Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Holiday Month

by Nancy Northcott

Is your holiday looking like this? Jo had some interesting comments along this line yesterday. I hope to be done with holiday shopping and parking lots in a day or so, which gives me time to think about other things.

There are actually lots of holidays in December. There's Christmas, of course, the 600-pound gorilla in the room because of its combined religious and commercial significance. Earlier in the month, we had Hanukkah, with the dreidl and the menorah.

My husband comes of combined Swedish Lutheran and Polish Jewish stock, so we try to remember Hanukkah in the midst of the Christmas chaos. Neither of us knew much about Hanukkah and were surprised to learn about it from, of all things, The Rug-Rats' Chanukah video when our son was small. Our son immediately wanted to know more about the holiday. He was especially interested in dreidl games and the menorah. We suspected these had more to do with obtaining gifts and playing with fire than with religious observance, but we figured he'd learn about it and then do with the knowledge as he chose. Friends of ours, who had invited us to a Seder that year, were happy to explain Hanukkah and Passover to him. Of course, they'd tried before, but you have to seize the moment when it arrives. So we had a menorah and a Christmas tree opposite each other in the living room for a few days.

Of course, there's also the Solstice. Some of our friends celebrate that, rather than Christmas. The idea of gathering around bonfires seems to have a universal human appeal. The shortest day of the year will be Saturday. The idea of lighting a fire and sitting in front of it, celebrating the end of winter and the movement of the Earth toward spring, sounds great. Unfortunately, we have a wood stove rather than an open hearth, and unnecessary fires are discouraged because of the drought. So we'll be noting the Solstice more in thought than in deed.

The Roman festival of Saturnalia also took place in December and was a Solstice festival. I doubt they used chili peppers to celebrate, but this photo was cheerful and had the right colors in it. Saturnalia was "the" holiday in the Roman year. Martial wrote Xenia and Apophoreba for it. The poems were published in December and intended to accompany the "guest gifts" common in the day. As the festival grew, it came to include choosing a Lord of Misrule, a custom that continued down through the Tudor 12 Days of Christmas celebrations. Saturnalia celebrations continued until about the 4th century, when Christmas overshadowed it completely.

And, of course, we have Christmas. Trees, gifts, and food. Excited children and anticipation. When I was younger, I looked forward to opening gifts. Now I look forward to seeing others open what I've chosen for them. I'll never forget the Christmas our son came into the living room and saw Tigger peeking out of his stocking. His face just glowed. When he was little, he played with his stocking stuffers for a while before even approaching the tree. Then we'd have breakfast and open a few gifts, pausing to watch him play with his. I still look forward to seeing his face, but the experience has lost some of its magic since he aged out of toys and into electronics.

After Christmas, we have Boxing Day, when we'll have a special post by our own Anna Sugden, and Kwanzaa, the African and Pan-African holiday. Kwanzaa celebrates the community and harvest and the principles of unity, self-determination, collective will and responsibility, comparative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. Then the year comes to an end with New Year's Eve on December 31, and a new year begins.

So what do you enjoy most about the holidays in December? How have your observances changed?

Recipe for Decadent Brownies

Favorite brownie mix for 8"x8" pan (you'll use 9"x9", though)
8 oz. softened cream cheese
2 eggs
1 tbsp. softened butter
2 tbsp. white flour
1 tsp. almond extract (optional)
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
half of a 12-oz pkg. of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees;
Grease bottom of 9"x9" pan;
Prepare brownie mix according to package instructions and set aside;
Beat cream cheese and butter together until well combined;
Add eggs, flour, sugar, and optional almond extract to cream cheese mixture and mix until smooth;
Stir in chocolate chips;
Place brownie batter in pan and spread to make an even layer
Spoon cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter;
Using a plastic spatula, swirl cream cheese mixture and brownie batter together but do not completely combine;
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean;
Allow brownies to cool before slicing.

