Tuesday, 22 December 2015

What's Your Tradition?

Christmas brings out the tradition in all of us.
Whether you do everything including the plum pudding or you sit alone watching tv with a bag of crisps, you have your own likes , rhythms and routines that centre about the holiday and which is so often rooted in childhood.
The Prof enjoys one of our traditions and it is a simple one which is becoming rarer given the cost of the humble postage stamp nowadays .
Every year I loop string around the living room and one by one, Christmas cards when they arrive, are hung in a rectangle underneath the smoky coloured white painted beams .
It pleases us both when all the spaces are eventually filled .
A simple tradition.

1970s Prawn Cocktail as a Christmas lunch starter, always brings back affectionate memories of my mother's labour intensive Christmas cooking where she would leave them standing on the meticulously prepared table settings for hours and hours.
How we all didn't die of severe food poisoning bugger alone knew.

So what is your simple tradition? I'd be interested to know?
Today is my only day to prepare for the day....I am working night shift tomorrow night and on Christmas Eve....so when I am ironing the lunch napkins, I will enjoy your stories
Over to you

163 comments:

  1. Hanging up the cards each year is also my tradition. I don't have so many traditions now but when I was small my Auntie always used to make a centre piece out of a large jar covered with cotton wool and made into a snowman complete with hat, pipe and scarf. He sat on a silver cake board that was also decorated and he was filled with flying saucer sweets. He took centre stage on top of the telly. Good memories:-)

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    1. Oh yes , homemade christmas decs that looked like shit after the first year!

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    2. No. She made a nice new fresh one every year. It was just as good as anything shown on Blue Peter! :-)

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  2. A tree, a turkey, and a cream cheese pie.

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    1. Tcream cheese pie, I take its like cheesecake?

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    2. 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
      1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
      1/3 cup lemon juice
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1 (8 or 9-inch) prepared graham cracker or baked pie crust

      Use an electric mixer to blend the ingredients until smooth, adding the lemon juice causes it to thicken. Not really a cheese cake. A childhood memory - family tradition.

      http://www.eaglebrand.com/recipes/cherry-cream-cheese-pie-3994?CategoryIndex=7

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    3. Is it overly sweet?
      You americans love sweet deserts

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    4. No John, it's not. But it's easy-peasy and serves at least 12. Other versions use the juice of an orange too. We're New Zealanders and it's been made here for as long as I can remember.

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    5. I'm surprised to see this as i made one last week.Recipe called for 1/2 cup lemon juice but i thought was too much. I covered mine with cherry pie filling. and cool whip. Made in Pennsylvania!

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  3. My parent always used to hang the Christmas cards up like you do - it's a nice tradition.

    My traditions?
    Avoid shopping
    Avoid parties
    Avoid crowds.
    Simplicity and seclusion are best.

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    1. I have a few friends that tick each box

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  4. My tradition is no presents except for a humble one for my kid, oh and the very countrified and beautifully primitive local carols by candlelight at Tasmania's tiniest church by the river. Heaven. Literally.

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    1. Have you a photo of the church?

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  5. Lots of Christmas cards! Bucks fizz for breakfast, sherry mid morning, wine with roast turkey and all the trimmings, lots of parsnips and roasties, no sprouts for me but everyone else has them, tv in the evening, Christmas cake and a cuppa before bed. A game or two of charades - or this year the Christmas quiz I have written. Simples really, but all good fun and just how we like it. Glad you have some traditions and that you get so many cards! Happy Christmas! xx

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    1. You dirnt say how much sherry lol

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  6. Making mince pies, the aroma! I always make some without lids and put icing and a cherry on, for some reason everyone seems to like them best. I also love the smell of Christmas cakes baking, usually in Sept/October. Every Christmas eve my hubby and I stand up at midnight and toast the day, with a mumbled 'Absent Friends' trying not to blub. Love to you and yours Andie xxx

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    1. I'm making mince pies this afternoon

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  7. Making Dundee Cakes, Gingerbread and Christmas Fudge along with a large ham and sides for all the kids and grands. Just being with family. A very Merry Christmas to you and Chris and your families!

