Wood smoke curled from the chimney as Eli and Mattie stepped from the back porch onto the frozen ground. The morning was still, yet excitement filled the chilly air.
Even the chickens they had been sent to feed seemed to know something was special about this morning. It was Christmas Day!
Eli and Mattie hurried through their morning chores. After they fed and watered the chickens, Eli did the same for the farm dogs and then headed to the barn where Datt and their older brothers were hitching up the horses to Datt’s buggy. Mattie helped Mamm clear the breakfast table, and then the two of them packed up the delicious foods that had been lovingly prepared for this day: date pudding, molasses crinkle cookies, apple pies and homemade bread.
While nary a string of lights, decorated tree or wrapped gift could be found at Eli and Mattie’s house, Christmas was a very special time of church services, big family gatherings, fellowship, and of course, lots of good food enjoyed together.
Before long, the whole family was snuggled into the buggy underneath the warm buggy robes. The horses’ breath came in clouds as the buggy made its way the few miles to Grossdaadi and Grossmaami’s house in Apple Creek. Eli and Mattie smiled at each other. They knew there would be lots of cousins there to play with!
After a noon meal of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, Amish dressing, vegetables and of course, Mamm’s rolls and desserts, the grownups lingered around the big table to visit, while Grossdaadi handed out some special treats to all the grandchildren.
The children squealed, gratefully took the candy, then scampered off to the big living room. Here at their grandparents’ house were special toys they looked forward to playing with between holidays and visits.
Eli and some of the boys gathered around the marble roller and immediately began their marble races. Other boys ran to the wooden toy box in the corner of the room, which contained a wooden train set, barn with animals and a toy truck with a stock trailer.
With the adults busy talking up a storm, the children knew they could play to their hearts’ content!
Hours later, the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves carried them home, cozy and warm under the soft buggy robes as the sun set over Kidron. The evening chores awaited, but Eli and Mattie’s bellies were still full of all the good food, and their hearts were full of good memories of the day and love for their large family. It had been a Merry Christmas.
Editor’s Note: “Eli” and “Mattie” are fictional characters based on the children of many of our Amish friends and neighbors. Any resemblance to real people, living or deceased, is purely coincidental.
Find the Eli & Mattie toy collection only at Lehman’s.
Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of German, is the language spoken by the Amish, especially at home. Here’s a quick glossary of terms used in this blog: Datt = Dad; Mamm = Mom; ‘Daadi = Grandpa or Grandfather (the formal term is Grossdaadi); ‘Maami = Grandma or Grandmother (formal: Grossmaami); Ach = Oh!