Christmas with Grandma: Julianna Deering

Some of my very best childhood memories are about times I spent at my grandparents’ house. My mother’s parents, as well as all but one of her siblings and their kids, lived in the Dallas area when I was growing up, and we saw each other for almost every holiday and during the summer. Most of the time we spent together, we were at Grandma’s house.

Dodson 1

Grandma came from a time when women did not usually hold jobs, especially after they were married, but you could never say that Grandma didn’t work. She was raised on a small Texas farm, very close to where I live now, where they had few conveniences and manual labor was the order of the day. I don’t remember ever thinking about it much when I was growing up, but now I look back and wonder how in the world she ever got everything done.

She never drove a car, not even once, so if she needed something from the store when Grandpa was at work, she walked. She didn’t have a washing machine or dryer until she was in her late sixties, but she did all the family laundry herself. Her house was always neat and tidy, except for when we twelve cousins got together and made a shambles of the place. Except for the mowing, she did all the yard work, including raising and crossbreeding prizewinning irises, along with an abundance of other flowers. She never had a microwave, and frozen dinners and pretty much any kind of pre-made food were taboo in her opinion, so she cooked everything from scratch, and there was always a feast on the table. And that was just on an average day.

Dodson 2At Christmas, there were usually thirty to forty people to feed and entertain. We always had two tables set up: the “big table” for the grown-ups and the older kids, and the “little table” for the younger ones. Of course we were all crammed together in Grandma’s dining room around a mountain of delicious food, usually roast turkey with gravy and corn-bread dressing, a variety of vegetables and casseroles and, best of all, homemade candies and pies with Grandma’s lighter-than-air crust.

Dodson gifts

Somehow she made it all come together, year after year, and she did it all on her own. I’ll never know how she managed it, except with hard work, determination and, I’m very sure, a lot of prayer. After all these years, she still amazes me. Especially at Christmas.

What are some of your childhood memories of Christmas?

Connect with Julianna on Facebook and her website.

Deering_Julianna1

Most Recent Release: Rules of Murder

Rules of Murder

When a party at his country estate proves deadly, can Drew Farthering and a clever debutante guest catch the killer before he claims another victim?

6 thoughts on “Christmas with Grandma: Julianna Deering

  1. Thanks, Jen! Merry Christmas to you, too. 🙂

    To everyone: It looks like the captions didn’t make it to the post, so here they are for anyone who’s curious:

    #1:
    This is how I remember Christmas at Grandma’s house. Grandma is standing at the back by the tree, and my aunt is sitting by the door. Standing in the middle of the room in her red velvet Christmas dress is my sister with my brother at her left and two of our cousins in front. I wasn’t born yet.

    #2:
    Here I am, the midget on the left, with my sister and brothers in front of Grandma’s Christmas tree.

    #3:
    This was also taken before I was born, but I remember we always had a ton of presents to open.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

  2. The older I get, the more I appreciate the depth and breadth of work that my grandmother and mother did at Christmas time and throughout the year. I hardly noticed their efforts as a child. But now! Now that *I’m* a mom of three, I think back in awe of all they accomplished.

    Thanks for the post, Julianna!

  3. I have such respect for those generations who did everything from scratch, and still managed to be hospitable, have hobbies and outside interests, and did without all our “modern” conveniences while they raised their families. Thanks for sharing!

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