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  8. None yet; have been in my own new house exactly a year today. Looking forward to making my own traditions next year as I'm still a bit upside down yet lol Have a lovely Christmas x

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  9. I have Christmas cards up, too. Fewer people seem to be sending them nowadays. Or maybe I am less popular? Regardless, I enjoy sending and receiving them. They have always been a key part of Christmas for me.

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  10. It wouldn't be Christmas without my anxiety.

    I take a break from that though on Christmas Eve and along with four families we have known for over forty years and their extended families, we gather together to celebrate the season of joy. We drink fine wine and munch on cheese. I laugh and relax because it is not in my house and I am not the host.

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  11. Making whiskey dundee cake (just this minute taken out of the oven). Singing to the Xmas Tree on Xmas Eve - magically golden coins would appear on the tree overnight. Paper fight with cracker wrappers after dinner - trying to knock paper hats off heads.

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  12. "iron the lunch napkins" - REALLY?

    usually chinese/japanese or indian food, and a movie at the cinema for spouse and I on xmess day. modest gifts are exchanged; cat kids get small gifts too. and alcohol-laced eggnog for a toast to the new year!

    if you go to my blog, you can see a pix of my small tree on my latest post.

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    1. Really!!!!!!!!!!girlfriend !

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    2. And are you ironing those lunch napkins on the ironing board that Winnie (I think it was) recently evacuated her colon all over? Some things are best forgotten before you eat, perhaps.

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    3. Even we have dog shit free napkins

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    4. Don't speak too soon. Winnie et al have time yet.

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  13. Stockings. They're the best bit of Christmas, and although my sisters are now pension age and I'm not far off, we still do Christmas stockings for each other, and all gather on someone's bed on Christmas morning to open them. They only have small cheap things in but I love it. Oh, and when the Christmas pudding is set alight, we all have to sing 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas' as it's carried in!
    I'm sure there are others that I think are normal for Christmas but that other people don't do.

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    1. I havent seen a stocking in an age.....we too had a lady's stocking filled with crap.....i loved it...it was always useful crap

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  14. We eat our main Christmas meal in the Evening. My only 'tradition' is to make sure that the meal is exactly the same as last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. i.e. totally traditional.

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  15. Sorry to disappoint, but no Christmas tradition at all here...but maybe we shall start some up now we have got our house like a home rather than being a storage and renovation site!
    Hope you and the Prof have a good Christmas. Vx

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    1. I bet you do have a few vera lurking away

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  16. Our tradition is that the day is for the two of us and our little family of furry children to do as we wish.
    We relax, we take a walk, we chat, read, listen to music, nap, have a lovely dinner, play with the kids.
    It's the best day ever.

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    1. As it should be...bugger the expensive gifts eh

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  17. no matter what we eat on Christmas day the Mr has to have those little sausages with bacon wrapped around them. I dont eat them. But he likes it. I have loads and loads of fairy lights. I feel like Nigella, she has her kitchen drapped in the damn things. ie, the more you have the more money you make right? I better drap the whole house then!

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  18. I am still trying to begin again with traditions .. Since I was 22 years old, I had my traditions with my husband. Regardless of where we lived or how much money we had, there were a few things that were always there .. The tree, the decorations (some of which came from my childhood holidays), a big wreath on the front door, candles always burning , the childrens stockings hung.. Christmas Eve night when the little ones were in bed, we would whisper and giggle and put out more toys .. when it became just the two of us, we would sit on the sofa and admire the tree .. and listen to music and make plans for the months to come. Now so much has changed in such a short time, I try very hard to manage the traditions that I can keep up by myself . I find not thinking about how it used to be is better for my heart and soul. I am planning a move .. a change of location . perhaps things will be more merry and bright..

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    1. I am sure things will improve for you in time....i hope so

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    2. Oh it will, everything improves with time ... except certain parts of ones body .. that might be a problem that gets worse with time :)
      And then there is the memory- that doesn't seem to be improving with time .. unless losing it is an improvement ? :)
      Thank you ... big hugs :)

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    3. Notes, this will be a rather difficult holiday for you. I will be silently toasting you on the day. May you enjoy your kitties' company and dream dreams of how you'd like your next year to be. xo

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  19. On the Christmas tree in my parents' home a small ornament has hung every years since I was born in 1950. It used to be shiny but the glimmer has long rubbed off and now it is just a dark plastic sphere. Since it hung there every year for all of my Christmases and all those of my younger brother's, our one tradition is to find the ornament when we visit. Since it is dark now, it is harder to find, which has given rise to the tradition of competing to see who will find it first.

