Category: Holidays

Christmas Tree

Christmas – there is, perhaps, no other time of the year when Peace and Goodwill is more prevalent. That is what makes Christmas my favorite time of the year and my Christmas Tree my favorite photo this month.

My Christmas Tree is full of decorations that are either home made or from little shops all over the world. There is even something from Qatar where local merchants take a multi-prong approach to marketing for every major holiday, even non-Muslim ones!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!

 

They are green when summer days are bright,
They are green when winter snow is white.

 

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Your branches green delight us!
– English version of O Tannenbaum by Ernst Anschütz –

 

The Christmas Tree in Canada:  Advent calendars, gingerbread houses, cookies and Christmas trees were all introduced by German settlers who migrated to Canada from the United States in the 1700’s. But it was Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, who solidified the Christmas tree tradition when he put up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1848.

We have a Tannenbaum forest here at the Red House, but my Christmas Tree is a very realistic, artificial tree – I don’t want my forest to think of me as a tree killer…

Are you ready for Christmas, or are there still lots of things to tick off your list before you can say, “It’s a Wrap!”

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Favorite.

Pumpkin Meets Drill

A well-rounded and compact head – a good description of a cabbage, but it works for a pumpkin too!

drilled hole design

This year I used a drill to make almost perfect round holes in my jack-o’-lantern. (Did you know that the term jack-o’-lantern comes from an Irish folktale? Large turnips and potatoes were used by the Irish in Ireland, but they switched to the readily available pumpkins when they came to America.)

holes drilled zentangle design

‘Jack’ doesn’t look all that handsome in the daylight, but he really ‘shines’ in the dark!

When I was looking for a quotation about pumpkins, I found a musing by Alexander McCall Smith. It reminded me of transporting my pumpkins last year.  I secured them in the back seat of the Jeep and briefly thought about what quiet, friendly companions they were.

The pumpkin looked delicious—almost perfectly round and deep yellow in colour, it sat on the passenger seat beside her so comfortably as she drove out of the car park, so pleased to be what it was, that she imagined conducting a conversation with it… And the pumpkin would remain silent, of course, but would somehow indicate that it knew what she was talking about, that there were similar issues in the world of pumpkins.

There was no harm, she thought, in allowing your imagination to run away with you, as a child’s will do, because the thoughts that came in that way could be a comfort, a relief in a world that could be both sad and serious. Why not imagine a talk with a pumpkin? Why not imagine going off for a drive with a friendly pumpkin, a companion who would not, after all, answer back; who would agree with everything you said, and would at the end of the day appear on your plate as a final gesture of friendship?
– Alexander McCall Smith, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine –

Happy Halloween, all!

(Is it still called Halloween in your community schools, or has it been changed to Black and Orange Spirit Day?)

There is a growing list of Halloween costumes that have been described as inappropriate because they are negative representations. Lynda Davis, at BoomerBroadcast wonders: “If I answer the door dressed as myself, an aging baby boomer in a comfortable T-shirt and yoga pants will I offend my entire generation?”

Cårven Der Pümpkîn | Recipes with The Swedish Chef | The Muppets

This weeks’ WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Rounded.

The Christmas Spirit Can’t Come too Early this Year

The World of Commerce starts promoting Christmas earlier and earlier each year, it seems. In Canada and the United States, the ‘Great Pumpkin’ products can be in one shopping aisle and ‘Jolly Old Saint Nick’ can be in the next. Personally, I don’t like the crass materialism of the season, and I really feel sorry for the Sales Associates in the stores. Imagine having to listen to the same Christmas music for almost 2 months!

This year, however, I’ve put up my small table top Christmas tree already. Every time I walk by it, I am cheered by the tiny white snowmen decorations that my daughter and I made over 18 years ago. At night the twinkly lights brighten that corner of the room. It is peaceful.

Christmas Tree with a crackly filter

I have several reasons for putting up this tree so early. First, it is a calming reminder that this final journey with a loved one is down their path to a peaceful place.

