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More notes from a country kitchen....

By Vicki Christianson

Fri, Dec 14th, 2012
Posted in All Columnists

Christmas always brings back childhood memories. I remember one Christmas about 40 years ago that still stands out in my mind. It was Christmas Eve and my sister and her four-year-old son, Jeffrey, were spending the night and all the next day with us at my parent’s home. Jeff loved staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s, but not that particular night! He was frantic with worry because he knew that Santa Claus wouldn’t know he was in Canton and not at his own house in Rochester. He was sure he wouldn’t get any Santa gifts.

We all tried reassuring him that Santa knew everything and wouldn’t forget him but he just wouldn’t believe us. He refused to eat any supper because his tummy was all in knots with worry - at least that’s what he said. My dad finally came up with an idea. Out in the back shed was an old leather strap with about six big bells on it that had been used on a horse and buggy team years ago. He went out to the shed, got the strap, and hung it on a nail in the back porch. None of the kids even missed him. He told mom to keep everybody busy in the living room while he snuck out to the back porch, jingled the bells and yelled “Ho-Ho-Ho!” Hopefully all the kids would think it was Santa.

When all of us kids heard the noise, mom was to usher us all out back to see if we could see anything. While we were out back dad would sneak around the house and back into the living by way of the front door. All the Santa presents were hidden on the front porch and he would bring them in and put them under the tree. We were busy playing in the living room when all at once we heard bells jingling and a deep voiced “Ho-ho-ho!” Jeff and my two little brothers’ heads popped up and their mouths dropped wide open!

Everyone got very quiet and looked from one to another. Mom finally said, “I bet that was Santa Claus. Maybe we should go out to the back porch and see if we can see him or his reindeer.”

Needless to say, everyone dropped what they were doing and ran like crazy for the back porch. Without thinking about coats or hats, out the boys ran! They looked all around the yard, up on the roof, and into the sky but couldn’t see anything. Finally mom called them all back into the house. Their long faces were filled with disappointment. They were sure they had missed seeing Santa or any of his reindeer. Mom said

they might as well go back into the living room and clean up their toys. It was bedtime.

Dad was sitting in his usual chair in the dining room working a crossword puzzle. He casually looked up and asked the boys if they were able to see Santa. They all replied a quiet, “No.” They slowly sauntered into the living room and all three of them let out a blood curdling scream and under the tree they flew. They couldn’t believe their eyes! There were presents there for them that hadn’t been there earlier! They finally decided that while they were out back looking for Santa he had walked right in the front door and left all the presents! Mom said that someone had to be first on the list each year and this year it was us. “See, Jeff, Santa does know everything!”

This is one of my favorite Christmas time cookies. They are made with dates but most people can’t tell what the filling is made up of so they eat and enjoy!


1 cup dates and 1 cup sweetened condensed milk

Cook the above two ingredients together over a low heat until

softened and thick. It burns easily so watch it closely. Cool

slightly. You can add ½ cup chopped nuts at this point if you want to.

Spread a teaspoon full of the mixture onto a Ritz cracker. Lay the crackers end to end on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake them at 350 degrees for 8 minutes - no more as they will burn. While still warm, frost with the following: 2 ½ cups powdered sugar, 3 ounces Cream Cheese, 1 tsp. vanilla and enough milk to make spreadable. Will keep in a cool place for several days.

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