2017 A to Z: Letter X… All About Me

2017 A to Z: Letter X…

I thought I’d change the on-going 52 stories this year to an A to Z of 26 stories of  “All About Me”.  I plan to post bi-monthly, but I’m not holding myself to a certain time frame other than completing by year end. Originally I was going to do the “All About Me” for the 30 Day -April A to Z, but thought I might get just a wee bit long-winded, so I’m giving myself a longer time frame. Hopefully, by the time I reach letter Z, I will have written all I can remember about “me.” If you so feel inclined, why not join me in your own “A to Z” of All about Me!



Letter X is for… Xmas, Xmas Ornaments, Xmas Decorations and Xmas Cookies


X is the new C for Christmas… it was too early in my A to Z to write about Christmas in letter C, so I saved it for letter X.

I don’t seem to have memories of Xmas growing up as a child… makes me sad and I don’t really understand why! Was it because our family was small… I had no cousins, aunts or uncles around… maybe that was it! My mother doesn’t understand why when I tell her… she tells me that she tried to make Xmas special for me but I was just never interested. I vaguely remember the tin icicles we hung… or threw on the tree. She often tells me on Christmas morning that I’d walk by… look in… and keep walking. It would be days before I’d show interest in whatever Santa left me. I was a strange child!

Maybe I was traumatized after daddy’s best friend, Henry, came to the house dressed as Santa… bringing me a doll. When I opened the door, I screamed and ran to hide under the bed… never coming out until he left… mama says I never played with that doll!

I remember being at Granddaddy McKinley’s farm and going down in a neighbors field to cut down a Christmas tree for their house… we made ornaments out of things found outside, and I think we strung popcorn. Mama said her parents had never put up a tree before, not even when she was a young girl… it was the first time they had one at the farm.

I’m told my father’s parents never had a tree either, but Grandmama Bryan would hang lights on one of the trees in the yard… that was her way of decorating a tree! It doesn’t seem like Christmas was very popular with either of my grandparents!

When I was older, for some reason, I always opened any present under the tree with my name on it to peek inside, then rewrap. Why? I have no clue other than I just couldn’t wait to know! It made my mother so mad… one year she put my father’s name on one of my gifts. After we opened our presents on Xmas, she handed me the heavy one that had daddy’s name on it… it was my typewriter… and I still have it today! I had wanted one so bad, and probably thought she’d forgotten when I didn’t find it. That was the one and only time I was ever surprised at Xmas as to what was under the tree.

me in my room

My typewriter always sat on my desk!

I’ve tried to make Xmas special for my children through the years… decorating the house and loading the tree with more toys than they possibly could ever play with. One Xmas I forgot a bag of toys, only realizing it after they had opened their gifts. Upon checking my closet… there was the missed bag of toys! I dragged the bag outside the kitchen door and later let the kids discover it… telling them that Santa must have been so tired and missed bringing the bag in. I hope they never forget Santa’s blunder!

Xmas Eve was so much fun after I married… my husband’s family celebrated Xmas Eve and Xmas Day, although the evening before was always the most fun! We traveled to both grandmother’s houses that night, and often never arrived back to home until midnight or later. At Grandma Minnie’s, there were lots of cousins, and lots of presents piled under the tree. At times, once the unwrapping began, you didn’t even know who gave what… or what gift belonged to who… wrapping and bows flew everywhere! It was so much fun!

Hubby’s Xmas Eve was all about food… so much food was prepared for that night… from the seafood meal to the fruits and nuts, and later the desserts of cookie trays and more…. these are the Xmas memories I’ll never forget and truly wish I could go back and rewatch them again and again. Today’s Xmas Eve’s are just as much fun though as now I have 5 granddaughters who generate just as much noise and can easily fill the room with the papers and trimmings once they begin opening gifts. Right now, they don’t care about the foods on Xmas Eve, unless the cookie trays are on the table… to them, it’s all about the toys… the clothes they quickly hand off to Mama!

I love the foods we serve on Xmas Eve… the Seafood sauce, Grandma Minnie’s famous broccoli salad, and the many different fried fishes… you can easily count at least 7… it’s an Italian tradition! I learned to make the seafood sauce but after teaching my husband, it’s become his thing while I make the stuffed shrimp. I’ve added a new tradition now, I make manicotti for my son-in-law… he’s strictly Irish and not a fan of the seafood sauce. Everyone needs to have their favorite dish on Xmas Eve!

Xmas Ornaments:

I fell in love with sewing felt ornaments after discovering them in a Woman’s World Christmas magazine. I liked the fact that they were made all by hand, with no gluing… glue ruins them!  I had no trouble selling them either.. family and friends gobbled them up and even offered to take them to their work… they sold like hotcakes! While I only sold them for $2.00 back in the eighties, today they’d command a much higher price, as it’s a very time-consuming process, from the cutting, sewing, and even to the stuffing. Often I made them by the dozen of each style when I was selling them – it’s faster.