If you want to add a note of decadence, frost cooled brownies with your favorite cream cheese or vanilla frosting (made or purchased).

Pressing craisins or red candied fruit into the frosting and then sprinkling with grated coconut will give you a berries-in-snow effect. Dried cherries will work if you can find ones that are actually red; fresh fruit tends to bleed color into the frosting.

One commenter, chosen at random, will receive a $15.00 Borders gift card. Enjoy the holidays, everyone.


Jennifer Y. said...


Nancy said...

Jennifer, you get the GR! Congratulations! The recipe is coming. I created this blog on 3 different computers, and nothing I did on the last one is here. Ouch!

Working on it . . .

Jennifer Y. said...

Cool post!

I remember learning about the different holidays in school. We tried explaining the different holidays to my nephew but he loses interest after a while...he is learning about some of them in school though. As is my four-year-old niece. She brought home a menorrah made from a tracing of her hand the other day.

Our family celebrates Christmas so that is the holiday they know the most about. Growing up I had friends that celebrated all of the holidays it seems...I learned a lot from my friends who had different backgrounds than me.

I know there are many other holidays out there that I don't know about, but I like learning new things.

Jennifer Y. said...

No worries Nancy. I was just going to cut the computer off and decided to check the blog one more time...LOL. I promise I wasn't trying to get the GR. LOL

Y'all probably think I sit here for hours refreshing the page...I promise I don'

doglady said...

Yeah, sure, jennifer y. We totally believe that. Can a rooster take out a restraining order? As a singer I have performed at religious services of every kind in every kind of house of worship with the exception of a Muslim mosque. This was always a very profitable time of year for me! From the solos in The Messiah to midnight masses in some really gorgeous cathedrals to some lovely stints as a cantor (so to speak) in several synagogues. I love studying the traditions of different religions. A bonfire sounds very appealing right now as it is 37 degrees outside. One of the most interesting religions I have studied, other than my own Native American tradition, is those religions associated with voodoo. It is an interesting mix of all sorts of faiths and rites.

jo robertson said...

Wahhooooo, jennifer y!!!

Nancy, I love this post. Love learning new things especially about different cultures, religions, countries. We never learned this stuff in school. It was all Christian, not even much about Jewish holidays.

It's so important in this ever shrinking world that we understand one another better, don't you think?

And right, jennifer y, we so do not believe you! What some people will do for the GR!

jo robertson said...

Yah, Nancy, you got the brownie recipe up. Looks yummy!

Nancy said...

The recipe is up now! Whew! Jennifer, thanks for your patience.

Jennifer, Jo and Doglady, I'm glad you think other traditions are interesting. So do I, obviously.

Doglady, I'll bet you've absorbed a lot from all those different religious services. I don't know much about Native American traditions. I've mostly absorbed what I've read in novels, some of which I know were meticulously researched. You can't always trust fiction, though. I gather that there is a wide variety in that umbrella.

Jo, I do think it's important that we try to understand each other. I grew up in a small town where most people were Protestant Christians. There was one Catholic family, so far as I knew, and no one of any non-Christian faith. At least, not on my kid-sized radar screen. Learning about different faiths, both in classes and through people I've met, has given me a lot to think about.

Thanks for your patience on the recipe, y'all.

flchen1 said...

Wow, Nancy, that recipe was certainly worth the wait--that sounds incredibly yummy :)

Thanks for the thoughtful post--our family celebrates Christmas, and the kids are learning why and what it means. We've talked in passing about other celebrations that happen around now, but haven't gone in depth. I'm sure we'll have time for that in years to come :)

Congrats, JenniferY!

Nancy said...

flchen1 and Jo, glad you like the recipe. Everybody, please note that you have to grease the pan. In my hasty re-typing, I left that out, and it would tend to make a difference.

There's so much going on at this time of year, I think it's hard to make time to study other customs. I think it's a great idea, though. For us, it has been hit-or-miss.

Tawny said...

