Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Memories and a Giveaway

We are very excited this week - we've just begun our sixth year in business, our second year of blogging and written our one thousandth invoice!  We feel the need to celebrate, so we are giving a Christmas gift - a collection of our products!  To enter, just leave a comment on this post, telling us a favorite Christmas memory - we'll randomly choose a winner next week.

Last year, at Christmas time, we asked our readers to share some of their favorite Christmas memories, and here's what you said:

Margaret said...

One of our holiday traditions is to drive north and cut down our own Christmas tree every year. We usually go between the beginning of December and the 12th or so. As we drive up, we count the number of Christmas trees we see tied to the tops of other cars. The first years we went it was always over one hundred. Nowadays it's usually no more than 50 -- a sign of how things have changed since our kids were small. Somehow we've usually been lucky enough to have snow on the ground to make it feel Christmasy.

We always try to find a very tall tree since our living room has a cathedral ceiling. One year we couldn't find a tall tree at our usual farm so we ventured to a new place and found an immense tree. It was fantastic! So we cut it down and lugged it to the car. But this place only had twine to tie the tree to the car and this tree was enormous! 

We tied the tree on, but it was draping over the sides of the car and generally showing off its girth. We were a bit nervous it would go flying off the car. We drove cautiously home, and on the way, everyone who passed us (we drove fairly slowly) would point at us, smiling, or honk their horns in approval. Some actually stuck their cell phones out the window to take a picture of the car with the enormous tree tied to its roof. We were laughing at the spectacle.

We got home and dragged the tree inside, only to discover that the tree took up about half the living room, it was so wide! Yes, it was tall, but the width had been overlooked! All that season when the tree was up, visitors would come in the house and get a good chuckle as they commented on what a lovely -- and huge -- tree we'd gotten that year. 

From that year, we've since restrained ourselves in terms of the size of the tree. Now when we look at trees, we know that we'll never be able to find that super tall tree that is also skinny enough to fit comfortably in our living room. We settle for a decently tall tree, still taller than most get, but not so tall that its girth will cause problems. lol!

Note that none of these pictures is actually of Margaret's tree - they're just for fun!

barbara r-g said...

my favorite Christmas memory is when i lived in Atwater,CA. i was in the 3rd grade and i remember each year my grandparents from Penns. would send a package of goodies. i recieved the best present ever that year a pair of Hush Puppies shoes, something i had never heard of but loved them instantly. we usually got one pair of shoes a year so these were extra special. simple yet a lasting memory.

Boyz Mom said...

Christmas is such a magical time of year. Every year! I have so many fun things (traditions) that we do, I hate to have to pick just one. So I won't. As a child, my parents shared the Nativity story from each of the 4 gospels each Sunday until Christmas Eve when we went to church and heard the Luke version again. 

Jay Tamboli

We lit purple candles, then one pink candle and we knew Christmas would be the next day. I continue this tradition, and added the narration of hearttouching (read wrenching) stories from our book of 25 stories that teach the deeper meaning of Christmas. We read from this book each night of December. The stockings are hung and we eat fudge, which used to be made by Grandma EVERY year. Now we have her recipes and continue that scruptious tradition. Photo sessions in front of the tree are mandatory (even for boyz that don't smile) and we sometimes bribe them. Gingerbread, crafting, and gift wrapping are all funfilled. But I truly think my boys favorite is the eggnog. We toast to begin the Christmas season, we toast to end the season, and we toast many days in between. Dad toasts with root beer, but hey, he comes up with the sweetest, funniest, most touching thoughts to toast so we give him an eggnog pass:-)

I hope each of you have a beautiful Christmas and a great New Year!!!

We hope so, too, Boyz Mom!

Becky says:

One of my favorite customs of Christmas is "Mistletoe".  When I was little, I remember thinking how romantic mistletoe was and dreaming of one day being kissed under the mistletoe. You would kind of saunter around under the mistletoe as a teenager wondering if anyone would notice, when certain people were around. Usually it wasn't noticed and you would some how have to bring it to the attention of that someone you were hoping to take notice! My mom and dad usually bought a little package of mistletoe and hung it in the entrance of wherever we were living,  many times a duplex or apartment or such when I was young and we were traveling and then our home when I was older. Always we would have mistletoe.  