    I like the fact that will all the glitter and glam, what we look forward to the most is that cheap little dark ball hanging among the branches.

    Here endeth the sermon.

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    1. I have something in my eye.....

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    2. That's funny, I got something in my eye too !

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    3. Could you re-glue some glitter and personal things on it to bring it back to life?

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  20. Popping the Christmas crackers. Everyone must wear their paper hat while we dine, shows off their little toy, tells their joke then we eat!

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  21. After dinner we have a liqueur tasting. I make them during the summer when fresh fruit is available. This year its Elderberry liqueur and a Chai Liqueur with fresh lemon thyme from the garden.

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    1. Then a long sleep no doubt

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  22. My Dad and I used to have horses. On Christmas day I would make long streamers out of wrapping paper and plait their manes and tails with them. We used to go for a good gallop with the paper flowing. Good fun!

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    1. Thats one of the most original here...sweet

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  23. We have several traditions i recall fondly. One being the choosing and opening of one present on Christmas Eve. Then the rest on Christmas morning....

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    1. We do all ours christmas morning...the earlier the better

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  24. Making cookies and hanging stockings are the remaining traditions. I wonder when we will be too old to do that. It is sad to think back on traditions that fell away as the family scattered.

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    1. At least two continue old gal

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  25. I used to do so much for Christmas. I would make a huge holiday party with an enormous bowl of eggnog made from whipping cream and sugar and rum and eggs and eggs and eggs. I would bake and bake and bake. I made pajamas and matching blankets for my children from soft flannel. We decorated the tree. We hung the stockings. All of it.
    Now I am down to making a chicken salad that my mother-in-law always made with green grapes and red grapes.
    Frankly and sadly, my most set-in-stone holiday ritual is to fight depression and anxiety. I would gladly give that one up.
    But it cheers me to hear other traditions, more appropriate. Happier.

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    1. Egg nog...my mother used to make it.......badly.....you had to sieve the raw egg through your teeth

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    2. Okay, there's my chuckle for the day, John! Thanks :)

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  26. Christmas cards strung up. Tinsel and crackers on the dinner table. Turkey stuffed with sausage meat, sage and onion; smoked gammon glazed with apricot jam; decorated with pineapple rings and cherries then grilled; veg and salad accompaniments. Followed by bought Christmas pudding which we light and photograph before serving. With trifle made here on Christmas morning with boudoir biscuits soaked in sherry, topped with a layer of custard and and whipped cream on top of this. Sprinkled with pecan nuts and decorated with cherries! Early morning after church we have bought Christmas cake and champagne. Well, Grant will have the champers; I'll have tea! Lovely to have traditions and keep them up. Merry Christmas to you and Chris and all your furry and feathery children! Jo xx

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    1. I shall be making a sherry trifle on christmas eve.....its bloody lovely

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    2. Agreed, the trifle is the highlight of my Christmas dinner. I'm vegetarian so skip the turkey and ham but have my own celery apple and cranberry stuffing instead. Yum!

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  27. Scrabble, the more contestants the merrier, first round only English, second round incl. at least one other language depending on guests native tongue(s) and all of that while listening to Coleman Hawkins and Miles Davis - jazz actually complicates things, nicely.

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    1. This sounds very " bette Davis " how wonderful x

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  28. John, I also have a tradition of hanging the cards on strings around the living room. Sadly, since the internet is where people communicate, there are so few cards now that I just stand them up on the mantel. Oh well, things change...

    I am very happy that my daughter and her hubby are coming for the holiday. And bringing their older dog. I'll make a small but traditional dinner and my dad and younger brother will join us. I do love these traditions. And these people. :-)

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    1. I guess its the people that really ARE the tradition eh?