Whoa, methinks the GR has it bad for Jennifer's place! Congrats again ;-)

Nancy - wonderful typing! LOL. And fabulous post on all the different celebrations in December. I love how you summed them up.

We celebrate Yule and Christmas here, and have a beautful dreidel as well. To say nothing of the innumerable birthdays this month in our family. My oldest daughter has had way too many Chistmas themed birthday parties and was actually due Christmas day (thankfully she was early - what a hectic mess that would be).

One of the things thats alwasy touched my about my kids, especially the youngest, is their absolute appreciation for each gift, each moment. The baby (she's 8 but she's still my baby) opens a gift, plays with it, encourages others to open theirs -there is no impatience or selfishness in her, which always makes me a little more patient. It also makes our Christmas morning draw out for hours LOL. We do a brunch around noon, with family all coming over to share food and gifts, and usually end up opening everything she didn't get to under the tree later in the afternoon after they've left.

Jane said...

Living in NY, we're exposed to all cultures, so we see many different observances of the holiday season. Besides Christmas lights on the windows, we see a lot of menorahs on the window sill.

Helen said...

Great post Nancy and lovely receipe

Congrats Jennifer on the GR he must be having lots of fun at your place LOL

We celebrate Christmas and I don't know a lot about other celebrations but always like to learn. Sydney is a very multi cultural city and in the western suburbs where I live there are lots of different nationalities we have mosques temples and churches and I agree that it is wonderful that we can all get along together and learn about our different cultures.
I am really looking forward to Christmas day with my grandchildren I can't wait to see Jayden with his presents he is 23 months old and Hayley who is 5 months is just going to love the paper and boxes.
Christmas always means our large family getting together for a big lunch and all the fun we have together.
Have Fun

KimW said...

mmmm....yum! My favorite desert is brownies. Homemade brownies. I'm going to have to try those and then control myself so I don't eat them all at once.

My favorite part of the holidays is getting together with my family. The group has gotten much smaller through the years so the most noticeable change is the amount of people who sit down at the dinner table. We still have a great time, though.

Amy Andrews said...

Hey great post Nancy.
Does the US celebrate Boxing Day? I had somewhere in the back of my mind that you didn't?

Well said Jo. We have this subject in our schols called R.E - Religious Education. I pulled my kids out years ago. All they do is study Christianity. Nothing wrong with exploring that at all. But I'm sorry, you can't call a subject RE and then only study ONE religion. In a world that's increasingly intolerant I think our kids need to learn about all creeds, cultures and religions. They need to be aware there's more than one way out there. And that's okay.

Okay. Climbing off my soap box.

brownone said...

As one from an extremely multicultural family I can't help but think of that old Sienfeld holiday episode: "Festivus for the Rest of Us". HA! We've got Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, just all kinds. (I think we've even got a Wiccan or two in there somewhere) We're such a bunch of crackpots that the only pre-requisite we have is that at any holiday get-together, they only serve chicken or turkey. Some of the family are muslim so they don't eat pork and then we have some that are hindu and don't eat beef. It's pretty cool the amount of thinks you can make without those meats. I mean they have a turkey substitute for everything (pepperoni, bacon, sausage, etc.). But my sister and I draw the line at "Tofurkey". I don't even know if I could ask my grocer for one with a straight face (no offence to the Tofurkey fans out there!).

Kirsten said...

Nancy, thanks for a fun and informative blog! I'm a big fan of the solstice celebration--what could be more important than the days getting longer and the summer approaching?

Jennifer, enjoy the GR because he ain't gonna be yours for long...I got a taste for rooster these past couple of days! YUM!

Joan said...

Great post, Nancy.

I remember as a child being pea green with envy of the children of Jewish faith who got presents every day for EIGHT days! LOL and for some reason I can sing the dreidel song in my head.

Ahhhhh...Saturnalia! Those were the days (as Demetrius would say). Many of our modern day Xmas observances stem from some of the Roman's practices on that day.

