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Dipping My Toe in Holiday Waters

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Last year, our holidays were difficult. My mother-in-law was fighting metastasized breast cancer that had spread into her bones. She was in a great deal of pain most of the holiday season and passed away just a few days before Christmas. It was hard to enjoy much of the holiday. I suppose this is why my thoughts have been drifting into Christmas; No apologies given.

Two of the nearby radio stations started playing Christmas music constantly around the clock. For me, this was nice because I could listen a little when the mood strikes me. I know there is Christmas overload in our country, but some people, like me, have reasons for wanting to extend the joy of the holidays. Now I am not going to decorate my house now, but if you want to, I will support you for whatever makes you happy.

We have an internet radio hubby bought me for my birthday a few years ago. Last night he discovered a way to connect his SiriusXM to my internet radio. I will certainly enjoy listening as I work in the house. There are 8 holiday stations, including Radio Hanukkah so that will be fun to explore.

My mind was drifting to holiday candies we enjoyed as children. The first one that came to mind were little golden peanut butter filled pillows. These came in a can and from my research they are still available for purchase. I loved these little morsels! Unfortunately, my late in life peanut sensitivity will not allow me to enjoy them, but you can!

One of my other favorites was ribbon candy. Now, this I am extremely picky about. The ribbon candy MUST be thin. There are lots of lesser quality ribbon candy, but my advice would be to stay away from those. The brand I am most familiar with is Sevigny’s, now made by F.B. Washburn candy company. This photo shows the peppermint variety, but my favorite is the multicolor which you can see on Amazon or other online sites.


Adrigon (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PeppermintRibbonCandy.jpg), „PeppermintRibbonCandy“, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/legalcode

Washburn’s also sells a variety of filled candy which was never my favorite but was always present in our home.

Now, being raised in Virginia, one of my all time favorites are the boxes of stick candy made locally by Helms Candy Company. This company was just down the road from my grandparent’s farm and has been in business since 1906. I still buy the Virginia Beauty assorted candy sticks, but the peppermint candies were a staple at Christmas.

Homemade candy was always big at our house during the holiday season, too. My mother was a master at making the often failing divinity fudge. We always had peanut butter fudge made with both brown sugar (penuche or caramel) and cocoa powder. Being a kid, the best part was eating the samples from the old fashioned soft ball test. I loved waiting for the hot sugar mixture to be dropped into a glass of cold water. And of course who can forget the rolled refrigerator cookies some people call peanut butter potato candy?

Of course, when I lived in Maine, every Christmas meant Needhams. This is a Mound or Almond Joy type of candy made with mashed potatoes, and coconut.

So, no, I am not thinking about decorating any time soon, but I am enjoying thinking about the holidays and remembering the memories from my past.

I am not ready for the stores to go full blown holiday, but in my own space where I can control it, I am having fun.

For those who might want to criticize me, I say, you do you and I’ll do me.

10 thoughts on “Dipping My Toe in Holiday Waters”

  1. Hah! I think it’s slightly terrible that you must post these disclaimers, as if having holiday joy is a crime against humanity or something!
    I have one friend who counts down to Christmas all year and another who’s already saying things like, “Season’s comin!” and another who asked me for cookie ideas. Christmas is NOT my thing, and certainly not in November, but as you say, I shall do me, yadda yadda.
    That being said, I did enjoy the candy memories. My mother also makes candy at Christmas, and you couldn’t possibly know this, but my mother is one of those people who’s always trying to make everything healthy and good for you, which quite gets in the way of cookies and other baked treats, but at Christmas, the woman uses actual sugar, sugar, and more sugar to make the most heavenly sweets and that alone, is cause for celebration. No apologies 🙂

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    1. Thanks for your understanding, Joey. I do not try to push my simple pleasures on anyone else. Cookie making is such fun. Years ago I made cookies for everyone! Lots of tins mailed and packages sent. Now if I make a batch or two, it’s a Christmas miracle!

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      1. I still bake, but not like I used to. Balance. Time and attention (and energy!) should be spent on what we prioritize, and priorities shift.

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  2. My favorite candy, year round, is salt water taffy. One Christmas time my Camp Fire leader taught us how to make and pull taffy. She had a great kitchen complete with a large marble slab, just right for the task. We greased up our hands and went at it. Wrapped each piece in wax paper and gave it as gifts. Enjoy Christmas time, however long it lasts in your home.

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    1. I understand that, Dan. Maybe because I do not go out to the stores much, I don’t see the incessant commercialism. I am just finding the joy and that’s good enough for me. I am all about doing what fits.

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