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  29. Our Christmases were filled with grandchildren, decorations, at least a dozen kinds of cookies (I baked), a huge dinner (I cooked), gifts under the tree for all and clean-up after for me. Since my health has declined, the table has store cookies and candy for any that show for a couple of hours (one or two sons) and I gain five pounds. The former was a hell of a lot of work and the latter rather lonely.

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  30. A reader from the US here. As a child, the traditions we had growing up: We had a knotty pine dividing wall between our kitchen and living room and that wall would be covered in the Christmas cards received; of course a tree and all the decorations; my mom's great lasagna for Christmas dinner; opening one present, a small one, on Christmas Eve; empty stockings hung on our bedroom doors on Christmas Eve and finding them on the floor, leaning against the doors in the morning, stuffed with little treasures and surprises.

    My current Christmas traditions include putting up two little Christmas trees, one on my kitchen table and one on my TV cabinet (can't manage one big tree anymore and there are three doggy companions who would knock over a big one); making some kind of roast for Christmas dinner (this year will be pork roast and sauerkraut) and baking cookies to share with my sister's family.

    Wishing you peace, good health and happiness at Christmas and throughout the New Year.

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    1. Lasagne for dinner! Were you an italian family?

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    2. Oh no, just a mixture of Greek, Russian, Austrian and Turkish. I don't really know why that became our traditional Christmas meal but we always enjoyed it. When I got old enough for her to trust me in the kitchen, I would make several types of Greek cookies to serve during the holidays and I still do that today.

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  31. nope. I don't do christmas. however, as a child, one year when I was very young I asked at christmas dinner why, if it was Jesus's birthday, we didn't sing happy birthday. so we sang happy birthday at dinner every year after that for a long time. eventually we stopped but the last time christmas dinner was held at my parent's house my boyfriend was having dinner with us and my mother resurrected the tradition with the little story. I was mortified. I'm sure she did it on purpose just to embarrass me.

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    1. Ellen what do you do nowadays?

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    2. nothing. I gave up christian theology in my early 20s. not a believer plus I married into a jewish family. not atheist but my view is very esoteric. plus I refuse to buy into the whole madness that is christmas over here...buying gifts no one wants or needs for people out of a feeling of obligation and going to debt to do it, the fallacy that this is the best most magical time of year when everyone gets their heart's desire, that any tragedy is worse if it happens around christmastime, being bombarded for two months with christmas, going crazy and getting stressed out by all the 'must dos' (baking, decorating, cards, shopping). I enjoy other people's efforts and am content in that. I'm sort of a scrooge I guess but too many years growing up trying to please a parent that could not be pleased no matter how hard you tried burned me out. I guess that's my tradition now...doing nothing.

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  32. We taught our labrador to pick up each present from under the tree and with a flourish he would throw it into the middle of the room. It made our Christmas and definitely his too - he was so pleased with himself. Those were the days.

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    1. This is so wonderful.

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    2. Lol, not if you got a set of sherry glasses as a gift!

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    3. I'm thinking that after the first year no breakables were given :)

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  33. A walk on the beach on Xmas Day, have never been brave enough for a swim like some crazy people. Mind you with global warming it may happen in the future.

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    1. Boxing day walks seem popular too

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  34. My Christmas tradition is to remind everyone that the real reason for all the traditions around this time of year is The Winter Solstice, regardless of whatever else some have tried to tag on to the ancient traditions. Happy Solstice.

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    1. And a happy solstice to you and all

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  35. Now that we are only 3 here in Tucson plus Daughter's partner and her Mum this year we cook our Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve. So nice no stress.
    Japanese family skypes to us on their Christmas morning our Christmas Eve and we open the gifts we have sent each other. Plus when you have a 5 year old around is alway so much fun.
    Then on Christmas Day we have a brunch and open our gifts. We try to make as many as we can.
    Fun, easy no stress and just lovely.

    I too love the Christmas Cards and like you use them as part of my decorations. I hope you received your card, Weaver's arrived only yesterday.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish.

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    1. I'll let you know when it arrives x

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  36. Going to the outdoor Christmas Mass and donating the blankets we wrap ourselves in for the Homeless. Then on home for Yummy glazed ham and brown butter cheesy noodles. Presents after with champagne.