Restrictions were relaxed and the social order inverted. Slaves did not have to work (a biggie for them)and were allowed to gamble (many a pediculum , a small amount of personal money they were allowed to keep, was lost that day).

Slaves were treated as equals, were allowed to wear their master's clothing and were waited on at dinner. (I'm fairly certain though that the slaves were never really able to relax...if you got wrinkles in the master's toga the NEXT day would not be fun)

Oh, and uh, naked singing was popular :-)

Christie Kelley said...

Nancy, I haven't made the cream cheese brownies in years. Oh man, now I want one (it doesn't help that I haven't eaten breakfast).

I love the holidays and can't wait to get to my mom's house to start enjoying them. It helps that she has heat in her house :)

Nathalie said...

Thanks for the brownies recipe... I just love a good brownie - only one... I should say four!!

MsHellion said...

The tree. I love putting up the tree and decorating it. It's not really Christmas unless there is a tree, and it should be covered in tinsel, colored lights, and every tacky ornament it can possibly hold. I usually put a star on top--but sometimes I'll tie a Grinch at the top, like a grumpy sort of angel.

I love learning about the different holidays observed during this season; and I found it extremely fascinating that Christmas came about to align the pagan holidays with "Christian" ones, so the pagans would convert more readily. Well, so to speak. I love the pagan holiday: "Birth of the Sun" and find it amusing we now use it to celebrate the "Birth of the Son"'s just neat.

I'm curious about the Lord of Misrule...will have to read up more about that holiday.

Donna MacMeans said...

Festivas for the rest of us! I love that episode and so apropos for a time when acceptance and tolerance are needed. (Not sure I'm into the feats of strength, though *g*)

My mother was Catholic and my father - not. For several years we were the only Christians in a Jewish neighborhood. I went to more chanukah parties than Christmas parties. We always had a menorah in the window (right in front of our christmas tree) because my father liked to fill it with bubble lights. Whatever happened to bubble lights? They were so cool.

Anyway, fun post, Nancy. Now off to make those decadent brownies. THere's the common thread with all the holidays. They celebrate life, hope for the future, and FOOD! *g*

M. said...

how cool that you included celebrations from ancient times in your list. one from ancient times that is still celebrated is Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, also in December. Amazing how the importance and symbolism of light is such a common thread among all these holidays! sort of highlights the oneness of the human family. although i'm not sure everybody celebrates with brownies.... *g*

jo robertson said...

Amy, interesting point. In the US, religious education in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state. Many colleges, however, teach the Bible as Literature.

So, no, we'd wouldn't have a religious studies class in our schools, but many of my students held prayer circles or bible classes BEFORE their first period classes.

Intolerance certainly is the single most damaging force against harmony among people.

traveler said...

We always celebrate Chanukah with a large family party which is a tradition that has been held every year. Everyone looks forward to the goodies which are wonderful. We make homemade latkes, and applesauce. there is a full buffet as well.The youngest receive little gifts and enjoy lighting the candles.

terrio said...

Now that's a recipe I can get behind. Or from which I can get a bigger behind.

I didn't know all that about Kwanzaa. Thanks for the info. Christmas is always busy but seems worse this year. Feels like it snuck up on me which is just ridiculous, I know.

My birthday is New Year's Eve so I have the fun of knowing there's always a party, it's just never for me. *g*

Donna MacMeans said...

Terrio - Of course, the party is about you - it always is! That's what we tell my sister whose birthday is also Dec. 31st.

Hey - my daughter just emailed to tell me that Festivus is officially December 23rd, which is also my day to blog *g*. That's this Sunday, so be sure to check back. I'll also be fulfilling my part of the Cassondra's dare (she posted about sex ed through cookie cutters). So come join me on Sunday.

Aunty Cindy said...

