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Author Topic: 'Tis the Season...  (Read 811 times)

SilverCrown

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'Tis the Season...
« on: December 02, 2015, 05:09:50 AM »
Hello Beauties,

December is already underway and for many of us that means a season of festivities, family, friends, and fun. It also generally involves lots of extra effort and, often, expenditures.

So, how are you spending this season? Do you go all out, decorating and baking and shopping and making gifts? Or are you more of a minimalist? Do you attend sparkling parties in full regalia or do you visit quietly with friends and family?

Please consider this your invitation to share as much or as little of how you spend this holiday season.

Warmly,
SilverCrown
-SilverCrown

Styyna

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2015, 08:02:54 AM »
Well, I'll start. My DH doesn't celebrate any holiday in December so we have a very quiet household. That doesn't mean I'm not busy though.

I'm finishing knitting a scarf in merino wool and cashmere for my younger DS today - I've been working on it since Nov. 15th - and starting another in the same fiber but different color and pattern for my older DS. Hopefully, since I've knit the second scarf before it will only take 10 days to two weeks to finish and I'll have a few days to knit some hats for gifts.

In years gone by I spent the holidays at home with DH and became quite depressed since I grew up with a very festive holiday tradition. Last year DH agreed with me that I should spend Christmas with my extended family and that's probably what I'll do again this year. My favorite food is lutefisk (yes, I know most people hate the sight, sound, and smell of it! :) ) and my brother and SIL both love it so I get my fix with them at Christmas.

I suspect that my older DS won't be available this year. He hosted Thanksgiving for my DH, my younger DS, and me this year so I think he may spend Christmas with his father's and his wife's families. I have this idea in the back of my head to get both sons and DIL together on a different day for our own little celebration though.

I feel blessed that the holidays have always been mostly about getting together with family and our family has never had any of the negativity that seems to affect so many families at the holidays. Instead it's a warm and loving environment with lots of story-telling and laughter, good food and drink, and token gifts. It's a good time of year.

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cara4art

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2015, 12:11:58 PM »
We don't do holidays in general - we prefer quiet and simple, no gift exchange, unless one of us has expressed a desire for something and money and the inclination to go for it is there, or maybe I'll make a special breakfast if I feel like it.:) Usually not though. I do however like seeing Christmas lights and that's simple and free.:) For years we were camping in Baja Mexico at Christmas - that was wonderful, and in more recent years, we've been out in the desert visiting DH's sister and husband, who keep it as simple as we do.:)

BeautyBarbara

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2015, 10:30:32 PM »
W'ell I'll tell it like it is.  When Mom was with us I would really decorate the place.  I have a lot of nice figurines for the mantel and musical Santa's and such.  A tree and small trees with lights.  When times got tough and I was busy taking care of her I didn't put that much out as I dreaded having to put everything away. 
For the past few years I've done very little.  I don't know whether it's because I'm living with my Dad and feel intimidated for some reason because he would probably say why are you doing all this work?  or whether it's just me..... :cry:

We will be going to Christmas at my brother's house early this year December 19 as they are leaving for Florida on the 29th.  He decorates and I like to bring gifts etc.  and just enjoy being with my family.  His wife's brother will be coming down also with his family so a good time should be had by all.
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milla

