My granny, Mimi as we still call her, was a huge part of my life. She always lived right down the street from us, and all our holidays and summers were filled with days spent at her house. She is a marvelous cook, an excellent seamstress, and I'm pretty sure she was BORN to be a grandma. She's just everything in a granny you could possibly want. This made our holidays with her even more special. There are three things that stand out in my mind when I think of Christmas traditions with my granny, though there are many more I could write about. We won't even mention putting up her tree and nativity, the Christmas morning phone call to see what Santa got us, or going to her house as soon as we were dressed for presents and dinner, because those are a given ;)
Every year my granny would take me shopping a couple weeks before Christmas. Not so much when I was a little kid, but once I became interested in clothes (6th grade and on). We would go to Maurices, JCPenney, and Stage and I would shop all afternoon. I'd try on everything for her, and then show her the things I liked best. She'd send me to the car, and she would then purchase some (or all) of the items. She'd bring them to the car, we'd go get ice cream and head home. If there was time in the day she would box them up while I watched t.v. then I would help her wrap all the presents, including my own. I don't really remember many of the things she bought me, but I will always remember our shopping/wrapping extravaganzas!
I think this tradition started when my dad left, though I'm not for sure. Anyway, a few days before Christmas my Mimi would take my brother and me (objective form, folks, so it's not "I") to the grocery store. We would get a cart, and we would go up and down EVERY aisle. We were allowed to get ANYTHING we wanted. She made sure we had plenty of fruit, and she'd suggest lunch meats and practical things. What was the most fun for us, though, was that we were allowed to get things Mom just couldn't buy on a regular basis. We each got our own kind of soda, our own kind of chips, our own cereal, our own ice cream. We got crackers and cookies and Fruit Roll-Ups. Anything we wanted was ours. We never went crazy (like getting ten kinds of ice cream or anything), but we always ended up with several boxes of our favorite foods and treats. It was one of my favorite things about the holidays!
When I got older, my granny got the recipe for Monster Cookies. You know, the cookies that use something like a dozen eggs and eight cups of oatmeal? I would go down early one morning (early for me is nine, guys) and we would work our muscles mixing the enormous batch of dough. We would bake (and nibble) all day long, boxing up dozens as they cooled, then went around delivering cookies to our family and her friends. Monster cookie day was one of my favorite days. It was something different, not really "traditional" Christmas baking, that we made into our very own Christmas tradition.
Looking back on the things that became special traditions for me makes me excited to see what traditions will be created for Chloe over the next several years. Sometimes the best traditions aren't the ones you force, but the ones that just happen.