GREAT POST, Nancy! And thanx a BUNCH for the brownie recipe. Since this one involves a pre-assembled mix, I might even be able to handle it. :-P

Donna, we always had bubble lights on our tree when I was a kid. I think they got tossed when my mom could no longer find replacement bulbs. :-(

Brownone, I think I'll join you on the other side of that Tofurkey line! BLECK! I have been known to ingest a bit of tofu when it was mixed in with other goodies in a Chinese dish, but I don't really seek it out for meals.

And thanx for the info on Diwali, M. I knew there was some sort of Hindu celebration in December but didn't know what it was. And speaking of celebrations, I'm all for bringing back that naked singing from Saturnalia! Well, if the singers are gladiators or other hunky heroes.


anne said...

We always have a huge feast on Christmas Eve, consisting of an authentic Italian meal. Wonderful food, great fun and goodies and treats galore. It is something special that I anticipate each year. Your brownies are the ultimate.

ruth said...

Your recipe is appealing.

There is always a celebration in December. As well as Christmas there are 3 family birthdays so it is a busy time of year. We try not to overlook anything. We light candles, have a fish feast and enjoy family gatherings.

Cassondra said...

Nancy, what an interesting post!

I love learning about other cultures and how they celebrate.

I actually start the holidays earlier than most (normally) because I celebrate the Celtic New Year, which is the first full moon after Halloween. Then we do THanksgiving and then Solstice, so unless it's raining, I'll be having that bonfire on Saturday night. Thank goodness our drought is "officially" over. We won't turn down more rain though. And we celebrate both Yule and Christmas as well.

For the past three years though, I've been working all through the holiday season, and any celebrations have been brief and sporadic--whenever I wasn't too exhausted to cook something. Often I collapse on the bed, look at the ceiling and say, "oh, Christmas eve. Nice." LOL!

And we normally leave our tree up through midwinter in February. Partly because I like that festival. And partly because I don't get to enjoy the traditional holiday because of work. I refuse to put up that tree and then not get to look at it except passing on the way to the bedroom to sleep!

Thanks for this excellent blog, and for the yummy recipe!

Susan Seyfarth said...

My favorite part of the holidays is my Dad's birthday. It's the day after Christmas, & in recent years we've taken to throwing a huge party. I'm sure it was a bummer to share his birthday with Christmas when he was a kid, but now it's wonderful. Everybody's off work (usually) & family obligations are fulfilled. Everybody's looking for something fun to do to stave off the post-holiday blues, & they turn out in droves for my dad's party. It's a wonderful excuse to keep the holiday spirit rolling, to see old friends of the family, & to keep our family (now sadly far flung) together one more day. I don't mind sharing christmas with my husband's family--that's expected--but I HATE missing my dad's birthday party!

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, what a fascinating post! We're very multicultural in Australia, as Helen says (hi, Helen!), but Christmas is the juggernaut at this time of year. They start playing carols in the shopping centres from September. Speaking of which, American Idol has much sin to make up for. The latest versions of the carols I've heard are just AWFUL and very Idol-ish! What's wrong with a nice straightforward sticking to the words and the tune? Bah! Humbug!

Jennifer, give that Rooster Untouched to read! I think the bunny has finished with it!

p226 said...

I have the Christmas tire. (That's what my wife calls it.) It's one of my race tires wrapped in tinsel and lights. I call it the Solstice tire. Because, as of the 21st, the days start getting longer signaling the approach of riding season.

It was the only way my wife could get me to not be a complete and total 100% humbug.

You women.... you have your ways... of making us have your ways....

Jennifer Y. said...

Will do Anna C.!

Nancy said...

Tawny--that's exactly how it was for us. The boy has made a transition into taking pleasure in seeing others open gifts from him, but I still miss our Lego days.

Jane, I've been to NYC at Christmas, though not recently. The city was so beautiful, from the elaborate tree at Rockefeller Center to the origami decorations in the Japan Air Lines lobby.

Helen and Kimw, your family gatherings sound like fun!

Amy, the U.S. doesn't celebrate Boxing Day, but our transplants from across the pond, like Anna, do. That's why she's our Boxing Day blogger. And I agree with you about tolerance. I think we're more likely to fear things we don't understand.

