’t grow in back yards! They cost a fortune when you do purchase one, but they do last for weeks. Although they are not the most beautiful flower, they do send a sense of patriotism through each of us.

And we had trees and trees and trees in our land!!!!

There we go. I see better through the lens on my camera! They are clearly flowers and not bird's nests. Silly me!!

I had a plan. A Christmas Tradition Plan.

I would give everyone a Protea flower to take home when Christmas lunch was done. It was a thought, and it was special. It was from our home, and it was very African! (And please note that it was not a simple as popping out into your garden and picking a few flowers.)

Ah ha! I had another great idea.

We decided that we would give each and every person that joined us for Christmas lunch a lottery ticket. We never buy lottery tickets. I honestly believe that God will not make us wealthy through gambling. We could debate it for hours, but to some small extent you could see my point.

But if we bought tickets for everyone else, just a row each- it would not be gambling. They would not be spending money on the chances of winning; they would merely receive that chance. We expected nothing from the ticket, but we gave “potentially” the best Christmas anyone could ever have. Potentially.

It was a small token, but it could be so much greater. It was out of our hands.

When My Knight was purchasing 13 individual one line lottery tickets the cashier clearly thought he was nuts. He felt the need to explain….. “my wife (yes he calls me that…hsi common law wife) is giving them away as Christmas Presents”, the cashier “what happens if they don’t win?” It should be “what happens if they do win?”

He clearly did not get my point!

Christmas morning, amongst all the commotion of very early guests (more annoying then late guests) and trying to get everything done by remaining calm and collected on the outside, I “instructed” my knight to climb through the electric fence, up our little mountain and start chopping.

I knew deep down he was trying to get out of it. His thought had disappeared!

He came back with a bucket full and broken kitchen scissors. I would hold back and not comment about the scissors. Good idea right?

After Christmas lunch, I brought the vases filled with Proteas to the table we were sitting at outside, and handed one to each of our guests. The tickets were from the night before, which meant that we didn’t need to wait. Once everyone had untied their lottery ticket from the flower, my knight googled the lotto numbers for the 24th of December, and we all started counting. There was an awesome sense of excitement around that table at that point.

There was nothing perfect about the vases filled with Proteas, but they did look special.

You gather that I didn’t win! (Sorry Ed- but i may not have done the guest blog if i had.) Unfortunately nor did any of our guests. But let’s not forget the potential to be the best Christmas Lunch ever- for someone.

I liked this.

This year was the start to our new tradition. Maybe next year we can start the tradition of winning?