Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Pie

So this summer we drove 18 hours to visit family. At one point during the adventure, we rode on the 1923 La France Fire Engine for an impromptu parade. The parade was just us. We drove around the block waving American flags and greeting people! We loved it.
Last Friday was a "Light Parade." We rode the Fire Engine again as a parade entry per request of the City Zoo. It was a contrast in temperature from a balmy 90 degrees to a frigid 19 degrees. We bundled up and waved at people. K2 sat like a statue while Underfoot waved and shouted, "Merry Christmas!"
After we were done, we had supper and hot chocolate and our Christmas pie like Little Jack Horner! The nursery rhyme is said:
Little Jack Horner 
Sat in the corner 
Eating his Christmas pie. 

He stuck in his thumb and 
Pulled out a plum and said, 
"What a good boy am I."

The tradition started on the Morgan side of the family over 70 years ago. I remember doing the "pie" as a little child with my great-Grandpa Christensen making all the preparations. The pie consists of small and simple presents. The presents are tied to a string with one end tied to the present and the other end labeled with the recipient's name. The string is poked through the "crust," and the "crust" is taped down. When it is time to open the pie, each person holds their own string, and everyone recites the poem as a practice. The practice is essential because everyone needs to know to put their thumb down to the pie when saying, "he stuck in his thumb" and then tucking slightly when saying "and pulled out a plum." There is always a joker in the group that reminds everyone this is the rehearsal and another person tugs on their string hard. The second time is the real pull. The presents are pulled through the "crust" and enjoyed. The strings are usually pretty tangled to it causes for some Boy Scout knot tying skills. My Grandpa Christensen kept the strings from year to year. You knew when a new person entered the family by the newer twine.

One year after my Grandma Christensen's death, Grandpa tied a note saying to come to the kitchen and pick a glass item that was Grandma's. It was serving dishes and little figurines. It was quite memorable.

1 Basket or bin
1 small present per person participanting
Butcher Paper (or the like)
Tape (Duct tape or masking tape works best.)

1. Wrap the package and tie the twine around the package. Write the person's name on the package as well as on the end of the string. The presents can be anything you like. Since there is pulling involved a heavy package like an anvil are not recommended. We have had candy, socks, ties, scarves, hair ribbons, and a note at the bottom to claim a heavier or more delicate present later.
2. Poke holes in the crust and thread the strings through the top.
3. Pass out the labeled pieces of twine.
4. Grab your twine and place thumb down. Recite the rhyme for the practice round.
 5. Recite the poem the 2nd time and pull when the rhyme says "pull."
6. Untangle the presents.
7. Open to see the surprise!
It is a fun end to an evening and
a fun end to a month of pies.


Cyndy said...

Oh what a great tradition! LOVE it and thank you for sharing it.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

That is so cute and so fun! Thanks for sharing all of your delicious pie recipes and wonderful traditions! It's been a beautiful celebration!!!

Sue said...

What a fun tradition. You guys are something else!


Jilli said...

What a great project to explore the world of pies. You showed diversity under a common theme. I am so glad you ended with our Christmas pie and logged its history! It is a precious tradition for me!

The Scrappy Cottage said...

I first seen this on, Or so she says blog. I love family traditions and this looks like a fun one. So I just had to come check out your blog. It is so nice how you talk about the family and how they have inspired you. My grandmother left with me so many wonderful memories that I pass down to my grandchildren today. We never die, we are just away from this earth. How we lived on it is how we will be remembered or in some cases not remembered at all. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tradition.