‘Just What I Always Wanted!’

When Judy Burdg was growing up, the time spent with her grandparents was what made the holidays special—even magical. That, and homemade eggnog, pizzelles, and an authentic Italian Christmas dinner.

My favorite holiday memories revolve around my grandparents. When I was younger, we lived in Oklahoma City. And my mom would load me and my brother and sister up in the car during our winter break and take us to Tulsa where my grandparents were. And we would stay through New Year’s.

All the grandkids would make cookies with my grandmother. We would make pizzelles, which are an Italian pressed cookie that you either cool flat and cover in powdered sugar or you can roll them up and use them as a cannoli shell. We would also make Italian sesame cookies and homemade eggnog, which if you’ve ever had homemade, it’s a million times better than anything you will ever get in the store. And we would leave those things out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

We would wake up Christmas morning and open presents together. And my grandfather was just the sweetest man. He absolutely loved my grandmother and just adored her so much. You would always buy her a piece of jewelry for Christmas that was from Santa. And when he would open presents, he would shake the box, whatever it was. Always guessed that it was socks and then open up the package and say, Oh, just what I always wanted, no matter what it was. And then later that day, all my family would come over.

My aunts, my uncle, my cousins, and we would all have dinner together. We always had rigatoni. And my grandfather of make sauce, which was just a red sauce with meatballs and sausage, and we would tell stories and play games. And it was just so much fun. My grandparents really loved having everyone together for the holidays. Family was very important to them and they just made everything so magical and special for all of us.

Happy Holidays!

Theme graphic for McAfee & Taft Holiday Memories video series