We started celebrating Advent last night at Mass. We were introduced to our new Priest and he lit the first candle on the Advent wreath. The wreath is on a tall wrought iron stand and candles all around... then fresh greens and berries form a wreath around them. In front is a beautiful purple and white bow. We light one candle each week until Christmas. This is the official start of our Church year. No flowers on the Altar just purple Altar cloths and the Advent wreath. My wreath at home is much simpler. Just a holly wreath with votive candles and a larger white one in the center. It is on our table and we lit it during breakfast.
Another tradition, at home, is the baking of the fruitcakes. I am not baking them this year, but I have lots of memories of years past. When my youngest son was about 4...he liked to help make fruitcakes with me. We would get the largest club aluminum soup pot and fill it with all the ingredients to make about 8 fruitcakes. The kitchen smelled wonderful with all the spicy smells. He would sit on the table and stir with the huge wooden spoon with a long handle. The pans all lined with brown paper...were waiting to be filled. My recipe didn't have any citron in it. Just huge cherries, pineapple, raisins, currants, dates, and tons of pecans. We always saved the best fruit to decorate the tops when they cooled. There was nothing else done in the house that day. The kitchen was off limits. John and I stirred and stirred. I would fill the pans and pop them in the oven. Then the aroma went all through the house. They baked for a long time and I was always worried that I would take them out too soon and they would be uncooked in the middle, but they never were. We would let them cool and then wrap them in cheesecloth and foil. Sometimes they would be soaked with brandy, but not always. We kept them cool until Christmas time and then the tops were decorated with a sirup mixture and the saved fruit. I don't think anyone in my immediate family ever ate fruitcake...but I did.. and so did the relatives who received them. I'll put my recipe here tomorrow.