Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Merry Christmas

Thank God it’s Monday and, as such, happy Monday to everyone! I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!


Today is Christmas Day so, of course, I’m spending time with my family! In honor, here’s an edited re-share of my blog post, five years ago, called Christmas Eve – The Gift of Love

This is such a wonderful and magical time of year! While there are those with a “bah-humbug” attitude, I come across a lot more people, lately, who are spreading more good cheer than bad cheer. Mom used to tell me, “the most valuable gift you can give is to be a good example!” This time of year seems to bring out the best “good examples” in most of us.

It’s contagious and seems to flow right into the new year. More people are volunteering their time for “good deeds” and helping out those in need by donating money, coats, toys and more… I just wish the giving of ourselves lasted all year long!

Some blame their “bah-humbug” attitude on the commercialism of the holiday, with marketing “experts” advising stores to start putting out their Christmas stock (right along with Halloween) in September! Then, as soon as Halloween is over, around the first week in November, people start hearing Christmas music playing on the radio and stores’ PA Systems.

Not to mention the seemingly month-long “Black Friday” event. By the time the actual “12 days of Christmas” start (which is on Christmas Day), we’re burnt-out on the “must-haves” that commercialism has pressed onto the public; while the true meaning of the season gets lost in the chaos!

“Christmas commercialism,” as Mom once wrote: “[is] the easiest cop-out for those who put a price tag on the pleasures of the holiday & insist that the success of the celebration depends on the amount of money spent on the preparations and gifts.

If I give our children only one gift, it will be that I gave some practical sense of what is truly important at this time of year – not the gift, but the gathering of family and friends… Not the food, but the feeling of just being home…

Never letting what we want be more important than what we need… Not complaining about trivials… And always appreciating what we’ve already received before we can expect to receive more.” [As seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter, Issue 147 (Nov-Dec 1990; p. 1).]

Mom also wrote, [as seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter, Issue 147 (Nov-Dec 1990; p. 8):]

‘THE CHRISTMAS FEELING is basically a simple hope for peace and good will, no matter what other trappings we’ve attached to the occasion through the years since that single star lit up the sky over Bethlehem.

No matter what other customs and traditions mankind has attached to Christmas or the celebration of it, the humble wish for ‘peace on Earth, good will towards men’ remains strong among those who thrive on hope and cherish what is good, refusing to be deprived of such expectations!’

Personally, I’ve tried to pass on Mom’s “gratitude attitude” to my own children, as she did to me… the importance of the personal gatherings over the tangible gifts and, especially, the giving of the best of ourselves – without expectations of reciprocations of gratitude – because that’s what true “Santas” do.

My kids never learned “there’s no such thing as Santa Claus”, because I taught them something different, from when they were each little – similar to The New York Sun’s answer to Virginia – regarding how the spirit of “Santa” lives on in each of us through selfless acts of giving from our hearts.

It is with this kind of selflessness that we actually receive our own true gift – one that can’t be bought or even price-valued – the gift of LOVE! And, with that, there will ALWAYS be a Santa Claus!

‘Tis the season to contemplate this past year’s accomplishments and shortcomings and declare our own resolutions for 2024 – what we want to stop, start, attain, or change. Do you have goals you want to achieve in 2024? You’re not alone. Most of us make at least one resolution a year.

According to Wikipedia, making a resolution is more common in the western world than in the eastern one. That being said, ironically, the New Year’s resolution tradition originated in the eastern world, over 4,000 years ago, when the Babylonians made their year-end promises to the gods, so as to earn their favor in the coming new year.

As described by Holiday Traditions of the United States…, while the tradition of “feasting” during the holidays is characteristic of all nations, with only the regional menus differing. We get many of our current combined traditions from our diverse ancestors who immigrated here from so many different countries, bringing their customs with them.

Like a savory casserole, we tend to combine everything together. For example, as the article (mentioned above) explains, a lot of our Christmas carols came from England and Australia, whereas the decorated evergreens are a German influence. The man in the red suit, known to us as Santa Claus (aka: St. Nicholas or St. Nick), originated in Scandinavia.

Santa’s arrival down the chimney, to fill stockings with fruit and nuts, is reminiscent of the Netherlands’ folklore. Additionally, his sleigh, being drawn by reindeer, may have begun in Switzerland; and our annual holiday parades may have been inspired by the Latin processions.

Over the years, America’s influence fattened up Scandinavia’s “jolly old St. Nicholas” and blended all the different traditions. He magically came down everyone’s chimney on Christmas Eve, leaving gifts and filling stockings with treats – as in the classic holiday story, ‘Twas the Night before Christmas. Later, we added a ninth reindeer, with a shiny red nose.