Christmas Tree with Drawing filter

The tree is also a reminder that the greatest contribution I can give others right now is a smile. I painted smiles on all those little snowmen and their unfailing cheer is contagious! Mine should be too.

Christmas Tree with a liquefy filter

Even my friends on Facebook have been infected by the outrage and anger that is so prevalent in many parts of the world. Compromise, understanding and sharing don’t seem to be objectives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Christmas Season this year moved people into the spirit of goodwill and giving, and somehow, magically, they just got stuck there?!

Christmas 2016 – Santa and the North Pole

558-christmas-tree

Christmas is very nearly here, and I’d like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and All the Best in the New Year. As you can see from this photo of my Christmas tree, I’m all ready for Santa to visit.  I anticipate one very nicely wrapped medium sized gift of the hair drying appliance variety!

For better or for worse, Christmas is a time for gifts and giving. Who knows that better than Santa – and Wal-Mart, Costco and Tesco, to name just a few of the larger retailers!

While it is easy to walk into the familiar brick and mortar stores in communities around the world, it is quite impossible to visit Santa’s establishment. There are several reasons for this. First, of course, is the fact that Santa is not a retailer. He is the owner of a factory and distribution outlet. His business model simply does not include on-site sales.

Then there is the issue of the location of his  facility. It is, according to lore, at the North Pole – a place that isn’t even located on a land mass. It is nearly in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and  is almost permanently covered with constantly shifting sea ice. So, even if you could get to the North Pole, you might find Santa’s factory at the designated GPS location or it might be miles (kilometers) away in an undetermined direction.

The North Pole, in the winter, is a very cold place. Winter temperatures can range from about −50 to −13 °C (−58 to 9 °F). It is quite inhospitable. Despite that, several countries have laid claims to these icy high seas (Canada, Norway, Russia and Denmark.) It could be decades before their claims are scrutinized by the United Nations and one of them is declared the owner. When that happens, Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the elves will have to apply for citizenship, I suppose. The paperwork will be monumental…

While you may not be able to visit Santa at his home, you can certainly mail him a letter. Canada has assigned the North Pole a Postal Code, so letters to Santa can be mailed to North Pole, H0H 0H0. Finland says Santa’s official office is in their country and his address is Tähtikuja 1, 96930 Arctic Circle. There is place called the North Pole in Alaska, USA. Letters to that Santa can be mailed to North Pole Postmark Postmaster, 4141 Postmark Drive, Anchorage, AK 99530-9998. In the UK, Santa’s letters go to Santa/Father Christmas, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ. In Australia, letters may be mailed to Santa, NORTH POLE 9999. Santa has other addresses in other countries and these can be found at a site called Letters to Santa.

On Christmas Eve, you will most certainly want to watch Santa’s journey around the world on the NORAD Santa Tracker Site.

I’ll end this post with a burning question – should the North Pole become part of any country at all? By extension, should Santa have to become a citizen of any country, and if yes, which country do you think it should be?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Anticipation.

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Christmas Greetings – 2015

The Car Guy is in the kitchen making S’More Pinwheels; the snow is gently falling; NORAD is already tracking Santa’s progress; we have no place we have to be until tomorrow morning – Life is Good.

I don’t mean to sound like a Grinch, but if we are going to be ‘entertained’ by Christmas Carols for almost a month, don’t you think they could play this one now and again?

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
No crocodiles or rhinoceroseses
I only like hippopotamuseses
And hippopotamuses like me too!
– Written by John Rox, sung by Gayla Peevey in 1953-

To the member of our family who got my name in the Christmas draw – you didn’t ask me for a Christmas Wish List. Did you finally get me a hippo?

To my small group of faithful readers – and to the thousands of followers of this blog who might stumble onto this post by mistake – Have a very Merry Christmas!

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Cautionary Tales – Falling off the Roof and Securing a Pumpkin

We had two ‘Be Careful!’ events at the Red House this week. The first was when The Car Guy went up on the roof to check the chimneys and see if the gutters needed cleaning. I was truly torn as to whether I would go up there too. I’m okay going up the ladder. The transition from ladder to roof is a bit scary. I’m okay walking around the roof, as long as I stay at the peak. The transition from roof to ladder… that is the really hard part.

