Sunday, 28 December 2014
The joys of the season . . .
I thought it would be fun this morning to share all the things I love about the Holiday season, things I never indulge in or enjoy the rest of the year through. I save these things for December. Of course it goes without saying that the thing I enjoy most about this time of year is the birth of the Savior. That is the most precious of all to me. These things are the other stuff that Christmas is made of!
Italian Panettone. I never eat it any other time of the year but at Christmas time I indulge in this lovely fruited bread. Its so delicious. I had never tasted it before coming over here to the UK. I just love it. It reminds me of the lovely fruit breads my Aunt Thelma used to bake. She always iced hers and put red and green cherries on top. We adored them. They were not as soft and spongy of Panettone, but they were very good.
Gingerbread men. I Love Gingerbread men. I baked some this year like I do every year. I haven't posted the recipe yet. Even Mitzie loves these. I stamped these with the words "Eat Me". It doesn't quite show up in the photos. Nothing tastes nicer during the holidays than a crisp gingerbread man enjoyed with a glass of cold milk or cup of hot herbal tea. One year when my children were small I baked and decorated gingerbread men for our christmas tree. That was the only decoration on the tree, popcorn cranberry garlands and gingerbread men. It was not the right kind of gingerbread however as our Christmas celebrations were punctuated by the sounds of the strings slipping through the gingerbread men and the plopping of them as they softened and hit the floor. Nevermind . . . it did look pretty on the first couple of days, and the birds loved the popcorn and cranberries afterwards!
Christmas Cards. I love sending them and I love getting them. It is a way of staying in touch with people you never hear from most of the year through and I love catching up with their goings on. I do so love the Christmas newsletters where people share with us all their news of the year. I was shocked this year to learn that one of my friend's husbands had passed away earlier this year. I had not known and even though I had visited her blog several times I had not picked up on that fact. It made me feel like a very bad and insensitive friend. Lesson learned. Visit friends more often. I must make more time for that in 2015.
Christmas Crackers! We never had anything like this when I was growing up. I never had anything like this (although I had read about them) until I moved over here to the UK and it is a tradition I have embraced totally! The snap when we pull them. The wearing of the silly hat as we sit around the dinner table. The sharing of the corny jokes with each other. The cheap tatty toy inside. It's all a part of what makes Christmas dinner so special!
The Christmas Pantomime! It is a brilliant British tradition that I really enjoy. Once again I had never seen anything like it before coming over here to the UK. They're exciting and noisy and very colorful"
"Pantomime (informally panto), is a type of musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is generally performed during the Christmas and New Year season. Modern pantomime includes songs, slapstick comedy and dancing, employs gender-crossing actors, and combines topical humour with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale. It is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers."
The most popular ones are Cinderella, Aladdin, Snow White, etc. They are just brilliant. Our Ward did one a couple of years ago and it was just fabulous!
Christmas Cookies . . . shortbreads, butter cookies, santa's whiskers . . . Speculaas . . . I love all of them. Christmas is the perfect time to indulge in all of these. We can make up for it in January right?
A tin or tub of Quality Street chocolates. It wouldn't be Christmas without one. My brother used to send us one each year when the kids were growing up. We could never afford one as they were really pricey in Canada. Over here you can usually get a huge tub for a fiver or less at Christmas time. The Purple one is my favourite. I also like the green triangle.
I love Terry's Chocolate Oranges. I know you can buy them in the shops pretty much all year round, but I only ever indulge in one at Christmas. I love the way you can wack it on the counter top and this happens . . . the pieces fall apart like a real orange . . . and that chocolate orange smell wafts up to your nose.
Mr Kreugers Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, The Bishops Wife, White Christmas, Holiday Inn, The Santa Claus, The Family Man, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, The Homecoming . . . reruns of Morecombe and Wise, Only Fools, Stars in their Eyes, etc. I love all of the Christmas programming on the telly.
Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men. People just seem to be a bit nicer this time of year. Oh sure . . . you will find the odd Grinch or Scrooge, but for the most part everyone is just nicer. There is no other word for it. I looked out my window late Christmas day and saw a man struggling down the street with a trifle bowl in his arms and kiddies trailing behind him. I knew he was on his way to a family celebration. It filled my heart with warmth and my eyes with tears. Likewise the sight of this old guy who walks his little yorkie past our house each day wearing a set of antlers. Looking at the tower block flats and seeing balconies decked out in Christmas lights. Sitting here writing to you by light of tree and nothing else, whilst Christmas carols play gently along with the tap tapping of the keys. It's all good.
I hate to see it all end, but I know it must. The fact that it only happens once a year for a few weeks makes it all these days all more special. I have a good friend visiting me from Greece on New Years Day. It will be the first meeting in person between us although we have been corresponding for quite a few years now. I will be keeping my decorations up until after that. I hate taking them down each year . . . but the house always seems tidy and organized afterwards oddly enough! Less cluttered.
A thought to carry with you through today . . .
"Put yourself into life
and never lose your openness,
your childish enthusiasm throughout
the journey that is life,
and things will come your way."
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . a simple Blackberry and Apple Charlotte.
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Have a blessed and joyous Sabbath day!