Do you have a traditional Christmas Eve dinner and/or Christmas Day breakfast (or brunch)? As I was growing up, my family celebrated on both days, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas Eve became our immediate family’s day to celebrate, with just the seven of us.

On Christmas Day, we traveled to both of my grandparents’ homes – one for brunch and one for dinner. For years now, since his mother passed, my husband and I have been hosting a Christmas Day Brunch for his family. We haven’t had a Pitzer family Christmas Eve in about four or five years.

Similar to the Thanksgiving feast, offering up a Christmas toast with a glass of holiday cheer – such as wine, Champaigne, eggnog, mimosa, or some other festive drink – is another tradition that many still follow, during the holiday meal.

Another holiday tradition that I’ve continued from my parents’ influence, as they did from their parents, is sending greeting cards to our family and friends, along with little notes. Mom almost always MADE our family’s cards. They were always different and special, with news about our family and hopes for the coming year; sometimes, including a holiday recipe.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Christmas Card Cook Book (Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1983, p. 3)


SENDING CHRISTMAS CARDS has always been a favorite tradition in our house. In 28 years, we only sent store-bought cards twice. Every Christmas, other than that, we made our cards. That was the one important tradition we followed – and still do…

What usually happened was that we had every good intention of confining our list to those who really were important to us [and] who we rarely saw during the rest of the year… I like to put newsy little notes inside that would bring old friends up to date with what we had been doing since we sent them our last Christmas card.

…I am one of those annoying sentimentalists who will, too, read every word of the long, newsy Christmas letters and the page-by-page accounts of how our friends have been doing since the last Christmas.

I don’t know if fewer cards are being sent at Christmas since postage became so expensive – or if we simply don’t know that many people. The tradition, however, seems to be fading…

‘Tis the season of Faith, Hope and Love! ’Tis the season of sentimentalists, as well. Regarding what Mom said, in the memory above, ‘I am one of those annoying sentimentalists’… I don’t find it annoying, to be a sentimentalist and never have – but, then again, I’m a biased sentimentalist, myself!

No matter what your favorite Christmas tradition is, the most important thing to keep in mind this season is to simply MAKE MEMORIES with those you love – ones that will be cherished for years to come!

Copy and celebrate some old traditions and continue creating at least one new traditions each year to share with your family and friends. says that imitation is “a form of social learning that leads to the development of traditions”.


Who hasn’t made new family traditions for coming generations to copy and embrace? Just think about it, at some point, all of those old traditions were, once, new traditions that were so enjoyed they were, thus, passed on to future generations and continue to be so.

As for me and my husband, our families’ gift exchanges have evolved over the years. The old tradition focused more on the gift and knowing exactly what the recipient wanted, by way of a wish list. Our new tradition turned the gift exchange into a game, focusing more on having fun and spending time together.

Years from now, the fun we enjoyed together is probably what we’ll remember most when we share our memories of “Christmas Past”; not what we gave or received as gifts.


In honor of TODAY, being Christmas, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 222). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].



P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…


December observes, among other things… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, Operation Santa Paws (which runs the 1st-24th), Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!

Plus, this week also observes… the Twelve Days of Christmas (which is always December 25th through January 5th) and Kwanzaa (which is always December 26th through January 1st).

Today is also… National Pumpkin Pie Day! In honor, here’s a recipe re-share from 2021…


December 26th is… National Candy Cane Day, National Thank-You Note Day, and Canadian Boxing Day!

December 27th is… National Fruitcake Day! Again, in honor, here’s a recipe re-share (from last year)…


December 28th is… National Chocolate Candy Day, National Card Playing Day, and Pledge of Allegiance Day!

December 29th is… National Pepper Pot Day! Plus, as the last work day of the year (for 2023), it’s also… National No Interruptions Day!

December 30th is… National Bicarbonate of Soda Day, Falling Needles Family Fest Day, and National Bacon Day!

December 31st is… Make Up Your Mind Day, National Champagne Day, and New Year’s Eve! In honor of the latter two, here’s Mom’s secret recipe (pictured below) for a mock, non-alcoholic champagne from her self-published cookbook, Yup! That’s The Flavor! Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; May 1998, p. 25).



Plus, from 11:30 p.m. on December 31st to 12:30 a.m. on January 1st of each year, it’s the… Universal Hour of Peace! As the song says, “Let there be peace on earth”. “And”, as Mom would add, “let it begin with me.”


…52 down and a whole new year to go – as we’ll soon ring in 2024!

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