But, I did it, and really enjoyed looking at the yard below.

The second ‘Be Careful’ event was the transportation of the Pumpkins. They had to get from our house to the Family Pumpkin Carving Party, a trip of half an hour. I’d already given the pumpkins a lobotomy and didn’t want them rolling around the back of the JEEP. I also didn’t want them to turn into projectiles if we had to stop suddenly!

The Car Guy decided this was the best way to carefully secure pumpkin noggins for the trip.

I’ll love you til the end of vine.
– Source: PumpkinNook –

There are three things that I’ve learned never discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.
– Linus, ‘It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ –

chicken day after HalloweenSome of the stores already have Christmas product on their shelves! This reminded me that when we took apart our Christmas tree last year, it never quite made it back into the storage closet. I wanted to clean up that area, but the tree was in the way. What to do – put it away, or just put it back up in the Living Room… can you guess what I did?!

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge was Careful

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At Peace on Christmas Eve – 2013

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring –

Forgive but do not forget. Forgiving changes the perspectives. Forgetting loses the lesson
– Paulo Coelho –

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The WestJet Christmas Miracle

Part of a WestJet flight attendant’s arrival announcement: “We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of WestJet Airways.”

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus – but he wears a blue suit, not a red one! Watch how Santa and his WestJet Elves put the magic back into Christmas:

WestJet Airlines was founded in 1996 by a team of Calgary entrepreneurs as a western Canadian regional carrier with three aircraft flying to five cities. Today, WestJet is Canada’s leading high-value, low-fare airline offering scheduled service to more than 80 destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. They lead in the ‘fun factor’ category too!

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Cats and Pumpkins at Halloween – 2012

Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen,
Voices whisper in the trees, “Tonight is Halloween!”
– Dexter Kozen –

At night, if I don’t rein in my imagination, the walk from the road to The Red House is spooky. It is a long winding driveway, lined with tall dark spruce trees and just beyond are thick woods where all the wild animals lie in wait. When I was a kid, I would not have ventured up this driveway on Halloween – unless I knew with absolute certainty that the treats at the door were worth being that scared. It is a forbidding stroll at night.

We haven’t had a trick or treater at our door for a long time. There used to be a few children on our rural road, but they have long since grown up. I still decorate for Halloween anyhow and we still buy a few treats just in case. And I will likely walk down to the end of our driveway and back, just to get the adrenalin going. Nothing like a wee bit of fear to take me back to the Halloweens of my youth!

We recently spent a few days with dear friends who have a new kitten. (There is no better kitten than one that belongs to someone else – all the benefits, and no responsibility.)

Word association: ask your mind to remember kitten – cat – Halloween – pumpkin.

______________

When we weren’t playing with the kitten, or wandering around the farm, or talking or laughing or watching the first season of ‘Castle’ on DVD, we carved Halloween pumpkins. This was my pumpkin. Can you figure out what it is? It would be best if you told your brain it isn’t a face with one big round eye. If you fixate on that idea, you will never see anything else. Really.

_______________

Here are our pumpkins at night. The one on the far left is mine from the photo above. Now can you see what it is?

The one on the right is our hosts. He did the carving with various size drill bits – trust a man to come up with a way to use a power tool.

The pumpkin in the centre is what happened when I took up the drill and three sizes of bits – and no plan at all. Don’t try to see anything in this pumpkin – it is simply the result of not knowing when to quit.

There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.
– Linus Van Pelt in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” – by Charles Schulz –

So starts my other post about Halloween. It was called Pumpkin Face.  You wouldn’t know it from the quotation, but in this post I talk about how Halloween has fallen victim to political correctness and a process similar to homoginization. There is also a photo of the pumpkin my grand daughter carved – the face is one Charlie Brown could relate to.