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    1. Charity activities should be more prominent in most of our traditions me thinks

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  37. Family always arrives at our house early, we exchange gifts, play, eat and eat, then a long evening of playing games. Last year we had 3 generations here.

    This year, our SoCal son and family can't make it until the 28th, so Christmas at our house will be celebrated on the 29th. Still 5 generations and same plans but Christmas day, the 25th will be just Frank and I in our pajamas, watching movies and grazing on homemade soup all day. Maybe a photo drive if the weather permits. We are really looking forward to the day alone. First time ever!

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    1. The prof and i usually have xmas lunchalone.. This year my sister and her hubby will be coming

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  38. A Vienetta for Chritsma lunch dessert was always our tradition when the boys were young, none of us like Chritmas pud and this was lighter after a nice big meal and a treat we didn't have very often.

    As my youngest son is here for the next two nights to celebrate his Christmas we are having 'Christmas Dinner' for tea tonight followed by a Vienetta in his honour :-)

    He's working all day Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the days after, long shifts in the Police Comms division. I do hope it's a quietish Christmas for him, but of course it means that we get to have two Christmasses .... oh the joy ;-)

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    1. Vienetttas are sooo 1980 -and so yummy

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  39. I always go into the garden to feed the birds - then we have bagels with smoked salmon and creamed cheese with glasses of good champagne or prosecco... "Cheers!" in the middle of the year, clinking glasses - looking back and looking forward too. Nothing to do with Baby Jesus. All of that came much later. It's about the seasonal cycles and the passage of time. It's about saying, "Hey! We're alive! Let's celebrate!" I could say much more about our rituals but enough is enough.

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    1. I like that " let cekebrate being alive!"

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  40. After we 4 siblings grew up, married, and moved far away from our hometown we began the tradition of renting at a big vacation house on the coast or in the mountains or on a lake for a week at Christmas. We sometimes had 15 or more people staying there. We brought our Christmas stockings, small gifts for 2 adults to select at random, gifts for all the little ones, made ambrosia, and almost always wound up setting something on fire by accident. Lots of beer, wine, and champagne accompanied by lots of food. Jigsaw puzzles, scrabble, poppers, hikes. This tradition has fallen apart a bit since the death of our mother 3 years ago, but parts of it live on.

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    1. How do you make ambrosia?

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    2. This was traditional in my Mother's family. Drive a couple of nail holes through the "eyes" of a coconut and drain out the coconut water. Then heat the coconut in the oven until the shell cracks. Whack it with a hammer until it breaks into pieces then get the meat out in as pieces as possible. Then you grate the coconut very fine- watch out that you don't grate your fingers! Someone else should be peeling and sectioning the navel oranges so that there is no membrane around the sections. Squeeze out all the juice from the core of membranes and set to the side. In a pretty glass bowl, put down layers of coconut, orange sections, sugar (depending on how sweet the oranges are), some juice and repeat, finishing with a top layer of coconut. We used our Gran's cut glass bowl. We never added anything like cherries, jello (jelly), or marshmallows, but some folks like it that way. The making of the ambrosia was always occasion for drama of some sort - grating your fingers, getting hit by the hammer or an errant nail, dropping the coconut your toe. One time we forgot a hammer and had to fling the coconut off the balcony of the rental condo to the pavement 4 floors below to get it to break open. Luckily we were the only tenants at the time. Good times ...

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    3. Forgot to say the ambrosia is made on Christmas Eve and kept in the fridge overnight to be served with Christmas dinner the next day.

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    4. Id love to try it! Sounds lovely

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    5. I would worry about you heating the coconut in the oven until it cracks!!!

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    6. That's why you use a nail and hammer holes into it - fewer explosions that way! But not nearly as exciting ...

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  41. We drop all the cards unopened in a basket and then on the eve of Christmas we sit by the fire with a glass of wine and open them together.

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    1. Though it wouldnt suit our decorating routine..i kind of really like this one

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  42. We put our Christmas cards right tucked in on the tree. A real tree every year. Christmas crackers and the hats MUST be worn. Singing carols at the tops of lungs (even if you can't sing). Lots of animals and now that there is just a few of us left on the family shrub, family.

