Quilts for Sale

Friday, December 26, 2008

Old Traditions Revived

After much discussion about whether "to faux or not to faux" my DH and I decided it just wouldn't be Christmas without a real tree. We were late in getting it, and compromised on a much smaller and skinnier version than usual. Even though we were only able to fit one container of vintage ornaments on it, we think it is pretty. We're both much happier having the lovely glow of a Christmas tree in our home.

Our tree.

Feather tree ornaments are stored in recycled egg cartons.

I've been collecting vintage Christmas tree ornaments for nearly 40 years. My love of them began when we were given several fragile, very old ones which had belonged to my husband's grandmother. I remember bubble lights and decorations such as bottle brush trees from the 1940's and '50's , but I had never seen anything like the early 20th century German treasures. I was completely captivated!

Always a lover of "things old" I added vintage ornaments to a mental list of sought after items. Over the years I was able to find them at garage and estate sales, thrift stores and flea markets. Some were purchased a box at a time; others were selected individually. Soon, I had more than I could possibly use. The collection was culled and several sold. I do wish I'd kept more of the old Shiny Brite boxes - so in demand now.

I still have a large collection of vintage Christmas items. My favorites are papier mache' Santas, bottle brush trees, figural bulbs, bisque snowbabies I lucked upon in VA, snowmen and lights of all kinds. These include the colored pointy ones - you know the kind, where if one bulb goes the whole string goes. My son and I spent an entire evening testing bulbs - sorting the non-working from the good. Because these bulbs get very hot, my DH wired a special dimmer switch on an extension cord which not only cuts down on the heat but also extends the life of the bulb.

These lights are very hard to find now. I was quite surprised to see even non-working bulbs selling on eBay last year.

On Christmas Eve I began thinking about breakfast the next day. Our meal on Christmas in the past was always bacon, coffee, orange juice and Moravian sugar cake. This seemed the year for reviving that tradition also. As were were attending love feast that evening, I set about making the sugar cake that afternoon. Sugar cake is actually a yeast bread containing potatoes. It has to rise at least five hours but preferably overnight.

Our two largest bowls were used for the sugar cake dough. As our kitchen is cold, they were placed in the oven (with the light on) and left to rise overnight.

Depressions are made in the soft dough after it is spread into shallow pans. Brown sugar and cinnamon are sprinkled on top before being drizzled with butter. After a second rise, the cakes are baked. The aroma is heavenly!

Six sugar cakes were baked Christmas morning. We enjoyed our traditional Moravian breakfast with real bacon - a special treat for such a special day. How decadent!

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