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Friday, November 25, 2016

These Days



These days, the citrus scent of Japanese mandarin oranges takes me back to my childhood. They came in wooden crates and my parents purchased one or two boxes throughout December. They stayed down in the cold room or basement. It was the only time of year we enjoyed them. How sweet they tasted.

My grandparents (on both sides) gave all of their grandchildren a paper bag filled with candy, nuts and one mandarin orange wrapped in green tissue paper. I didn't appreciate the orange so much, then, as I would now. 

After the oranges were gone, the box remained, with infinite creative possibilities. It made a great doll bed, a little shelf for books on the desk my father built into our closet, or a repository for childhood treasures. What did you do with your wooden orange crates?

On this day, as I peel an orange, I breathe in the scent of childhood Christmases, slowly section each piece, pull off the white membrane and savour the sweet pop of juice in my mouth.


These days, lists are being made and there is tea beside the fire. Advent begins this Sunday and I'll bring out the Nativity set, hang a wreath on the door, and the season of preparation will begin again. As the earth tilts, ever so slowly, further from the sun, Christendom anticipates the coming of the Light of the world.  

27 comments:

  1. I have no such memories of being gifted with mandarin oranges that were kept in a wooden crate in the cool room in the basement. Wish that I did. I do remember my grandparents telling stories about that special orange at Christmastime or my grandfather's favorite a banana. I should think that a wooden crate would come in handy. I sometimes save the little wooden crate that the Clementines come in for a while. They work well to corral things.

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  2. Love your stories from your childhood. Like you, I got an orange, an apple, and nuts in my Christmas stocking each year, and I didn't appreciate them like I would now. But, I love that those types of traditions are passed down. Your photo of mandarins in the blue bowl is lovely. Yes, it is that wonderful reflective time of anticipation of our Savior's birth. And, I am thankful.

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  3. Mandarin oranges always say Christmas to me too. I remember the tissue paper although we never had a whole box. I still put one in the toe of my children's stocking ( yes they are all over 20) They always laugh at me and say I'm old fashioned. Enjoy the start of advent. B x

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  4. We always had a stocking with an apple, an orange some nuts and a silver coin. I remember the tissue paper too that was squirrelled away for future craft projects by my Mum. A lovely tradition.

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  5. Oh Lorrie what a beautiful post! It captured all the quiet anticipation of Advent perfectly.
    I an almost smell that zesty fragrance, those little oranges conjure up Christmas for me so much, too. We used to call them satsumas, ..I do get confused between those, clementines and mandarins! However, no matter as the thing is the mood they evoke.
    I love that you put them in a blue bowl. Artistic you, appreciative me.

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  6. What a lovely post...beautiful pictures too!
    Have a great weekend, take care.
    Titti

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  7. Like so many readers we always had an orange in the toe of the stocking! What a treat it was in those days. Now we have so many varieties, oranges, clementines, and mandarins. Not quite so much of a treat any more, sadly.

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  8. We have a few here too, I love them.

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  9. Tangerines evoke the exact same Christmas memories for me, Lorrie...sans the wooden crate though.
    Your blue bowl looks so pretty with the oranges inside. I've always wanted to do a tablescape those colors. Maybe someday.

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  10. We always got an orange in the toe of our Christmas stocking. I never appreciated the meaning of that orange, and would just slip it back into the fridge (they were never the more expensive mandarin oranges in the 'fancy' wooden crate). The oranges were my parents' memories of wartime and the Depression. My mother told me she had an orange crate on end beside her bed for her "dresser" when she was very young ... clothes inside and a book on top.

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  11. An orange, not a mandarin kind, was almost always in the toe of our stockings along with a barley toy, ribbon candy and a small toy. I don't remember those crates of oranges or clementines as a child but I think we often had regular oranges. Lovely post Lorrie.

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  12. I remember those crates as well...my Father made a Nativity scene with one of those crates...Mother still has it!
    Oranges were always placed in the toe of our stockings to be opened on Christmas morning.

    Thank you for sharing those memories today.

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  13. I have special memories of those fragrant oranges and their pretty crinkly green tissue. Loved those oranges.

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  14. What I love now is those little Clementines that are available starting around the middle of October. So sweet and easy to peel.

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  15. Lovely.
    Love to sit with a cup of tea in front of the fire and make my lists with pen and paper. We got an orange in our stockings growing up, and then I put those chocolate oranges that you whack to separate in the toes of my children's stockings. Just picked up some Clementines today -- after all the carbs this weekend, stuffing and pie, some fruit sounded refreshing! Blessing to you, Deborah

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  16. We have had mandarins for Christmas for as long as I can remember, there was always one in my stocking and there is always one in the stockings of my children. It is indeed time to start making lists, time to start planning, this is my favourite time of year, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but at Christmas we certainly spend a moment thinking about all the many things we are so thankful for. Let the festitivites begin!

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  17. What a fine memory. In our stockings we always had nuts, gum, a candy cane and an orange and an apple. The gum, black jack gum, was always special because dad didn't allow us to chew gum. The orange was special, too, because back then oranges were seasonal. Today, the little cuties are my favorite. Great memory.

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  18. Just lovely, Lorrie. This is very similar to my memory of mandarin/Japanese/Christmas oranges as well. So special in their seasonal scarcity, and those boxes (and even the squares of green tissue) re-purposed carefully. Thanks for this memory.

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  19. A lovely memory Lorrie. I still love those little crates now and wonder what to make with them. And that delicious flavour of tangerines/mandarins/clementines will always be special and festive to me however many we have now.
    Helen xox

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  20. A lovely, calming post, Lorrie. I am reminded to get out a pad of paper and start making lists.
    I don't remember mandarins coming in wooden crates as a child. I do, however, remember buying clementines in crates when my boys were growing up. My youngest son loved them and introduced them very enthusiastically to his grandmother. She never ate a clementine without thinking of him after that.

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  21. Yes tis the time for list making. I did all the shopping I'll do and the rest online. I have no memories of the oranges, but we did have grapefruit delivered in big boxes the size of orange crates. When we were first married we used orange crates for bookcases and to hold our record player (that dates me!)

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  22. Fun memories! my only living grandparents gave us a one dollar bill every Christmas and birthday. But Santa always filled the toe of our stocking with a mandarin orange.

    We always had a box of oranges in the house too. So did our kids who loved the easy peel mandarins the best.

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  23. The only oranges that I was gifted during Christmas were Terry's Chocolate Oranges. HA! O come, Divine Messiah!

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  24. You captured this most special time of year perfectly in your pictures and words.

    Thank you

    All the best Jan

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  25. I think it's time for me to pull out a little notebook and start making my lists and checking them twice...

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  26. What a lovely memory. I do remember getting one orange from Santa along with a candy cane. It was a huge treat because we just didn't get that much fresh fruit then. Oh the scent of citrus is just divine. Sitting by the fire with tea and making lists is perfection.

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  27. For me, living in Brazil, it was the most beautiful smelling apple wrapped in tissue in my paper bag. Those kind of memories stay so sweet! I love how you put into words the tilting of the earth away from the sun and Christendom awaiting the light.

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