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Growing up, there was one thing we could always count on getting more than once  at Christmastime… brown paper treat bags. In our Mennonite circles we called them tootyas which means “little bag.” After the Sunday School program, the men would bring huge boxes of little bags for everyone in attendance. At our grandparents’ houses, after the poems had been recited, carols sung and special gifts presented, the tootyas showed up. Of course we loved the candy but peeling the special oranges (Japanese oranges wrapped in green tissue) in one piece was the most fun.

I had forgotten about tootyas for many years but not too long ago, I decided that I really should revive some of my Mennonite traditions while celebrating Christmas with Mark’s side of the family. I introduced them to crokinole (a table game which was a staple at our home) and assumed that tootyas would be new to them as well. I was wrong. My mother-in-law remembered them from her earlier days in Nebraska.

For several years, I prepared the bags and wrote the names with a marker. However, thanks to Pinterest (I haven’t started it yet myself, but am getting closer), Katie told me that paper bags could be run through the printer. After enough frustration, I decided that really Creative Memories software, white cardstock and double-stick tape would be the way to go. So, this is what sixteen Twibells will be enjoying this Saturday… brown paper treat bags kicked up a notch.

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