Author Topic: Holiday Drop In Open House  (Read 5157 times)

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2016, 06:18:37 PM »


Welcome, welcome, ALL to our Annual Holiday Drop in, our 20th Anniversary Special!

Come as you are, have a glass of egg nog, and greet old friends. We hope to make this a Homecoming for old, and we hope, brand new friends, and that you will each bring the gift of sharing a memory, a recipe or a thought for the holidays.

We have a  Raffle, too,  and just by posting here you are in the contest. Winner to be announced the 23rd of December.

So come on in, and note the Topics du Jour as we count down to the 25th:



December 1-2:  Come on home and tell us the best book YOU read this year and why.
December 3-4:  Give us the gift of your favorite Holiday  Recipe
December 5-6:  What Christmas or Hanukkah do you remember best and why?
December 7-8:  Did you ever have a disastrous holiday you laugh about now? The dressing that ran, the turkey which never cooked? Tell us about it.
December 9-10: Are you giving a book for Christmas or Hanukkah? If so, what is it?
December 11-12: What is your favorite book with a holiday theme? Can be a mystery, etc.
December 13-14: What one thing do you absolutely have to have at Christmas or Hanukkah or it wouldn't be right without it?
December 15-16: What's your all time favorite holiday sweet treat?
December 17-18:  What's your favorite TV holiday program?
December 19-20: - What one symbol of the season  do you have to have  every year?
December 21-22: Who is the best Scrooge in all the movies and plays you've ever seen? Why?
December 23: Raffle winner announced


December 26- 31: Till January we'll we'll discuss  this charming short story, an allegory of virtues, A Kidnapped Santa Claus  by  L. Frank Baum

Lyman Frank Baum (15 May 1856 – 6 May 1919) was an American author of children’s books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A Kidnapped Santa Claus is a Christmas-themed short story written by L. Frank Baum. It is a continuation of the story set forth in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, telling how Santa Claus was kidnapped by “Daemons” in a plan to make children unhappy. It has been called one of Baum’s most beautiful stories and constitutes an influential contribution to the mythology of Christmas.

http://www.aesopfables.com/kidnap.html


Everyone is welcome!

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2016, 06:23:04 PM »
Oh Karen - I know the anger and because of the feeling of defeat that this man who you loved was capable of such indifference spewing pain on his family and then your resiliency rediscovered to do what is needed to take care of yourself and your children - good for you...  Yes, Christmas is rebirth and notable is when we have an epiphany that leads to our own rebirth. 

nlhome

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2016, 07:35:34 PM »
My most memorable Christmas as an adult was the year we were married. The wedding was December 21, we went off to stay in the city where I was a student, and we took a few hours one day to buy gifts for everyone and then headed back home on Christmas Eve for church with my family and the big family get-togethers on Christmas day. I remember being so proud of all those gifts from both of us, although they weren't much. (I recall reflectors for my folks' country driveway as one gift.)  Two weeks later my husband flew off to catch his ship and spend the next year in SE Asia.

Annie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2016, 10:50:18 PM »
Ginny, thanks for putting up that link for me! I want to add that the Chocolate Creme De Menthe Bars can be cut up into 2 inch squares, layered using wax paper between the each layer (I use large plastic containers) and stored in the refrigerator or the freezer.  Also, I forgot to mention that not all Creme de Menthe liquior comes green so you can add green food coloring. Just a few drops.  The 2nd layer needs to be mint green.  My beauty operator says they are her favorite Christmas gift. I usually buy some Christmas tins and stuff them with the bars then give them to family and friends.


http://allrecipes.com/recipe/11369/creme-de-menthe-bars/
 
"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth." Robert Southey

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #44 on: December 06, 2016, 12:40:51 AM »
I've several memorable happenings at Christmas but an entire day being the most memorable hmm -

I learned I was worth more, could and would be more capable the Christmas I was in 2nd grade when I received a pearled, short, pen and pencil set with gold clips from my father. My first thought popped out of my mouth, we did not write with a pen in 2nd grade and he calmly said, but you will and later in 6th grade he gave me, a girl, a basketball, a Wilson basketball -

I remember my cousins coming as they did every year and the tradition was to put all but one toy back under the tree as if on display and when our aunts and cousins came or we visited them the gifts were passed around for everyone to admire and then put back - each day another gift became a part of our lives. I also still hear my mother calling not to play with the manger as my sister and I played house with the manger figures and best of all when my one cousin, Jacky came we lay on our backs under the tree and look up at all the lights reflecting on the ornaments most of which were my grandmother's - she received them from relatives in Bavaria back before WWI. 

Then all the Christmases with my children and the Christmases with my grandchildren - taking a walk and visiting with my two from NC and stopping in a shop in Hendersonville and the youngest tried on cap - the kind you see on British golfers and men wore during the 20s and 30s - he looked great and then finding one for his brother who was not sure about wearing a cap but he looked great, then walking down the street they both stood so tall and enjoyed their hats that became the thing for the next year till summer.

Visiting my Son and his family when he lived for a few years in Oregon - we drove into the mountains to a tree farm along roads where evergreen trees were packed to the edge of the road - and the one year when they lived in Bryan Collage Station we just sat down for dinner after spending hours getting and decorating the tree and in amazement watched as in slow motion, we could not believe it was happening, the tree slowly and silently fell over.

The one I smile about to this day is the time I was in tears - we just moved to Kentucky and we were living in a 2 bedroom tract house where you walked in the front door directly into the living room that I put a mahogany desk along the wall that was as if a hallway to the doorway opposite the front door that led to the rest of the house - right to the kitchen, almost straight ahead to the bathroom, and left to the two bedrooms one facing the backyard and one facing the frontyard - On that desk is where I put my two sacks of groceries. I was exhausted having had a miss-carriage only 2 weeks before that was not as bad as the one I had the year before so I did not think I needed as much rest. 

