The Christmas season has begun. I could begin the season with a story of Christmas past or an emotional appeal to the true meaning of Christmas, there will be time for that later. However, I made one small action this past Sunday morning that really set me on on a path towards Christmas. I bought some mixed nuts.
I was at Hugo’s on Sunday morning and had almost filled the cart. As I turned around the end cap by the dairy section, I thought how nice it would be if the unshelled, mixed nuts were out for sale. Mixed nuts are something you typically see around Thanksgiving and are typically gone soon after Christmas. This little cue for Christmas memories were present and for sale by the pound. I picked up a scoop and began loading a bag with pecans, walnuts and hazel buts.
Mixed nuts are a taste gained as an adult. I never cared for them when I was younger although I loved to crack the shells for others. Nutcrackers interest me as they are of varied design however, my favorites are those based on the Tchaikovsky ballet, “The Nutcracker Suite.” The “Nutcracker Suite” is a story that displays the legend that a nutcracker protects your home played out against the background of a Christmas Eve celebration. I suspect the connection between mixed nuts and Christmas has not as much to do with this ballet as it does the giving of expensive mixed nuts during Christmas.
Mixed nuts must have seemed a tremendous indulgence many years ago. To gather nuts from the various climates that produced them would have been expensive
and an act reserved for only the very rich or for a rare celebration. I think mixed nuts, stacked in their shells and sitting in a bowl became such a cue for Christmas memories as they were always present at my parent’s home at Christmas. I believe they sat on a buffet in the living room but memories and emotion have a very profound effect on each other so I cannot give their location with great confidence.
I purchased those mixed nuts on an early Sunday morning just as entitled royalty might have in the past. More accurately, I purchased them carefully and by the pound. No matter their cost, the mixed nuts were precious because of the memories they carried with them. They also taste pretty good-I developed a taste for more than just cracking them as an adult.
The mixed nuts sit at our kitchen island near the garbage can-a placement derived more from prudence than tradition. I still manage to launch mixed-nut shrapnel as if spraying such matter is a hallowed piece of Christmas tradition.
It is the start of the Christmas season. The season began with a birth of an infant in a small place. If a small tradition, such as mixed nuts, can start you down a path towards immersion in,and reverence of, Christmas-then do it. Purchase without reserve as royalty have or as most of us have, by the pound-a bag of memories posing as-mixed nuts.