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7 December 2010

Our changing Christmases

Are you thinking of Christmas yet? I wonder what your plans are, what traditions you follow, how many will sit at your table this year. Christmas can be one of those times of year when you either commit to the family traditions you grew up with and carry them on, or you decide that now you have your own family, new traditions will define you. It is a choice. If Christmas is being held in your home, you will lead the way, you can change or follow.

Carl Larsson's Christmas from the gallery.

We're at a point of transition. This will be the last year we'll spend Christmas without babies or children so it is special in its own right. Since our sons have grown and left home, I've realised that the real excitement of Christmas comes from having children around. When it's all adults, it's a celebration of family, an enjoyable feast, but there is not that barely contained crazy excitement that children bring. I didn't realise I missed it but I'm ready to decorate Christmas trees with tiny lights and put out fruit cake and beer for Santa and the reindeer all over again.

This Christmas will be the first one in a long time when we haven't organised and lead the Christmas breakfast at our Neighbourhood Centre. Hundreds come to that free breakfast - it's a feast of sharing and community spirit. So with Christmas morning free, as well as Christmas lunch, we might have Kerry and Sunny here. Both our sons are chefs so they often work on Christmas day. Kerry and Sunny think they have the day off, Shane thinks he'll be working, so we might not see him and Sarndra. We'll mould ourselves around our family. If they're here, we'll celebrate with organic roast chickens and salad, tropical fruit pavlova and homemade elderflower champagne, if they're not here, Hanno and I will share a small celebration of roast chicken washed down with Scrumpy - apple cider. Either way, we'll enjoy the day for what it is, the end of an era.

What are you doing, what are you eating, what gifts are you making and where will you be?


  1. Santa gets fruitcake and beer at your house? Hmmm... Americans put out cookies and milk. Maybe you Aussies know something we don't? LOL. I'm not certain what we will do this year, just 2 of us, no kids. We have been invited to a friend's house and may go there for something different.

  2. I wish you well, with the end of an era kind of Christmas. :-)

    When we reach our later years, celebration of Christmas does change. More so for some, than for others. And it's a challenge for all of us, to accept these changes, with understanding. And to still be at peace. :-)

    Just one of the reasons that aging isn't for sissies, as they say. :-)

    Gentle hugs...

  3. Good Morning Rhonda Jean!
    It's so exciting that you will have a grandchild next Christmas. My four children are all at an age where Christmas is very exciting and they are getting into everything to do with it this year - even spending the whole afternoon setting out the decorations. We will be home this year and having organic roast turkey. We have a tradition each year where I buy the children one really good tree ornament. I give it to them on the day we put the tree up, and they add it to their other special ornaments which are kept in a special box. Hopefully, when they leave home they'll have quite a few ornaments to take with them, and a connection to home and their childhoods in the memory of them.
    The house is full of secrets and presents being stashed in hiding places at the moment. :o) The children are handmaking all their gifts this year which is sooo nice.

  4. love Larsson's artwork. can't wait to see your book, 'cause from what I've seen so far, you have great taste! still much enjoying this newly discovered blog.

  5. We have a rather unusual family tradition. My mother grew up in Hong Kong and has never liked turkey. So each Christmas our family has Peking Duck, a chinese dish that has been my favorite since I was a child. The ducks are hung for 24 hours, basted in a mix of honey, scallions, and hot water, so that the skin becomes extremely dry and crisp when roasted. We also spend an entire afternoon making the "pancakes", dry flour crepes seasoned with sesame oil in which the roasted duck and skin will be rolled with a sweet BBQ-type sauce called Hoi Sin. The fact that this dish takes 2 days to make builds the excitement. And the "pancake afternoon" has traditionally been the men's role. My stepfather did it, then my brother, and now it's my husband (my stepfather and brother both passed away). So that is our Xmas tradition!

  6. Father Christmas gets a small Scotch and a mince pie here (there will be crumbs remaining) and usually Rudolph eats half of a carrot.
    Christmas is wonderful with a caring family. Enjoy.