My oldest, Peter was 4. I used to describe him that if I was an octopus I might be able to keep up with him and then just 9 months and 6 weeks after he was born there was Kathamarie, who was age 3 - came in, did not put the groceries up I was too tired, left them on the entry desk and immediately, put both of them down for a nap, shoes and socks off, potty, water etc. and then I laid down thinking a half hour and then I would take care of the groceries that had the makings for Christmas cookies, Flour, sugar etc. Well of course I fell sound asleep - did not hear Peter get up and even my daughter was up - he explored the groceries, dumped the 10 pound bag of sugar and the 10 bag of flour on the living room floor that was wood with a large 14 foot oval braided rug that gave groves to the flour and sugar so that with his trucks he had a whole road system laid out.

When I finally woke up and took one look, I cried - and cried - and cried - while picking everything up I cried - cried while vacuuming it up - cried moving the sofa and a large chest under the window to get the huge rug rolled up and into the yard to hang on the line and beat while crying - they're standing looking at me and I sat them down at the kitchen table and between tears told them they had to sit there without moving - I continued to clean up while crying, wiping down the floor, re-waxing the entry and the desk, vacuuming the sofa and the one chair - pulling and shoving and putting it all back - I swear I cried for 2 hours straight - deep, chest heaving, sobbing, nose running, red faced crying - if the tears ever mixed in with all that flour and sugar it would have been glue and I felt like I turned to glue, a long stretchy elastic cartoon of myself pulling my body to haul the rug back and forth from living room to yard.

Then, the icing on all this, since we only had one car and one day a week my husband rode with a working companion who lived about 5 streets away, I would not have what we needed to make cookies in my mind for a whole week unless, I got him to take me back to the grocery which meant the kids would have to go with us since it was now late and I had to fix dinner.

He came home, saw I was upset, saw the children sitting big eyed at the table and no one said a thing - we ate I said we had to go to the grocery - gave the kids the quickest baths of their lives, into their jammies and into the back of the car, went to the store - no words by anyone - I do not think anyone said a word till the next day. He never did ask what happened and the kids never had any idea the implications of their road construction and all I wanted to do was sleep, get up the next morning and bake cookies to recapture the holidays. Oh oh oh yep, that was memorable all right... oh,oh,ho,ho...my body still hurts when I think of it...oh god... what we do - when I think of that happening I laugh, shake my head and laugh again - such is life.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #45 on: December 06, 2016, 01:39:21 AM »
tid bit - Today people associate Yule with the "Yule Log," a piece of wood decorated with evergreen, holly and candles.

The word (yule) itself it thought to have links to the word 'wheel,' (or turning) of the year and has associations with the Norse culture. Long ago, a huge log was placed in the fire, often extending seveal feet into the room. It was then burned for several days over the season!

Flavia

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #46 on: December 06, 2016, 05:51:35 PM »
Oh Karen,
That sounds awful, but praise God you had many many more Christmases to make up for it. My fondest memory was of Childhood Christmases. As a pure blood Swede, we had a traditional Christmas Eve Smörgåsbord, known as a Julbord. It probably had about 4-5 courses and dozens of dishes including lutefisk (which is probably the worst Christmas memory, the smell alone could drive you out of the house). The food was fantastic and we all had a hand in making it including my father making glögg, a potent mulled wine.  The party went on until 5 am when the adults went off to the local Lutheran Church that had a service in Swedish.  The fact that there were no DUI's is miraculous in itself.  Christmas day was spent recovering from Christmas Eve. Unfortunately between divorce, death, moves, and the kids growing up we no longer did it as the family had dwindled. 

I do have a special memory of a Christmas after my mom moved in with me.  My mom and I never got along; but do to circumstances among which my brother the golden boy, took up with the wicked witch of the west, she came to live with me.  Let me say that this was a blessing because we came to like each other very much.   Mother prior to this hardly ever could please me with her gift and I have to admit I was not very nice about it. So most of the time she just asked me what I wanted or gave me money.

The first year she lived with me she walked 2 miles to the saddle shop to buy me a hunt whip I was lusting after and to the hardware store for a level and power screwdriver.  You could have picked me up off the floor. My friend must have told her about the whip and I guess she heard me wishing for the power screwdriver and level as I did stuff around the house.  I loved that Christmas. 

pedln

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #47 on: December 06, 2016, 11:25:36 PM »
What a delight to read about everyone's Christmas celebrations.  Flavia, I didn't eat the lutefisk at our Scandinavian Christmas Eve table, but loved the lefse (mashed potatoes, lard, flour?) rolled thin and best cooked on a wood stove. My brother said it was like chewing on your napkin. That was my childhood Christmas. But how things change as we go through various life stages.

After I married we lived ten years in Puerto Rico, and while I think often of pasteles (not a pancake, not a meat pie, not an enchilada, wrapped up in something and boiled -- delicious) I think mostly of the music, the aguinaldos, and the men who would go from door to door with their guitars and sing these wonderful Christmas songs -- Pastores a Belen, Alegria, Si Me Dan Pasteles -- in exchange for coins or perhaps a bottle of rum.  And then there were the pointsetias -- they grew to the size of small trees and came into bloom during the Christmas season. And on the eve of Jan 6 my children would put out carrots and grass for the Wisemen's camels where on Three Kings Day they would find a small gift.

But other years brought other traditions.  My in-laws told of fixing cabbage and potatoes in the pressure cooker, topping with pastrami -- how good it tasted after so much party food.  And for a few years we adopted their recipe for Christmas Eve.

My oldest daughter started fixing her special macaroni and cheese before MAC-N-Cheese became a marketing phenomenon. And it has claimed its place on the Christmas Eve table to this day.  Started back when her college sophomore son was a little guy and said he loved it because it didn't come from a box.

And now I'm usually in Seattle for Christmas with oldest daughter and her family plus one or two other daughters and grandchildren.  My job?  Make the party mix -- we call them nuts and bolts.  Simply cereal roasted for two hours. This is done any time my family gets together -- to fortify the hikers, the bikers, the skiers or someone who just wants to curl up with a good book.




PeggyCasing

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #48 on: December 06, 2016, 11:56:33 PM »
PatH, and BarbStAubrey, The springerle ARE easy to make! Using a sturdy stand mixer is the best!  No, it's not an anise extract. It should be labeled "anise oil."  I've bought it several places, but a cake decorating store (cake supply) has usually been my best bet. Good luck!

--------

My most memorable Christmas?

When my husband and I were first married, we didn't have much money.  As such, I suggested a $20 limit for gifts for each other. My husband is a good man, but thoughtful gifts aren't his specialty, so I wasn't expecting much.  As it turns out, when I opened my gifts on Christmas morning, he had bought a carousel type rack for my spice cupboard and a 9x9 glass baking dish.  Here's the twist:  I was thrilled! I never expected him to even know that I needed, or wanted those things!  I cried when I opened them.  How did he know?  He had overheard me admiring how my older sister had her spices stored, and he remembered that I had apologized  for using a pan that was too big because I didn't have one the size I needed. It wasn't the gifts that were the real present... it was the fact that he had been paying attention to me and my littlest comments... listening and remembering. I was very touched!  Since? It's been downhill from there!  Hahahaha!  Nah! 32 years later, though, that Christmas was my best because of the thought and effort that went into those "practical" gifts that most people would think were not good at all.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #49 on: December 07, 2016, 12:36:25 AM »
Thanks Peggy for the explanation on the anise oil - it is special isn't it when you are heard without realizing someone cares enough to listen and acknowledge your hearts desire.

Puerto Rico - did they do the holy family walking to the various homes La Posadas as the Mexican families do here?

Flavia a Swedish drinking party - fun fun fun - too bad we no longer keep up some of these old traditions because yes, we move away, the younger generations marries and their traditions straddle both families so that a bit is lost as time moves onward.

Found this and it reminded me of what happens during Christmas when cousins are all visiting grandma at the same time.


bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #50 on: December 07, 2016, 01:23:20 PM »
Let's see there are a couple of disastrous Christmas eves I can recall.  The first that stays with me is the year my mother was in the hospital at Christmas time.  My hubby and I took the three kids to visit her to make her happy on Christmas Eve because normally she would host the huge family get together this night,  Her tradition and NO ONE was allowed to miss it.  So we spent the visiting hours with her and left to come home only to find ALL restaurants were closed by the time we left the hospital.  We were starving because it was well past the dinner hour.  I said let's just go home and order a pizza, assuming pizza places would still be delivering.  We got home, called the pizza place and they said they were closing in five minutes.  We practically begged them to please make us a couple of pizzas and we would gladly pick them up.  The guy was nice enough to make us the pizzas and we were finally eating by 10:00 p.m.

The next Christmas Eve disaster was when the kids were little and we hid all the presents in the attic in the closet in our bedroom.  Oh did we ever think we were clever, no way they would ever find them to peek.  We came home from my Mom's annual celebration which was a thirty minute drive and late at night.  We got home, put the kids in bed and said we would lay down for a few minutes so we would know the three kids were fast asleep before my hubby would go out to the garage to get the ladder to climb up into the attic to get all the gifts down.  Lo and behold, we both fell fast asleep and woke up at 6:30 a.m. to realize we had not gotten the gifts out.  Oh my I will never forget the fright we felt that the kids would wake up before we could accomplish the task of taking all the clothes out of the closet, getting the ladder from the garage, getting all the presents down and under the tree before they would awaken.  We finished getting everything set up when we heard our daughter stirring in her bedroom.  We climbed back into bed pretending we were asleep just in time before our three kids came running into the room asking if they could go down to see if Santa came. We looked at each other, exhausted and said let's go put the coffee on, our day is about to begin.  I told my hubby I will always believe in Santa Claus because I am certain it was he who nudged us to wake up before our kids Christmas would have been ruined.  Ho!  Ho!  Ho! 
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #51 on: December 07, 2016, 02:46:15 PM »
     One year sometime in the mid seventies, I decided to host Christmas Dinner at my house. I had moved into a restored older home in April of that year and had a big dining room and my mother's big table.  There were twelve adults and God knows how many children. probably five.   I rolled out the wedding china and silver, an heirloom tablecloth and napkins, you know, all the dusty tarnished stuff.  I had spent days washing, polishing, wrapping, and preparing my contributions to Christmas Dinner.  Mom brought the turkey all cooked ready to put on the table.  My sister-in law and I did the veggies and my mother-in -law made many pies and her family's plum pudding and hard sauce.  We were all ready to sit down when my mother screamed, "Karen!" from my beautiful yellow kitchen.  I ran and froze as I saw water gushing  from under the kitchensink. Someone shut off the water to the kitchen and, as the stalwart group we are, took our places at the table.  I can still hear my mother's summons, "Come sit down or everything will be cold.  As dinner was ending, we discussed strategy for cleaning up.  I suggested that we burn the house down; my husband disagreed.  Finally, the men proceeded to the living room to sit in easy chairs and watch some dog show as the women swang into action.  We covered our clothes with aprons and big shirts.  I can still see my mother and mother-in-law kneeling by the tub washing my chins, silver, and glassware as the rest of us dried and put away.  Next came the greasy turkey pan and all the bakeware, cookware that we owned.  The grease clung to the sides of the tub as we drained the tub.  It took forever to clean the tub, but finally we finished and everything was sparkling.  Once again the women, in order to celebrate my clean kitchen, pulled out paper plates and my best plasticware and ate more dessert. 
     Oh, I can laugh now.  In fact we all laugh when this story gets retold each time we sit down to any holiday meal.  After eating around 2:00, at 7:00 the "party" broke up.  I don't know what dog won, but the men carried clean dishes and tired toddlers to the cars ,and six amazing, exhausted women were no longer individuals, but had formed a "band of sisters."

Flavia

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #52 on: December 07, 2016, 11:22:47 PM »
Men are useless. But you have a great memory, so I guess they are useful for that.

Kristen

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2016, 11:11:46 AM »
Men are useless. But you have a great memory, so I guess they are useful for that.
When I was growing up we always ate Christmas dinner at my Grandma's house around noon.  My grandfather lived there too but I always thought of it as Grandma's house.  (Actually, she paid for it by taking in roomers and boarders during WWII.)  Grandma ate very slowly and talked a lot during the meal.  They guys never said much, they just ate and left the table so they could watch TV and talk about sports.  They would come back and eat with the women again when it was time for dessert.  Then back to the living room for them, while the women all worked together in the kitchen cleaning up.  It took a very long time to do everything by hand.  By the time we were all finished, my grandfather would appear in the kitchen, ready for a turkey sandwich for supper.  I remember my tired grandmother commenting every year about just getting finished with the big dinner and now he wanted her to start over making more food and getting more dishes dirty. 

Kristen

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #54 on: December 08, 2016, 12:45:21 PM »
Actually, my brother, Eric, is very useful at the Holidays.  I like to get as much done as possible in the days and evening before.  For example, we usually have a cake for dessert.  I want to bake it the night before to be sure it turns out OK and is one less thing to do the day of the dinner.  Eric thinks, that food tastes better fresh and everything should be made that day.  He has taken over much of the dinner.  This year he baked bread and made a pineapple upside down cake on Christmas day.  Since he was already working in the kitchen, he also did the green bean casserole and a creamed corn casserole.  He's a vegetarian so I always deal with the meat but other than that he tends to take over.  He also did almost all of the house cleaning the day before.  My main task was setting up card tables and chairs and then doing most of the dish washing. 

Sometimes I even like to make dessert ahead and freeze it.  This year I made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting hoping to use it in addition to his cake for some variety.  The problem with freezing cakes and cookies is that we decide to eat a piece, and then another piece, and another until the whole thing is gone and I have to bake another and replace it.

My mom and I always started a month or two in advance with cookies so we would have a big variety and plenty to give away.  One year I had some pecan pie bars put back.  I noticed the supply was dwindling so I made some more and told Eric not to eat any more of them since I was going to give them to someone.  When I took the cookie can out of the freezer to put the name tag on it, I realized something was very wrong.  The box weighed hardly anything.  He'd been eating them again.  I was very angry, although I shouldn't have been since we both used to eat up the gingerbread cookies we had planned on giving away.  We'd use the excuse, "they don't know they're getting them, so they won't miss them."  Then we'd end up giving boxes of store bought candy to friends at the last minute.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #55 on: December 08, 2016, 12:52:35 PM »
I think the great thing I do remember about my Dad was he beamed and was so proud of my mom bringing the roast anything, (Turkey, Chicken in a pot, Crown ribs, leg of Lamp) to the often makeshift table (sawhorses with planks covered with her best linen cloth to make a long table since our usual only seated 8 and holidays required at least a dozen) Anyhow - Mom's dream was to cook a whole suckling pig decorated with the apple and sprigs of holly and one year he surprised her and brought home the pig - you would think he brought her a gold bullion and again, he beamed with not just pride but happiness that she was bringing to us this creation that she cooked as if she was a fine master chef - she was a good cook and I think half the reason was my Dad was so proud that she saw it as something she could do well.

No, he never did help to clean up in the kitchen but he did put together and later take down the makeshift table and one year we had 16 so he figured out seating by putting the ironing board between two chairs and he decided only the kids could sit on it - he brought in the tree and set it up and he always did a good cleaning of chicken coup in December - Problem I had was thinking all men would be as proud of their wives cooking skills and to make a special dinner into an occasion. Ah so... but I still have that wonderful memory.

PeggyCasing

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #56 on: December 08, 2016, 10:42:38 PM »
Disastrous holiday that I can laugh at now...?  Hummm.

I have to start by saying that I live in Michigan.

About four years ago, we had major renovations done to our house, pretty much changing the entire floor plan. (we lived amidst the construction, which the contractor said would be okay, but NOW I would NOT advise! My daughter, about two months into the project said, "This is like camping with none of the fun!") Anyway, after the construction we were having problems with heat getting to the new master bedroom.  We struggled with it for months, and brought contractors in, to no avail.  When my daughter and son-in-law came to stay for Christmas the following year, we all switched around rooms and they were given the chilly master bedroom.  We apologized, gave them extra blankets, and figured they'd be chilly but okay.  On Christmas morning, they were quiet and I asked if they had slept well.  My daughter said they hadn't, probably because of the unfamiliar bed, and because of the cold.  I, again, apologized, but not much else, because of the busyness of Christmas morning.  We had our celebration, and they, again, spent the night in the room, assuring us that they'd be fine.  It wasn't until at least a day later that I went into the room, and feeling how cold it was, looked at all of the windows.  As it turns out, THE DOORWALL WAS OPEN ABOUT SIX INCHES!!!  I have no idea who opened it, but they closed the curtain, but not the doorwall! Those poor kids were sleeping in a room with an open doorwall in 10 degree weather! That open window turned the usually chilly room into a freezer!  We laugh about it now, but I have a feeling that they don't quite trust me anymore!  :o       


bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #57 on: December 08, 2016, 10:45:17 PM »
Flavia,
Quote
Men are useless. But you have a great memory, so I guess they are useful for that.
Okay I have to come to the defense of the men in my family.  My hubby is hands on with everything when it comes to preparing for the holiday meals.  He actually does ALL the grocery shopping, I make a list and he shops.  Then when it is time to begin preparing things the night before he is right there beside me, he chops up the celery and onions while I prepare the turkey stuffing, he cuts up all the fruit for the fruit tray, and he cuts up all the cheeses for the cheese and cracker tray.  The next day he is alongside me peeling the potatoes and even carries all the fine china down for me to set the table.  He carries in our two banquet tables the night before and carries them back out after all is cleaned up at the end of the day.  I have so many friends and family who tell me he is one in a million, and I know how blessed I am to have him, but let me tell you my two married sons, and my son in law also help their wives just as much as my hubby helps me.  My brother in law was as helpful and hands on in the kitchen, laundry and cleaning the house as much as my hubby and sons are, so I like to think there are a whole lot more guys out there who do as much.  Since my hubby retired I honestly think he has taken over my kitchen!!  He has become my personal chef, and I am not complaining, except for when he starts moving my things around.... then I remind him it is MY kitchen and the garage and shed are his.   ;)
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #58 on: December 09, 2016, 12:02:31 PM »
Peggy, I just love that story. I don't think I'll ever forget it, it's so LIKE trying to live with construction, isn't it? What a hoot!  I'm loving every submission here, it's priceless, thank you all for the gift of yourselves and your memories!

Kriisten, I never thought about how much work it used to be, gives us a nice perspective with all our modern conveniences,  thank you for that, too, and Bellamarie, how lovely for you.

And even tho today the topic changes, we can still add anything from any of the previous topics, too, it's like a room full of open gift boxes.
   December 9-10: Are you giving a book for Christmas or Hanukkah? If so, what is it?

Yes I am and I had never heard of it before last Sunday's 60 Minutes.  They had a feature with a veteran of the Pearl Harbor bombing, Donald Stratton,  who  has written a book about it, called All the Gallant Men.

"The first and only memoir by a survivor of the USS Arizona, the ship attacked at Pearl Harbor. "

My husband was watching it and he and our sons are interested in history so I asked him if that were something he thought he'd like and he said yes. So I've ordered one for each of them.

I've always found those eyewitness books to history to be fascinating and I'm going to read it after the first one finishes.

I also got my husband a book I saw in a local  B&N  titled Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab written  May 17, 2016  by Steve Inskeep.  “The story of the Cherokee removal has been told many times, but never before has a single book given us such a sense of how it happened and what it meant, not only for Indians, but also for the future and soul of America.” —The Washington Post.

We in this area of SC hear a lot about the Cherokee Indians, just like we did in Pennsylvania as children hear about the Lenni- Lenape Indians but I don't know much if anything about the Cherokee and I look forward to reading that one, too, once he is finished with it.

(How IS it that when you're young you think you know everything but as as you get older you realize that  there is so MUCH that everybody else  seems to know that you don't?) So much to read, so little time. :)

Are there any  books on YOUR holiday tradition list?


Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #59 on: December 09, 2016, 12:41:54 PM »
In defense of men.  The men in my life were raised by women who were told by their mothers from the time that they first played house that women did the cooking, cleaning and childcare and men worked to support their wives and children.  And so my mother and David's(my ex-husband) mother did all that and the model many men of my generation saw was their mother's taking care of most everything in their domestic lives.  Many men did not expect to do "women's work."  And we women carried on the tradition and did do all the housework, cooking and childcare.  Some men like Bella's husband broke the mold. My older  brother's wife picks out her husband's clothes each morning, for instance; my brother does nothing.  On the other hand, my two younger brothers married women who had mothers who worked outside the home and had fathers who cooked, cleaned, and provided child care as they were needed.  So the women expected this to be the case in this own marriages.  So both my brothers cook, Bob cooks dinner all the time and does all the shopping.  Paul has done the dishes, cleaned and been very involved in raising his daughters.  I am thrilled when I see my son and his friends as equal partners in their  marriages and in raising their children.  So I did not mean to imply that all men sit in easy chairs and watch tv while clean up of preparation for holidays takeplace.  The problem in my life was that I believed that there was another way to have a relationship than the one my parents had and my husband saw men who did "women's work" as weak and not very manly. 
     I am as always giving books this year even to those who don't read very much.  My niece and I share a love for the New England Patriots.  She and I go to a bar on Sundays to watch Pats games as we live in Florida.  I have a poodle named Tom Brady. so I am giving her Brady and Belichick by Michael Holley.  I bought my best friend Deidre a book I saw at Amazon and know nothing about called Still Going Strong a collection of memoirs stories and poems about Great Older Women, of which she is one.    I love it when I find, just the right book for the right person.  I am giving my sister-in-law two books about living on the water because she does and for my non-reader brother a current World Almanac.  I sent my two granddaughters the first book in the Humphrey series and two books by Patricia Pollaco. 

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #60 on: December 09, 2016, 01:41:37 PM »
They all get books - it is as much a constant as washing your hands - 5 grandboys with different interests - one Hiking in France, another Walking Vienna, another the muscles and systems of the body, another a book on prospecting for clients Never Eat Alone, one more not sure yet, something about designing - daughter-in-law its a light novel, I'm thinking an Angela Thirkell, daughter a Christmas story preferably a children's illustrated story, I'm thinking The Christmas Wish by Lon Evert - Son-in-law I'm thinking Adam LaBor's Tower of Basel, and Son loves his woodworking DVDs - with severe dyslexia books are a struggle. 

Everyone on the street has been decked out with lots of lights since last weekend and I still do not have my wreath on the front door - today for sure - been so cold the last few days I have not wanted to get out but D-Day, last day for early voting, we have an important run-off plus I need a few things since I have decided to do a bit of baking.

nlhome

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #61 on: December 09, 2016, 06:33:38 PM »
Books are on everyone's list here as well. However, they are not all new books, because we also have a tradition that my Mom started many years ago, and I try to continue it now, of what she would label "GS" (garage sale) and most would be fun gifts or jokes. So I pick games and books up at garage sales or used book sales, along with new books I see that would suit people. And if everyone doesn't get a new book, they get a joke book instead, and each one gets a B&N gift card. It seems as though each of our children's families are considering a move in 2017 or 2018, so I don't really want to give gifts that will end up in storage in our basement. One book I bought for a daughter is Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners. I thought that she, her sisters-in-law and her aunts would enjoy passing that book around. Sharing the books is also a tradition.

As for husbands, my husband is a great cook, and after he retired while I was still working, he did almost all the cooking. Now, I do some of it again, but he's the best.

PatH

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #62 on: December 09, 2016, 08:34:19 PM »
In defense of men: it's what you've been raised to expect.  My husband's father died when he was two, leaving his mother with two boys to raise, and no income except some insurance money until they were in school and she could go back to work as a teacher.  There was less question of gender roles when he was growing up, than a question of who had the time to do something.  So he didn't feel that any tasks were outside his abilities or responsibilities, and mostly we divided things up according to taste or ability or available time.

PatH

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #63 on: December 09, 2016, 08:54:53 PM »
Books as presents: a good Christmas is one in which you get at least one book.  I'm giving one SIL the book about Neanderthal man I mentioned as one of my best reads, and the other SIL some used sci-fi books I think he'll like.  Haven't yet decided about the daughters.  JoanK and I have a present-giving convention: give her something you've read and liked, no pressure whether she will like it or not.  I won't say here what I'm giving her.

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #64 on: December 09, 2016, 11:50:29 PM »
I love reading all the different posts on the men and how the life situations determined how they decided what their role and responsibilities were in helping with "women's work."  It is true it was looked at as just that many years ago.  Today, with two working parents, and all the different activities the children are in, it's who ever gets home first starts the dinner, much like PatH. said, who ever has the time.  My son does the laundry and his own ironing because he likes his shirts and pants just so.  He picked up my OCD where that is concerned.  His wife had never ironed before marriage and has never ironed since.  It works for them! 

Today I went to our annual Dine & Dash Christmas luncheon/fundraiser for the organization Heartbeat of Toledo, which is where I volunteer, (a pro life pregnancy support center).  It was held at a very fancy hotel conference center with over fifty vendors selling their wares.  Our motivational guest speaker last year was Barbara L. Roose who wrote a book called Enough Already (Winning Your Ugly Struggle With Beauty).  She was one of our vendors this year and had packaged her book in a shallow brown box with little secret messages and gifts inside envelopes to be opened before reading certain chapters in her book.  I thought it was a superb idea on marketing her book, and the box with a gorgeous red holiday ribbon with sprigs of holly berries and evergreen on it made it even more irresistible.  I purchased it for my sister for Christmas.  I think she is going to really like it.  I give her inspirational/motivational books as gifts all through the year.   Now for my history buff hubby, he wants Bill O'Reilly's book, Killing The Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan. 

My kids usually give me a Barnes and Noble gift card which I absolutely love!!
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #65 on: December 10, 2016, 02:31:50 PM »
Have you ever thought of making Wassail - Here is a recipe that looks easy.


Flavia

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #66 on: December 10, 2016, 03:45:46 PM »
Flavia,
Quote
Men are useless. But you have a great memory, so I guess they are useful for that.
Okay I have to come to the defense of the men in my family.  My hubby is hands on with everything when it comes to preparing for the holiday meals.  He actually does ALL the grocery shopping, I make a list and he shops.  Then when it is time to begin preparing things the night before he is right there beside me, he chops up the celery and onions while I prepare the turkey stuffing, he cuts up all the fruit for the fruit tray, and he cuts up all the cheeses for the cheese and cracker tray.  The next day he is alongside me peeling the potatoes and even carries all the fine china down for me to set the table.  He carries in our two banquet tables the night before and carries them back out after all is cleaned up at the end of the day.  I have so many friends and family who tell me he is one in a million, and I know how blessed I am to have him, but let me tell you my two married sons, and my son in law also help their wives just as much as my hubby helps me.  My brother in law was as helpful and hands on in the kitchen, laundry and cleaning the house as much as my hubby and sons are, so I like to think there are a whole lot more guys out there who do as much.  Since my hubby retired I honestly think he has taken over my kitchen!!  He has become my personal chef, and I am not complaining, except for when he starts moving my things around.... then I remind him it is MY kitchen and the garage and shed are his.   ;)

No, not all men are useless, some are fantastic, unfortunately they were grabbed up, before I put my bid in.

pedln

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #67 on: December 10, 2016, 07:26:10 PM »
PatH, your story about your husband growing up and ignoring gender roles for different chores reminded me of a friend when I was in grad school.  She was a widowed mother of four -- high school and college age and was telling me about her son, sewing things on his Boy Scout shirt.  I think my children are more independent, she said, because they don't always have someone to do for them.

I'm not giving books this year except to the youngest grand, but there will be sharing and raids on the book shelves. Santa usually puts one in my stocking, sometimes recycled, sometimes otherwise. I would miss it if it didn't appear.

The youngest, almost 10, is getting Wolf Hollow and one I recently saw reviewed -- Pax -- about a boy and his wolf. When I told my daughter about Pax she said, ok, I'll cancel the library hold on it.  Like minds, thank goodness.

One of my gifts to the youngest is a DVD, a golden oldie with Greer Garson and Walter Pigeon.  This past Thanksgiving, in Albuquerque, Aunt Judy took her to the Nuclear Science Museum and she came home with a book entitled Madam Curie for Kids. so I had to get her the Madam Curie DVD.  My brother took me to see that film when I was in 3rd grade.

Barb, if we drank some of your Wassail we might stay warm enough to put up outside decorations. I'm not decorating inside this year at all. Barely home from ABQ and getting ready to go to Seattle until after New Year's.

ginny

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #68 on: December 11, 2016, 08:10:39 AM »
I'm getting so many ideas from your posts, I'm actually writing them down. One thing Adoannie mentioned on early was the best book she read this year was the new Helen Simonson (she of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand). It's called  The Summer Before the War. And I thought don't I have that somewhere? And I did and OMG, it's post Edwardian England (think: EF Benson, one of my favorite authors) with humor and the protagonist is...I can't believe it...a Latin teacher in Rye, EF. Benson's home and site for his Mapp and Lucia series. What more could you want?   Latin  is really making a comeback lately, but how will she handle this?  Apparently with a lot of humor and Major Pettigrew type writing, the reviews are wonderful. it's sitting right here staring at me. Thank you for mentioning it, Adoannie!


There's just nothing like sinking into a good book before a fire, imaginary or real. hahaha

Now for today and tomorrow:

 December 11-12: What is your favorite book with a holiday theme? Can be a mystery, etc.

Now for some reason at Christmas I like mysteries. I like  Scrooge.  I guess The Christmas Carol is my all time favorite and we have one something like it starting the 26th, a short (very short) story allegory, see heading, to discuss, but at Christmas I like a little....I'm not sure what you call it...

My favorite Christmas mystery  is one that irritates a lot of people and I absolutely love it. It's called Christmas Crimes at Puzzel (spelled this way for a reason) Manor and the author is Simon Brett.

In this book with the requisite snowed in British country home  and stranded guests, Brett, who is obviously a very clever man, sets out murders but he also sets the reader a puzzle in Puzzel Manor. Every chapter has a different type of puzzle which gives, if solved, another  clue. It becomes a battle of wits between the reader and the author, a challenge, and the reason a lot of people hate the book is that he does not ever give the answers to the final puzzle.

Or did he? 

It's the perfect book to read chapter by chapter with a friend and see IF either of you can figure out each clue as you go.

Agatha Christie also did some lovely Christmas pieces, one with Poirot, but hands down  Brett wins it for me every time. I  reread it every few  years (just long enough to forget the solutions) so I can enjoy it again. This year I'm dragging it out again.

What about YOU? Is there a book with a holiday theme you  really like?

Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #69 on: December 11, 2016, 08:22:20 AM »
My favorite Christmas themed piece of literature is actually the short story, "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry which I first read as high school junior.  It was my first O. Henry story and led to my reading many more. The idea that someone would sell what they love to buy a present for someone they love was the most romantic thing my sixteen year old mind could conjure up.  I also Loved the Christmas part of Little Women. I don't remember all the details, but I remember how poor the family was with the father off to war and how strong and unselfish the mother was. She was off caring for the sick all Christmas and it wasn't until Christmas night that they were able to share presents from the heart with each other. I think that is why I never ask someone to give me a Christmas list.  I want to give them something special from my heart.

Robby

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #70 on: December 11, 2016, 08:53:32 AM »
I am at that stage in life (and I guess I have been like this for years) that material things are not that important to me.  What is important to me is Friendship.  I live alone and am being invited to someone's house for Christmas.  This family had me with them for last year's Christmas and absorbed me completely into their celebration.  This is a true gift.

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #71 on: December 11, 2016, 12:10:12 PM »
Lovely to see your post again Robby - hope your Christmas Day with friends fills your spirit.

Karen with all the growth here in Austin it was quite the dilemma what to do with the House O'Henry lived in while living in Austin - it sat for years on a huge piece of land that was at least an acre - they finally decided to not tear it down and the surrounding land is but a minuscule of its former glory but at least the developers listened to the city.

Favorite story, hands down The Christmas Mouse by Miss Read - it is just not Christmas without a fresh read. Young Mom of two young children recently widowed and living with her Mom - a trip on the bus to town on a rainy Christmas Eve gives the children a chance to shop along with Mom - this is pre-WWII - Another footballer that was on the trip and in the accident that killed the husband sees them at the bus stop on the way home and he drives them instead - so you know where that is going - then all the Christmas eve bustle of baths, excitement, wrapping and describing gifts till they settle in their beds and the Grandmother has a mouse in her room.

The daughter and she attempt to find it with no luck and instead the grandmother decides to wrap herself in a quilt and sleep in the chair by the fire - all is quiet and then after midnight more sounds like a mouse in the pantry where the Christmas cake is stored - investigating it is a young boy that is the Christmas Mouse and how he feels unloved so he ran away - ends up of course he had to guts up and walk home in the dark wet night and tell his adoptive parents regardless, that he could sneak back in the house without their ever knowing.

The rest of the story is the wrap up of Christmas morning, exchanging gifts and that evening the unexpected trip in the car passes the young boys house where through the window the grandmother can see all is well.

A warmhearted story with descriptions of cottage, weather that helps tell the story and for me, gifts that remind me of the typical gifts from my young childhood, ending with a promise of a gentle and loving life following the seasons with various kinds of love the cornerstone to their life.

As to a mystery - I think for me it was more suspense than solving a crime but I was enchanted and on the edge of my chair reading The Other Wise Man by Van Dyke. How much would he give away, who would he meet next that had a greater need then his travels, how he missed the caravan and what he did to continue his journey with the goal of seeing the Christ Child - I've only read it a couple of times but each time I pick up another metaphor to life.


BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #72 on: December 11, 2016, 12:25:16 PM »
Here is a mystery - from what story is this bit?


bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #73 on: December 11, 2016, 04:55:54 PM »
MKaren, I absolutely love Little Women.  I went to see the movie with my daughter, sister and her daughter in law.  I fell in love with the March family, and the best friend Laurie.  I actually have the limited doll collection from Ashton Drake of the sisters and mother.  It truly is one of my all time favorite books/movies.

Robby, I am so happy to hear this family has made you an extended member of their family, especially for Christmas.  What a wonderful gift I am sure you are to each other.

I have wrapped myself into watching The Hallmark Channel's Christmas shows for the first time ever and have not read much.  I did just order this book by Max Lucado:

https://maxlucado.com/watch/new-for-christmas/

I am hoping I get it before Christmas.

My favorite Christmas book I read and has stayed with me is, The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren.  I read it at the time my kid's were all moving away or at least out of our house and it seemed to touch my heart.

“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

PeggyCasing

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #74 on: December 12, 2016, 04:03:09 PM »
Disastrous holiday that I can laugh at now...?  Hummm.

I have to start by saying that I live in Michigan.

About four years ago, we had major renovations done to our house, pretty much changing the entire floor plan. (we lived amidst the construction, which the contractor said would be okay, but NOW I would NOT advise! My daughter, about two months into the project said, "This is like camping with none of the fun!") Anyway, after the construction we were having problems with heat getting to the new master bedroom.  We struggled with it for months, and brought contractors in, to no avail.  When my daughter and son-in-law came to stay for Christmas the following year, we all switched around rooms and they were given the chilly master bedroom.  We apologized, gave them extra blankets, and figured they'd be chilly but okay.  On Christmas morning, they were quiet and I asked if they had slept well.  My daughter said they hadn't, probably because of the unfamiliar bed, and because of the cold.  I, again, apologized, but not much else, because of the busyness of Christmas morning.  We had our celebration, and they, again, spent the night in the room, assuring us that they'd be fine.  It wasn't until at least a day later that I went into the room, and feeling how cold it was, looked at all of the windows.  As it turns out, THE DOORWALL WAS OPEN ABOUT SIX INCHES!!!  I have no idea who opened it, but they closed the curtain, but not the doorwall! Those poor kids were sleeping in a room with an open doorwall in 10 degree weather! That open window turned the usually chilly room into a freezer!  We laugh about it now, but I have a feeling that they don't quite trust me anymore!  :o     

I'm quoting myself, just to say that my daughter and son-in-law, who have "always" been with us for Christmas have decided to head out of town, to his parent's, for Christmas this year!  hahahaha  I told you!  They DON'T trust me! hahahaha!

PeggyCasing

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #75 on: December 12, 2016, 04:09:52 PM »
Favorite Christmas themed book?

A cheesy read, but Shepherds Abiding, by Jan Karon comes to mind.  I just love her Mitford series for the lovely character development and the warm, cozy atmosphere that she portrays.  Reading this book on a cold, winter day with a cup of hot cocoa is a dream! 

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #76 on: December 12, 2016, 04:40:55 PM »
Peggy you caused the giggles - love it - do not trust you - hahaha - oh dear - but yes Mitford stories are like a warm cup of tea just when you need it the most.

bellamarie

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #77 on: December 12, 2016, 11:31:40 PM »
Debbie Macomber also has some great warm, snuggle up with a cup of hot peppermint cocoa books.  She is a favorite of mine.
“What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?...Was ever anything so civil?”
__Anthony Trollope, The Warden

Mkaren557

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #78 on: December 13, 2016, 09:38:34 AM »
Unfortunately, Christmas is not the same since I moved to Florida.  I miss the cold, the snow, and window shopping in my small town, but Christmas in Florida has its charms as well. The decorations are bright and cheery and plentiful.  I laughed the first time I saw a Christmas tree made from lights and wire, bit now they have become a part of my expectations.  The decorations at the several large malls in Sarasota cheer me up and, believe it or not, invite me in for a "little" shopping.  I really love walking out my door on Christmas morning in my bathing suit to go for a swim and for lunch I love grilling out. So Christmas is not the same; it is different.  I really know in Maine and Florida that connecting with my far-flung family whether in person or on Skype is what brings me the most joy.

PeggyCasing

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Re: Holiday Drop In Open House
« Reply #79 on: December 13, 2016, 10:28:12 AM »
The one thing I just have to have for Christmas?  -Springerle cookies  ...but I already told you that!  The other thing?  -a jigsaw puzzle.  The tradition of a puzzle started for me when my kids were small and I was working full time and going to school.  I never, literally never, had any downtime, and ANYTHING I did was intentional and with purpose. (I completed 3 degrees, one with a dual major over the course of ten years - all while working and being a mom... Girl Scout Leader, etc.  What the heck was I thinking?!?!) At some point, early on, I decided to start a puzzle on Christmas day.  To me, it represented a frivolous activity that was just for fun, the net result being disassembled and put back in the box.  We go to Mass on Christmas Eve and celebrate with family then too, so Christmas morning begins a day of leisure. While my kids played with their toys, I was able to clear a spot on the kitchen table to begin "The Puzzle."  "The Puzzle" was something that usually took the full day, often being completed a day, or two, after Christmas. On other years, however, "The Puzzle" became an enterprise of epic proportions! We had one year where "The Puzzle" -Van Gogh's "Starry, Starry Night" was so difficult that I/we didn't finish it over Christmas break, and it had to take a back seat to other life issues.  It was dusted periodically, but not finished until Easter when my sister and her family came to celebrate the holiday and helped to complete the project! We were SO happy to finally have our table back.  My girls usually help now, and we all look forward to the decision of what puzzle we'll be assembling.  I have my favorites- usually a still-life with many colorful objects, but most of my puzzles have been gifts, given by friends that want to gift me with a day of leisure, fun and family.  -You can't get any better than that!