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Been working hard to get it all done before the big events start with your tribe?  Take a break and join me for a cup of your favorite beverage.  I don’t want to put dessert out before dinner, but you’re welcome to taste anything that’s cooking – just to make sure it will be perfect.  

As we rush the final preparations toward completion, we approach the Holidays not as a discreet event, but as part of a mosaic which includes all of our holidays past, and which carry the traditions and lessons learned from all of those who have gone before us. A look over the holiday letters of Christmas past may tell us quite a bit about where we were and how far we’ve come.  Indeed, those letters may be the first draft of the history that our children tell on us long after we’re gone.

1987 "Mary was a bit overwhelmed, when she realized that the wedding would be held in a Scandinavian Church, officiated by a Scandinavian pastor, with the reception in a Scandinavian hall. But things were too far down the pike, so she decided to go with the flow.  When she appeared upstairs in the church, for pictures, wearing a Viking helmet adorned with white flowers and several yards of netting pinned to the horns, she feared she may have gone too far, as Louis, upon seeing her, began clutching his chest. . . ."

1990 "We headed away from the hospital with the baby firmly belted into his car seat.  The high seatbacks made it hard to see him, so Mary listened intently. About six blocks later, Mary became concerned. ‘Louis, I don’t hear the baby.’ ‘He’s fine.’ ‘Louis, I don’t hear him.’ ‘Just relax, he’s fine, we’ll be home soon.’ ‘Louis! The baby’s not breathing!’ whereupon Mary went ass-over-teakettle into the back seat.  Turned out the only one who wasn’t breathing was Mary."

1997 "Lou asked Mary what she wanted for Christmas, and she said ‘I’d really like a new floor in the front hallway.’  She was tickled pink to find it there this morning!"

1998 "Lou asked Mary what she wanted for Christmas, and she said ‘I’d like the floor installed now.’"

1999 "Gone is the ugly yellow linoleum.  Gone are the fake wooden beams and the wrought-iron lighting fixtures.  Gone will be the first kid who rollerblades on the hardwood floor."

2001 "We ran downstairs, only to find that one of the cats had dragged a chipmunk into the house.  The chipmunk had escaped, and was loose in the living room, but somewhat dazed from his ordeal.  Like Cassandra, Mary stood atop the stairs and cried to the kids ‘whatever you do, don’t pick it. . .’ ‘Aieeeeee’  Before heading to the emergency room we called animal control. ‘Did the chipmunk seem hostile or aggressive’ ‘Aggressive? For a victim of an attempted chipicide?’"

2004  "We decided that the kids needed a little lesson in political action, so we loaded them up and took them to the Kerry rally in Madison.  The music of the Foo Fighters and Springsteen kept everyone’s attention as we waited for Kerry.  It was one of those perfect fall days, and people were hanging out of second floor windows up and down the street in a way that you only see in campus towns. (sigh)"

2005  "We hadn't managed to find housing before Lou had to start work, so we packed everything in PODS and he went on ahead while Mary and the kids stayed behind, left with little in the house but mattresses and paper plates.  This arrangement had all the charm of grad school, and none of the good drugs."

2006  "We spent election day on the front lines of freedom.  The big kids took advantage of a day off of school to pursue whatever it is that teenagers pursue, and Annie got a real lesson in participatory democracy as she came along from polling place to polling place, getting preliminary counts and waiting for final results."

Of course as we look over the holiday letters it’s always nice to have a little treat to nibble on.  I’ve got enough going that I’m not up to anything tricky today.  Here’s one that’s nice and easy, but makes a pretty presentation:

Stuffed Apricots

1 package dried apricots
1 package whole almonds
1 microwaveable dipping chocolate

Stuff each apricot with one almond;
Microwave chocolate for 30 seconds; stir.  Repeat in 15 second increments until chocolate is smooth and glossy;
Dip apricots about 2/3 into the chocolate.  Place on waxed paper;
When all apricots have been dipped, place the dish with waxed paper into the refrigerator to cool and harden 10-15 minutes.

These look especially pretty alongside a scoop of ice cream, or arranged in a circular pattern on a plate.

Got a favorite holiday letter? Got a favorite holiday treat?  Why not share them here.  

And may the higher power of your understanding bless you now and throughout the coming year.

Originally posted to My Blue Period on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 04:17 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Our favorite holiday treat has nothing to do (10+ / 0-)

    with food; although we appreciate fine food.  We are treating ourselves to a fire and sipping sparkling pear drink.  Our treat is the quiet and togetherness of just the two of us tonight.

    Thanks, Mary, for another fine diary.  Merry Christmas to you and yours.  May all the blessings of the holiday be yours.

    Never In Our Names "all you have to do to qualify for human rights is to be human."

    by possum on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 04:25:08 PM PST

  •  No recipes yet, but I know how to get some! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, cookiebear, marykk

    Bush rulez!  Dimmykrats suck!


    That's Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid to you, Mr. Bush.

    by DC Pol Sci on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 04:34:48 PM PST

  •  A glass of the bubbles before dinner (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, cookiebear, marykk, possum, Mary Mike

    Did you know that the average bottle of Champagne contains 49 million bubbles?