  7. A seafood lunch with family and an evening spent at the neighbours - looking forward to it.

  8. For years I had done the traditional chistmas turkey roasting, but finally was relieved from duty when my kids were old enough to decide how they would like to spend the festive days. I relish the time nonetheless, as now with my new partner I get to decide what restaurant we shall have the christmas meal at. This year my youngest son and his fiance will join us at an italian restaurant, and I shall not have the boring old turkey roast at all, but can decide what I fancy on the day. There is salmon or fesant, some italien meatballs on rice or another exiting vegetarian meal. We shall be spoilt for choice. The only family tradition I shall keep going is putting up my 40 year old crib, handed down to me by mum and dad. I used to admire it as a child, then put it up on a shelf for my kids to marvel over when they were small, and now it takes pride and joy in my house still, until one of my kids presents me with a grandchild. Then, I shall hand it on to them to enjoy.

  9. No matter what is planned for the feast of the day, I am always insistent on having pinkeye potatoes with our meal and will try everything to get some. Christmas isn't Christmas without the delicate waxy pinkeye potato. The best ones are grown in the Huon Valley and that's where I have to go to obtain such treasures. Have a lovely time preparing for your celebrations.

  10. BEER?

    No wonder Santa falls down chimneys by the time he gets to our corner of the world...

    Your day sounds lovely, as do your future days - enjoy!

  11. Even when I was a kid, Christmas wasn't a huge deal because we're not at all religious and my family is really small (4 people) -- just a normal Sunday Roast with a bit of present opening in the morning. Over the years, the childish excitement wore off completely and when I moved out of home, I didn't really see the point in continuing it at all. For a few years, we (my partner and I) went away on holiday to escape the worst of the season but more recently, we've just been treating it like a normal day - some years I've even worked.

    Some people exclaim with horror when I say I don't celebrate Christmas but I explain that it's just not a big deal for me in the same way that, for example, Eid or Diwali aren't big deals for them. Other people express jealousy - they feel bound to the traditions whether they want to celebrate or not!

    I'm 31 now and we're thinking about starting our family soon - and so our concept of Christmas might change again. I can't see us going down the "turkey and all the trimmings" route, or even having a tree - but who knows...!

  12. we are having goose(one of our own)
    we eat a hot meal Christmas Eve, leaving cold meats and salads for Chirstmas Day..
    Santa gets beer and chips in our house
    Family are coming to us this year..
    my children are getting older so they are not as interested in some tradtions we have done with them as littlies ie: we paint pictures onto newspaper to use as one wants to this year,so its just plain newspapers(sigh)
    we are baking less this year than we ever have

    i love christmas time

  13. Your quite right, children bring alive the magic of Christmas! We host Christmas day with a prime rib roasted in an old fashioned tin kitchen in front of the hearth. I make everyone open their crackers and put those silly paper hats on for the annual picture..LOL! And Santa gets cookies and milk here in the states. Fruitcake and beer might cause Santa to leave a few extra presents under the tree...LOL!

  14. Hi Rhonda,

    I'm busy at the moment getting ready for Christmas (like everyone) and catching up with friends. I think this year will be the first time my partner and myself have Christmas alone together- our families both live in the country and my partner has to work for a bit on Christmas day, so it wil surely be an unusual day, but still nice nonetheless. I suppose we will start to make our own traditions. I have made a knitted penguin for my 3 year old nephew olly. I still have to make a camera strap for my friend, a handbag for my sister in law and a sewn remote caddy for my man. Nice to give gifts from the heart though. Also looking forward to some Christmas baking for workmates and friend :)
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    Love Reges

  15. We only have our youngest son (11 yrs old) at home now so Christmas is losing the magical sparkle that infused the holidays since my oldest daughter was old enough (now 24) to get excited. We start the holidays off by passing out our baking parcels to friends and neighbors, have a roast beef with trimmings for Chritmas Dinner on Christmas Eve since it is also my husband's birthday. We read Clement C. Moore's Twas the Night Before Christmas as a family and my son puts out Santa's treats-homemade cookies, a candy cane and homemade eggnog for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer. (This, sadly, will probably be phased out soon as my son is getting beyond the age of Santa. At the moment, he is willing to pretend to make me happy ;-) My husband and I finish wrapping presents and place out the 'Santa' presents. When we wake up, my husband gets my son to wait on the stairs to make sure Santa has visited. lol. We open our presents, have a leisurely breakfast and spend the rest of the day in peaceful pastimes. I work a Christmas-scene puzzle, my son plays with his presents and my husband watches his favorite holiday movies- Oliver, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, etc. A lovely day in its own quiet way.

