In Hungary, where I grew up, it is a tradition to hang special candy on the tree that is made only for Christmas. This candy is, in fact, a small bon bon filled with various flavored filling such as chocolate, vanilla, chestnut, fruit flavored jelly or caramel.
It was always a family night decorating the tree, listening to Christmas music and making decorations. I made strings from popcorn, glued shiny, colored paper and cut out small snowflakes from white paper. My dad painted walnuts with gold and silver paint, and mom tied the candy with strings or thin ribbons into pairs and hung them on the tree branches.
My dad had a sweet tooth, and I love sweets too, but we were forbidden by mom to touch the candy until Christmas morning.
I was about four or five years old, when dad said to me, “You’re a big girl now, and I’m going to show you a trick.”
He showed me how to slide the candy out from the wrapper and smooth the paper back, so it looks like there is candy inside it.
Mom was satisfied that all the candy remained on the tree, but I think she missed the signs of my dad and I being in and out of sugar high and sugar coma, for days before Christmas.
Christmas morning came, and after we had opened the presents, mom said, “Now we can eat the candy.”
She reached up to take one, but when she touched it, the shiny wrapper flattened between her fingers. She touched the candies one by one but couldn’t find a single wrapper with candy inside it.
I felt guilty and looked at dad. He had a sheepish look on his face and apologized to mom, “Sorry honey, this was the first year that I showed my trick to Erika, so I guess we ate all the candy and didn’t leave any for you.”
Mom laughed, “It’s okay, but next year leave some on the tree for me.”
So, from then on, it became a tradition to “steal” one-third of the candy off the tree by me and dad. On Christmas morning mom, because she wasn’t that fond of sweets, shared her one-third of candy with us.
Erika M Szabo
Author of magical realism, fantasy and children's books, Publishing Coach at
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