Sunday, 28 December 2014

The joys of the season . . .



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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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." 
~Federico Fellini~
❥✻❥.¸¸.✿¨¯`❥✻❥¸¸.✿¨¯`❥✻❥.¸¸.✿¨¯`❥✻❥

  

Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  a simple Blackberry and Apple Charlotte.

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Have a blessed and joyous Sabbath day!

8 comments:

Suze said...

Good Morning Marie. You have listed some of our special favourites too. I like the long thin yellow baton from Quality Street. I cannot imagine an edible tree as that would not work well here. I would love to see a tree with candles. As a family we have a very traditional British type Christmas which is quite bizarre when it can be over 100 in the shade.

Enjoy your day.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Yes, Christmas has been a time to indulge in things that we never have any other time of year. Somethings only appear in the stores for this special season and then disappear until the next year. But the Christmas spirit remains with us all through the year, every time we share or give or love one another. Here I leave the decorations up the 12 days of Christmas and then start take them down after Epiphany. It takes me awhile to get it all packed away. I hope you have a blessed Sunday !

Linda Metcalf said...

Marie...I tied to find the red and green candied cherrys to make the Santas Whiskers this year and had no luck...also no Peppermint Stick ice cream....I did buy the tub of Cadbury Heros that I can get a Brits specialty shop where my daughter lives. Wish they would quit taking things away it's a bit sad!

La Table De Nana said...

I just told my daughters we prepped a long time and it is over in a breath..but the preps are so much part of the pleasure for me and the feeling.
I love the music..the specials ..although we only watched CTM..and I loved it..
Being with the family 3 days in a row..
all those things..Cards:)
This is the first time in my almost 61 yrs that all our snow melted !
WE have patches here and there..but my neighbor's grass is all green.
Your gingerbread man is perfect and I clearly see the words..mine melted into each other..I used a mix:(
I love to organize after Christmas too..
One of my highlights was visiting my older friend.
Your charlotte looks wonderful..
Happy in between:)

Marie Rayner said...

A lot of people I speak to have a traditional Christmas in Oz, even though it is hot and humid. Traditions die hard I guess! I Like the long batons too. I guess I just like them all! xxoo

It's like only eating strawberries in June/July Pam! They taste so much better and are much more appreciated because they are a seasonal indulgence! You are right about the Christmas Spirit! xoxo

Linda, it's not easy to find the green ones these days. You can sometimes find them online. I remember indulging in Peppermint Crackle Ice Cream back home. It was so good. No such thing over here! xoxo

Monique, like you, I love the preparations. WIth me Christmas lasts a long, long time because I include the preparation time. It does end very quickly. But the great thing is we get to do it all over again next year! Yay! Every year I say I am going to do Christmas ornaments all year long so I am ready with some pretty felt creations. This year I AM GOING TO DO IT! xxoo

LeAnn said...

I so enjoyed reading about all of the wonderful things you enjoy during the Christmas Season. You have a lot. I love traditions and have quite a few myself. I love to watch new Hallmark Christmas movies. I love the movies you like too.
All the goodies for Christmas are the best. However, this year we have had to be a bit more careful in our eating since my husband was diagnosed with Diabetes. He does indulge here and there and he is borderline and thus far we are controlling it with diet.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one and blessings for you to enjoy the rest of this awesome week.
Hugs!

Val said...

I love this post, Marie, and you and I share many favorite holiday movies. (The Homecoming, A Christmas Story, and just about any version of A Christmas Carol are a few of my very favorites. I always watch The Homecoming with my parents when I visit at Christmas, but I have the dvd here too.)

What are the slicked cookies above the candy photo that look like slices of round fruitcake? My aunt Laurie is the only one in my family that likes fruitcake, but she would likely love those cookies too. :)

And I have decided that Christmad doesn't have to end in December this year, and I don't want it to. I'm leaving the tree up longer than usual and am still watching holiday movies. I will check the after-holiday clearance sales later this week for next year's cards and stickers (for envelopes) and wrapping paper too. Christmas did my ehart a lot of good this year, and I'm holding on to it as long as I feel like I need it this winter, even if that means the tree stays up until March. ♥

Try not to feel too bad about not knowing of your friend's loss. I experienced that a couple years ago with an online friend: Her husband was quite sick, and I missed either the blog post that mentioned it or just somehow the line of the post that alluded to it, and so his death a few months later came as a complete shock to me. I know how you feel. "Online" makes it slightly harder to keep up, and I would think that if she's your friend, she must be as kind-hearted as you and will thus understand. ♥

Val said...

Excuse all the typos. :)