Thursday, November 8

Memories of Christmas Preparation

Lady Di, commented that I hadn't written a story for my readers in a while. I'm not sure how long it's been, but a long time. It's been a crazy year here.

It is almost mid-November and this was the time that Grandma begin to prepare for Christmas. She would go into town and shop for all the ingredients for her fruit cake. She would bring them home, flour the fruit and begin making the cakes early in the morning.

Grandma made a three-tiered Christmas fruit cake. She had square cake pans with drop out bottoms that made them easy to remove from the pan.

Flour, sugar, molasses, raisins and fruit all went into Grandma's cakes. She would let us kids stir until the batter was so thick that our arms ached from stirring. Once the cake batter was complete, she would use a large spoon to ladle the batter into the pans. Just before this point, she would add extra wood to the old wood stove to ensure that the oven would be just the right temperature. Once the oven was the perfect heat and the batter was in the pans, she would slip them into the oven.

After about 40 minutes, Grandma's kitchen would fill with the most wonderful aroma. After a couple hours of baking, Grandma would insert a straw from a new broom into the cakes to be sure they were fully baked. She would take them out of the oven, using her apron as a hot pad, and place them on a cooling rack. Once the cakes had cooled she would wrap them in wax paper and put them into a five gallon metal lard pail and slip on the lid. The reason she used the metal lard pail was to keep them moist. The tin also safeguarded against rodents or insects.

A few days before Christmas, Grandma would take the cakes out of the pail and stack them on her glass cake server. Three tiers for each cake. Then she would prepare almond icing and dress them up pretty with her artistic touch. Scrolls, angels or flowers adorned the cake each year. She then set a Log Cabin chocolate on the corners of each tier. The cake was then set on the table on Christmas morning for everyone to enjoy.

Grandma baked goodies the week before Christmas. Shortbread, oatmeal and date, peanut butter and chocolate chunk cookies were all served in the week between Christmas and New Years and of course the Christmas dessert table groaned under the weight of all the good things to eat. There would be pumpkin, raisin, cherry, apple and a broad spectrum of different flavored pies to choose from.

Christmas at Grandma's was always a busy time. She had a large family to feed and no one could ever say they left the table hungry, no matter what time of year, but at Christmas, Grandma outdid herself, making sure that everyone enjoyed their favorite foods.

I would love to hear your memories of the preparations for Christmas dinner. Please share in the comment section.


  1. beautiful memories Mary. I unfortunately did not grow up around family and didn't have seasonal memories that I tucked away, but yours, made me feel like I was there, mixing and anticipating the beautiful cakes.

  2. I did not grow up close enough to my Grandparents place (grew up in Ontario and they were in Saskatchewan), but your story reminds me of the smells of Christmas around my Mom. She made all sorts of goodies, and we being the little heathens we were, polished them all off. Good memories.

    God bless.

  3. Hello dear Mary, so good to see you blogging again:-) So enjoyed reading your memories of your Grandma when she'd make the fruit cakes. My Gran lived with us for 10 years and although it was her recipe, my mom is the one who made the fruit cakes:-) I remember her putting all the fruit in a large pan and adding brandy to it and then letting it sit overnight. The next day she would make the batter and add the fruit...I remember her lining the round or square pans with brown paper before she'd put the batter in them. I always wanted to be around when it was time to take the cakes out of the pans, I was always in awe of how perfect they were! lol To this day, I still make my fruit cakes the exact same way my mom and gran did:-) xoxo

  4. I love to hear your Grandma stories! Christmas preperations in our family were full of Grandma, Mom and my aunts in the kitchen, cooking and chattering while the men hung around in the yard talking about cutting wood and hunting. Us kids, lots of cousins, would run and play in the snow until we were called in for dinner, which was usually served about mid-afternoon. Wonderful times!