Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Memories

Looking down on Oakland and San Francisco from Montclair.

One of my favorite early Christmas memories centered upon a family tradition of driving to Montclair, in the Oakland hills, to look at Christmas lights. We opened Christmas presents at night when I was a small boy. My dad would drive the kids to look at the lights so that Santa would have time to come to our home and deliver some presents.

Looking at the lights.

Our favorite stop on our drive was to look at the fantastic Julia Morgan designed Montclair firehouse, all decked out with Christmas lights. Famous for her work on Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Julia Morgan designed the small firehouse in a charming Hansel & Gretel style in 1927. My grandfather sold real estate in Montclair many years ago. As a small boy I lived on Chabot Road near Lake Temescal.

My mother made Spritz cookies at Christmas. Many times I tried to dip into the cookie dough by diverting her attention to an imaginary spider on the wall. She learned my tricks pretty early. Those cookies are truly wonderful! I found it totally impossible to stop with just one or two; it was more like 8 or 10!

One of my favorites on Christmas morning is to have a cup of coffee and slices of Christmas Stollen. I love all the raisins, currants, and the layer of marzipan! Yummm!

I don’t know how I started this tradition but I always listen to the great Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, reading his enchanting story, A Child’s Christmas in Wales. It’s a magical story of a young boy, families and Christmas in a Welsh seaside town. If you haven’t heard let me share a link to hear it.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

We wish you a wonderful Christmas and the very best for the Holidays. May your New Year be healthy, happy, and prosperous!

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