A waffle iron for Christmas?

The humble gift of long-lasting love.

Making waffles on Christmas Eve.

We still make waffles on Christmas Eve.

As Christmas Eve rolls around, I check to make sure I have all the fixings for our waffle supper.  Waffles mark Christmas Eve in our house as surely as Santa and the Christmas tree.  It’s a tradition that goes back a long ways.

My father was never much of a present buyer. If someone didn’t remind him, he seldom got Mom a Christmas present at all. But occasionally, he would get her something, and Mom always welcomed the gesture.

My memory is dim on the specific year Mom opened her gift and found a waffle iron. My guess is it was sometime in the very early 1960s because I was old enough to know this type of gift was not quite what a woman would hope to get from her husband.

If Mom had any hesitations, you’d never have known it from her reaction. A gift from her husband was a gift to be treasured.

Mom received her new kitchen appliance with enthusiasm, going into the kitchen immediately to mix up a batch of waffles. Since none of us Iowa farm kids had ever seen waffles, we watched her create this exotic food with great interest. 

At our house, pancakes made it into the rotation of breakfast meals with some frequency. Pancakes can be whipped up and thrown on the griddle, creating stacks to feed the whole family in a matter of minutes. Waffles take time. Several minutes to make a waffle to feed one or two people. Then you cook another one. Meanwhile the troops get restless.

Day-to-day life on the farm was practical. The waffle iron proved not to be so. Mom used the waffle iron a few times in the first year. She wanted Dad to know she appreciated his gift. Gradually, the waffle iron came out less and less frequently until finally it only appeared on Christmas Eve. But it appeared every Christmas Eve, and we all came to expect waffles, to relish the uniqueness of the meal, to cherish the tradition.

The waffle iron and Mom’s devotion to Dad and his gift spoke to us all of the love of Christmas.

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Thank you for joining me in 2013 as I shared the challenges and triumphs the year offered.  I wish you all the best in the new year, and I hope to see you here again in 2014.

Comments

  1. Randy McNeal says:

    What a great way for a Christmas tradition to begin, Merry Christmas to you Carol.

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      Traditions start in so many – often unexpected or unplanned – ways. Thanks for stopping by, Randy. Merry Christmas to you, too!

  2. There are so many layers of story here , Carol- the gift, the waffle iron, the waffles and the birth of a special tradition that honors the memory of your parents and your childhood. Lovely! Merry Christmas!

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      Thank you, Kathy. Since writing this, I can’t get the idea of a children’s story about this out of my head. Maybe this will be a new writing project in 2014! Merry Christmas to you and yours, too!

  3. Nice story, Hope you have a great Christmas!

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      Thanks, Mike. You would probably be interested to know the liver sausage is all gone. Sad for me. Happy for everyone else!

  4. Thanks for sharing the memory of your Dad’s gift. Reminds me of my Dad. He left it up to Mom to buy all the Christmas presents. However, on Christmas Eve (or whenever the last shopping day before Christmas occurred for stores closed on Sundays back then), he would go into our small town to buy her present. I remember one year he bought her a new skillet.

    Blessings and Merry Christmas to you!

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      A new skillet is almost like a waffle iron. Our dads were practical and there’s something to be said for that! Thanks for dropping by, Joan. Wishing you a wonderful 2014!

  5. Lovely yummy Christmas tradition. And, who doesn’t love waffles? Wishing you and your family peaceful, healthy and happy holidays. And, for you in 2014, I wish you great success with your upcoming novel’s release. Love, Paulette

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      Thank you, Paulette. Much happiness to you and yours, too, now and in 2014. The release of my novel will surely be a big event for me in 2014.

  6. Carol, I enjoyed the story of the gift of a waffle iron. My dad was a bit more romantic than that — how about a brand new, sparkling white, does everything electric mixer???? I was too young to remember but I’ve heard the story so many times. Unfortunately, my mom was not quite so gracious as yours.

    I do remember mom making waffles using that mixer, and how long it seemed before they were ready to come off the waffle iron. So good, however, I still use her recipe when it’s time for waffles. Thanks for evoking some memories.

    Thank you for your support and encouragement during 2013, and I’m so glad to have connected with you. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a joy-filled 2014.

