Oranges may bring to mind sunny summer days for many. For me, they always conjure up the smells, tastes and memories of Christmas.
My grandmother often set my sister and I to work making orange pomaders right after the Thanksgiving turkey was cleared from the table!
She usually did them correctly, inserting the cloves into the oranges, dusting them with other spices, and letting them dry. They would then be out in holiday arrangements, before being tied up in netting and placed in closets as air freshners.
I tend to use them only as decorations during the Christmas holidays. These were made several days ago as entertainment, since my vision was still limiting activities. They are now nestled in a bowl of greenery and pinecones on the breakfast room table.
On Christmas morning, there is fresh orange juice served in holiday glasses that once belonged to my mother-in-law. Cold juice is the perfect compliment to the egg casserole I always bake, and the glasses are the perfect compliment to our Spode Christmas Tree dishes.
Santa always left an orange in the toe of our stockings!
This was my childhood stocking. Mother made it from felt, and embellished it with embroidery, sequins, beads and jingle bells. My stocking is still a part of our holiday decorations.
To reach the orange and other goodies, I had to lift up Santa's beard.
Mother would also indulge my sister and me with oranges and peppermint "straws".
The oranges were rolled over and over on the kitchen cabinet to break up the membranes and release the juices -- and probably a little of our extra holiday-induced excitement!
A tiny cut with the point of a sharp knife, and the straw was inserted. Then we slurped our way into a major sugar overload! I guess it was also one way to make sure we received a little vitamin C in the midst of winter, and amongst all the Christmas candy and treats.
The peppermint sticks need to be the "old fashioned" type that are more porous than some peppermint sticks more readily available. This year, I found Candy Sippers at Harry & David. They do not suggest using them with oranges, as much as hot cocoa and other holiday beverages. I also find that you sometimes need to let the peppermint sit in the orange for awhile to open up the end and let the juice really be drawn through it. The oranges also still need to be squeezed a little while sipping -- a reason to make sure the knife slit is kept small and the peppermint fits snugly in the opening to prevent leaking.
This may also be one of those things, kind of like the playground slide, that is always better in our memories than in reality. It also makes me realize just what a saint Mother was to create cherished memories for us, while probably creating a mess for her!
During the celebration of this year's Christmas, I hope you are also fondly remembering joy of holidays past.