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What I am: Complicated. A mom. A wife. A thinker. A seeker. A 'musician'. One of the volunteer executive directors of a niche music festival. An administrative business owner who set up shop in a senior's condo. Oh the stories!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Tracy takes the Fruitcake...

Joe Morgan

A really weird thing happened to me today.  After all these years, I never thought I’d see the day.  I ate fruitcake…and I liked it.  I haven’t tried it since I was a kid and thereafter would not go near the stuff.  It was packed full of awful things, like raisins, currents and those big hunks of odd green and red cherries.  And candied peel.  Ew.  Why would you candy something you’re supposed to throw away?   

After all the time I spent bitterly complaining about the Christmas gift that never goes away, I am horrified to have to eat my words… along with another slice of fruitcake…because it’s not that bad!  I must be getting old.  Soon, hot water will be my beverage of choice.  “No thanks, no eggnog for me, just some hot water if you have.”

Come to think of it, Christmas was a time where we ate weird things in my family, and I looked forward to most of them.  Now I said most of them.  Mincemeat and tomato aspic were and still are off limits. (Seriously?  Tomato jello??  Do NOT eat that, whatever you do.  It’s a trick.) 

Our traditions were somewhat unique as well.  Maybe it comes from being half French and half Ukrainian, I’m not sure, but when Christmas Eve rolled around there was stuff on the table that my friends never talked about having.  It would start with snacks like smoked oysters, and pickled herring  but then…thrill of thrills, we’d get to open the BOXED CHOCOLATES!!  Could there be anything more exciting than being one of the first to choose from the Pot of Gold?  Usually you’d find the box a week after Christmas with one or two lone orange creams rattling around inside. You knew they were orange creams for sure because someone had poked the bottoms to check.  Even in the throes of post-holiday sugar withdrawal, no one would be desperate enough to eat them.  Just like the dish of Satin Mix hard candies that my grandma would have on her counter til Easter.

Christmas Eve supper was in keeping with our version of the French tradition of Le Réveillon.  Along with the tourtiere, there was usually a stew of pork hocks, yes feet. Throw in a few perogies and cabbage rolls and the Ukrainian side was balanced out. We were so stuffed that we had good reason to refuse dessert (fruitcake). 

Midnight mass was the epicentre of our Christmas celebration, as we always sang in the choir.  But because we would basically be up all night, our parents made us have a nap in the evening.  A nap. Imagine. There was no time more exciting than Christmas Eve in our house.  It was the day I’d waited for all year.  I had diligently circled all the items I couldn’t live without from the dog-eared pages of the Sears Christmas Wish Book and there they (maybe) were! Right there under the tree!  Would it be Walking Wendy (creepy doll)?  Lite Brite?  A chemistry set?  Aunts, uncles and cousins were everywhere, there were sugary treats in every corner of the house and they wanted me to what???  Have a nap?!!  

Well, Christmas has changed since we were kids, and has most certainly changed for us this year.  For the first time in my life, I will not be celebrating Christmas at my childhood home, but in my own home.  We will be with family and we will create new traditions.  It’s still all about food and the people you love, isn’t it? What more can we ask for?  

Whatever belief or creed you hold, whatever religion you observe, I would like to wish you joy in the season.  I think we all share a common belief that in whatever way we celebrate, we are celebrating hope.  For me, Christmas is not complete until my eyes fill with tears as I hear the opening strains of ‘O Holy Night'.  This song, to me, is one of the most beautiful ever composed.
  Fall on your knees
 O hear the angel voices
O night, divine
O night, o night divine.
Merry Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post Tracy. My Aunties make amazing fruitcake and every year I hope they send me some:) Have a wonderful Christmas and all good things to you and yours in 2013.


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