Wednesday, December 20, 2006


1) A special email from a friend in West Virginia who reads my blog and wished me a Merry Christmas.

2) A treat last week of several flavors of homemade biscotti from a local friend.

3) Christmas lunch with pastor/boss and his wife, friends, and hubby last week. Delicious and fun!

4) A fruit basket and candy today. Love both!

5) A compliment recently from a brother--word treasures!

6) Love shining in my hubby's eyes.

7) The way Taffy runs to me when she thinks she has to go into her cage!

8) Buying for others

9) The cards and flowers my oldest son buys for me throughout the year

10) kisses and hugs from other son

Have you got some snowflake memories? Feathery light, beautiful and unlike the real snowflakes--lasting?

Although we have our Yule traditions, Holiday customs from other countries can make a welcome addition. Whether you're dreaming of an exotic Christmas or just looking for new ideas, you may find what you need in this quick world tour.

  • In Argentina, each household keeps a cup filled with touron (almond paste with nuts or candied fruit), chocolates, dried and candied fruit in the entrance hall throughout the holidays and offers all visitors a treat. Saude! Viva!
  • In Austria, people eat “crampus” — little gingerbread imps — to keep the devil away. Advent is observed in Austria with Advent chimes with four small candle-bearing angels. When the candles are lit, their heat makes the angels go round in circles ringing the chimes.
  • In Spain, each of the twelve strokes of midnight is marked by swallowing a grape for good luck in the New Year. Serve sugar-frosted grapes for eye appeal as well as fresh taste appeal.
  • In Japan, the New Year, Shogatsu, involves major housecleaning called soot-sweeping or Susaharai with a red and white beribboned broom, changing the shoji (sliding panels), scrubbing the house inside and out. When the house is spotless, small potted pines with bamboo are put on both sides of the front entrance. At midnight the temple is struck 108 times for the 108 sins that may have been committed. People give popcorn-topped rushes that look like flowering peach tree branches.
  • In England, the United States and Quebec, because we've adopted many customs from both, Christmas is done up in red and green, with stockings hung by the chimney and filled with candies, fruit, nuts, mandarins and trinkets and the family gathered round a table of with turkey with all the trimmings. Christmas pudding is identified with England. But eggnog wins converts with every new person that tastes it... spreading Christmas cheer!

Here are a couple suggestions for making Christmas gift unwrapping fun for kids. See what you think:

1) A present hunt. Hide the presents throughout the house (or outside too if you live in a warmer climate) and have your children hunt for the presents. If you have more than one child, color-code them so that children will know to let alone those that are not theirs specifically.

If you want to get more specific in their hunting, do a treasure hunt. Give clues--on papers, etc., that lead them eventually to their presents. Lots of fun and excitement!

2) How about a follow-the-string hunt? Start at the tree and have a separate string for each child that leads to his/her present. Can be quite hilarious (possibly nerve-wracking) but oh, so fun!

Sit back and watch your children's delighted faces!


For somehow, not only at Christmas, but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you. --John Greenleaf wittier


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