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2015, 11:45:11 AM »
We exchange small gifts with family and friends, having agreed a few years that the gifts should be small and symbolic. For me the best part of Christmas is seeing people and cooking a lovely meal, but I also like to see the Christmas decorations and the tree in our living room. We don’t get a lot of light in this room and I always feel that it is at its best at Christmas, with the old fireplace and the mantel decorated with holly and whatever bits of greenery I can get from the garden at this time of the year!
For us Christmas starts on Christmas Eve. This year it is just going to be us two, DH and I. The meal is always a blend of different cultures, but fish and shellfish are the main attractions of the menu! I usually have salt cod, done in the oven with potatoes, onions and olives; DH likes skate. For starters we have scallops, which are a Christmas treat. I have gone off oysters in the last few years. I always used to have a dozen (don’t tell me…I know… terribly indulgent…) but now I stick to scallops. We don’t go mad on desserts, but we like a cheese board and some Port, perhaps some fruit, dates, walnuts…
On Christmas Day it is going to be DH, his younger sister and yours truly. I always cook a turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy and lots of vegetables. I also do a glazed ham. For starters, we will have smoked salmon; my sister in law loves it. For dessert, I usually buy a Christmas pudding. I am sorry to say that I cannot be asked to make one (shame on me!). I don’t eat Christmas pudding because it is too rich and gives me terrible indigestion. I prefer a slice of Panettone with a coffee and a glass of dessert wine. We have our Christmas meal in the evening. Years ago, we used to eat at lunch time, around 1:00pm. It meant getting up at the crack of dawn to cook the turkey, and after the meal we used to slump on the sofa, completely full up. Like this it is much more relaxed: in the morning we have our neighbours round for a drink, open the presents, talk to the family on Skype…We usually sit down to our starter at about 6 to 6:30pm.
This year my daughter is spending Christmas in Belgium with her partner’s family. It is only fair as we had our grandson to ourselves last Christmas, his first one. My son, daughter in law and baby daughter  will spend Christmas Day with my daughter in law’s extended Greek family. They are coming to us December 26th, Boxing Day. We will have cold meats, vegetables, salads, mince pies; I will probably relent and make a trifle or a chocolate mousse. I am not really a dessert cook, but my family like my chocolate mousse! If the weather is dry we will go for a walk in the forest.
We usually host New Year’s Eve to my husband’s other sister and a couple of friends. But she is away this year and our friends invited us to their home this year. We will take a few bottles (lemonade, of course) and a dessert plus a savoury dish, and we will spend the evening together. The two husbands, who have been friends and colleagues for years, will no doubt find plenty to moan about and us ladies will just ignore them and have a laugh. At midnight we will go out in the front garden with our glasses of champagne , watch the fireworks and listen to the Big Ben chimes on TV. Let’s hope it is a better year for the whole world, we can but hope.

SusieQ

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2015, 09:48:11 PM »
Usually, I start to decorate right after Thanksgiving. And, I usually have two-three trees in the house. This year one tree only because my orchids needs a lot of lights!

Every door in the house has a wreath and one room will be more made up than the other rooms. But every room will have some type of Christmas lights. I haven't decorated the outside yet. That's will be done tomorrow. I purchased a big giant star and can't wait to hang it outside. Christmas is my holiday so I go all out with it comes to decorating everything. But, I must say that each year, it's not as big as the year before...

Christmas Eve is spent with family and a Secret Santa gift exchange - just a token, too.  Dinner will be as plentiful as the Thanksgiving feast. Letters to Santa will be written and sent.  Christmas morning is early and quiet since we stay home so that my son can open his gifts from Santa and from us.  My SIL usually have a Christmas brunch at her house and in the last three years I have not attended because it's usually her extended family and I end up sitting in the corner and staring at the ceiling. Of course, I talk to people but I see these people once a year and we have nothing in common. So, the last three years, I've stayed at home and clean up and prepare our own Christmas dinner.  I love how quiet the house is and just Christmas music playing in the background. It's like mentally preparing myself for the coming year.

I love this time of the year and I do miss our Secret Santa.  :)
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milla

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2015, 11:40:19 AM »
I do miss the Secret Santa, but it is a lot of work for the person who organises it.

anne

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2015, 02:39:26 PM »
We always have a quite Christmas. The best ones I've spent reading in a new nightdress! It is quiet and there's snow outside. We eat and maybe watch tv. You may remember I work in customer service and, near Christmas, I work  my feet off! I am always quite exhausted when Christmas finally comes. Oh and I always have Christmas lights on. We also have a metal lantern filled with Christmas lights hanging outside our door already.

As there are just the two of us, we can have whatever we want as our Christmas food. Once I remember it was spaghetti Bolognese!

My husband loves traditional Finnish Christmas foods, though, so we usually have a variety of pickled herring, possibly salmon roe, cold-smoked lax and Christmas ham with root vegetable casseroles and beetroot salad. Nowadays my DH does not eat red meat so the oven-baked ham would not appear.

