Growing up in rural Michigan, we could usually plan on a white Christmas. My fondest memories are going to both sets of grandparents’ farms for Christmas Day. My father’s family was always the largest gathering with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. Walking into the kitchen smelled so good – of white bread dressing with lots of sage and herbs (no cornbread here!) and homemade mincemeat pie – my VERY favorite! I still buy Walker’s mincemeat tarts every year for an indulgence.
At my grandma and grandpa Potter’s place, the kids had their own table in the basement with tables set up with coloring books and puzzles to pass the time. It was always a joyous occasion when we became old enough to come upstairs to the adult table.
There was always a wagon ride across the sleeping fields, the whole extended family seated on bales of hay and snuggled into warm blankets, pulled by the chugging, old tractor. Hot chocolate was waiting for us upon our return.
The Lothrop’s, my mother’s parents, lived in the only house down a country lane that bore their name, half a mile from the main road. Grandpa made several runs to the corner of the highway to pick up family members as cars couldn’t get down the icy, snowy road. He’d hitch up his team of horses (Queenie was one I remember) to the sleigh, complete with jingle bells, and haul family members back up to the house. This was a smaller gathering – not as many cousins – so no kids’ table – we all ate together.
Food, good cheer, and fun times were abundant at both houses. Both farms are still in the families today, still intact, and lived on by cousins. I still visit as often as I can. These are fond memories I continue to cherish, and I hope you will have, and continue to make, meaningful memories to cherish as well.