    "No tengo futuro (I have no future)"--Jeb! Bush, in a recent Spanish-language radio interview. Let's hope so.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 04:49:57 PM PST

  •  Oh goody, recipes (7+ / 0-)

    I've been jonesing for a recipe thread.

    My Xmas Eve meal is ecumenical:

    Appetizers are Hannukah: latkes.  

    The regular ones, toppings: sour cream, applesauce and sour cream w/ caviar.  

    Plus a southwest version I saw on the food channel, made with sweet potatoes and S/W spices (chile, cumin, etc), topping: guacamole with pomegranate syrup

    Main course:  Southern Goy:  Ham with biscuits

    Dessert:  Pagan:  Molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and raspberry coulis.

    We Jews are all about the oral tradition.

    Adorable christmas letters, just the thing to relax with while waiting for the guests to show.  Thank you!

    •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cookiebear, possum

      If I'm ambitious enough, I'll get up and make my traditional Christmas Challah tomorrow.  Cho Cho Cho!  

      If you think you're too small to be effective, then you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 05:00:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In fact (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cookiebear, possum

      This is a fine basic recipe from my dear friend Deb.   Some people add a pinch of baking soda for fluffier latkes, some people don't peel the potatoes.   For nouvelle latkes, use sweet potatoes and scallions.  1/2 olive oil, 1/2 canola or corn adds a nice taste.  Can't go wrong with latkes, they're all good..

      2 medium potatoes and some onion
      1 egg(beaten)
      1/4 cup flour
      vegetable oil
      1/2 tsp salt
      pinch of pepper

      Peel and coarsely grate the potatoes. Mix with the beaten egg and flour, salt & pepper. Drop teaspoon size pancakes into oil, brown both sides. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream (some people take both)

      Does it differ from yours much?

      If you think you're too small to be effective, then you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 05:04:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        latkes are nice, basic peasant food, and omigod, so delicious.  No need to mess with the basics, my only little gloss is the caviar and sour cream topping (makes a great New Year's appetizer too).

        I was very pleased with the southwest version I got from the food tv channel:  sweet potatoes (in a ratio of 2 sweet potatoes to one regular potato); spices: chili powder, cumin, coriander and paprika (same amount of onion, salt and pepper as regular).  Top with guacomole.  I did both, and really enjoyed the variety.

        Also: IMO, you can do just fine throwing everything into a food processor to grind up (flour and egg mixed in later).  Turns a chore into a very fast and easy treat.

  •  For Christmas Eve.. (8+ / 0-)

    ..I've made a big pot of posole - a stew of pork shoulder, hominy, Mexican oregano, all simmered for a couple of hours, and then garnish with generous slices of avocado, shredded lettuce, diced onions, chiles....and eaten with gusto (and slurps) and tortillas.
     We always have eaten tamales for breakfast on Christmas morning.  When my folks were still alive, all the "girls" would gather in the kitchen to make the tamales - chicken, beef, spinach and cheese for the vegetarians, and dessert tamales made with honey, raisins, and some with cajeta (dulce de leche).  It is way too hard to make tamales alone, so these days, I buy 'em at the Maple Avenue tamaleria.  Yum!

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by drchelo on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 05:04:30 PM PST

    •  While you're on the case, doc (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cookiebear, possum, drchelo

      got a good recipe for huevos rancheros?

      If you think you're too small to be effective, then you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 05:06:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I sure do... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cookiebear, marykk, possum, Mary Mike

        it's easy...
         chop up 2 large, very ripe tomatoes that you have peeled and seeded.  If it is wintertime, you can use canned tomatoes.  Chop half a small onion in a small dice.  Mince 2 cloves of garlic. Dice 1 or 2 jalapenos, depending on the amount of heat you like.  Salt to taste.
         In a saute pan, heat some good oil - canola or olive oil, perhaps a teaspoonful of oil.  Saute the onions and garlic gently, don't let them brown, then add the tomatoes.  Simmer this, and allow it to reduce by about 1/3.
         Saute 2 corn tortillas for each person in a little oil, just to the point of limpness, remove, and keep warm.  Then fry your eggs, sunny side up or over easy, and put one egg on a tortilla, cover with the tomato/chile sauce. garnish with cilantro, and cut the second tortilla in half, and place the halves on either side of the egg-on-tortilla construction, to "sop up" any extra!

        In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

        by drchelo on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 05:14:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  love posole! (0+ / 0-)

      thank you for the recipe!

      Cornbread is square, but pi are round.

      by cookiebear on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 06:02:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the Holiday cheer marykk - (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, cookiebear, Pager, marykk, possum

    If I cooked I'd offer up a recipe. I will just say Merry Christmas and Have a beautiful holiday everyone!


  •  oh that sounds good (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and speaking of chipicide, i once heard of a raccoon who crashed through a skylight and into some kid's bed, which became the takeoff point for the complete chaos he caused for the next hour or so

    grrrr, the critters!!

    Cornbread is square, but pi are round.

    by cookiebear on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 06:01:54 PM PST

    •  Hey CB! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Speaking of Raccoons, there's a great "News from Lake Woebegon in which one of the Woebegon ladies, after hitting a raccoon on the way home from choir practice, ends up singing "I know my raccoon liveth" in the Christmas Cantata.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, then you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 06:16:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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