Tag Archives: Christmas

Basking in the Christmas Afterglow

Looks like we made it through another Christmas. Another season of long shopping lines, crazy sweaters and stuffing the stockings and our tummies with holiday cheer. I’m a bit sad to see it end because I gotta say this was one of the best ever.

Yes, that’s Tiny Tim’s voice you hear in the background. (God bless us, everyone.) But allow me to be a little cheesy in my Christmas afterglow.

Making Christmas cookies.

Since my family lives in Kansas and my husband’s is in Norway, we’re usually traveling for the holidays and being pregnant, that wasn’t possible. Meaning, this was our first Christmas at home, no luggage, no airports, no rental cars, just us and our cozy home.

I admittedly hadn’t prepared much for Christmas because between work, Logan, keeping the house afloat and many visits to the doctor, there wasn’t much time. I was lucky to get a bit of breathing room to get gifts for Logan and our extended family. That meant Christmas Eve morning, I had to jet to Macy’s in the morning to pick up some sweaters for Hubby. He made the same trip that afternoon. We are indeed soul mates.

Other than that, we spent the rest of the day in our pajamas, hanging around the house playing, watching TV, relishing the last few days of being a family of three. Logan and I baked Christmas cookies and I made a roast with veggies for dinner. Afterward, my little guy helped me wrap one of Hubby’s gifts. I told him how it had to stay a secret and that dad would only find out what it was when he opened the present in the morning.

A few minutes later Logan showed off his wrapping handiwork to his dad saying “Dad, you see? This is for you, but you can’t open it until Christmas. And do you know what it’s gonna be? It’s gonna be a shirt, a sweater.”

Nice, thanks. That night, Hubby and I stayed up late wrapping presents just like real parents.

Early Christmas morning Logan was so excited to find that Santa Claus had eaten the cookies and drank the milk we left him. The explosion of gifts that were under the tree was also mind-boggling. And low and behold, Santa got him the beloved crane train he’d asked for, as well as more Thomas the Tank Engine accessories, every vehicle imaginable that you’d see at an airport (planes, ladder trucks, delivery trucks, etc.) Play-Doh, books, it was a toy extravaganza.

It took us awhile to get through all the gifts because Logan had to play with every one before he opened the next, which made it more enjoyable instead of the usual frenetic, clawing of wrapping paper to expose the present inside.

We then played with all of his new toys, Skyped with our families and I made a simple Christmas dinner of Cornish hens, garlic couscous, broccoli and corn on the cob.

It was all very easy, very stress-free and very perfect.

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Doing It Our Way: Making New Christmas Traditions

Logan’s preschool sometimes gives him “homework” assignments, which always means after school work for mum and dad too. This week we had to do a piece on our family’s Christmas traditions and it got me thinking, what *are* our traditions?

Logan helps decorate our tree.

Our family is still pretty young and small, so we don’t have a lot of them yet, largely because this is our first Christmas at home. But that’s one of the cool things about having your own family, you get to start your own traditions, do things your way.

I looked back on my childhood to see, what did we do? Three things popped into my mind.

Baking Christmas goods for the neighbors. I grew up in a cul-de-sac and all the neighbors would swap treats. I remember loving to make homemade sugar cookies, mostly because I like eating icing. Also mom’s peanut clusters, were beyond yummy.

Christmas light drives. My mom, dad, my sister and I would get in the car and drive around looking at people’s crazy holiday light displays. The local newspaper would print out the best houses in various neighborhoods which we’d use as a guide to the spectacular shows. The most packed display was the Kirby’s house. There wasn’t a square inch of their yard that wasn’t blazing, singing or dancing to spread Christmas cheer.

Opening Gifts. We use to pick one gift to open on Dec. 24 and then tear into the rest of our packages on Dec. 25. The Dec. 24 gift had to be picked carefully, you didn’t want to open it up and find a lame sweater, but you also didn’t want it to be your “big” gift.

I think we’ll carry at least two of those traditions to our family. Though I vow to make Christmas cookies each year, I’ve not done so in the past three years. But wait, I’ve still got time this year! Not quite ready to break cookie promises.

Also, even before Logan was born, Hubby and I would drive around looking at people’s Christmas lights. For me it was nostalgia, for Hubby (who’s Norwegian) it’s bearing witness to the stereotype of how over-the-top Americans can be. Though he’s increasingly becoming one of us, this year our display grew in that we got a 4 foot tall inflatable Santa/Christmas tree/Snowman combo. We don’t have the Kirby’s house, but it’s a good display.

As far as opening one gift on Dec. 24, I’m not sure how to deal with that, Hubby and I will probably play that by ear. In Norway, Santa Clause comes late on Dec. 23, so that on the morning of Dec. 24 the kids tear open their presents. It kinda makes sense though for him to spread the gift-giving out over two nights instead of packing the deliveries into one.

What about you? What are your traditions?

Sugar Cookies

  • 1 ½ cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

Directions:

  1. Toss margarine in large bowl and mix the rest of ingredients.
  2. Cool dough in refrigerator 2 hours
  3. Roll and cut dough.
  4. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  5. Place cookies on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden brown.

Peanut Clusters

  • 1 (12 ounce) package Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 (12 ounce) packages of  Nestle Toll House butterscotch morsels
  • 1 (6 ounce) can salted peanuts (1 – 1 1/2 cups)

Directions:

  1. Microwave chocolate and butterscotch chips in a 2 quart glass dish for 5-6 minutes on 60% power, or until melted.
  2. Watch them closely as they don’t actually melt, but appear very shiny.
  3. Add peanuts and mix well.
  4. Drop by tablespoons on waxed paper.
  5. Cool in refrigerator
  6. Store in covered container in refrigerator.