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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday 5: My Favorite Christmas-y Things

Okay, so I have a friend who, for the last two years, has thrown a "Favorite things" party.  It's a group of fun gals that get together at a restaurant.  We usually have some drinks, share lots of laughs and chat a bunch.  We also bring one of our favorite things to give as gifts to everyone else. It can be homemade or something from a store.  It's a really fun idea and I received some wonderful gifts last year.  We are having one again this year, so I thought about a Tuesday 5 dedicated to some of my favorite things.

1.  The gift I gave last year was a Li Bien ornament from Pier 1 Imports.  I give one to my Mom every year, usually get one for myself, and love to give the smaller ones with the dove as gifts.  They are beautiful and hand painted, on the INSIDE of the glass.  They are crazy good.  I usually go for the nativity scene one for myself, but they also have little woodland creatures, a nutcracker, an angel, and a couple of other ones in different shapes and sizes.  If you go just before Christmas, you can usually pick them up for 40% off, even better!!

2.  The best present I have ever received from my parents, as an adult, was a nativity set that we found at Sam's Club.  They are probably 10 to 12 inches tall and ceramic, but the clothing is actual fabric.  It also came with a big creche that is made of real wood and includes a light in the stable that really lights up.  It is one of my favorite decorations and is absolutely gorgeous.  My parents said they tried to find them again the next year, for some of my other siblings, but couldn't.

The three wise men actually had little necklaces and the sheep's wool is fabric as well. 

3.  So, a few years ago, my husband gifted me with a 
Julia always did do her own thing, didn't she?  (Relax, it's a starting pistol!)
cookbook featuring Julia Child and Jacques Pepin.  There's a recipe in there for pan-fried duck.  I decided to make it for Christmas Eve a few years ago.  It went over like gangbusters!  Everyone loved it!  I even used the liver and heart and cracklings in a salad that I made a homemade dressing for as well.  We all cleaned our plates.  Since then, we have duck every year for Christmas Eve.  It's a satisfying meal and my hubby and I have a great time preparing it in the kitchen.  (I'm totally the one sipping wine and pretending the duck is a puppet.  My husband is usually the one with the butcher skills, shaking his head at me.)

4.  Speaking of Christmas traditions, one of my very favorite traditions as a kid was driving around and looking at all the lights.  In our small town, it probably took an hour or so to drive all around the town checking them out.  We would "Ooooh" and "Aaaaah" and point out the window exclaiming, "Did you see that?!"  "Cool!"  It was especially great, because usually we would get home and leave all the lights off in the living room, except the tree and listen to Christmas music in the glow of the tree.  That's how I remember it anyhow.  We would listen to all the oldies...Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams.  Now this was all on albums kids, you know, the large, round plastic circles with grooves in it, actual records?  My parents still have that stereo and all of those records, though if you're reading this Mom, I'll gladly take the stereo and all the records off your hands.  You know, so you can upgrade to the latest rip-roarin' sound system!  ;)  I still love driving around looking at lights and our bigger city now has a special lights display set up around the lake that you can drive through for a donation.  You can even tune in to one of the local radio stations for music that goes with it.  

Now there's a lights display!  Love the silo!
5.  Finally, I can't talk about my favorite Christmas-y things without mentioning SNOW!  I know, I know, snow can be a real pain in the butt.  Unfortunately, it doesn't just fall on your lawn, it has to go and fall on the street, too and you usually then have to drive in it.  However, every year I mentally beg for snow.  I can't say it out loud, I get too many boos.  I love Christmas snow.  It's so magical.  One of the best Christmases we had was when we lived in a tiny little town and got snowed in for Christmas.  We got a couple feet and couldn't go anywhere we were supposed to for the big day.  So, we stayed home, in our jammies 'til the afternoon, watching Christmas movies and drinking hot cocoa.  Then, my stepdaughter went outside and played in the snow with the neighbor kids for a long time, building forts and having snowball fights.  Not to say that I don't love going home to see my family, because I do.  I love catching up with everyone and playing pitch and eating and drinking late into the night, but that year was a great time.  It was totally still and beautiful and practically a holy experience.   Let it snow!

Merry Christmas all!


Mlada said...

I remember driving around, looking at Christmas lights with my dad, while my mom wrapped presents. I love your Nativity set! Hearing about your favorite Christmas things makes me love this season of preparation even more.

Janelle said...

Thanks! Yes, I am ready for Christmas this year. Still need to start on my cards, though. :S