It only hit me after I made a facebook post about eating 2 seasonal fruits a day for vibrant health. I reflected back on my childhood Christmas food traditions and realized that fruit played a key part in the day.
That magical morning started with my sister and I waking up in the wee hours of the winter morning and running to our bedroom window to see if it had snowed. We wanted the whole classic Christmas scene, you see. Tip-toeing downstairs we'd peek around into the living room to see that Santa had been there, evidenced by the gifts buldging out from under the tree and filled-to-the-brim stockings hanging from the fireplace. Fruit, right, fruit. I was getting swept up in that vivid memory!
We then spread out to wake up the rest of the family. Oldest sis, brother, mom and dad. Once all were robed and slippered we could open our stockings. Fast forward through Prince Valient comic book and crayolas all the way down to the toe of the stocking where there was nestled a plump, juicey tangerine. Phew! No lump of coal.
Tradition demanded that before we could open the gifts under the tree we had to eat a small breakfast. I hated this part. I wasn't hungry in the least! My hunger was for the spoils in the living room. No arguing out of this one. Everyone sat down to a half of a grapefruit with a sprinkling of sugar. This Florida fruit, we were reminded, is very special and not cheap so squeeze every last drop onto that spoon and into your mouth.
Finally time for the goods. But wait! Who's turn is it to read the passage in the family Bible about Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem? THEN the presents. The heavy square box from Aunt Marie in Georgia was the one my mom was excited to open because every year it was the same thing: a bushel of Floriday oranges! Liquid gold in my mom's eyes. She would always clap and squeal like a little girl when she opened this one. I never understood it.
Our big, formal Christmas day dinner continued the fruit parade with a "salad" consisting of an upturned canned pear half filled with a splop of full fat mayonaise and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Classic 50s or what? Our meal was always finished off by my mom's award winning, blue ribbon apple pie.
Later that day, after everything had been assembled, played with and tested, I would head back to my stocking and dump out its contents to get to the tangerine. I loved how easy it was to peel, to break apart into sections and how the seeds were perfect ammo to shoot out at my brother Todd.
How funny that my serious, nutritional advice for health and wellness today of eating 2 pieces of fruit because of the fiber, blah, blah, blah, was a normal part of my childhood. Today I'm sending more thanks up the prayer chain to my momma who fed our family so well for so many years.
I wish you all very happy, healthy holidays. From your motivational speaker who keeps unearthing her strong foundation.