Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weird Holiday Traditions?

I'm sure every family has one: that weird holiday tradition that nobody gets, but you go along with it just because.

My grandmother had a few. One was the wrapped boxes of candy under the tree. Tagged "To: Everyone."

There was a See's Candy box. The one pound size. None of that half-pound silliness when it came to grandma and candy shopping. A box of Turtles for my mom, they were her favorite. A box of Aplets and Cotlets. Unless you're from here, you may have no idea of the allure of these jelly and nut concoctions. The two or three boxes of Frangos. You knew those from the outset by the shape of the box.

Then there was the candy in the candy dishes. You know, that ribbon candy that you only see at grandma's house? My grandpa made an awesome Divinity candy, so you'd see that as well. A bowl of mixed nuts or cocktail peanuts.

The weirdest to me was the stockings. I always had two. One had candy and little odds and ends. The other would be stuffed with apples, oranges and mixed nuts in shell. I never questioned it. I always thought it was the good stocking to offset the evil stocking.

Apparently this is a tradition that goes back to when seasonal eating was the norm, when food wasn't shipped all over the world in huge quantities. It was a big treat to have a winter orange in many parts of the country, and I would assume it was a much bigger treat in the eyes of my grandma, oldest of eight kids in a poor farm family. I didn't find this out until a few springs ago, taking an agriculture class. Mystery solved.

Here's another take on oranges in stockings from Dave's Garden.

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