ACCM 2015: The Meaning of Christmas

Today is the twenty-third day of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2015!

The featured topic is – the Meaning of Christmas – and the focus is on . . .
If someone dropped out of the sky and was unfamiliar with the concept of Christmas, how would you explain it to them? Can you put the meaning of Christmas into words? What does Christmas represent to you and is it different than when you grew up or from the meaning it had for your ancestors? Tell us what Christmas means to you and your memories of Christmases past.

When I thought about this featured topic and the possibility of meeting someone who was unfamiliar with the concept of Christmas, Charlie Brown’s question – “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”- to his friend Linus in the movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas, immediately popped in my head! Why did I think of Charlie Brown, and this movie? Well, everything I learned about Christmas and the birth of Christ in my early childhood Sunday School classes were summed up nicely by Linus when he responded to Charlie Brown’s question with this speech from the movie below –

Continue reading

ACCM 2015: The Christmas Tree

Today is the first day of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2015!

The featured topic is – The Christmas Treeand the focus is on . . . 
What are your memories of your family putting up the Christmas tree? Many of us come from different traditions: some people won’t put up their tree until after Thanksgiving or even on Christmas Eve? Some like live trees and actually go out into the woods to cut their own while others prefer the convenience of an artificial tree.

Liv at Christmas, 1960

Putting up the Christmas tree was always a special event in my home during the holidays. Since my Mom loved the way a live tree made our home smell, it was a yearly ritual for my dad to bring home a real pine, or fir-tree, for us to decorate.

I recently called up my mom who is 87 years young, to ask if she knew if dad actually cut down the trees he brought home for us to decorate. She burst out laughing and said rather loudly, “are you kidding?!” As she continued to laugh me right off the phone, it became clear that any fanciful visions I had of dad with an axe in hand looking for the perfect tree to chop down was simply . . . out of the question.

Regardless of how my father came by them, there were live Christmas trees in our home each year by December 16th. Why December 16th? According to dad, keeping a live tree in good condition from December 16 to New Year’s Day was a lot easier than caring for it from Thanksgiving Day through the New Year. Once a Christmas tree starts drying out, they lose their vibrant color and the pine needles become brittle and hurt like crazy if you happen to collide with them as I did daily!

The size of our Christmas trees varied over the years as did the type of trees we had in our home too! During those lean years when money was scarce, our live trees were small and a bit scrawny. Okay, I guess I understand why mom was laughing so hard at my question as I look at the Christmas Tree dad brought home to us in 1959 below (LOL)! But, when life got better for us, our live trees were full, large, and even taller than the Christmas tree photographed in 1982. However, once all the Taylor children were grown and on their own, my parents simply preferred to set up their artificial table-top Christmas tree you see in the 1987 photo and would have their grandson Marcus trim it for them!

(Click the photo to enlarge)
Taylor Family Christmas Trees

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at”

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Christmas Cookies


It’s Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2011 and today’s featured topic is – Christmas Cookies – and the questions are:

Did your family ancestors make Christmas Cookies? How did you help? Did you have a favorite cookie?

Making Christmas cookies is still a holiday tradition in our family! In fact, my mom pulls out her vintage 1950’s Mirro Cooky Press each year to make dozens of wonderful sugar, caramel, and peanut butter cookies for our family to enjoy for Christmas!

A variety of  cookie design disks came with mom’s cooky press. So when I asked my oldest brother, Elgin, which was his favorite Christmas cookie design, he said he didn’t have one.  All he wanted was to eat freshly baked cookies — hot from the oven!! Eating freshly baked Christmas cookies was a must for my brother Jon too, but design was more important to him. I understand from mom that he wanted all of our Christmas cookies to be in the shape of dogs! Dogs?! Yep, he sure did, but mom wasn’t having none of that!  Therefore she added Christmas trees, stars, and other festive shapes associated with Christmas with those dog cookies — LOL!


I don’t remember having a special cookie design growing up, but what I do remember is eating plenty cookie dough. Mom’s cookie dough (and cake dough too) was so-o-o-o good! When I recently asked her about sharing one of her cookie recipes for this post, she informed me that the cookies we loved so much came right from the cooky press cookbook that came with the press all those years ago. So if you’re in the mood for some great caramel cookies for the holidays, I posted the cookbook’s recipe for you below;  enjoy!

Caramel Cookies

Time: 10 – 12 mins
Temp: 375 F

1 cup of shortening
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups of sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of soda

Cream shortening; add sugar gradually and cream thoroughly

Add beaten eggs and vanilla extract

Sift flour, soda, and salt gradually, then add to creamed mixture

Fill your Mirro Cooky press and form fancy designs on an ungreased cookie sheet (if you don’t have a cookie press, spoon cookie mixture instead on the cookie sheet)

Bake until cookies are a light golden brown; yields 6 dozen

Did your family ancestors make Christmas Cookies? Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie recipe? Then let me hear from you!

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Santa Claus


It’s Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories 2011 and today’s featured topic is – Santa Claus! Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

The concept of Santa Claus was a very BIG DEAL in my home during Christmas time. I had the pleasure of asking my brothers what they remember about Santa Claus, and this is what they had to say:

Elgin: I didn’t ever send Santa a letter, but I did enjoy visiting him when he came to town at our local department store. I truly believe it was the surprise element surrounding him that made believing in him a lot of fun. No, I don’t still believe in Santa today; I stopped believing in him at age 10.

Jon: No I didn’t write any letters or make any wish lists to Santa. I simply waited until I was able to sit on his lap and tell him what I wanted up close and personal. I really tried my best to stay awake to catch him in action, but whenever I would dose off for what felt like minutes, he would slip in and out of our home in record time. No, I no longer believe in Santa. I stopped believing in him when I turned 10.


For me just the thought that Santa was making a list , checking it twice to find out if I had been naughty or nice (yes I could be quite naughty at times) was probably enough to keep me on my best behavior  the whole month of December — LOL!! Like my brothers, I don’t recall sending letters to Santa either. And if truth be told, I wasn’t all that pleased to tell him anything I wanted for Christmas the first time I met him in 1961 – ROFL!!!

But it wasn’t long before the concept of Santa Claus began to stay with me and the thought of sitting on his lap telling him what I wanted for Christmas wasn’t so bad after all for me by 1962! I remember always staying up to see the 10 o’clock news report on Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas eve. Once they reported  when he was to arrive in the Houston area, I would hurry to bed because I couldn’t wait to see what goodies he would bring me on Christmas day . . . woo-hoo!


It seems one thing my brothers and I have in common is that we came to the realization that there was no Santa by the age of 10. Was I disappointed to learn there was no Santa? I was at first, but my disappointment didn’t last very long because the real reason for the season – the birth of Jesus Christ – became my family’s focus with our giving and celebrating Christmas with family and friends each and every year!