Brownone, your family also sounds like great fun! I saw a special about tofurkey on the Food Network last week. I have to say it didn't sound overly yummy. But I also tend to think knowing how something is made decreases its appeal.

Joan, thanks for the additional Saturnalia information. I guess slaves had to be pretty careful on that one big "reversal" day!

Christie, Nathalie, and Donna, glad you like the recipe. I'd never had cream cheese brownies before the dh adapted came up with these.

mshellion, our tree is the first thing that goes up. We collect ornaments from our travels, though we've managed to visit England and never come home with one, so our tree is very eclectic. We're colored lights people, but we gave up on the tinsel after spotting (accidentally and by headlights, no less!) small ornaments on the tree after it reached the curb. Our eyes aren't what they once were!

I think the Lord of Misrule may have endured until the Puritans shut down all things celebratory, but I couldn't find that information quickly. I didn't want to put it in the blog since I wasn't sure.

Nancy said...

Donna, I like bubble lights, too!

m., thanks for the note on Diwali. December really is a holiday-packed month.

Kirsten, about the rooster--you are what you eat, y'know, so I'd be careful!*g*

Traveler, your party sounds great. I love latkes!

Terrio said: Now that's a recipe I can get behind. Or from which I can get a bigger behind. Works that way for me, LOL! I'm glad to share something new (Kwanzaa). Early Happy Birthday!

Anne, a big Italian meal sounds great! If a plate has pasta anywhere near it, I'm for it!

Ruth, you have a busy month going. It sounds like fun, though.

Thanks to AC, Donna, Ruth, and Cassondra, and anyone I've missed for the kind words on the recipe. Thanks also to everyone for stopping in and/or letting me know you enjoyed the post.

AC--I'm a mean cook with a mix. Cookbooks . . . are another story. And no recipe at all . . . disaster!

Cassondra, Celtic New Year sounds like fun. You really do have a long holiday season. Aside from the Work Christmas Eve bit. :-/

Susan, how nice to have something like your dad's party to look forward to. I didn't come from a large nuclear family, though I had lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. I love big gatherings.

Anna, I'm with you. I like my carols traditional, thank you very much! And for pity's sake, NOT before Thanksgiving! I'd rather they didn't appear until Dec. 1 but recognize that as hopeless. I also like my Shakespeare traditional, not modern clothes or Egyptian clothes or Jazz Age clothes or minimal clothes. Elizabethan, please. Though the dh and I saw a fascinating Kabuki performance of MacBeth. Took a few minutes to get into the rhythm, but after that, we enjoyed it.

p226, indeed we do have ways! I think you may be the only person I've heard of who has a Solstice tire. It makes sense the way you explain it, though. Do you have a Christmas tree, too?

Anna Sugden said...

What a lovely post, Nancy. The former RE (Religious Ed) Co-ordinator in me loves the way you've brought in so many different celebrations. [I know - don't laugh - the person who doesn't believe in organised religion responsible for a junior school's religious learnings ... actually the program we taught was excellent and covered the six major world religions] As the daughter of a Moslem and a Jew (!) we were brought up to respect religions of all sorts.

Tawny - your kids are lovely - just like their mama.

We do the big English traditional Christmas - turkey plus trimmings, nine lessons and carols (usually from Kings College, Cambridge), crackers, mince pies, puddings etc etc ... and Slade's Christmas song (It just isn't Christmas until Noddy Holder has yelled "It's Christmas!"). We don't listen to the Queen's Speech, because hubby is anti-Royal ;)

Because we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and Boxing Day are the big holiday days for us. As Nancy said, I'll have a special Boxing Day post on the 26th - complete with a recipe for Boxing Day soup.

Yummy brownie recipe, Nancy - have printed out for the baking expert *grin*

Tawny said...

Awww, Anna :-) Thanks. They adore you too (well, the oldest adores your shoes most, but the sentiment is the same)

Maureen said...

