Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bring back the Mistletoe

Bring back the Mistletoe!

Way back when I was a child, I remember thinking Christmas was the best season of the year.  Looking back now, I know why my mind often goes back to those years growing up.

Our Christmas surroundings and events were very different than they are today.  I lived with my great Aunt and Uncle just outside a small town in Mississippi and while we didn’t have much money, we sure had a lot of love.   We had a country store on a little 35 acre spot about 12 miles from Batesville and approximately 10 miles from Oxford.

The holiday season was kicked off during Thanksgiving where all the family came together with food, conversations and a lot of laughter.  This was also the time I got to see a lot of cousins that I didn’t get to see throughout the year.

After our company had gone and all the dishes were washed, left over’s were somehow stored for later; our Christmas decorating started.  This was tradition and as I look back on it now, I don’t know how my great Aunt did it.  She would drag the tree out and we would work for a long time making it perfect.  It was a Silver tree with pon pom puffs on the end of each straight branch.   The silver pole had holes drilled in at an angle and each branch was color coded to fit in its place with the longer ones on the bottom and shorter ones toward the top.  We had only one option for decorating our beautiful tin tree.  We would hang red ball ornaments perfectly around the entire tree. 

Somehow I felt we must be rich because we had such a beautiful tree.  It wasn’t green like the ones on all the television shows; ours sparkled – especially when the color wheel was on.  The color wheel was made of a four color round disc with a light behind it and was strategically placed to illuminate our tree in the front window.  Colors of red, yellow, blue and green would seem to change the silver like magic when the disc would turn.  We had a fancy tree skirt that my aunt handmade to cover up the tree stand.

We have my husband’s mom’s silver tree just like the one I grew up with.  We put it up but have changed the color of the ball ornaments to blue.  Luckily we found a color wheel a few years back so the tradition of our tin pon pom tree will live on.

Growing up in the country, my great Uncle would take his gun and shoot some mistletoe out of the trees.  He would bring the sprigs home and secretly hang them around the house and the store.   Somehow I was oblivious to this event until I would get caught under the Mistletoe with a neighbor or cousin and he would say “You are both standing under the Mistletoe so you must kiss”.   We would hesitantly kiss with a quick peck on the lips and then quickly take our sleeve and wipe off any cooties we may have gotten.   Then giggle and run out of the house or store, not taking a chance of getting under another piece of that stuff.

Christmas was the only time I was really allowed to help in the kitchen.  My aunt and I would make cookies, candy and fruit cakes to give to neighbors and friends.  We would neatly package each gift, tie them up with pretty bows, then load up our  gifts in the car for delivery.  This was usually a two day event about a week before Christmas.   The reason it took so long to drop off our gifts was because we would be invited in to have some pie, cookies or some other home cooked goodie and it was a must to sample when offered because as my aunt would say “It would be very rude not to enjoy someone’s hard work – she would follow that by; “ don’t you dare spit anything out that you don’t like” and I knew she meant it.   Now fruit cake was not my favorite, actually I despised it.  It had too many fruits in it to make it good and felt like carrying a brick.  Why everyone seemed to make one, I don’t know but when possible I stayed clear of those things. 

It was always fun to see all my friend’s decorations and I have to admit, I was a little jealous of some gifts under their trees.  Everyone took a lot of time to wrap each gift with bright and colorful wrapping paper and top with pretty bows.  Sometimes while looking around, I would find myself under the Mistletoe and end up with a kiss.  Yes I would wipe the cooties but tried to do it a little more secretly – that was just polite.

I look back at the good ole days and my mind goes back to that Mistletoe.   Rarely seen these days but looking back Mistletoe was a fun tradition that always brought on a lot of laughter.   Maybe people are still scared of cooties, I was way back then however, I really didn’t know what a cootie was – and still don’t.   So now I say, bring back the Mistletoe and let the kissing begin.  Smooch!  

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