When they were teenagers, one of my aunt's boyfriends went out in the woods and collected mistletoe to sell during the holidays. It grew in the tops of some of the oak trees around the area. Nowadays you don't see mistletoe in the stores anymore, with their  beautiful waxy green leaves and tiny white berries tied up in red ribbons. 

This year while shopping I spotted an Old World Christmas ornament of blown glass that is mistletoe, complete with red ribbon. So I have bought that to hang under my entry light. You will find me nonchalantly cruising that area, seeing if anyone notices! 

But where did this tradition begin? I had never looked it up before, so curiosity got me to googling and looking in my holiday books. My Twelve Days of Christmas Tea book talks about many of the Christmas customs and where they began. In this book , they claim it started as a Scandinavian custom, but I also see other sources say it's from Greece.  The Twelve Days states that the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe began with a mythical Scandinavian goddess named Frigga.  According to the story, Frigga's son, Balder was shot with an arrow of mistletoe. Hearing about her son's fate, Frigga cried tears that became the white berries on the plant.  Meanwhile, her loyal friends were able to save Balder's life.  That day, Frigga declared that mistletoe would never again be used to harm people. It would instead become a symbol of love and forgiveness and people who passed under it were required to kiss each other. 

Romans believe mistletoe was a symbol of peace and goodwill. Our modern custom that an unmarried woman passing under the mistletoe will be kissed by her future husband evolved from this tale.  In Yorkshire, a sprig fed to the first cow was supposed to bring good health to the entire herd. 

In England the "kissing ball" is still widely celebrated.  It is as important as the Christmas tree to their holiday decorating.  I think we all need to be sure to bring this custom back into fashion and make sure to have your mistletoe hanging high in your entry, bringing love, peace and harmony to all who enter your home.  Plus a little romance never hurt either! Ok, off to pace under my mistletoe and hope for a smooch from my very special significant other Mr. Wong! 

Every Christmas morning we make a special breakfast at our house.  We change it up every year, but this one will come around many times in the future -the
Cranberry Upside Down Coffee Cake I found in the Jackson Hole A La Carte Cookbook that another stitcher made me aware of.  So many of the recipes in this book are yummy it has become a favorite go-to book on my shelf.  You can google the book title to see if they are still available. 

Cranberry Upside Down Coffee Cake 
2 cups cranberries fresh or frozen 
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts 
1/2 cup sugar 

1 cup flour 
1 cup sugar 
1/2 cup butter, melted 
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
1/8 tsp. salt 
2 eggs, beaten to blend 

They serve it with whipped cream, but I prefer it alone 

1. preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place cranberries in the bottom of a well buttered 9" pie plate. Sprinkle with nuts and then sugar and set aside. 

2. Gently stir together the cake ingredients until blended. Pour evenly over cranberry mixture and spread gently.  Bake in the center of oven about 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out just clean.  Let cool on rack 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake. Invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream if desired. 

After I shared this recipe with her a few years ago,  another friend brought me a lovely Christmas tree pan that is perfect for this recipe and makes it look so festive on the breakfast buffet. But don't just save this for breakfast, it's good for tea time, or anytime a special dessert is needed. 

After reading this, Julie thinks it should be served, not with whipped cream, but hard sauce!  Hard sauce is very easy to make - beat together 1/2 cup of butter just on the cool side of room temperature, with 1/2 cup of icing sugar.  When smooth, add in brandy, or rum or whatever liquor you like for flavoring, a little at a time (about 2 tbsp is plenty).  Keep in fridge and serve on hot pie or Christmas pudding, or a delectable item like this cake!

We wish you all the best of holidays and look forward to sharing more with you all in the coming New Year! 