Last, but not least: I used the WordPress Theme called ‘Monster’ for a few days during Halloween. This is what it looked like:

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A Very Short Christmas ‘To Do’ List – 2011

It will come as a shock to no one that cancer isn’t something you put on your “LIST OF THINGS TO DO TODAY”.
– Erma Bombeck, Chapter 13, I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to go to Boise – Children Surviving Cancer-

Early December, 1992. The diagnosis was acute lym­phoblastic leukemia. Our youngest child, a teenager who had been feeling ill for only a few weeks, was suddenly a cancer patient.

My Christmas “To Do” list was pretty short that year – put up our Christmas Tree at home and a little tree at the hospital. I suppose I cooked a turkey on Christmas Day, but I don’t really remember. I wrote my annual Christmas Letter, but it was very short. It started out with, “Then, life took one of those turns that you never really expect…”

Christmas happened anyhow. The rest of the family stepped in and upheld the traditions they felt were important. Friends and family visited and brought baking (which was a special treat because it is well known that I only know how to make two kinds of cookies.)

I only remember shopping for one gift that year. Our very sick child wanted me to get a tie for her dad. Not just any tie – a tie that would make him smile every time he knotted it around his neck. That was a big order, because The Car Guy felt that ties were really just a fancy type of noose, and he detested them… Fortunately, the Disney Company came to my rescue with a festive little number full of holiday cheer!

Much has changed since the Christmas of 1992. All our kids, including our sick teenager, grew up and married. Grand children were born (though not to our Cancer patient, unfortunately). But one thing has stayed the same – my ‘To Do’ list is very short. I decorate, I listen to carols. I feed the gang dinner on Boxing Day. I don’t bake. My gift giving list is pared to the bone, because to be honest, most of the people we know have just about everything they could possibly need!

Christmas, for us, is about peace and goodwill, visiting friends and family, laughing and crying because it is the month of December. Christmas is a feeling, not a present, and that is just part of what makes it priceless…

An adult friend asked Christina what she would like for her eighth birthday. The small child, diagnosed with neuroblastoma, rubbed her hand over her bald head, then rested her face in her hands and said, “I don’t know. I have two sticker books and a Cabbage Patch doll. I have everything.  (Christina, age 12, Alpena, Michigan)
– Erma Bombeck, Chapter 2, I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to go to Boise – Children Surviving Cancer –

While I am thankful to the medical community for the successful treatment of our child, it is Erma Bombeck who was my guide through the months of treatment. Everyone should buy and read her book about Children Surviving Cancer. (The proceeds from the sale of this book go to various Cancer Societies.) Only Erma could write Cancer Stories that  make you smile…

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We Say Merry Christmas – 2012

Our Family celebrates Christmas.

We aren’t all practicing Christians, but we say Merry Christmas, and we sing Christmas Carols. We decorate our house, and eat turkey. We visit friends, and we exchange gifts. We believe in the miracle of the birth of all children. We hope for Peace on Earth, and we extend our hands to all in Good Will.  We don’t think you have to belong to any particular religious denomination to accept and celebrate all that is good about this holiday – this holiday we call Christmas.

Some of the most wonderful things have to be believed to be seen. Like flying reindeer and angels. Like peace on earth, goodwill, hope, and joy. Real because they can be imagined into being. Christmas is not a date on a calendar but a state of mind.
– Robert Fulghum –

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Easter Dinner – Signage For When the Guests Get Here

Today is our Easter Dinner and we’ve invited lots of people.

When the guests arrive, there is always a bit of general confusion and milling about while coats are hung, hugs and handshakes are exchanged and food donations are sorted out. (A dinner party at the Red House is rarely a free lunch…) At recently past functions, very small children have been ushered outside to play, or put into closets if there is a chance they will take a header down over the edge of the stairs where the railing is not yet a railing. Except this year – I’m much more organized than in the past. I have Signage for the parents!

The First Sign will make it clear how very small children should be monitored:

Pets Welcome children must be on a leashAfter dinner, we’ll bring out some treats. There is a sign for that:

My soul's had enough chicken soupWe like to end things with Coffee. It is the signal to our guests that it is time for them to perk up and get ready for the long drive home. I have a sign for that:

I'll have a caffe mocha vodka valiumIn a few days I’ll let you know how it went!

