The Old Tattered Flag

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The most wonderful time of the year!!

Yup, I love everything about this time of year.  I love the stores all decorated for the season.  I love to walk through the mall and see the little ones on Santa's lap.  I love the cookies and all the special holiday food.  I love seeing the lights on people's homes.  What is it about this time of year that just makes everyone go a bit above and beyond.  Special decorating, meals, cookies, lights!?  Why do we do it?  For that special feeling!  Christmas Eve is actually my favorite part of the whole holiday season.  I don't know why, but from the moment I wake up it just feels different, more special.  It's the day to wrap everything up, not just the last minute gifts, but preparation for the holiday meal and Christmas Eve goodies.  When I was a kid we always got to open one gift on Christmas Eve.  We would all get dressed up and go to 8:00 pm mass.  We usually had to stand because we would always get there a bit late, not late for Mass, but later than everyone else.  After mass we would go up to my Mamie and Grandpa's house (Mom's parents) for a special Christmas Eve meal.  Then on the way home we would all look up to see if we could see HIM.  We knew he wouldn't come until we were all in bed, but you just knew that perhaps you might see him that year.  Christmas Day, both sets of Grandparents would come to our house for Christmas Dinner.  We would have all lay out our gifts on our beds so the Grandparents could oooh and aaaah over what we got.

These days we have NORAD.  My husband (such a military guy) and the boys would always check the computer to see what part of the world Santa was over.  Now that the boys are grown, it's funny, they still look at the NORAD website.  The world is a different place now.  Families don't all live in the same town.  Because we were a military family we often weren't "home".  So we had to create our own traditions, keeping in mind the memories of our own childhoods.  Nowadays Christmas Eve isn't the same without our favorite Christmas Story on TBS, Mom doing a puzzle, a visit from my Mother in Law for the holiday and her famous bread, special finger foods that you don't have any other time of year, perhaps a game and then quiet, low lights, midnight mass on the TV while we set the presents under the tree.  I love it all!  What are some of your traditions?  

Since we moved back to NY I love the holidays even more.  There is something about this house.  We had our Christmas open house last week and we made up a flyer showing the original builders/owners, Henry and Cora Countryman.  


From what we learned, Henry and Cora Countryman moved up from Herkimer, NY.  I'm not sure why they moved.  But, Henry was a stagecoach repairman and they decided to settle in this area.  The story is that they were resting in the area and a traveler needed his buggy repaired so Henry fixed it, they decided this was as good as any place to settle.  So, they built our Stone Home.  I've seen several dates, I liked 1831 the best.  If you've seen some of the patterns I've designed you may recognize the date.  The Countryman's raised their familiy here and many more generations followed.  I asked our visitors to imagine the rooms as they would have been back in the 1800's as they toured our home.  I really often imagine Cora in her skirts cooking or tending the house.  Perhaps sitting in the parlor stitching.  She might be thrilled that we now have that kind of business in her home.  So, today as I fooled with some pictures I had taken of the house all decked for the holidays I had fun with sepia tones, making the pictures old and imagining that maybe this is how the house looked back in 1831.....











  

Ok, I know they didn't have twinkly white lights or any lights for that matter, and Cora probably didn't collect Santas and have jar of candies around, but I can dream can't I?  

So, with that, let me know what your favorite holiday memories or traditions are, I'd love to hear. I have a lot of other pictures and some recipes to share so check back tomorrow and through the week as I plan to blog a lot this week.  Don't forget to comment....
Until next time....

13 comments:

  1. I loved your article and photos. I'm glad you moved back to New York. Hope your business is doing great. Sometime I hope to visit your shop. And I will eventually get back into hooking.

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    1. Thanks so much Susan! Hope to see you in the shop soon!

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  2. Christmas Eve in Texas us all about the TAMALES!! We've been buying tamales from The Tamale Man...his official name...for 41 years because they are the BEST in Texas. Everyone else feels the same because if you wait until Christmas Eve to get your tamales, you'll stand in line for hours!!!

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  3. ...ugh...hit post too soon. You might be aghast we eat tamales from a van on the side of the road lol but he's famous now....even has a FB page. I live in a Missouri now, but that doesn't stop my family from packing dozens of frozen tamales in their suitcase when they come up for the holidays. Just isn't Christmas Eve without TAMALES !!! Sur enjoyed the pictures of your house!!

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    1. Oh kathy, I'm not aghast, I think that is wonderful. Our "tamales" are smoked oysters. You have to eat them with crackers. It wouldn't be the same without them!

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  4. I just love your house and your decorating - truly wish I had your talents. I also love tradition. One of ours is cookie-making-day (next Saturday!). My grandma always made loads and loads of anise cookies. She was extremely particular about them, so we got to help, but under a very watchful eye! She had a few molds that she let us kids do our own thing with - one was a long fish. Now my mom and I get together, and even though none of us really love the taste of the cookies, we love the tradition, and using the antique, hand carved molds. The cookies are beautiful to look at. And I still always make a fish or two, and send them to my cousins, so they can share in the memories too!

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    1. Sounds like it's the tradition of making the cookies together, rather than the finished product....it's still special. We have those recipes that my sons insist I make every year. I'd like to try some new things but they won't hear of it! Merry Christmas!

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  5. Christmas is a lonely time for me. My parents are gone and what family I do have left is scattered across the country. I do still enjoy my tree and decorations and we do still have a couple of kids that come and go sometime around the holidays. Still so many good memories of Christmas past with family and lots of food. I laughed when I saw the tamale comment above. We have Chinese food on Christmas day! My husband cooks all of the food including his famous steam buns! I always enjoy your blog posts with all the wonderful photos!

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that Christmas is a lonely time for you. It is hard when your kids are older, it's not "fun" like it was when they were younger...and innocent. I too sometimes feel a bit melancholy for those days, but then I also enjoy them as adults too and seeing how they insist on certain things that we MUST do every year. It makes me realize that I made their Christmas' as children special. Try to have a joyous holiday season!

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  6. Christmas Eve was special for my family when I was a kid. Like you, we were allowed to open one gift. We also had lots of relatives come over for plenty of good food in the evening.....then we all went to midnight mass. We were allowed to stay up late that one night! We opened our gifts Christmas morning, had a wonderful breakfast and stayed in our PJs pretty much most of the day and played with our new toys.....I loved to lay on my tummy practically under the real tree and color with my new crayons and coloring book by the light of those big fat colored bulbs we used to have. Dad even set up the train around the tree. I then did the same tradition with my kids when I grew up and got married. Now my married children do it and I'm a guest. They love to hear my stories of Christmases past!

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    1. Sounds perfect!! Ah, I loved reading that, thank you so much for sharing Patricia!!

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  7. I'm happy you enjoyed it.i was raised in the city, didn't even know how corn grew and when I got married I moved to a farm....but that's another story! Especially when my pig got loose and I had to chase her down the road in my night gown! But anyway....we still to this day watch the movie Christmas Story every year!

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    1. As a kid whenever the horses would break free we would chase them in our nightgowns so I can identify!

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About Me

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog. I am married and just entering the second phase of my life as a Army retiree's wife. My husband and I did 25+ years in the Army. He is now officially a retired Colonel and has just entered the civilian workforce and I am happily settled in our 1830 Stone house. I (along with my Mom) operate www.theoldtatteredflag and currently we are building a small shop in the back part of the house. We live in Northern NY, right near the Canadian border. I have two handsome sons and 2 puggles. Life is busy for us, but I wouldn't have it any other way.