  1. Oh gosh! You've posted my Christmas memory! It's still my favorite memory, I have to say. Thanks for giving me a surprise at seeing it. I do wish we had pics of the people who waved and honked at us that day. :D I'll have to see if I can dig up a pic of the tree on the car -- might have one.... I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas!

  2. Oh, Margaret - if you find that picture, shoot it our way - I'll post it - everyone should see it. I had a real laugh looking for pictures that "would do"!


  3. My favorite Christmas memory was the Christmas spent at my grandparents in Iowa at their house on the river. My brothers and I and cousins would sleep in front of the fireplace waiting for Santa to come. Some how he never woke us up and the stockings where filled and presents were on top of the mantel and under the tree when we woke up. We would hang my grandfathers socks up on the mantel for stockings. My grandmother would give us his stockings and he would protest. Oh, how I would love to have one of his stockings now that I am older.

    Thank you for such a lovely opportunity for your giveaway.

  4. I loved reading Margaret's favorite Christmas memory. TFS
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

  5. When our children were born we decided to decorate the tree and at the very end of decorating, let one of the boys put the angel on top....To this day, we still decorate the tree and even if it means waiting a few days until the angel is place on the top of the tree, my husband and I will wait and let them do it....They are 26 and 20 years old now and even they say that is one of their fondest memories of Christmas!

    Thanks again for the chance at your giveaway. I have enjoy reading your blog for quite some time now!!

    Take care, Faye

  6. Just got home from my parents where the whole family was gathered.

    A favourite Christmas memory?...there are lots of nice memories....
    But this one...
    I must have been almost 4 years old. We walked to church on the first day of Christmas for a short service and specially for seeing the Christmas angel in church. He carried a box and
    when you put a coin in it he gently nodded his head.
    I just loved to letting his head nod!

    ooohh and I can remember wearing a new coat that afternoon. With lovely little buttons.

    I've got a picture of that same coat...worn by my youngest sister.

    Best wishes.

  7. Merry Christmas! Loved reading these stories. My current favorite Christmas memory is from when my three children were growing up. They are all grown now, but really, until they left home this happened every year!

    We do a full-blown, fancy, get out the Wedgewood china, meal on Christmas Eve with the Grandparents and everybody at the table. After dinner and the evening were over the kids would all sleep together in the same bedroom - all on the floor, talking quietly, laughing and enjoying each other - until they drifted off one-by-one.

    Still makes me smile to think of it!

    Mary in MN

  8. Thank you for the opportunity to win your lovely sampler items. I enjoy gifting them to my stitching buddies and they are always pleased to receive something from your collections. Merry Christmas.

  9. What wonderful memories! Mine is of when I was in 3rd grade - I was home, sick for quite some time. I think I had German measles. I remember the window shades had to be drawn all the time and that I was in bed a lot. When I was entering college and had to have my physical, my doctor couldn't quite understand why I'd never been vaccinated for measles. Well, over the years I've put 2 and 2 together and figured out I wasn't vaccinated because I actually HAD the measles. Anyway, about the favorite memory - every kid in my class sent me Christmas get-well wishes. They were all beautiful, hand drawn and colored. Each day I would pull them out of the box they came in and look at them in awe that my classmates had done this for me. It made my Christmas just awesome! Every year at Christmas time - to this day - I remember those holiday wishes - the best ones ever. Hope you had a great holiday!

  10. Happy Holidays, Ladies! One of my favorite Christmas memories happenns to be all the baking of goodies! I love the smells associated with the cooking of Christmas goodies. And watching eyes light up with glee when they see one of their favorites being made.
    Thank you!

  11. Merry Christmas!!! My favorite Christmas memories are when I was very young and my siblings and I would go to bed with our house looking very normal, but wake up with a beautiful lit Xmas tree and presents from Santa by the fireplace. My parents would wait until we were fast asleep and then set up the tree, decorate it, put gifts together and get everything ready for Christmas morning.(Still not sure how they did it but a good nights sleep was definitely not on the menu).The five of us would line up youngest to oldest--I was always last-- and march down the stairs in our new jammies while Dad filmed us with the old 8mm camera. Then all heck broke loose!!! Good times!!!



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