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The Market and Valentine’s Day Spending – 2011

cartoon heart Valentine

The retail industry in America is buzzing with excitement. They believe that Valentine’s Day spending this year will be up about 11% over last year. The National Retail Federation expects $15.7 billion will be spent on traditional Valentine’s gifts – Greeting Cards, an Evening Out, Candy, Flowers, Jewelery etc. Canadians will spend a proportional amount of money too, but we don’t like to brag about it, I guess.

I can’t help but think that there are better ways for Americans to spend their $15 billion, given that they are still trying to recover from a recession. For example, did you know that there are about 50 million Americans who go hungry each day, and $15 billion dollars a year would feed them all? About $15 billion a year is needed to replace aging drinking water systems. $15 billion is twice what the National Parks Service needs to bring maintenance of facilities up to date.

Somebody needs to figure out how to market these needs and make it easy for people to put money or time into them. What if you could go to your local grocery store and purchase a gift card that said, “Happy Valentine’s Day! I Love you so much I donated $100 to the local Water Works Company so that you and the kids can have clean drinking water.” Or, “Be Mine… at the Park on Saturday – we’re going to help beautify the park our kids play in.”

Prepaid gift cards for things other than just more stuff – charities have gone down this path:
In Canada, there is a charitable website called CanadaHelps. This website lets you send donations to any one of 83,000 charities.
In the United States, one charitable gift card site is called TisBest. Another is JustGive.

Valentine’s Day at the Red House is pretty low key. This year, like many years, we won’t do anything to improve the local economy. Some years our family goes all out and exchanges little bags of cinnamon hearts, or a few bits of dark chocolate.  But on the whole, we don’t view Valentine’s Day as a shopping event.

Robert Fulghum offered up these thoughts the day after Valentines Day:

Fulghum’s Eight Maxims on Giving and Getting Love:
1. Love cannot be forced or bought.
2. You can only get from another person the love they are able and willing to give in the form they can give it in.
3. You cannot get from another person the love you demand and need in the form you wish.
4. If what they have to give is what you want, then love works.
If not, it doesn’t and won’t.
5. If you concentrate on getting love, there will never be enough.
6. If you concentrate on giving love, there will always be enough.
7. Most people need the most love when they are the most unlovable.
That includes you. And me.
8. Finally, love is not a present you give or get, but something you do.

 

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New Years Day – Thoughts, Not Resolutions

It’s a bit early to predict what 2011 is going to be like. But one thing I know for sure, my New Years Resolutions are not going to fail. I didn’t make any.

The QuipperyI did set myself a few tasks, though. The first one is to get my “Big Girl, All Dressed Up” Coat altered. If that proves unfeasible, I’ll send it off to Good Will. It is a nice, simple long black coat with a leather collar. Since I wore it last, a few years ago likely, it has changed. Or at least, the memory I have of the coat has changed. The once moderately padded shoulders now make me look like a football player. I seem as wide as I am tall. I will never be accused of being a fashion maven, but even I could sense that the coat and I no longer belong together.

Next – I’m going to be a bit more selective about which blogs I make comments on. Without even stating a preference for one side or the other, I have been called a peabrain in a debate between Meat Eaters and Vegetarians. I made a hasty retreat from the arena that battle was being fought in, and ambled over to the fridge for a piece of turkey and a stalk of celery…

It snowed again last night. Not enough to make driving treacherous. Just enough to do some more shoveling. Our winter, so far, has been quite cold and snowy. Last summer was chilly too – the summer that never quite happened. We could use some Global Warming out our way. Since the media switched to calling it Climate Change, our weather has gone to the dogs. When I discover a blog that debates the causes of Climate Change, I’m sure NOT going to add my comments. I don’t want to be called a peabrain again.

I don’t doubt that the climate is changing. I’m just not convinced that man made CO2 is the only cause.  I do support the idea that each and every person should be part of a movement to clean up the environment. I don’t, however, support the media’s fear mongering reports of extreme weather with claims that it supports global warming. Weather is not climate – which the Climate Change scientists are quick to point out when we have a cold winter and suggest the climate isn’t really warming at all. I also object to the way climate change supporters attack the people who question their science. The questioners have been given a blanket label of Deniers, though in reality, most of them don’t deny that the climate is changing. They just want to be part of a forum that discusses a position other than the worst case scenario.