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    1. I love singing, so the singing bit, i shall steal

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  43. Watching every Christmas movie we can find on TV. Cooking more food than anyone can comfortably eat and then setting out all kinds of munchies afterward. Moms stuffing recipe which was her moms and doubtless her moms as well. Party crackers with silly jokes and toys. Putting moms handmade snowflake decorations on the tree.

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    1. There seems far fewer films towatch on tv nowadays...despite 100s of channels

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  44. My grandmother had an aversion to Christmas cards with robins - so she turned those cards with their backs to the wall!! I once heard her remark that she had had 22 robin cards one year. I hasten to add that is not our tradition

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    1. I had scores with robins on this year.....its a conspiracy

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  45. Our Christmas tradition is a chess tournament. We play five games or so, both of us about the same standard and both convinced we'll win. One of us is sorely disappointed.

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    1. Chess at christmas..there's a first!

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  46. Making Christmas cakes for family and friends. 'Watering' them with rum and brandy each night for several weeks before the day.
    And, since Christmas here is hot, I make a HUGE fruitsalad every year.

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    1. I have never got my head around the fact that some people have a sunshine christmas..l.....for me, the colder the better

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  47. No real Christmas traditions here now that there are just the two of us, and our two dogs. We eat out at favourite restaurants with friends in the evening on the 24th, and on Christmas Day, just relax, and walk the dogs in-between times. No panic shopping, and very little cooking involved, and I can't say that we miss it ! Just small gifts to exchange, hardly any Christmas decorations around the house, and cards on the bookshelves now we're both getting too stiff to climb ladders to string them up ! It's all very much changed from the traditional (and somewhat excessive) family Christmases of our youth and most of our married years. If we can find a good, small, comfortable dog-friendly hotel, we're considering going away next year.

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    1. Sounds more relaxing thatn a hot bath!

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  48. We decorate every inch of space with Christmas decs, lights and tinsel. Hubby didn't 'do Christmas' till he met me nearly 14 years ago. He is making up for lost time

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  49. Breakfast with some fabulous but introverted friends at their place who spoil us rotten. American food cos they are Americans, and not the packety kind, proper cooking. Family lunch with lots of people all of whom I madly love, no awkward tensions left in our family, and a concert afterwards. Started off impromptu but everyone's a bit more organised now. I love stringing icicle lights in our apartment window and leaving them on all night but David is the one who actually has to do it all so not this year as he is feeling put upon. We don't even have a tree at home. Luckily my whole work days for weeks up until Chritmas is full of Christmas and I don't mind so much. And our tree at work is beautiful! Here's a pic: https://www.facebook.com/MadeMarionCraft/photos/a.851020491685163.1073741866.151641114956441/851432058310673/?type=3&theater

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    1. Wow.....bloody hell.... Thats an original tree alright

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    2. Well we are primarily a haberdashery so a dress kinda made sense ;-)

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    3. Oh my I just remembered another one. We don't do this so much now being old, but we used to play a game called Waft the Kipper. You made your kipper from a sheet of newspaper, and you had to rip it. Then you named it. Then you lined your kippers up in a row, and beat the ground just behind your kipper with the rest of the newspaper rolled up. This creates a draught that makes the kipper move forward. It is a race to see whose kipper gets over the line. Tracey from Bishop Strotford taught us this game, would have been 1883 or so, and many a Christmas afternoon was spent exhausting ourselves, drunk, wafting bloody kippers ;-)

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    4. Maryanne, you have just reminded me of a game we played at parties. I am definitely doing this on Christmas day. Thank you

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  50. When our daughters were little, we had a rule that mum and dad were not to be woken before six, But father crimble always left one gift on their beds that could be opened when they woke. This year the oldest(26) and our lovely son-in-law are staying with us over crimble, I think the rule may return as she still gets so excited hehehe. Have a splendid Christmas John, the Prof and the creatures x

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  51. one present for Jess and Joe on Christmas Eve to get them to bed... New pyjamas or a Christmas themed story book. then a glass of port & stocking filing ... Happy memories x

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  52. You are not short of reading material with this lot John. The same old ornaments come out year after year. They are getting a bit tatty but each one isfull of memories and I couldn't bear to part with them.

