For many years, my mother, Dorthy Rickers (aka DotMom), wrote an annual column that was a Christmas letter to her granddaughters. Last year, I started by own tradition by writing a letter to the next generation, her great-grandchildren Mason and Millie, who are my great-nephew and great-niece (son and daughter of granddaughter Gretchen and husband Steve Ennis). Here’s the 2010 installment:
Dear Mason and Millie,
’Tis the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature is stirring — because you haven’t arrived yet from your Baxter abode. But we anticipate that as soon as you do, there will be a lot more than stirring going on.
Because of the distance between your house and ours, we don’t get to see you nearly as often as we’d like. We have to rely on reports from your mom and frequent visitors, Grandpa “Boompah” Marty and Grandma Pam, as to the goings-on at your home this Christmas season.
At 4 years old, Mason, you have outgrown the little boy stage, although you still bear a striking resemblance to your mom at the same age. I can remember taking her to see Santa at the mall when she was about 4. No amount of coaxing could get to her to go anywhere near the bearded guy.
“We went to see Santa at the Sertoma Winter Wonderland a few weeks ago,” reported your mother about a similar experience. “I told Mason that he needed to sit on Santa’s lap, and he said, ‘No way! YOU sit on his lap!’ Millie was scared to death of Santa and kept pushing away from him and refused to sit on his lap, too. Mason was disappointed and frustrated that Santa didn’t give him what he asked for right then and there. He didn’t understand that he’d have to wait until Christmas.”
You have two Christmas trees in your house, and one, I’m pleased to note, previously belonged to your Great-Grandma Dorthy. Upon it hangs all the needlepoint ornaments that she stitched with care. Although you never knew your GG Dorthy, I hope your mom will share the legacy of those ornaments and the joy she found in the Christmas season with you as you grow older.
There may be keepsake ornaments hanging on the tree, but there are no presents underneath, and that’s all thanks to you, Millie. At 14 months, you are walking and into everything. Your mom left some wrapped presents unattended in the entryway, and you got into all of them, so she had to find a more secure location in order to keep Christmas surprises.
“Millie has also enjoyed the fake, flashing candles we have in our windows,” Gretchen writes about the other Christmas décor at your house. “She likes to pick them up, walk around the house with them and then lose them throughout the house.”
This is the first year that you, Millie, will take an interest in your Christmas stocking — which we exchange as part of another Rickers tradition started by GG Dorthy. We will gather on Sunday to unload those stockings and just spend time together.
In the meantime, we will enjoy other Christmas traditions separately — you with your parents, grandparents and doting aunts Ingrid and Michelle — while this older generation of doters sits under the Christmas tree and sips on wild rice soup, another tradition instituted by GG Dorthy as an alternative to oyster stew.
Wild Rice Soup
In a saucepan, combine 2 cans cream of potato soup and 2 cans milk. Heat through.
Add one 15-ounce can precooked wild rice, 4 strips cooked and crumbled bacon, ½ cup (or more) shredded or cubed American cheese.
To all our Daily Globe readers: I hope that this holiday season will bring you Lagniappe — a little something extra — and that we’ll all focus on “the good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”