Update New Years Day 2015:

The Stage West smorgasbord on New Years Eve – perhaps shushi and sashimi don’t appreciate the company of peking duck, shrimp and caesar salad. Or maybe rum balls and chocolate fudge torte don’t want to cozy up to members of the fish and fowl family. Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, in a large enough quantity, might not appreciate the bubbles from a glass or two of champagne. Or perhaps the whole lot of them would rest more comfortably if they weren’t shaken on the dance floor, then laid to rest about 5 hours after the host body would normally have been in bed.

The good news is, I should make a complete recovery, and I don’t doubt that the rest of 2015 should be much more pleasant than the very first day was.

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Christmas Peace – Keeping the Season Simple – 2010

I’ve been reading quite a few blogs over the past few days, and the general consensus seems to be that this holiday season has become anything but peaceful. “Crazy ideas of a perfect Christmas” is how one blogger describes her preparations. “Worst traits of humanity” is how another blogger observes the shoppers. “Madness that are the weeks leading up to Christmas”  is how another blogger sums up her last week of activity.

I’m a perfectionist to the nth degree in many things. I have the potential on any given day to detail something to death. And sometimes I do. This is balanced at Christmas, quite thankfully I must say, by the fact that I am not a shopper, and I really don’t like to cook all that much.  It has simplified the Christmas holiday immensely.

So while others are rampaging through the stores for yet another gift to add to the pile under the tree, I have placed just one. It is a power tool for my Spousal Unit. And I didn’t even have to buy it. He had been looking for this particular tool for months, and when he found it, he bought it. Then he gave it to me and said, “Put it away, and give it to me for Christmas.” (He must have anticipated this post by Robert Fulghum: Tools.) He, in turn, has placed one gift under the tree for me.  I bought it some while back because it was exactly what I wanted. I gave it to him to put away for me for Christmas.  This has become a tradition. You might think this takes a lot of the surprise out of gift giving. But some days I forget what I was heading to another room to get, so it is not hard to forget about a gift that was bought some time ago…

By the front door there is a gift for the neighbour who lives nearest to us. We aren’t close friends, but we know we can depend on each other to be there when a neighbour is exactly who you need. They always give us a box of fine chocolates. We always give them a bottle of good wine.  This is a tradition.

By the front door there is a small pile of gifts that will go to our daughters house on Christmas Eve. Two of the gifts are for the people whose names we drew in the family draw. The rest are small bits and bobs that will be put in each persons stocking. We’ll spend Christmas Eve at someones house. It varies from year to year. We always go home early, and then listen to Christmas music and watch Santa’s progress on the NORAD radar site. It’s become a tradition.

On Christmas Day we will go to our daughters house. Our children and grandchildren will be there. We might or might not have dinner with them, depending on what their plans are that year. Wherever dinner is, it won’t involve a turkey or a ham, and it won’t take very long to make. This is our Christmas Day tradition.

On Boxing Day,  we will have a large gathering at the Red House. Our parents, our children, our grandchildren, and assorted others (this part of the list changes a bit from year to year) will arrive with bowls of  food to round out the menu for this festive meal. We will cook a turkey and a ham. The turkey will always take longer to cook than I had forecast, and I will be a bit peeved at the bird for that. The Spousal Unit will look after the ham, which usually upstages the turkey. A son-in-law will make the gravy. It will simmer away on the stove for much of the afternoon. I will have baked row after row of gingerbread men (or maybe hedgehogs this year because the “man” cutter has gone missing).  Everyone will spend the afternoon personalizing the cookies with icing and candies. Each family will have  one little gift to give to the grandparents, usually food related. This is a tradition.

And that is it. Just enough preparations to make Christmas a special holiday. Not so much preparation that the Peaceful part is gone.

I can’t end this post without sending you to this wonderful post by Robert Fulghum: Christmas  Explained to an Anxious Heathen

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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