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    1. I have a set of miniature 1940 crackers.....tatty but lovely

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  53. I don't have any traditions. It much the same as any other day except that we get to eat a meal together in the middle of the day which never happens normally. The two of us together with the cats. Love and peace together and no television.xx

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    1. What do you ususally eat?

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    2. Meat. We have a turkey in the fridge this year. x

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    3. Not even an accompanying potato?

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    4. My Christmas present is a sack of King Edwards.

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    5. I hope he wraps them in tinsel

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    6. Apart from the King Edwards and substitute dogs for you cats, your Christmas sounds as low key as ours, Rachel, and that includes no television.

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  54. Watching It's a Wonderful Life and every variation of a Christmas Carol on tv

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    1. Thats on in our local cinema tomorrow night, pity I am working

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  55. We have a drink on Christmas Eve out of 2 glasses rescued from the garden after cyclone Tracy paid us a visit when we were living in Darwin in 1974.

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    1. Well you cant beat this mary jo...you win xxx

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  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  57. Watching Bad Santa aka the best Christmas movie of all time on Christmas Eve!

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    1. Whats the temperature in spain Hannah?

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  58. Sorry about the delete, bloomin' spellchecker.

    My thoughts turn to home at Christmas, and all the traditions we grew up loving, and trying to recreate those year after year, makes me feel so much closer.
    Remembering loved-ones no longer with us, I tie a Christmas ribbon on articles of my family-members belongings, my grandma's pastry cutters, my dad's favorite photograph of him and my grandma in her bakery, they are in the kitchen and around the tree.
    I also enjoy staying up after midnight Christmas Eve, light the tree and the candles, turn the television on to the Mormon Christmas Eve carol-singing, pour myself a nice Bailey's and just vegetate in the magic of it all.
    Lovely.
    ~Jo

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    1. Thats rather sweet jo x

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  59. I remember when we got the biggest tree that would fit in the house. Now I have a tiny baby tree that sits in the living room window seat .. But it is sweet, the cats like it. Presents will still fit next to it.
    We used to make Ambrosia all the time, growing up in North Carolina, it was unavoidable.
    Mine is mandarin oranges, apples, I seem to remember bananas but maybe not .. and I think the mix was sour cream although I hated that as a child. It has been too long since I have made it .. these days Chocolate is all I care about.
    Mmmmmmm bananas and chocolate .. that sounds Christmasy lol

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  60. Christmas day is fairly traditional, but on Boxing Day we have a brunch, a walk, Monopoly and then turkey sarnies. Merry Christmas John, to you and the Prof and the animals. I am hoping we have no patients on 25th so I can just be on call.

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    1. Chance will be a fine thing

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  61. In the house where I grew up, we used to put the cards on the basement door as that was in the living room. When the door was full, overflow cards went in a tabletop sleigh.

    When I was living in my own apartment with no cellar, I would string the cards. In the last house and where I live now, we use either the cellar door or string some cards. Like you, I've noticed we're getting fewer of those each year.

    We nearly always have a tree-a real one. One treeless year, we used a pig weather vane, stuck an elf's hat on the pig's head and wrapped him in a string of lights.

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  62. We have for the past seven or eight years picked up our Christmas dinner at a wonderful bakery/deli in Halifax. It is called a 'Turkey/Squash/Cranberry Pie'....it also had stuffing/dressing as well. It is to die for! Then we add fresh veggies on the side. And PRESTO, our Christmas Dinner!

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    1. Jimbo.. You keep it simple..the prof will be cookingthis year again........a bloody stress fest

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    2. The only time I can remember stress free Christmases, when I was young, were the ones where my father persuaded my mother to cook the turkey overnight. This didn't happen every year, but as it was his idea, he would get up at some ungodly hour to put the bird in the oven. None of us noticed any difference in the quality of the meal, and the turkey actually had more taste.

