Merry Christmas for Almost Nineteen Years

Ray Baird

THE DAY OF CHRISTMAS IS HERE The kids and grand kids have been waiting for this day for more than a month and parents have also been looking forward to it and many have been preparing for it for weeks. Now that the day is actually here; lets slow it down, gather the children around and get serious about what this season is all about. Remember that this is a holy day, of our Lord’s birth and a sacred celebration. We have much to be thankful for: the fact that we have lived to celebrate Christmas once more, that we can be together as families which is a gift within itself and that we can live in a country where we can celebrate Christmas and carry its real meaning over to our families. We thank God for another Christmas day in 2015. Light every tree, candle and window in the house and prepare the way for the Christ Child.

WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS DAY A special Merry Christmas to all readers of the Garden Plot and a huge thank you to The Stokes News for their printing the column for almost nineteen years. We hope you have learned from the column and that your garden and life has been more productive by information produced in the column.

THE APPLE TREE ON CHRISTMAS Apples are a big part of Christmas past and present. They have always been a part of every Christmas in our lives. They were an ingredient of our church’s treat bags the Sunday before Christmas and several would be in our Christmas bags on Christmas morning. We could actually say that the red apple is the official fruit of Christmas and the orange and raisin run a close second because they have also been around every Christmas. My mom and Dad grew up on remote farms on Northern Hampton County in eastern North Carolina. They always recalled that many Christmas mornings, most of what they received was a few apples, oranges, some clusters of raisins, a few small sticks of hard candy, a small store bought gift and some homemade items. We always thought all of these items were important because they remembered them all through their lives. Memories are the things that helps us keep Christmas in our hearts all year long, and for all our life, as well as instilling memories in our children’s and grandchildren’s lives. One of the apple tree traditions is to check the apple tree on Christmas day because in ancient Christmas lore it states that if you can see the sun shining through the limbs and branches of the apple tree on Christmas day, the coming year will be productive and abundant in the garden.

A BOWL OF APPLE WALDORF FRUIT SALAD OF CHRISTMAS DAY Apples are wonderful at Christmas because they are crunchy, tart, sweet, and all during the year they are available and abundant. They’re re especially great in a Christmas Waldorf salad, and here’s the recipe for a bowl of Christmas color and goodness. Peel and cube, in half-inch chunks, six apples and sprinkle the juice of one lemon on them and stir it in. Add several packs of Splenda or three teaspoons of sugar. Add a small jar of maraschino cherries, a small jar of green maraschino cherries and a cup of seedless white grapes. Stir in a small box of jello instant pudding cheesecake (no sugar variety) and a small carton of Cool Whip sugar-free or regular. Add a few celery seeds (optional).

CHRISTMAS PAST IS BETTER THAN CHRISTMAS PRESENT Anyone, even Scrooge, can give a Christmas present, but only a heart filled with Christmas love can give the gift of NOW which will be an investment in your family’s future generations. On this Christmas day, imprint Christmas love, traditions and memories of this PRESENT Christmas in their formative minds. Surely they will outlast and outlive and store-bought material gift. Just remember: ” off all the gifts, love is the best”!

A GIFT THAT WILL GIVE DAILY FOR THE NEXT SIX MONTHS On Monday, December 19, 2015, we started to receive the gift of an extra minute more of daylight each evening as the season of winter began. An extra bonus at this present time is the extra minute of sunset on the western horizon that produces a purple- red glow as evening stars and constellations appear on Christmas night. God’s Christmas card sets upright in the western horizon, just after sunset. It is called the Norther Cross, and it is part of constellation Cygnus the Swan. Its sets fast during these first days of the winter solstice. This formation of stars forms a cross in the upright position hanging on the western horizon reminding us of why we celebrate Christmas.

A CLATTER ON THE FRONT LAWN No, It’s not Santa-he came last night! Could it be a robin? Yes it could! They are known to appear in the winter and many believe they don’t fly south, but lay low in hallow logs and under tree stumps or maybe in an old barn or shed where they can keep warm. If you see a robin on the ground, don’t be surprised, unless the ground is frozen, they can find Christmas dinner!After all, birds are nature’s decorations and ornaments.

THE MOST UNFORGETTABLE CHRISTMAS TREES As a twelve year old boy, I saw one of the most beautiful of Christmas trees. It was not one of the most beautiful of Christmas trees and it was not on Main Street or in a department store, or even a church, but in the living room of Patricia, who with her bright brown eyes looked like a Christmas ornament. What made her family’s tree so extraordinary was it was not a cedar, pine, spruce or even a fir, but it was a fresh-cut holly complete with red berries and shiny dark green leaves. The tree, even without any decorations, with cotton “snow” underneath was beautiful. This tree was decorated with shiny red ornaments, silver roping and tinsel icicles and the tree was adorned with all-bubble lights, a vintage 1950’s product. This was a tree like no other tree. That tree is long-gone but still very much alive in the windmill of my mind, and so is Patricia and her brown eyes that reflected that beautiful Christmas tree. Patricia is only a memory of childhood . She died three or four years ago of breast cancer, but the memory of that tree and its reflection on her face and eyes is still alive.

CHRISTMAS IS A BRIGHT LIGHT ON A DARK NIGHT While traveling on U.S. 421, from Yadkinville to Winston Salem several years ago on the week before Christmas, we beheld an unusual Christmas tree on the side of the highway. This was wide open country with no businesses or houses around, and yet, there in the middle of seemingly nowhere, there was a brightly lit Christmas tree shining in all it’s beauty. We couldn’t help but wonder who went through the trouble and expense to run electricity to such a lonely, dark and barren area. What a messenger of Christmas cheer there was in display of that tree in such a dark place. We could not help but think that someone cared enough to go through a lot of trouble and expense to light up such a tree. Over 2015 years ago, God sent His son on a mission to provide light to a dark and lonely world; he did it at a great cost and for the great propose of providing “The Light of the World”. May your Christmas of 2015 be filled with His light.

Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at

Ray Baird

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