We were moving to Florida, leaving the home we had come to love to move on to a new adventure in living. This move was not going to take place until the end of June. I needed to mention that fact so you would know that this is the reason it was my last Christmas with daddy. My hubby was retiring and we wanted to live in a smaller home with less maintenance and a warmer climate. But this story is not about the move so I will begin the real story.
It was our tradition for the family to gather at our house on Christmas Eve for the yearly gathering and exchanging of gifts. Our gift exchange was a name drawing, which took place the first year at Thanksgiving, after that it was done at the Christmas Eve Bash. One year Santa actually paid us a visit and passed out the gifts. That was such a nice year and an unexpected surprise that was enjoyed by everyone. I would prepare for this bash many months in advance by making hand made ornaments to hang on the tree. Each year they would be different. Sometimes it was cross-stitch Christmas designs in a small gold plastic frame or a triangular Santa made of plastic grid. One year it was Oreo Cookies, another it was reindeer made of either spoons or clothespins. It was different each year and when the guess would arrive they would look over this years selections and take one of their choice to place on their tree. Soon it became a tradition and they would be asking me in advance what their ornaments would be this year. I would giggle and tell them part of the fun is the surprise. It was always a thrill to go visiting and see that they had hung them on their trees. Even today I can visit and see them hanging there, gives me such a nice feeling and brings back good memories. Soon others were bringing ornaments to replace the ones they took, this was always a nice surprise.
The cooking took at least two days preparation after the shopping was done. We had such a spread and there were such a wide variety of things to select from. Every one had a favorite and it had to be included in the menu each year. And I always tried to find new dishes I thought they would like. Some became favorites and some did not. Those that did not were long forgotten. But we had two tables full of food delights and one coffee table filled with cookies, nuts, candies (many of which were homemade), and fruit. One of my hubby's favorites was bread pudding. I did not make this dish, I did not really care for it myself but he loved it. One of our family members made this each year and brought it for him special. It was a special dish for Jim and Dale made it with his own special ingredients. There was never any left after the evening was over. We provided all the rest of the food it was our gift to everyone. And from the looks of the remains they loved their gifts.
Hubby was the big decorating man and he sure went all out for that too. There was not a corner of that house that was not lit up to the hilt. So, much sparkle and glitter everywhere. It just added to the festiveness of the occasion. He was in his own little heaven, as he would get on the ladder to hand those strings of lights around the room. Even the bathroom was all decked out in lights and Christmas garb. He was a very special elf at this time and relished in the joy he seen on our visitors eyes as they walked in the door.
Everyone enjoyed the planned games of the evening also which were also different each year. But this last year stands out in my mind. It was more elaborate than any other had been because we knew it would be our last party before moving. We played a game that was popular on TV at the time where you are given a thing to draw and either team had to guess what you were drawing. My bother was an artist and lent us his easel for this purpose and I purchased a huge drawing pad. Our guests had such a good time and my dad really shared in all the fun and he was such a cut up on his turn. He always was so cheerful on these occasions. We also played a game that when the guest arrived they had the name of a famous person placed on their backs, they had to try and find out who they were. You could ask any one person yes or no questions until you got a no answer, then you had to move on to another person and continue the question process until you finally guessed who you were. There were silly prizes given out and everyone loved the game. I was Chuck Woolery, oh how I loved that mans smile.
So these are the things I shared with my dad that last Christmas before we moved. We had given him a dictionary that year as our gift. He said he had always wanted one with large print. He was quite pleased. Then we moved and the parties stopped of course. We did get back to see him one time after that at Christmas, the year of the big accident (see entry: Yes, Virginia, There Are Guardian Angels) but because of the way things worked out we only got to see dad very briefly. Hubby was really in bad shape and did not want to be doing much of anything that visit but stay in bed. My dad died a few years later on my birthday in August so that was truly my last Christmas with daddy. I miss him and I also miss those parties so much. We can't go back it is never the same but I can keep my happy memories of those parties forever and I do think of them each year at this time.
And least I forget this is flower Friday so I made this set of potholders which I desperately needed. I use Lion Brand cotton for the leaves in Lime. And Peaches and cream in country blue variegated for the flower. I used an "H" hook throughout. As you can see from the second picture they match my kitchen nicely.
The pattern can be found at Crochet Soiree. I believe you have to sign up to get their free patterns but signing up is also free.