Cold prairie winds blow snow into glistening drifts- family is gathering. Over night guests have arrived from near and far in preparation for a day of celebrating. Grandma and I have been busy with the aunts baking and cleaning- decorating and wrapping..it's Christmas on the farm.
The day is filled with visitors and visiting- treats are nibbled while grown ups share coffee and news. Cousins play in the basement with toys our parents played with when they were little. Anticipation grows as the day wears on.
Around the farm table everyone sets- everyone in their place. Card tables are set for cousins; just off the side of the big table and right next to the treats! Delicious aromas fill the air: roast turkey and buttery mashed potatoes- my mother's clover leaf dinner rolls, jello salads (Watergate and Pretty Pink) set beside a carrot salad and creamy deviled eggs.
When the children become antsy the family makes their way to the big living room. Seats are taken around the magnificent tree as beautifully wrapped gifts are passed from person to person. Crinkly bows and twirly ribbon sparkly against bright colored paper. Dolls and games, cars and books- some clothes and perfumes Pots and pans, sparkly 'what-nots'; gifts are opened and shared together in a carol of laughter and awe.
There are a few quirky little gifts I look forward to like nothing else: the big red stocking and the cardboard story book. The big red stocking made of red netting is filled with silly little 'this-and- thats' that adults consider nonsense any other time of the year. Bouncy little rubber balls and swirly colored marbles; jacks and jump ropes or bubbles and water pistols...odd little 'store bought' candies like chocolate marshmallow Santas and candy coins. The story book is brightly colored cardboard that opens into a book filled with my favorite little hard candy- Lifesavers. A dozen rolls of every flavor they make will surely last me the whole year (not really, but I always think it will).
With gifts all done we trickle toward the kitchen for pinches and tastes from the desert table. Grandma's poinsettia printed tablecloth covers card tables festively displaying her magical treats. Cherry mash candies sit next to her traditional Christmas pie. Sheets of 'broken glass' shine in red and green- one is cinnamon and one is mint, while toffee and brittle sit beautiful nearby. My mother's pies sparkle with shimmery sweet crust- one cherry and one apple with lattice tops and perfectly crimped edges. Deciding what to have is the challenge.
Sitting there in the evening glow of colorful lights and soft evening lamps, my gaze wanders to the wild prairie. My eyes fall to the window where plastic candelabras shine with orange lights greeting cars as they pass by. Outside that window my prairie stretches out far and wide beneath a blanket of shimmering lights. Quiet and still the night glistens with beauty and wonder....so magical is the time when it's Christmas on the farm.