I completed decorating the house early this evening. I let husband know that we can probably stop buying me Christmas decor as I didn't even put out everything that is stored in "the twelve boxes of Christmas". However, there are many treasured, special items that I will always put out, that have some kind of memory or meaning. One item is this silly little music box.
It has a wind up mechanism on the underside and it plays the tune of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". It uses magnets I believe so that the two little mice spin on top of the "ice". One tree along the side has a broken off top. One of the mice, or I think it was a mouse, maybe it was a bunny, no longer has any ears.
My mother went through some years where she would buy all of us "kids" (most of us adults by then) the same item. One year it was wooden Santas, another year it was a lovely resin Santa figure sitting in a chair in his slippers with a list in his hand and a cat on his lap (which always made me think of my father, who often had a cat on his lap), and one year it was this music box. We all got one. I don't know if my siblings still have theirs, but our two kids used to love to wind it up and watch the mice spin around. It was simple and sweet and when I wound it up today, I got a little choked up. Mom's been gone many years now, but she would have liked to know that I still put it out for the family to see.
Another thing I do at Christmas is make some of the goodies and treats that she used to make. One of those is chow mein noodle cookies. Our son called them spider cookies, because they kind of resemble a multi-legged creature, so we have renamed them spider cookies. The hardest thing about making them is finding the chow mein noodle cookies in the store.
Ingredients: 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups of butterscotch chips
1 package of chow mein noodle cookies (mine was 170 grams)
aprx. 1 cup of salted peanuts
Melt the chips over a double boiler, or cautiously, in small increments in the microwave.
I like to snap some of the noodles in my hands so they are not all a long length. Once the chocolate and butterscotch chips are melted, add your dry noodles and peanuts. I honestly just dump peanuts in until it looks like there are enough. Maybe it's a cup, maybe it's more or less.
Try to really stir the contents well so that everything gets coated. Don't worry if you snap more noodles while you do it.
Using two spoons, drop clumps onto waxed paper. I ended up with three cookie sheets full.
Here is a close up of these weird and wonderful treats. Put them in the refrigerator to cool and set up and store in an airtight container until you wish to put them out at a Christmas gathering (I keep mine in the fridge). They will be fine at room temperature later.
My mom also made short bread that she put through a cookie press, funny little sugar cookies that were wrapped around a red maraschino cherry, rolled in sugar, and baked, and Hello Dollies which were squares with a graham cracker base, chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut. They may be called something else where you are from.
I like keeping some of the traditions alive, and adding new ones, or ones borrowed from my husband's family. Stockings for instance, were not part of my childhood at all, but his family always did stockings, so we started them with ours. Do you make any Christmas treats that you mothers made?