Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boxing Day

This kiddo was laughing her guts out. This is not a look of shock, nor a yawn, this is a pure belly laugh.

Recently a friend from the US asked about our Boxing Day. It made me think how far our culture has come from what Boxing Day was originally intended for. On December 26th commonwealth countries have Boxing Day marked on their calendars. Way back in the day, Alms Boxes (boxes for the poor) were placed on church doorsteps for people to put money in. It was a day that was marked as giving to the poor. Now it's turned into a similar day to the American Black Friday (or what I know of it.) People wake up at crazy hours, some at 3AM, to drive to the city to stand in line to wait for stores to open and get smokin deals on all sorts of things. We've never done anything like this, probably not just because of the insane amounts of people, but we were all laying around in our pajamas eating turkey buns.

Really I don't think we need a day marked on those little square boxes to remind us to think of those less fortunate than us. I believe it should be something imprinted on our hearts all year long, and something that is just a natural extension of who we are. Nothing to be shown off or consciously thought of, but it should be as customary as getting your breakfast in the morning.

This year was a beautiful day as a Chinook had blown in right before Christmas and to accompany our white landscape there were impressive warm temperatures. A pink Carhartt coat, yellow snowpants from when I was a kid, and a poor old Oiler's toque (the only one we could find) was tossed on and sleigh rides around the yard ensued. Who needs mittens? Kitty socks on the hands work just fine. A lucky little girl, who promptly could call the horse after she said Momma, got to go for a lil ride and sat up their like a big girl, clicking her tongue and laughing. What a day it was!

 What did you all do the day after Christmas? Was it time to put the tree away and clean the house? Were you still at gatherings? I'd love to know.

*UPDATE* Another Canadian blogging friend made a wise comment about Boxing Day being the day post Christmas when servants got the day off. I looked it up and that is another part of Boxing Day--according to the article I read, people would send home with the servants, boxes of gifts, bonuses or food to go with them to visit their families. Again according to this article, it stated about Alms Boxes left on Church doorsteps. Who really knows...?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Breathe In, Breathe Out-It's Christmas

Add caption

By the time I actually get this post finished, Winter solstice will have past, and us Albertan's will have experienced one short day. I poked my head outside for the few minutes of sunshine we had, and then raced back in to continue wrapping gifts...no, I raced back into grab the last gingersnap.

Really, that is neither here nor there; let's get down to business. If I'm truly finished writing this by the 23rd, that leaves us two days till Christmas. Count 'em- T-W-O. How are you feeling about this? Are you pacing and hyperventilating? Do you feel like you're on a runaway treadmill and can't find the off switch? Maybe you are sitting in your green chair with your feet up laughing at all the people making their last minute trips to town to buy more gifts - gomers. Your gifts have been wrapped for weeks, months maybe, packed away in alphabetical order, beside your freezer full of Christmas baking.

You didn't really want to hear about those green chair folks anyway, did you? They are the gomers after all?!?! Right...

Back to business. I am not the latter type, a super organized person with Christmas powers in my hands to have everything all in perfect shape. Yet, I can assure you that I'm not the former either. There is no wildness in this house, okay, not about Christmas anyway. Honestly, dear readers, I've said it a few times this week, Christmas comes and Christmas goes. What get's done, get's done, and what doesn't, doesn't. No one's going to be angry that there aren't gingersnaps on the table - except maybe your diabetic Uncle, but does he really need an extra four pounds of gingersnaps anyway? Do you really think your four year old will notice that his gift is wrapped in Loonie Store paper and looks kind of like he wrapped it himself, instead of with natural packing paper, hand stamped with homemade ribbon that took you four months to make? Nah. Your child will be in wonder with the twinkly lights on the tree, and mercy, if a tree didn't get put up, they will be enthused that  you are enthused about the day. They will remember everyone was happy and excited, they will remember Daddy reading Luke 2, they will remember you teaching them to take baking to the neighbours and to remember to pray for those that don't have a Christmas meal that day. Let's not teach our kid's to be stressed, to be wild over preparation for an event that we've marked on the calendar and keep thinking, "EGADS, FOUR MORE DAYS LEFT, I HAVEN'T BAKED THE NINETIETH BATCH OF SUGAR COOKIES!"

 "Johnny, go play, your Mommy will come up for air in twenty hours after she has scrubbed the walls for company coming, repainted the living room, cooked the hardest candy to make ever, all for Christmas, Johnny, all for Christmas!"

Slow down. Again, it will come and it will go. We'll all be a little fatter afterward, and hopefully we won't all be burnt right out, we'll have remembered what Christmas is truly all about.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Concern

I kind of want to make this picture extra small. Camouflage gift wrap? Why is this stuff legal?!

Ladies, tonight I have a little concern floating through my mind. I talked to my friend today who let me know her husband was in Medicine Hat-Christmas shopping. Egads! Someone let this man go ALONE to the city to shop for his wife?

If I was the betting type,  I would start some kind of pool on here with all your guesses of what this man will bring home.

I did write him a list of rules guidelines for him to peruse, but again, if I was the betting kind, I'd like to place a bet to see if that list is printed off and in his wallet.

Where do you think this man stopped first? Let's hope he ran out of gas and had to call his sister. What can we do to stop him, send a messenger pigeon?

If your brother, husband, father, son has trouble shopping for anyone, feel free to consult that guideline and paste it to their forehead. Oh, they'll learn and grow, trust me, it only makes me a little afraid to see that there is camouflage wrapping paper in with the Christmas wrap?! Is my husband hoping that my gift will blend in with the tree?

Mercy, if someday I have a boy, please pray for grace for me!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mrs. Claus

"Yes, there is a Mrs. Claus. She's you-busy making visions of sugarplums come true. No gift is more welcome than goodies from your own kitchen." --Elizabeth Wood, Better Homes and Gardens magazine, December 1955

I do believe part of the merriment of Christmas is baked up in tiny little drops of enchantment-cookies. The smell, the taste, and the sparkle of Christmas cookies hold happy memories in my own heart of this time of year. I don't want to be so busy baking nine thousand batches of cookies that I forget about the relationships around me, but a few Christmas cookies with children in the house are a must.

The scent of cloves would fill the kitchen when my mom would bake her Gingersnaps and we would blissfully stuff our faces on the gallon sized pail of Sugar Cookies my Grandma sent down. She had been known to clean out her sink to mix up batches of cookies in with her grandchildren, because a lil ol bowl wouldn't do in the size of her batches. I believe I came by my love of baking cookies honestly.

I think, as a child, it was a bit bewitching to see the flour, sugar, and butter mixed together and have tasty treats form out of that; it still is.

I hope you all feel as we would expect Mrs. Claus would, brightly baking up treats in her kitchen. Try not to let the load of Christmastime weigh you down, but try and remember the joys in a good old fashioned cookie you enjoyed as a child.

Here's a treat we enjoy:

Almond Sweets

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Almond Icing
Colored sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a cookie sheet; set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, granulated sugar, oil and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can. Stir in any remaining flour mixture with a wooden spoon.
3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place balls 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool. when cookies are cool, spread with Almond Icing. Makes about 60.
Almond Icing: In a medium bowl stir together 1 cup sifted icing sugar (powdered sugar), 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (YUM!), and 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to make an icing of spreading consistency.

Best of luck to you--I'd love to know if you gave these a shot.

I am linking up here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...