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      There is certainly a theme among our fathers giving gifts! I can imagine it crossed their minds that their wives, who spend so much time in the kitchen, would enjoy a gift that made their time there easier. Though it certainly did position the women to do more work. I could also share stories about a pressure cooker and an ironing board. For another day.

      It’s been wonderful getting to know you, Sherry. All the best in 2014!

  7. What a beautiful story Carol. How sweet that what would seem to be a disappointing gift turned into an enduring family tradition. Your mother had a gift for finding the silver lining.

    One year we spent Christmas with our younger son and his wife and son. I thought divorce might be in the works when she opened his gift to her: a Swiffer. “But you’ve been saying for months you wanted one of those!” he said as he scratched his head. She spent much of the morning steam-cleaning the kitchen with her rage and that Swiffer, which would have been a welcome gift if a bottle of perfume or something had been in another package. Was that a symptom? Maybe. That was ten years ago. The divorce was final last fall.

    My husband and I have a satisfaction guaranteed approach to gift selection for each other. We each plan ahead for what we want and shop for it together, hunting down the best deal, which adds an extra layer of fun to the process. That works beautifully for us, but I don’t recommend it for those who like surprises.

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      You’ve touched on one of Mom’s great traits. She always looked for the silver lining. I’m sorry your son’s marriage came apart. The gift was, perhaps, a sign of larger communication problems. The approach you and your husband take is great, but you’re right, it has to work for everyone. And some people like the surprise.

      I hope you’re enjoying the holidays, Sharon. Wishing you a wonderful 2014!

  8. I vote for the children’s story. I could also see a Christmas gift book. With 1950′s-era illustrations. As Kathy says above, there are many layers in this story!

    My parents sometimes went to the small-town drugstore to buy 50 percent off presents for us on the last day before Christmas. It could be they followed Sharon’s practice of choosing a little something for each other together.

    Carol, you have been a wonderful online friend in 2013. Your review of Blush has the most votes for helpfulness on Amazon. Thank you. I enjoy everything you write. Hope 2014 is amazing.

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      Thanks for the encouragement to write a children’s story and/or Christmas gift book, Shirley. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea.

      I’ve enjoyed our online friendship, too. It was easy to write a rave review for BLUSH. It’s been exciting to watch your launch this year and to revel in the success of your lovely memoir with you.

  9. Great story Carol. I would never turn down a waffle maker for Christmas or birthday. It’s true making up a batch of waffles takes much longer so I don’t use ours very often either. I usually put the finished ones in the oven to stay warm.

    Blessings to you and your loved ones in 2014.

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      My husband enjoys waffles as a special breakfast treat throughout the year, so I always know I can make those to please him. This year we used the left over waffles from Christmas Eve for Christmas Day breakfast. They were just as good warmed up.

      All the best to you in 2014, too, Grace!

  10. Athanasia says:

    We’re more likely to have waffles for dinner, like when I can’t think of anything else. Like tonight…”How about waffles?” “Yeah, I could go for waffles” “Me too!” Easy, just mix the batter up, take out some berries to thaw and sugar them up a bit, find the REAL maple syrup and the whip cream and the powder sugar shaker. Dinner and desert in one meal.

    I do see the rationale of getting kitchen items for presents, and I have happily received my share. My first dishwasher was for mother’s day 23 years ago, my latest one was for our anniversary in 2010 . Got my KichenAid back in 1987 for mother’s day. Middle daughter gave me second bowl for mixer for Christmas 5 years ago (fyi…a second bowl is great , they fit inside each other for storage) . Oldest daughter gave me a food processor 3 Christmas ago. Then a new whistleing tea kettle 2 Christmas ago, New glassware last year.

    I stopped at the kitchen supply stir to buy my oldest serving spoons and scoops of all kinds. She loves to cook too and moved into much bigger house now with room. She wanted same things I had. We gave her her kitchenaid 3 Christmas ago. We will continue to share the waffle iron, easy as they live next door!

    • Carol Bodensteiner says:

      Kitchen items make total sense for the right person. My mom may have been one of those people, as you and your daughter are, Athanasia. My sisters and I gave Mom a KitchenAid, which both she and Dad embraced with glee. Mom made bread, pie crust, and candy, regularly. They also used the grinder attachment to grind meat. It never left their kitchen counter and was used regularly. Mom delighted in how easy that appliance made so many tasks.

      My husband and I find “breakfast for dinner” an easy option, too. Ours is French toast.

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