  16. We spend Christmas lunch with my family which includes my 80 year old mother, my 4 sisters and their spouses, their children (8) and their spouses and their children (17 of them! - my great-nieces and nephews). Last year it was at our house and I think we had 28 for lunch and a bit less of dinner. This year it is at my nieces and the numbers will be down a bit because some of the younger ones are going to their spouses family for lunch.

    We all are assigned a salad or hot vegetable dish and meat platter to bring so the hostess isn't too overwhelmed. My mum always makes the Chrissy Pud. There are lots of little kids running around, making noise and Santa makes an appearance - one year he had a go on the 'slip n slide' which was hilarious! I have always loved our Christmases where ever they are held.

    Your next Christmas will be so special for you with a new grand child to share it with. Enjoy the peace of the season this year.

    Cheers - Joolz

  17. It tickles me to think that Santa gets different treats around the globe on Christmas Eve. Wouldn't it be clever to get all the continents organized so that he can enjoy a seven course meal throughout his journey? Salad in Australia, Soup in Europe, Main Course in NA,... dessert in Africa, etc...Night Cap in South America...

  18. There are some wonderful plans here. Thanks for sharing, everyone.

    Root and Twig, I think Santa would approve of that idea.

  19. Penny, I was thinking the same thing about Santa!

    We are going to do Christmas-y activities every Saturday until Christmas. Last Saturday we made Wassail, and the next few Saturdays we will do gingerbread men, and make a Christmas countdown Calender. On Christmas Eve we'll do homemade Eggnog, and Christmas Day we go to my brother's house for a meal. It's so much fun that this is the first year my daughter understands the preparations and celebration. She is very excited! Here's last Saturday's Wassail making:

  20. Every other year my younger daughter and her family go to Germany to celebrate with her husband's family. This is a year when they are in the US, but want to have Christmas in their own home with their two little girls....So, Andy and I will be traveling to Pennsylvania to be with them. We'll miss having our Christmas Eve celebrations here in Ohio with my daughter Alice and her husband and two sons. It does indeed change when people grow up and don't always live in the same places, either. But I think being flexible and enjoying whatever one has is important. Emily and her family will be here on the weekend of December 18th for my grandson Nathan's sixth birthday and that evening the troup of Hungarian Girl Scouts that my daughters used to belong to will come in costume to Nathan's house and sing Christmas carols for a good 20 to 25 minutes. It's just wonderful, and we've been doing this for about four years now.

    We used to have gathering every Sunday afternoon in Advent and sit around a small round table and sing Christmas carols in English, German and Hungarian and have a sort of tea party afterwards. I hope we manage to do this once or twice this year. It's a lot of fun.

    I've only had Peking Duck once and loved it, so I think "rural aspirations" has a great tradition. I read the recipe, but it seemed very involved. (But wonderful!)

    I'm impressed by what a hardy guy Santa must be in Oz, with the beer and fruitcake!

  21. Hi Rhonda!

    I was listening to the local public radio station last week and they were accepting requests for "Unconventional Christmas Tunes" and that day's pick was Six White Boomers. Is it really a common belief in Australia that he has kangaroos instead of reindeer? And fruitcake and beer for Santa - what a treat! It's interesting to see the different traditions around the world :)

    I live in Canada, and our Christmas is (almost) always cold and snowy, so our Santa has reindeer, and gets milk and cookies. When my brother and I were very young, we would also leave a carrot for Rudolph. Christmas morning, we'd put on the fireplace channel, or light our fireplace, and open gifts before enjoying a nice huge breakfast cooked by Dad. Then a typical Christmas dinner: turkey, mashed potatoes, turnip, fresh buns, pickles and the like, followed by pie and Mom's baking (cookies and tarts, typically). It has been a few years since I've gotten excited about Christmas (I'm 24), but it's always been about family for us. This will be my first Christmas season away from my family, as my boyfriend and I live nine hours away from our families. My boyfriend and I don't really celebrate Christmas anyway, as we are dismayed with the consumerism it has come to represent (and we don't need any more stuff!). We have been invited for Christmas dinner with my co-worker's large family, and will be doing a few Christmas activities with my co-workers: a cookie swap, a lunch, and a large party for all the library staff and their partners.

    Happy preparations, everyone!

  22. My kids are mostly grown, though we have never done the Santa thing. I don't remember ever believing in Santa as a child either. Since I have to work the 23rd thru the 27th with some 12hr shifts mixed in, we plan to celebrate Christmas in January. We plan to spend a weekend in a historical hotel that is furnished with antiques and put up vintage inspired decorations. We will retreat from the world, eat good food and watch movies.

