I, like most children, loved Christmas. My folks went all out and with four children, that was massive. Two boys, two girls, with scads of toys, clothes, and gifts for each individual interest. My dad was genius at selecting the right gifts. That sort of made up for what he lacked as a dad.
Interesting as I look back, is the fact that each Christmas morning, my mother insisted my siblings and I were dressed for day. You can see in the picture that my brother Eric had on a tie. My other brother, Rick, well, he was the rebel. I’m standing next to Eric, behind my sister Patty, who often spends Christmas’s with me even today. That picture was taken about 1966. Oh, we always had to look completely surprise, though we had to walk through the room where the tree stood in the bay window to get to where we stood.
My mother loved Christmas—everything about it. She worked hard to create the atmosphere in the house of tree, electric candles in every window of the house, dozens of Christmas cookies throughout the season, and of course, her banana bread. No Christmas morning was complete without banana bread, hot chocolate, and tons of gifts.
From my first Christmas away from home, I wanted those kinds of Christmas’s. No tiny trees for me. They had to be real, despite the mess, and decorated with tons of ornaments. The only thing I have never done is used the silver tinsel, or icicles as my mother called them. I never had the patience. Mom put them on one at a time and I simply didn’t want to bother.
I’ve collected ornaments over the years, bought on every vacation, or just bought, if they caught my eye. I collected yearly ornaments for my children, then gave them all to them when they got married, so they had a start on their own trees.
I collected animated carolers and angels and decorated every corner of the house. Now, it’s a little different. We live in a smaller place and I left behind much of my collection when we moved five years ago. Now we put up an artificial tree (something I went to quite a few years ago) and I don’t do much decorating at all.
I decorate our tree with some ornaments that hung on my Christmas trees when I was a child. The same for my husband. I smile when I see them each year, along with those I’ve collected since I was 18 years old. I also put new photos of my children and grandchildren on the tree. I’ve always done that, with my kids’ school pictures, and it’s a tradition that I’m maintained.
We enjoy having the kids over, but not all the fuss. I also do all my shopping online. How nice that is.
We aren’t party people, but Christmas Eve is important to us. We usually have a big dinner, if all the kids can make it. If not, we have Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, including pumpkin pie. My life wouldn’t be worth a plug nickel if I didn’t have pumpkin pie! That and a couple of lemon meringue pies for out eldest daughter and my husband.
I like to get family pictures, it’s about the only time I can wrangle the whole group together during the year. I love looking at all the old family pictures, all duly labeled so everyone knows who is in picture and when it was taken.
The one thing I’ve learned over the years is how much things change. I’m not good with change, seeing everyone getting older, and feeling the age creeping up on me as well. I can’t quite believe that our grandson, Sebastian is almost 15 and our granddaughter is 7, but they are and each year, they bring new joys to our lives.
They enjoy the fact that our daughter Kim still wears her Santa hat on Christmas morning. We prepare stockings for everyone, and we don’t let the family tear into the gifts. Everyone opens their gifts one at a time, so the family sees each gift. Somehow, I think that practice makes us all appreciate the gifts even more.
Tradition is something that I treasure. I can’t say my kids will continue what I’ve started, but if they don’t, it won’t be because they aren’t familiar. They certainly have spent many years steeped in tradition.
Now to give a little of that tradition to you, here is my mother’s recipe for Banana Nut Bread. Let me know if you enjoy it as much as we do.
Happy Holidays and much love to you and yours.
Mama Gladys’s Banana Nut Bread
Preheat the oven at 350.
½ cup shortening
½ cup sugar
1 well-beaten egg
2 tbsp water
1 ½ cup mashed ripe bananas
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup chopped nuts
Cream shortening and sugar, add egg and mix thoroughly.
Combine water and bananas; add alternately with sifted dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Add vanilla and nuts.
(for moister bread, add more bananas. Of course, you can add more nuts as well. Adjust your baking time for the moister batter.)
Bake in loaf pan that you’ve sprayed with Pam (or equivalent) in a 350 oven for 1 hour. Check after 45 minutes to prevent over baking.
Check for doneness with toothpick. Should come out clean.
Let cool for a few minutes, then take out of loaf pan, cut into slices, smear with butter, and enjoy.
About Brita Addams
Born in a small town in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.
Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals, as well as few contemporaries, have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.
Tarnished Gold, the first in her Tarnished series for Dreamspinner, received honorable mention, and is a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, historical romance category.
Brita and her husband love to travel. They’ve taken no less than twenty-five cruises and countless long car trips, as well as completed a Civil War battlefield tour, and visits to many sites involved in the American Revolutionary War. Their 2013 anniversary tour of England, Scotland, and Wales gave Brita fodder for many new tales.
On a trip to Hollywood, California, Brita stood in the footprints of some of her favorite actors—Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and many others, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and has even kissed Mickey Rooney.
A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.
Readers can find Brita Addams at any of the following places: