I hope you, your families and friends have a delightful, memorable, and special day that you will remember fondly for years to come. – Elle
Tag Archives: christmas count down
It’s Christmas Eve. By the time I will have finished writing, and publishing this post it will be Christmas Day my time. Why, you may ask am I posting in the middle of the night? It is for one simple reason…I fell for it….again. All day today I fell into the Christmas Eve trap. Everyone was out and about. In the malls, boutiques and grocery stores. As I sat in my home comfortably stress free this morning, my mind started to wander and asked: “Did you buy enough gifts for so and so? Better go out today and get a little something more. Plus, the grocery and liquor stores are closed tomorrow, so you better stock up as if the next ice age is approaching within 24 hours as we will not be able to leave our home until the second Mesozoic era.” I spent more money today (in miscellaneous and food) then I had on all the presents I already purchased for my family. As a result of my inability to go against the cultural grain (and my unfounded need to not be labeled “cheap”) I became increasingly crabby as Christmas Eve progressed. Now it is almost Midnight (my time) with presents still unwrapped, and a bare tree standing in front of me (that may never see a string of lights or a glittery ornament this year). Then in the quite of this Christmas Eve night I realized Christmas is coming whether I am prepared or not, and Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards. Since the latter is the case, then I can’t take the Stressed all to seriously. Maybe this is the Christmas miracle, realizing that “Yes” once again I fell for it, and “Yes” I’m still not ready for (now today) to be here, but nonetheless I’m accepting what is. No more fighting the inevitable next day’s arrival. No more guilty feelings about how much I spent and did not decorate. Rather Desserts and Christmas peace in the middle of chaos is what I am choosing to embrace. That beats being Stressed any day. So if you are like me Let go…and let it be a very,
2 Days Until Christmas: the History of Foul Food, Hitting, and St. Nicholas’ Bones that Were Our Christmas Traditions
With Christmas so close at hand, and this little countdown I’ve created, it got me thinking about the origins of Christmas. I’m not talking about the religious traditions we undertake, but rather the secular ones. I mean it’s 2010. I can’t image Christmas was celebrated in the same as today in the early 19th Century. So to find answers, without having to read up on the subject which would require more work and time than this season and blog allow (and cause I didn’t wanna), I went to Television (the source of all that is factual and true). But, I did not go to just any T.V. source, I went to the History Channel. What did I find? I found my answer, in a short video with fun pictures and music that further fuel the Attention Deficit Disorder that is so prevalent in America and those who amble about the Internet. Let’s just say that boiled wheat, bone ointment (of a Saint no less) and hitting (hopefully) are not a part of our current Christmas traditions. However, if you’re looking to kick it “old skool” for the holidays, your answer is above.
If you celebrate Christmas one of two things is happing to you right now. Some of you are in organized Christmas bliss because your shopping is done, Christmas cards are sent out, meals are planned and home decorated. Other’s of you, like me, are not done with your Christmas shopping, have a vague idea as to what you are going to cook for Christmas dinner, you haven’t gotten out your Christmas cards (which is probably too late for), and the house is not fully decorated. If you are in the latter group here some ideas I found trolling around the Internet, as well as my own to have a…as I like to call it…a Nutty Free Christmas.
Shop Online: I did this for all the gifts that I have so far. The best part is that they guarantee Christmas delivery (if ordered by a certain time) and you can fill out a card on-line so you don’t have to purchase one (or a Christmas tag for that matter).
Realize Christmas is not like on Television or Movies: Your Christmas will not, nor has it ever been perfect. Your meal won’t be perfect, nor will your kids. And the family fiasco that ensues will not be funny until years later or to the unfamiliar observer.
Take a Deep Breath: Curse while doing so under said breath, and then let it go. Surrender is the key folks. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
Spend what you Can Actually Afford: Have we learned nothing from America’s almost financial ruin? Too many things were put on too much credit. Therefore, if you have credit left don’t use it for gifts for people who will forget about said gift in less than six months. Use cash and a budget. It’s not the size of the gift that matters it really is the thought. You can always see what the thoughtful gifts are. More money does not equal thoughtfulness.
Purchase only Perishable Gifts: I learned this nifty tip from Ina Garten a couple years ago, and have put it into practice since. When I purchase something perishable, like theater tickets or food, I know it will be used. People very rarely let these types of gifts go to waste. I like knowing my money was not wasted. Plus it makes shopping for people so much easier.
Give money to young adults for Christmas: This does not need to be explained if you have a young adult in your family. If you have a small child that will one day be a young adult you’ll learn why this is such a fantastic tip the hard way.
Focus on what Christmas really is about: It’s about getting together, eating and enjoying the company no matter who the company is.
Give Yourself Credit: The fact that you have even gotten a little bit of your Christmas To-Do list completed is worth a celebration. I’ll let you in a little secret: Getting down on yourself makes life much much harder and you much less motivated to continue whatever it is.
Do What Ever You Can with a Drink in your Hand and Great Music in the Background: For my AA friends make sure you have that music on loud and dance it out.
Keep Calm and Carry-On: Enough said.
It’s almost that time, and I’m excited. But, my enthusiasm wanes in comparison to all the children around the world. So to help your kids, nieces, nephews &c. really get into the count down of Christmas I found a couple of sites they may like. The first site is noradsanta.org. This site is featured in many languages, has it’s own countdown and an interactive Santa village where each building in the village leads to interactive and educational games. What is also great about Norad, is that it tracks Santa on his flight to all the children’s homes throughout the world on the faithful day, using Google earth. You and your kids will love this site. I did. Another great site for the family is northpole.com. It too has an interactive Santa’s village with games, i.e. questions to determine whether you or your children will be on the Naughty or Nice list. It also shows Santa’s favorite Christmas books by age range, along with recipes, and stories that can be read to you or read by you or your child. Take the time this year to get invested with your child in the hope that is Christmas. You won’t regret it. Many of the activities are a good way for you to release the child in you (that never went away) or kill a little time while on your own.
Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a feeling. To get that Christmas feeling I make sure to watch the same movies, and some new ones. Movies, especially the right one’s around Christmas instill in me the idea of family, humor, how good life really is, friendship, absurdity, and Christmas miracles. So here is my list of must see movies for your family, you and your friends, you and your partner, or just you.
3. Last Holiday
5. The Holiday
Those are my foundations, but I’m not exclusive to only these movies during the holidays. What are your must see holiday movies? If you don’t have any, don’t you think it’s time to get some?
There always has to be a special something for Christmas dinner. Something you don’t make often, you do well, takes time, looks incredible (like you want to smear it all over yourself incredible), and taste even better. This cake, is IT! This little item is know as the The Ribbon Cake around the office of Bon Appetit where this spiced Chocolate Torte delicacy originated. Click the image to go to Bon Appetit and the recipe, but more importantly to learn why this has been their most popular cake for 24 years. Yes, you heard me right. 24 Years!!! About 12 years ago made a flourless chocolate cake that was on the cover of the current (back then current) Saveur magazine for some guests I was having over. Little did I know the time, patience or energy it would take to make that cake (given that I really a novice and this was my very first foray into fine baked goods. Go big or go home, no). Well it took me from start to finish, about six hours to make that cake. I’m proud to say it looked like heaven and tasted better than that. I have friends who still talk about how good that cake was to this day. In all these years I haven’t felt anything calling me as much as that flourless chocolate cake on the cover of Saveur those many years ago…until now!!
In many parts of Europe, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Christmas Crackers are a enduring holiday tradition. Not so much in the United States, but I have brought them to our family for this Christmas. If the allure of the “Crack” ing sound and the goodies inside (small trinkets or sweets) prove to put smiles on everyone’s faces, then they will probably be an on-going tradition at my home. Now I purchased my Crackers. You can get them anywhere. But for those of you who want to really put the personal touch on Christmas, click the picture for the DIY Crackers you see here posted on Our Big Earth. This is great project to get kids involved in too. The point is, is that not EVERY THING has to be the same, and that includes Christmas. Inject at least one new thing, for my family it’s the Christmas Cracker…and see if everyone’s reaction warrants a new holiday tradition.
I love the candy holidays. I really start to get that pre-sugar adrenaline rush about 2 weeks prior to Halloween. Then when Halloween arrives my world it’s a candy free-for-all until Christmas where the creme de la creme of candy is for the taking. Case in point, the white chocolate peppermint sticks from Delish. The best part is that the recipe is E.A.S.Y (click the image to go there). So, Rise. Go. And Create. Soon enough, January 1 to be exact, you’ll be enacting once again that New Year resolution to lose weight. By then you’ve missed your chance for the chocolate peppermint sticks.
My friend had this habit of sending her parents of elaborate trips for their anniversary each year. One year, she planned a surprise trip to Boston for them. This trip just happened to coincide with their annual holiday, so my friend went along too. They all stayed in a five star hotel, ate at five star restaurants, and saw the Boston Pops for the Christmas season. My friend told me outside a department store she saw none other than former United States Senator Ted Kennedy ringing the Salvation Army Bell, of which they promptly gave money (but they usually did whether he was present or not). This story and Senator Kennedy’s sacrifice of time (in the cold mind you), and Salvation Army in general, remind me of what Christmas is about…giving. But not about the Madison Avenue type giving. While I too love seeing the joy on my family’s faces when they get that “thing” they wanted, I feel even better when I give to nameless, faceless people through organizations like the Salvation Army, or my time to my church’s holiday feeding program. Whether you like it or not, Christmas is directly related to the birth of Christ who gave the ultimate gift of His life (for the people He knew and the one’s He did not). See there are people who are suffering, and have more difficulty and need more help than you or I could ever imagine or will ever go through in our lifetimes. I think this should be at least the one day where we give something greater than the “things” we’ll probably not remember this time next year.
You can give to the kettle (or I am sure any charitable organization) on-line. Specifically, for the Salvation Arm click the picture to go to their site.
This may be presumptuous of me, but I’m assuming you’re not done gift wrapping presents (or purchasing them for that matter). Or is that just me? Instead of running to Target to get manufactured wrap, why don’t you show off your creativity? Country Living has come up with one of many great ideas for custom gift wrap, like above. To find the how-to just click the picture. However, the above gift wrap is sheet music that has been enlarged on a copier (Jingle Bells to be exact, but any Christmas song will do) onto thick paper. Presto!!! This is the result. I love it! Think creatively this Christmas, we all have that capability within us.
P.S. Tomorrow I will announce the Blog of the Year winner. I can’t wait!!!!!!!!