  23. My childhood Christmases in NZ were in the summer, busy and filled with people - my parents ran a hostel and our (vegetarian) Christmas lunch/dinner always included all the hostellers.

    These days though, I'm on the other side of the planet, currently in snow and freezing temperatures. My partner and I will be spending Christmas (24th) for the 3rd or so year in a row with his family - parents and grandmother - for a quiet, traditional Czech Christmas. The day will start with decorating the tree and eating very little - lunch will be garlic soup. The big evening meal will start with fish soup (possibly pumpkin soup for me), then baked carp (nut loaf for me) and potato salad. Followed by cookies (baked all throughout December) and a visit from Ježišek (Baby Jesus - although without any religious connotations). Perhaps I'll even have a visit from Santa if I'm extra-specially good :)

    Even without children around, there's enough excitement from me and my boyfriend (aged 30) to make up for it :)

  24. Living in Japan where Christmas is celebrated very differently I try hard to make our Christmas as special as I can in a kiwi-Japanese way. The thing I love most about Christmas in our house is putting up our Christmas tree. When I first had children here there were not many Christmas decorations in the shops so I started a new tradition of making frames and putting photos of people we spent Christmas with each year on the tree. This has been continuing for 10 years now and the children love taking out all the photos each year and remembering all the different people we have spent the Christmas season with as well as how much they have changed over the years. We may need a bigger tree if I can keep this up for the next 10 years!

  25. Mandi, Santa has his reindeer here too. That six white boomers thing is a song, nothing more. My boys used to feed the reindeer carrots too.

    Jo I love your tradition of framed photos.

    I'm enjoying reading about your plans very much.

  26. LOL about the beer and the comment of no wonder he falls down the chimney til he reaches our corner of the world.
    We will be having a roast ham and some sort of potato dish ( I havent decided) along with veggies and of course cakes and pies for dessert.
    Since my boys are also grown and one is expecitng, this will be the last year of just an "adult" type family Christmas. I look forward to having a grandchild next year to spoil for the holidays!

  27. Our Christmas will be spent with our two daughters who are 14 and 15 (she will be 16 on December 28!) and my 26 year old daughter is coming from 2,000k's away with her husband and 18month old little boy so I am soooo excited.I miss the mayhem of little ones on Christmas Day, the paper spread all over the floor, boxes hanging off the furniture! and all the running around. I'm going to prepare as much food as I can before the day so I'm not stuck in the kitchen and my daughter can have a well earned rest as well as my son in law who works incredibly hard, I'm doing seafood salads, BBQ chicken, quiche, my 15 year old makes the pavlova and the 14 year old will make the fruit salad. My husband will be general help and photo taker. Christmas is changing with the rampant consumerism but we just keep away from all that, one year we all escaped to the South Island, NZ in a campervan and that was wonderful. Merry Christmas Rhonda and many thanks for all your wisdom!

  28. I am excited to be flying to South Africa to spend Christmas with my 86 year old Mom. I have wrapped a little present for every day after I get there until Christmas day. I havnt had a christmas with my mom and brothers for 10 years! Christmas seems extended this year as I have spent a few weekends making gingerbread men and gingerbread houses with my grandson here. Santa will probably get a gingerbread man and yet another beer! Sometimes the reindeer leave behind reindeer poo (it looks very much like jelly beans!)

  29. How wonderful,Rhonda Jean! All of these comments on how they spend their Christmases! A fascinating read!
    Ours is a very much Christ-centered Christmas. We have church on Christmas Eve and then I go to my D and SIL's afterwards. My husband died 3 years ago and so I spend Christmas Eve and Christmas at my D's home. The week before Christmas, D, my 2 grandsons and I make German cookies-a really fun day. We have Christmas Eve dinner at my SIL's parents (who live next door to them) and then have our gift exchange. I spend the night and the next morning the grandsons are up early to see what "Santa" brought them in their stockings. We have a nice breakfast and later usually a soup lunch all together.
    My mother and brother and his family all live 1000 miles away to the north and I don't try to travel there in the winter time.
    We try to have mostly a homemade Christmas most years.
    It is a wonderful time of year..hope you have a great Christmas. Blessings!

  30. This is our last Christmas sans children, our first will be born in May. We have begun spending Christmas with Hubby's parents, then we can see my only living grandparents and his, all in one trip. Its very low key there, no stockings (which I always miss) and dinner is buffet at the Aunt's. Its very different from what I grew up with, and I'm still not used it. But I adjust my expectations each year.

    I know with baby, I will get to adjust the Christmas a bit more, since it won't be just about me.

  31. I grew up doing the big turkey and trimmings meal that never changes. My dad insisted on it, but after he died the rest of the family had no desire to continue that tradition. Instead for the last decade we have made an entirely different feast each year. At first we cycled through different main courses: steak, rack of lamb, pork chops, stuffed pumpkin. Now we're on an ethnic tour of the world: Puerto Rican favorits, Brazilian feijoada, Spanish paella, and this year a Cajun jambalaya!

  32. Yes, we Americans put out decorated sugar or gingerbread cookies out for Santa with milk or eggnog! Fruitcake and beer sound pretty good to me though!!!
    We have grandchildren now and I must say they do add to the excitement and joy!
    We buy simple gifts and splurge on the feast! Turkey, ham, venison, cornbread dressing, cranberry salad or ambrosia and I'm thinking a cranberry sparkler made with a little vodka while I cook! lol
    We'll have the traditional cocoon cookies my mom always made. I'll make chocolate and penuche fudge (made with butter and brown sugar)- so delicious! My grandmother and late mother-in-law always made the lovely snow white divinity made with egg whites, sugar and nuts--my oldest daughter's favorite! (recipes to be featured soon on our blog)
    I hope I'll be able to make it to a couple of Advent services-
    Our newest granddaughter will be baptized on Christmas Eve, so that will be very special to us. Christmas is a joyful time with happy memories, but tinged somewhat with sorrow at those already passed and my mom is suffering from Alzheimer's so there is always change to deal with. Yes, aging isn't for sissies--I do agree!

  33. Over the last few years, we've scaled back on the amount of decorating we do and I'm not complaining! I like decorating, but it becomes clutter in my mind very quickly and I have been known to take the tree down Christmas afternoon. We are observant Christian and celebrate it for what it is, not the commercial aspect of it. Last year, we decided that it was time to take ourselves out of the gift frenzy that had enveloped our extended family. We felt like the Reason was being overlooked. We celebrate Christmas, we just try to remember what it really means.
    I'm happy that you'll have a grandchild to spoil next year! You will have so much fun and the baby will grow up in the light of family love.

  34. We only have one child left at home, 15, so we don't have to get up at the crack of dawn. We go to church, come home and make a big breakfast. This year since Christmas is on a Saturday we'll cook dinner and have both mom's over, grown children, granddaughters. Whenever that's done we'll clean up and luckily we have a week to rest before going back to work!

  35. oh, this has been fun reading! I guess I should also say I will celebrate Christmas twice as I celebrate Dec 25 with all my friends and as I am Old Calendar Russian Orthodox, I will celebrate again on Jan 6th at church. Good thing I love Christmas!

  36. oA round number for us is 20. On Christmas eve we have oyster stew and pizza. For the adult we have a white elephant gift exchange. Which means the adult brings one gift usual around 20 dollar limted.
    Now for the kids which there is always is. Those who want to buy them can.
    This year I'm giving books.
    Now for Christmas breakfast I usual do it. After I open my mouth!!!
    Any how we have it at my sister in law who owns an old school house and turn it into a bed and breakfast www.northsideschoolbedandbreakfast.
    Then on Christmas day later on we go back to my sister in law and have a regular Christmas dinner.

  37. How fun and interesting this has been to read! I am from Canada, so we used to leave shortbread cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, but we no longer do that. I am 23 now, and my boyfriend and I get our own tree and decorate our house, but spend Christmas morning and day with family. This is the first year in 3 years that we will be driving the 3 hours to my parents' house and spending Christmas with them and my sister and her boyfriend. I am so excited to be with them, as we have not all been together in over a year! We will be eating vegetarian, as both myself and my boyfriend do not eat meat, but I'm sure there will be a small chicken for everyone else. Lots of stuffing, veggies, and desserts for all, and plenty of egg nog! Hope you have a lovely holiday!

  38. Our children are grown with families of there own. Since they live 3 hours away,and the Grands believe in Santa ~~Christmas is spent at there homes...
    Hubby & I spend the day at home which is simply decorated and enjoy a simple meal as well.

  39. My kids are at the age now where they don't really believe in Father Christmas but put on the pretence more for their Christmas-mad mummy! I wish you all the best for your new phase with grand-babies. I am currently 'mourning' the loss of baby-hood of my 9 and 10 year olds. No matter how hard you try, the somehow manage to grow up without your realising it.

  40. Like you this will be our last Christmas without littlies around as we have a Grandchild due in March and can't wait. I have all my family here for Christmas as no one else will do it and i like to have them all together.

  41. At the first day of Christmas we will visit the church and the rest of the day we hope to be at home with our own family. Mam, dad and little four year old. We'll have a coffeetable with christmasbread and hot chocolat, and in the afternoon we'll have a simple diner like patatoes, carrots and chicken roulade. The second day we hope to visit the family of my husband and have a buffet over there. In the afternoon we have a birthday of my niece.

    what gifts are you making? This year there will be no gifts under the tree. There's no money left to buy or make something. Maybe a bag for my sons marbles, but that must be it.

    Because of buying our third car in six months of time, we really have no penny left and have to be, excremely economical. All tips are welcome! ;o)

    I want to wish you and all your readers a wonderful preparation for the coming Christmas days!

    Love from Holland.

  42. Interesting post. This year I have tried to be different with Christmas. This year I made my girls their own advent calendar. Each day they get to open a little box and inside is a treat and an activity that they can do. They will do this all the way until the 24th. I wanted activities that would bring quality time together, fun, creative and also teach the kids the gift of giving.

    I've been keeping a blog to record our countdown leading up to Christmas and the activities we are doing -

    Hopefully this will be the start of a new tradition for my girls :-)

    It is usually the kids' job to decorate the Christmas tree which we put up 1 December.

    I also love Christmas music and so the plan will be to play some on Christmas day.

    The day before Christmas the girls will put out some cookies and milk for Santa before they will head off to bed and then the next morning we will be opening presents. We plan to have a Christmas lunch. We'll only be 5 people so whilst a little bit traditional we won't be going overboard. We won't make turkey because it would be too big, but will make roast chicken instead. And definitely have pavlova on the menu.

    We will just be home and depending on the weather might go to the beach later on.

    Yesterday our activity was about the gift of giving. We packed all the biscuits we baked the day before into bags and delivered it to residents at a dementia unit at one of the local retirement villages. It was such an incredibly rewarding day and the kids were just so excited -

  43. Mass on Christmas eve.. then its my hubby's birthday Christmas day so we will be having a champange breakfast with my cousins and their children, and then we are heading to the beach with some friends. Its our last christmas before we return to NZ so we want to soak up the aussie summer.. lets hope the weather improves before then!!

  44. We're a small family, but there will be lots of child centered fun and mess, lol :)

    I'm interested in how you celebrate Christmas. Here in Scotland it pretty much always snows, or at least is very cold, so our Christmases always centre around snow, cold, warming food and clothes, walks in the cold, etc, you get the picture, lol.

    I'm interested in how you celebrate. I can't imagine eating a big warming Christmas dinner with pudding when it is warm.

    Best Wishes

  45. In England, we always put out a mince pie and a glass of sherry, with a carrot for Rudolf!

    How wonderful to have a new baby in the house for Christmas 2011 - the magic will start all over again . . .

  46. Each year, I have my Mom,sister,and brother in law up for Christmas Eve. I carry on the French family tradition of pork pies,peas,celery stuffed with cream cheese and olives,cranberry sauce and pickles. This year,though,my sister and her hubby will be at their daughter's house in Virginia,so it will be my Mom and my sisters son,who will be visiting. Christmas Day they will be coming back up for dinner-we will have one of our turkeys,mashed potatoes,cranberry sauce,stuffing,and peas.I am making Chocolate Bread Pudding with Spiced Whipped Cream for dessert (Emeril's reciepe!)

    Santa no longer comes to our house,but we don't put out Zach's presents until he falls asleep on Christmas Eve.

  47. Last year we had 2 Christmases, one in mid-December and another on the 25th. My elder daughter and her fiance wanted to spend their 1st Christmas together in their new flat, so we had the 'pseudo-Christmas' just for them. It was great fun- turkey, presents, crackers and silly hats, lots of love and hugs. We repeated the whole thing on the actual day with our younger daughter.This year we will be having the pseudo-Christmas in January, as they will be visiting A's parents before Christmas this year. My mum likes to stay home and do her own thing -no amount of persuasion will get her round to my house for Christmas lunch.For us Christmas has had many changes over the years, sparked by the arrival of children, the death of my Dad, the children growing and leaving home. Christmas is still enjoyable; it's different, but some traditions remain; carols from King's on the tv on Christmas Eve as I bake and make home-made stuffing, all of us enjoying a cuddle in our bed before we make our way downstairs for present opening on Christmas morning, and J going downstairs first to check if Father Christmas has been. KL still plays along with it despite being 15. This year will be a hand-made , home-made, thrifted Christmas - I still have gifts to finish.

  48. I don't know what we're eating or what gifts we'll be giving yet, but one thing I do know is that my son will be home from college and we will spend this time together as our little family of four. It's his first year away at school and having him home is all the Christmas I need this year!

  49. We don't have children, so Christmas itself is generally very simple. We don't do a tree anymore, but we do have a huge lighted Christmas village. What's been most important for us has been creating a new tradition/reviving an old tradition for ourselves and our family. This will be our 6th year of doing a Feast of Seven Fishes for Christmas eve, an Italian tradition. It's a full 4 course meal with 7 fish dishes, and this year we're growing to dinner for 12. It's a lot of work, but we love it so it's worth it.

  50. Our tiny family is scattered and very rarely do we all get together for the holidays. We do have a child at home (son age 9) that believes in Santa so we try to make it magical for him with our decorations, baking, etc. We buy most of the gifts for our children (9, 21) with a couple handmade goodies for them. I make gift baskets for the adults in our lives as well as our son's teachers. This year the baskets will have homemade loaves of lemon and pumpkin breads, chokecherry jelly, and hand-embroidered tea towels. I hand embroidered the edges of new pillow cases to fit the likes/personalities of our kids -- deer and Canada geese for our son, and daisies for our daughter. My husband made a cedar wood box for our son's football/baseball cards and a cedar wood box for our daughters jewelry. We will buy them some new clothes and a few other goodies that they requested. It's unclear on who will be here on Christmas Day but we will roast a big beef prime rib and spend the day playing cards or boardgames and watching movies. Not really a big, elaborate celebration but just spending time with those we love. Merry Christmas, Rhonda, and to all who read your blog!


  51. I had so much fun decorating this year. I couldn't justify the cost of garland so I made my own out of grape vine and pinecones from our back lot.
    Our Christmas' have been changing, now it is a time for all four of my daughters to come home. It's such a great feeling to go to sleep with a full house!
    Christmas eve is spent opening presents and eating treats, Christmas day is at my mother's house for lunch. I have 10 siblings and it is not unusual to have 75-80 people there to share the meal. My husband's brothers and their families are at my house for the evening meal.
    I guess I would have to agree that the holiday for us is centered around family. It just doesn't get any better than that.

  52. It's usually just my DH and I at Christmas, since both our families are 1,000 miles away. We don't usually buy each other presents, as we have most of what we want, but maybe something we both want for the kitchen, or like this year, new slippers! We make lamb rubbed with Moroccan spices, and other yummy dishes and pies. Sometimes we have friends drop by, sometimes it's just us two, spending a lovely day at home.

  53. I had no idea some people put out beer and fruitcake for santa. That's awesome.

    My husband and I get up early and go out to my parents house Christmas morning and then spend the afternoon with his family. I cook lunch for his family, this year we are having ham and don't know what else yet.

    I LOVE Christmas and make the most of it. I baked cookies last night to take to a meeting I have today and pretty much bake non-stop around Christmas. :)

  54. Our kids are now teens & the Christmas spirit just isn't as fun as it was when they were little, I'd have them bursting with excitement.

    As often it is - it's up to the female to set the tone for a home, so we are going to have a go at doing a new 12 days of Christmas this year. From the prompts of the 12 Days of Christmas from a book I have been reading all year - Simple Abundance.

    Day 1 - The Gift of Undivided Attention
    Day 2 The Gift of Enthusiasm
    Day 3 The Gift of Creative Energy
    Day 4 The Gift of Simple Pleasures
    Day 5 The Gift of Tenderness
    Day 6 The Gift of Good Cheer
    Day 7 The Gift of Beauty
    Day 8 The gift of communication
    Day 9 The gift of surprise
    Day 10 The gift of Wonder
    Day 11 The gift of peaceful surroundings
    Day 12 The Gift of Joy

    Love Leanne


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