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  63. Our Holiday traditions begin xmas eve with a big family party - food and fireworks. Its a southern tradition and I cannot think of christmas with the smell of gunpowder on my winter coat.

    Xmas day was the big meal, but sister and I always started the morning with chips(Crisps as you brits call them) and dip or nachos and cheese. Sort of an odd pairing , but there was always plenty left over from the party the night prior.

    I can hardly remember any of the gifts but the memories that stick are food and fun with family.

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  64. LOL ... that is one of the thoughts that comes to mind .. A very long time ago, my husband decided that trees were old fashioned ... uh yeah, so is Christmas ! so we got a bunch of those white bare branches, put them in a big holder ( umbrella bucket comes to mind ) and we hung little glass balls off the bare branches.
    I could only stand it for about 3 days then I threw it all out and we had no tree that year.
    I never let him forget how bad that was .. he made up for it though ..

    I cannot post comments using Google Chrome ( which is what I always use .. I have to switch over to Safari just to post a comment :(

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  65. We have the usual turkey, stuffing, gifts, etc. About the only different tradition we had was to buy each child a tree ornament each year. By the time they moved out, they had enough ornaments to decorate their own tree. This year we've started the same tradition for our first grandchild.

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  66. It looks like my new tradition is to use my little bit of holiday time to catch up on weeks' worth of Going Gently. I imagine it's what it's like to binge-watch a favorite tv show, only with more poop.

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    1. Best comment of the lot! Cheers! :)

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  67. My family and my mum always spend Xmas at my sister and brother in laws home in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast . A very beautiful spot. We all eat huge amounts of foods. I always make Apricot balls, Rum balls, jelly and condensed milk slice . We have a beautiful brunch with croissants, prawns, ham, mangoes and jams and fresh bread. Lunch is roasted turkey with spaetzle noodles. Pavlova with mangoes. Swimming in the Noosa River or the beach and drinking Shandies and G & Ts. It's always hot. I love this time of year and being with my family. Merry Xmas John xx

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  68. John, I see from Magnon's sidebar that you've posted another blog, entitled "To Bed" but when I click on it, all I get is a note telling me that the page doesn't exist. I do hope we're not going to have trouble - can't do with out our daily dose of life at Trelawynd !

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  69. I got divorced when my children were very little. They spent Christmas Eve and until after lunch Christmas Day with me then the rest of the day and Boxing Day with their dad. They are now all grown up but they still do the same as one said to me 'that's the tradition'

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  70. Since my husband died I cannot bring myself to celebrate Christmas. My friends tried and tried to convince me that I should join them at dinner with all our other friends, but something keeps me home except Christmas Eve when I continue with the old tradition we enjoyed so much. Every Christmas eve we would go to the Mission and served dinner to the homeless. We always brought with us some kind of candy, or cookies and made sure everyone had some.

    We also made sure to shake everyone's hands and wished them as I wish you and the Professor now, a very Merry Christmas with all the joy your heart can hold.

    Allegra

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    1. This is the very best of traditions, Allegra, and should be an inspiration to us all. It's one that John will agree with.

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  71. Father Christmas dropping new PJ's down the chimney to let the children know it's time for bed. Even though my son is 15 and his 10 year old sister has her doubts it'll continue to be done!
    Lisa x

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  72. You must get a lot of cards! I think ours, strung together, would go about two feet. But then we don't send any either. :)

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  73. Stopped by to say Merry Christmas to you and yours John. The only tradition I've managed to continue through all the years is decorating a tree...then of course there's gathering with family to enjoy a Christmas meal :)

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  74. I'm an oddball: On Christmas Eve, depending on my mood, I either watch Doctor Who or the scariest movies I can stand. Which by most folks standards isn't all that scary. Still, it's what I do! Merry Christmas all!!!

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  75. Christmas after my mum died was always spent with my dad and my closest friend and her wonderful family. C would be cooking in the tiny kitchen wearing only a swimsuit (we were in Australia) as the oven was blsting. Great roast lunch, presents that were either funny or really useful but never expensive C's mum's special pineapple fruit cake and best of all toasted ham and chicken sandwiches at around 7pm when we thought we couldn't eat another thing. Heaven!

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