Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This week on Jean : An old order Mennonite Christmas : Part 1

Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.


Right now I am making cookies, candy and more goodies for the Christmas Season. For the firewoman,   firemen and ambulance crew where David volunteers, I am getting baskets and putting in jams, jellies that I have put up and a fresh homemade loaf of bread. For friends I am making the baskets with apple butter, bread and some of the jams and jellies. Also, I have made fudge for friends and will put them in little baskets. We do have Old Order Mennonite, Amish and outsider friends that we give to. Some people we give to are unable to make such goodies for health reasons.

At meetings (church) on Sunday, we light the candles for Advent. Each candle is to remind us of the coming and Birth of Jesus. Our thoughts at both meetings and home are of what Jesus did for us. Do we really thank, acknowledge, praise and honor the Lord in both the good times and the times that we feel are not so good? Do we realize that the Lord sent His only Son who died on the cross for us? We don't only honor Christmas, but why Jesus was born on this earth. The ultimate gift that He could give us was His life for our sins.

We do not put up Christmas trees, lights, honor Santa Claus, etc. Although this year we have allowed Michael to have a very small Christmas tree in his room and lights around the windows in his bedroom. I do make a couple of evergreen arrangements with red bows on them for our house. Also, this year only we will be wrapping our Christmas presents for Michael. We usually don't do this-we consider buying wrapping paper, tape, etc. a waste, but this year we will do it. Michael has never celebrated Christmas before and wanted a sort of outsiders Christmas. After talking with our bishop and deacons we were giving permission for this year only. Michael agreed he would go with our way next year. In our usual way when we give gifts they are usually in bags or just set out for the person to find in the morning.

December 23rd we will go to Susan's school in the evening to see her school Christmas. The school may have a play or readings - after which is religious songs singing. When the children are over there are refreshments for both the students and those that attend. The students give the teacher her Christmas gift. Usually it is a gift from all the students like a quilt, cape, sweater, and alike made by the students mothers. Of course, we have done different. Our teacher is an unmarried lady, lives alone and keeps up her home by herself. Her house badly needed to be painted. Her Christmas gift a couple of years ago was that the parents and older students would paint her house-and did when Spring came. Another year they put a new roof on her house. The teacher gives all the students a small gift such as pens, pencils, stationary, etc. In school when it comes to students giving gifts we have each child draw a name from someone in their class. All the girls draw girls. The boys draw boys. All the 1st graders draw a first grader, 2nd grader a second grader, etc. Before school closes on the 23rd, the children will change gifts and open them at school. When students want to give gifts to other friends whether in school with them or not they give them outside of school. At Christmas Time we take the buggy and go out and give our gifts - our children give their gifts at that time. We never want a situation in school where some students get gifts and others don't or one student gets more gifts than others. That is why we decided to give gifts, aside from the drawing, outside the school.

Martha has told you about our ladies group. We draw a name from a coffee can each year. The coffee can is now decorated really pretty and not the tin we started with. For the whole year, we send notes letting them know they are in our prayers, notes of encouragement, and more. We send them birthday cards, Easter Cards, Christmas Cards and more. At Christmas time we have a dinner at someones home and find out who our writer was and give them a small gift. Our husbands also give their husbands a small gift. Then we send the coffee can around and draw our new person for next year. In answer to Martha's request-yes it was meant that you draw me and I draw you the first year you were among us. On December 16th, we will be having our dinner this year. Since we have Amish in our area their ladies have joined our group and the dinner is at one of their houses this year. I put someones name back at the drawing one year and the deacons after ward ask why I refused the name I pulled. I explained that I had drawn my own name, which I had. So I put it back and drew someone Else's. I have drawn my Mother's name, but even though we know who it is we don't mention it until the Christmas dinner.

I will continue on Christmas in my next post. Here is a Christmas dish you might want to try.

Be with God,



12 med. sized carrots, peeled and cut into 1" lengths

4 tbsp butter melted

1/4 c. brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tbsp. parsley, chopped

Cook carrots in saucepan, covered with cold water. Cook until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Melt butter in a 1 quart saucepan. Add brown sugar, ginger, and parsley. Mix and set aside. When carrots are cooked, drain and return to pan. Pour butter mixture over them and cook over low heat for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately. 6 portions.
Next Monday on Dec 19 will be part 2 of Jeans Christmas post. And her last post for 2011!


I've created this website out of my own interest in the Amish/Mennonite culture and of living in the country. Its a place for people who are interested in the Amish like myself, and its also a place to share Images of the beautiful country side that is all around me. my name is Richard, and I live very close to an Amish settlement here in Pennsylvania. This site is dedicated to my mother, who had started all of this by taking me as a child to Lancaster,pa from our apartment in the Bronx projects..........THANK YOU MOM............... Richard