SCAN0109 (481x640)

One of my favorite Christmas (Xmas) photos of my ornaments. This was when I had just begun making them and many are pictured here from Mr. & Mrs. Claus, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Ice Skates, Mr. & Mrs. Mouse, Pooh, Teddy Bears, Candy Cane and Drums.

A few more favorites here of Mr. Dachshund wearing his Santa hat, Mr. Snowman, Ducky in cracked shell, felt Mitten, and a Cat in the Stocking

I still make them occasionally at Christmas… choosing a new style and giving one to each of the granddaughters for their ornament collections. My last ornament was a design I drew… the front of a VW bus.


The VW “bug” ornaments in progress. I love all the colors!

In as much as I enjoy making them, I do find it harder now as I need glasses to see close-up… and then sometimes I still can’t see as well… especially when it comes to threading that darn needle. That is the biggest thing that frustrates me, threading that sewing needle and the one on the sewing machine… sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw!

This year, I’m making a knitted ornament…. mittens with the granddaughter’s initial on. I’m having so much fun knitting these small mittens, that many people will be hanging one on their tree! I’ve always wanted to actually knit a pair of mittens… I have lots of practice now! Check back for photos, I’ll post when I have them all made!

Xmas Decorations:

How did I lose my love for decorating at Xmas… somehow it has escaped me and it seems like it takes me right up until Xmas Eve to get that spirit? But when I look back at my holiday photos… I once had the Xmas decorating spirit and usually crafted a new item to add to the decorating of the house.

Just a few of my favorite things…

My Xmas tree card holder holds cards dear to me that I’ve received in the past… some are from loved ones that are no longer here and I enjoy looking at them every year. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus were made from folding the pages of Readers Digest… it was all the rage that year… everyone made them. The Santa on the front steps has left home to take up residence at Stephen’s house, and the little plastic reindeer and sleigh is something I always placed near the top of my tree, but it now sits on my daughter’s tree. It’s nothing expensive, just a plastic decoration we bought many years ago, but we all loved it on the top of the tree! I snuck the new “Elf on the Shelf” in here as it’s all the rage now, and I bought them for both households. This is “Josephine” and joins my daughter’s house every season… she’ll be arriving soon to watch over McKinley and Grace! Her cousin, “Bella” will arrive at Stephen’s house to watch over Ella, Ana, and Nina… just to keep them on their best behavior for Santa! The ceramic tree is a “treasure” my father sent me so many years ago back in the 80’s and it holds dear memories of him… thinking of me! I have not given it away yet, they will have to wait on taking this one!


I won 1st place with my painted Santa at the Orange Country Fair!

It’s always been hubby’s job to decorate outside with lights and decorations… but as time has passed, those decorations have slowly been passed to our children to use in their homes. I love the older “plastic” outside decorations vs the inflatables today. While they look really cute when they are lighted and inflated at nighttime, but sad to see during the day…laying on the ground… flat and deflated!

decorations outside (2) (800x548)

The Santa with reindeers and sleigh has flown to my son’s house now. I always loved the small plastic Santa and sleigh in the window… a favorite of mine, and hubby is in trouble over that… after he tossed it in cleaning! I’ve yet to find another one, but I will buy it again… if I ever find it!

Xmas Cookies:

Christmas is never complete without cookies and in years past I baked and baked more than we could ever eat… then I gave most of them away. As soon as December rolled around, I would begin making my list of which cookies I planned to bake. I don’t know why I made a list, as I made the same ones every year! The list always included Anginettes, 7-Layer Bars, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Butter Balls, Thumbprints, M & M Sugar Cookies and my favorite… Cherry Winks. I was always a little selfish in giving away my Cherry Winks though… Shhh… don’t tell anyone!

I never baked a cookie in my life until I married… and learned all about cooking baking! My mother was a cook… not a baker! She would bring home-baked cookies and cakes that her clients at the beauty shop brought her. The only specific sweet I remember was Divinity and while I have tried making it a couple of times… it’s never tasted as good as I remember. I have quite a collection of cookie recipes now and I’ll be making that list again of what I’m baking!

Cherry Winks and Thumbprints! My two favorite cookies!!!

My mother in law first introduced me to Cherry Winks, as they were one of her favorites… and quickly became mine! It’s the first cookie I grab on Xmas morning to dunk in my coffee! I later found a small Kellogg recipe book stuffed in her drawer and as I looked through it, I found the recipe for Cherry Winks… and full of Cherry Wink DNA!


Want to read more, then click… 2017: A to Z… All About Me!

© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2017: A to Z - All About Me, Daily Writings and funnies... and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 2017 A to Z: Letter X… All About Me

  1. Luanne @ TFK says:

    Such cute ornaments, Jeanne! So the felt ones are all handstitched? I have one that somebody made for my son when he was a baby that has sequins stitched on it, but I think it might be my only felt ornament.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved all the Christmas pictures of
    your favorite things….and i adore your Santa …no wonder you placed first…sweet memories

    Liked by 1 person

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