When my daughter was in grade school she decided she would become Jewish also so she could celebrate Hanukkah. She had some friends who received presents for both holidays and she thought that was a great idea.

Gerri Russell said...


Great post! One of the most wonderful days for me during the holidays is the day that the packages are shipped, the cards are mailed and the presents are wrapped. That's when I start to relax and have a little fun.

Unfortunately, I haven't experienced that wonderful moment yet this year. Might have something to do with having my knee replaced. :-)

Happy Holidays!


Keira Soleore said...

Nancy, I loved this post of yours. This year, in addition to Christmas, we've added Channukkah and Yule celebrations to December. While this has made it busier than usual, now, we have many more opportunities to make and EAT specialty foods. Yay!

Keira Soleore said...

Muslims are celebrating Eid al-Adha starting at sundown tonight.

MsHellion said...

What, Anna, you don't like MY non-traditional spins on Christmas carols? Not even my "Oh, mad marquess..."

EilisFlynn said...

Great topic! As an aside, I went to two holiday parties recently on the same day, one given by a Wiccan. At heart we are all much the same, because I would have been hard-put to tell the difference between the households just by looking at the holiday decorations. Who would have thought?

Cherie J said...

Wonderful post! We celebrate Christmas. The one thing I love most about this time of the year is the wonder in my kids eyes. My 4year old son is so excited about everything. My one year old daughter is excited about the bright lights in the light displays and the Christmas trees. Their excitement is so contagious.

CrystalGB said...

Great post. I am always fascinated by different holiday observances. Your recipe looks yummy. Thanks for sharing.

Nancy said...

Anna, I've always wanted to do the traditional English Christmas. Maybe not the goose part of it, per Dickens, but the rest of it as you described it.

Maureen, I think the presents were a big part of our son's sudden interest in Hanukkah.

Keira, sounds as if you have a packed month. Do you really haul in a giant log?

Eilis--I've never been to a Wiccan party. Thanks for the insight!

Gerri, you'll get there. Hang in!

Cheriej, I'm all for that childish wonder bit, too. Seeing Christmas through the boy's eyes gave it a new luster for us.

Crystal, as you can see, I'm into different holidays, too. The more, the merrier!

catslady said...

I used to do the "church every sunday and holiday" when a child but I quickly changed to having an open mind about all religions. I like to pick and choose from all of them because I will never believe that one particular idea is right while others are wrong. I label myself agnostic and open to all things possible and tolerance for all.

doglady said...

I am SO very with you on the traditional Christmas carols, Anna C! They start playing Christmas carols at Wal-Mart right after Halloween. And I DESPISE all of these pop culture, hip hop, rap, doowop, country and western and you name it versions of traditional carols. I like mine straight up in the original form preferable with authentic choral or solo voices and authentic instrumentation. The only exception is the music of Trans Siberian Orchestra, but those boys are classically trained musicians. Okay, fine, I am a music snob. So sue me! Oh and I am going to post Mom's Potato Chip Cookie Recipe for anyone who wants it.

doglady said...

Mama Bolton's Potato Chip Cookies

1 cup shortening (Crisco preferable)

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup chopped nuts

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup crushed potato chips (plain)

Cream shortening with both sugars
Add eggs
Add nuts, flour, baking soda, vanilla and chips
Mix well
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet
Flatten top with a fork
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

Nancy said...

Catslady, I think a lot of people kind of choose what fits. The people I know who don't identify with a particular religion are still very moral people with definite ethics.

Doglady, the recipe looks fabulous!

Anna Sugden said...

Thanks, doglady for the recipe - sounds yummy!

Amy S. said...

We celebrate Christmas here. Usually the whole family gets together and opens presents on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, the kids get their gifts from Santa and the stockings filled with candy and gifts. Bigger presents are usually waiting by the tree on Christmas Day. Me and my sister usually stay up late on Christmas Eve to fill the stockings and put out the big gifts.