Christmas Memories

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Merry Christmas from Dale and Vicki Churchman, who live in Wichita, Kansas. They share two of their family's Christmas traditions.

Christmas Open House

Vicki and I moved into this old 1887 Queen Anne house in 1990 and have been restoring it ever since. At the same time, we started having an annual holiday open house for our friends, neighbors and colleagues. Vicki goes absolutely crazy, and right now we have six full size holiday trees and a handful of miniatures, each decorated with a special theme. The day after Thanksgiving we go to the Christmas tree farm and cut two large live trees, and one goes in each bay window downstairs. All the rest are artificial trees. I hate all the work, but Vicki enjoys it so much that I go along. I do enjoy the day of the open house because it is the only time we see some of our old friends and it is always a lot of fun. I also enjoy the leftover treats for a week after the event.

Queen Anne house from 1887

Flora Belle [Weir] Churchman Grandma's Cookies

Another tradition started many years ago. Grandma Churchman (Flora Belle [Weir] Churchman, 1900-95, wife of Leroy Churchman, 1898-1964) always ate oatmeal for breakfast and saved all the containers. She also saved all the wrapping paper from the previous Christmas. A week or so before Christmas, she would paste the wrapping paper on the oatmeal boxes and start baking sugar cookies. She would place an order with us for nuts, candy small gifts and other treats and we would go shopping; in earlier years she went along. A few days before Christmas, she filled all the boxes and labeled them. All the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had their own special gift package from her. There were three children, daughter-in-laws, 11 grandchildren and too many great-grandchildren to count. She always made a few extra boxes just in case someone showed up she didn't expect. The sugar cookies were very special, and especially the adults loved them. After we lost Grandma, her granddaughter Sheri makes cookies from the same recipe. We no longer have the oatmeal boxes wrapped in Christmas paper, but we keep the tradition partially alive with Grandma's cookies.

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