Dec 072011

xmascandles 1 The Christmas Oatmeal Box

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One of the blessings of the holidays is enjoying family traditions. When I was growing up with my two brothers and two sisters our grandmother made us “Christmas Oatmeal Boxes” as an alternative to the usual Christmas stockings and the memories of those silly boxes still makes me smile.  They were filled with little toys and candy (one regular item was the Swiss Colony Xmas mouse with a red hat – we loved it and we used ours to make shaved chocolate on our New Year’s eggnog).  As we all grew up we still enjoyed our Oatmeal Boxes, and as we got married Grandmom even made up one for our spouses.  Sometimes a special friend or two, if they had been around for many years, would be surprised by also receiving one of Grandmom’s Oatmeal Boxes. It was always considered a special honor to be included in the family tradition.   Grandmom spent all year eating oatmeal for every breakfast and decorating the boxes with contact paper and yarn to make the handle for the lid.   She poured over catalogs to find silly things to put in them (like silly shaped pencil sharperners (I still have one shaped like an old fashioned sewing machine), funny toilet paper, and toothbrushes with “boobies” for bristles for the boys).  Some years she would have a “theme.”   I remember one year she gave all the men plastic cave man clubs (fully wrapped and with a  bow – just looking at the packages cracked us up) and in everyone’s oatmeal box we had windup dinosaurs.  We spent hours laughing and giggling on the kitchen floor having races with our dinosaurs.  Even though we were now in our 30s and 40s we were able to enjoy a little Christmas as if we were only five again, thanks to the love that our Grandmom shared with us through her Christmas Oatmeal Boxes.

While clearing out some things from the garage a few months ago I found an old oatmeal box.   It was a bit dusty and beat up – but filled with memories.  I knew just what I wanted to do with it.  My brother, C.S. is in a nursing home in Arkansas (he is blind and lost both his leg from diabetes).  I send him a little care package of sugar free goodies each month.  For xmas I like to send a bigger package with a couple of xmas gifts.  This year my brother will be getting a Christmas Oatmeal box.  It won’t have the same “flair” Grandmom’s used to have, but it will still contain the memories and love.   I packed it with a comb (that was a standard Grandmom addition), fingerless gloves and crocheted cap (he is always getting cold), a few sugar free goodies (life savers and gum), and a tshirt that says “for a good time insert coin here,” (I found the tshirt on sale for $5 a month ago and knew right away it would be a perfect silly gift for the oatmeal box).

Family traditions and the love and memories they carry with them last a lifetime.  I feel truly blessed to have the memory of Grandmom’s Christmas Oatmeal Boxes and so glad I am able to be able to share that memory with my brother this year.

What is your favoriate family tradition?

Bright blessings, Lady Rose

pixel The Christmas Oatmeal Box

  11 Responses to “The Christmas Oatmeal Box”

  1. Awesome tradition! :)
    Toriz recently posted..Weather, laptops, mobility and daycareMy Profile

  2. What an AWESOME tradition!! I am loving it! are we talking the rectangular boxes or the round canister boxes? I would love to see a picture!
    I am sorry about your brother. Hubs has diabetes, and has vision issues now, and bad neuropathy, he get scrapes and cuts on his lower legs all the time working on firewood. I am so afraid someday one is going to be come badly infected. I hate the disease…what it does.

    well anyway…thanks for a great post! and a wonderful idea…I like the box :)

    Blessed Yule!
    Susan G recently posted..I Did It Creations Challenge #86 (DT)My Profile

    • Hi Susan – Grandmom used the round cardboard oatmeal boxes. I’m sure I have another around some where but who knows when it will surface (I have tons of boxes to sort and clear out) – if I do find one I’ll be sure to post a photo.

      Wishing you and your family a joyful, healthy holiday and new year.

  3. Love the idea of replacement! I’m crazy for personalizing holiday traditions, for I find that is what makes them special.
    Magaly Guerrero recently posted..Skully Winter Solstice BlessingsMy Profile

    • I haven’t come up with an idea as creative as the oatmeal boxes, but every year since the nieces and nephews have gotten older I am the Aunt who gets them a “gift card” to shop the sales after the holidays – but to make it a bit more fun and creative I make up a Christmas basket (or bag) with a theme filled with a family gift and stick the gift cards for the kids inside (last year was a dvd movie for each of the familes with popcorn, candy, etc and this year the theme is baking – with the “cupcake” mold for a large cake, cake mixes, frosting, and some decorations). At house we have the “pickle gift” – Christmas Eve we leave out the pickle ornament with the cookies and milk for Santa – Santa then hides the pickle on the tree and who ever find its gets the “pickle gift” – my daughter is 15 now and we still do it. (The gift is something like a box of candy, a game, a dvd, or this year it is a lapdesk that is used for your laptop or writing, etc. since we all have laptops now it is something that can be used by who ever finds it). My sister loved this idea so much and this year I finally found the pickle ornament at a dollar store and remembered how much she liked it so I got her one for her house.

  4. What a wonderful way to brighten your brother’s holiday this year! What a neat little tradition that is so unique and fun!

    Visiting from the Yuletide Blessings Blog Party!

    Kourtney recently posted..Holiday Traditions with Cookie Flare!My Profile

  5. I love the idea of the oatmeal box! Your grandma must have been a very creative lady with a great sense of humor! I think it’s sweet that you’re giving your brother an Oatmeal Box this year. It will be a nice tribute to her memory.

    I got a mental imagine of your grandma while reading your post, and she made me smile :) Thanks for sharing a little bit of her with us.

  6. What a great tradition; I love it! I’d love to be able to do something like that for my grandkids…. but I’m not an organized plan-ahead type person. Maybe I will make that a goal for next year :)

    I think the only tradition that has stuck with our family is gathering on Christmas Eve, eating finger foods and opening one gift, then of course there is Christmas morning; however these traditions began failing as of last year with Mom’s health declining and just not feeling up to doing anything. If she has her way, this year will be more of the same. If I can get Mom to step back and let my sister and I handle everything, we could do something small and simple; it doesn’t have to be a full blown traditional dinner…. I just want us to do something/anything together this year because Mom and my sister are moving and this may be our last Christmas together as a family.

    • Something simple can be wonderful – a few simple finger foods, looking at photos from years past and remembering the love and good times, or even just watching a favorite xmas movie together with popcorn. It is always hard when family circumstances change and traditions begin the fade – being the oldest I find that I try to do “little” things for the nieces and nephews now, and when I can for my sisters and brothers – but I don’t fret over it, I’m learning how to keep the holidays more stress free. Even when we can’t all be together at one time – I can still find ways to share with them invidually during the holiday season.

      Wishing a joyful holiday and bright blessings, Lady Rose

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