We'll spend this Christmas with my mother and my sister's family up north. They do not eat red meat, and my sister is not at all keen on pickled herring, so I guess we will eat smoked turkey. Possibly cold-smoked salmon or gravadlax. She hasn't revealed the menu to me yet.

I hope they will have a Christmas tree, too. I love the smell of a real fir tree! They have two kids so it will probably be a very traditional Finnish Christmas with the exception of Santa Claus - they are told elves leave the presents for them on the night of Christmas Eve, which is the most important day in Finland.

Hubby has already bought several varieties of pickled herring, casseroles and mixed beetroot salad and cold-smoked salmon. He enjoys having them every day until Christmas is over!

Edit: auto-correction typo. My pc is down so am using hubby's Ipad and it is so different to use!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 01:05:42 PM by anne »
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milla

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2015, 04:42:48 AM »
Anne, I am quite interested in Finnish cuisine since I watched a series on TV. It was called ‘the Hairy Bikers do Northern Europe’ and the best episode was Finland! The Hairy Bikers are two bearded cooks from Manchester, they are really amusing and the food in Finland was fantastic and very healthy. Have you heard of this series? I would love to hear your views.

Styyna

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2015, 06:53:53 AM »
This is my favorite topic right now. I love reading about everything from simple and minimal to heavily traditional holiday seasons. All of your contributions help keep me in the holiday spirit!

I still haven't figured out what I'm doing for Christmas this year. Last year I invited myself and my sons to my brother's home where we joined his family for Christmas Eve - the main time of celebration in my family. I was hoping that they might invite me back again this year but it appears I may have to call and beg an invite. We are pretty casual that way so I don't anticipate it will be a problem.

I'm down to the final inches on the scarves for my DSs and about to start a cowl for my DIL and some hats for my nieces and nephew. I've chosen bulky yarns for all so they should knit up quickly. Knitting is the fun part. Now wrapping...I really dislike wrapping gifts but I love the final result so wrap I will.

Wishing everyone a happy, joyous holiday season!
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ILuvLucy

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2015, 08:18:41 AM »
I'm enjoying reading everyone's traditions too, Styyna!
I don't go overboard, but I do decorate the house (inside & out) for Christmas.  Strands of white lights wrapped around fresh pine garland are on the front porch & red lights hung outside on the trees, & a fresh wreath with a big red bow on the front door.   
Today we will go out & chop down our Christmas tree.  There are many farms near my house to chose from, & I know we'll end up having quite a "discussion" as to which tree to bring home! My feeling is that the 8'-10' trees look impressive, but are too difficult to decorate, but the kids love a big tree.  Not to matter that I'm the one left to hang the decorations!

Christmas Eve we will all gather at my mom's tiny house.  It's tradition to have the "7 fishes stew".  Don't ask me to name the 7 different types of "fish" though! We have gone down to about 4 different fish, but still call it the 7 fishes stew.  Used to be a meal with no meat, but lately we've been adding in various meat dishes.  My mom is 100% Polish, so we will have kielbasa, pierogi, & homemade chrusciki (which my DD went over & helped my mom make last weekend). 
Then we will open gifts & hopefully still be awake enought for the 11pm church service.  :wink:
 
Christmas day we usually spend visiting my husband's family, though I don't know if that will be the case this year.  Things have been rocky with my husband & his brother since my mother-in-law passed away this summer. 

We've been having unusually warm & calm weather here this December.  Temps reaching 60, & I am LOVING it, but it doesn't feel like Christmas to me.  I really don't like the snow, but a tiny dusting might look nice for the holiday!


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SusieQ

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2015, 12:38:17 PM »
I do miss the Secret Santa, but it is a lot of work for the person who organises it.
Yes, I have to agree. It's hard enough when I organize it at work.  :)
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SusieQ

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Re: 'Tis the Season...
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2015, 12:42:35 PM »
I do enjoying reading the other posts.  There may be a change in out Christmas eve plan.  My orchids have been keeping me busy and kinda behind this year on Christmas.
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