Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Jolly By Golly!

Jen and Melissa put together this Blogfest and it looks to be a good one!  Thank you guys for giving me something to write about today! I'm taking a little break after today's post.  I'll be online on and off during the week, but I probably won't post anything (I have to find out what happens with Erica and Christy's 25 Days of Christmas countdown!!). 

Okay, so on to the blogfest!  They asked us to post pics of our decorations, how we celebrate the holidays, and also post a favorite recipe.

Hubsies and I try to incorporate different winter holidays into our Christmas celebration.  I've always had a great deal of respect for different religions, and since I don't follow one particular religion, I like to pull a little from each of the major ones.

The first tradition we celebrated was Hanukkah on Dec. 1.  I read a little story about it to Little Monster, and then she got some cute boots and chocolate gold Hanukkah coins as a gift.  We also set the Menorah up.

I had actually decorated my house for the holidays before Thanksgiving (I was a little excited...).  So we had gotten our lights up outside and everything out and ready by the time the fam came for Thanksgiving dinner. 


Yes, those are totally moose glasses from Christmas Vacation-
 thanks to my awesome Brother-in-law and his fiance`!



And then we finally put the tree up.  It's always a fiasco with us and the lights- we always have dead strands by the time we get them out for Christmas again. So I'm always having to run out and buy new ones as we are putting our tree up.  Luckily this year, I had bought some BEFORE we tried putting the tree up.

Little Monster decided to make us all name tags for our stockings so Santa would know whose was whose:


We also have garland up over our doorway, which symbolizes the Solstice for me. 

The idea of putting evergreen pine up actually originated with early celebrations of the Solstice.  Putting those items in the house symbolizes looking forward to the life that the sun and longer days bring.  It gives all hope that the sun will come back and bring warmth and life into their lives. 

The Solstice is tomorrow and we will give Little Monster her Christmas/Solstice present from "us".  I'll also usually read a little prayer to the sun, and a book to Little Monster about the Solstice and other winter celebrations. 


And then finally, Christmas Eve arrives.  Usually we do a traditional Polish Catholic dinner of perogies, potato soup, fish and greens.  It's actually supposed to be a big complicated 7, 9 or 11 course meal, complete with hay under the tablecloth and an extra spot for the "Unexpected Guest" (i.e. Jesus).  We are also supposed to leave a little bit of food on our plates for the animals, because they helped keep the baby Jesus warm in the stable.  Through the years my family condensed the tradition a bit.  I was raised Catholic (my great grandparents immigrated from Poland), so we like to hang on to the traditions that were important to our family.  It was always followed by Pasterka, or Midnight Mass.

My grandmother always made shortbread cookies and what we call chewie brownies.  I've included the recipe for those brownies- I don't have a picture but they look like chocolate chip cookie bars.  They are SO good.  You will love them, and it's easy to make!

2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) package chocolate chips
1 (13 1/2 oz) package of graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients.  Grease 15x9 inch pan.  Bake in 325 oven for 25 minutes. 

They should be gooey in the center.  Yummy!

Christmas Day has turned into a relaxing day for Hubs, Little Monster, and I.  Since he works retail, we can't travel to see the rest of the family for Christmas.  We celebrate over New Years weekend now, so Christmas is just the three of us.  We love watching A Christmas Story all day, and just hang out together.  Hubs' brother and sister live near us so sometimes they stop by to see what Little Monster got.

That's our holiday traditions in a nutshell!  Can't wait to see how everyone else celebrates!  Have a great Christmas everyone! 

45 comments:

Angela Felsted said...

I like how your decorations are all classy. White lights around the tree and across the edges of your house. No huge snow glove Santas on your front lawn. Very pretty.

Angela Felsted said...

I wrote snow glove, but I meant snow globe.

Colene Murphy said...

Awe! Your tree is beautiful! I love the decorations too!! Your house is so festive. That's wonderful!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like the action shot. My wife usually steers clear until I have the tree and lights just so.

Elaine AM Smith said...

Your decorations are beautiful. How lovely that you get to observe different festivals, seamlessly.
Happy Holidays.

Meredith said...

What a fun way to observe the different holidays! I love the thought you put into it. And your relaxed, happy Christmas day sounds just perfect!

roxy said...

You know how to celebrate! I love the tree and trimmings. Have a happy holiday season!

Ellie said...

Bless. You have such beautiful decorations! Have a wonderful and happy Christmas.

Be Jolly By Golly

Summer Ross said...

That is one amazing tree! have a great holiday!

Candyland said...

You're so cute. Happy holidays :)

Sondrae Bennett said...

I love the picture of your hubby helping with the tree. Such a nice thing to do as a family! Have a great Christmas!

Carol Riggs said...

Lovely decorations, and I love how WHITE the Christmas outside lights are on your house--nice! Merry Christmas!

Nicole Zoltack said...

The decorations look awesome!

Laura Marcella said...

Lol, too funny you call your daughter Little Monster! I'm sure she's on Santa's Nice List, though! ;)

Your decorations are lovely. It's so awesome you celebrate all the different holidays! I really like the idea of giving a gift on the Winter Solstice. I'll have to remember that!

Have a very merry Christmas and a blessed new year!

erica and christy said...

Your tree is gorgeous (as are the rest of your festive decorations!) (The Solstice part is near and dear to my heart-it's the title of my manuscript! :0) So, happy Winter Solstice to you!) Thanks so much for mentioning us in your post! That was so very, very nice! Happy Holidays to you! christy

RaShelle said...

That tree is absolutely beautiful!!! I love, love it. So amazing. Plus, that is the easiest brownie recipe, ever. Thanks.

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

Your tree and decorations look simply gorgeous!

Enjoy the time with your family and a very Merry Christmas, Abby!

See you next year :)

Michelle Merrill said...

Sounds like some great traditions. Your tree is beautiful!

Ann said...

I love that you celebrate all traditions. Your tree is beautiful and like you we are always running out to replace those strands of lights that just refuse to work. Causes some discussion!!!! Have a wonderful Christmas.

Lynda Young said...

Your tree is gorgeous! And I love all the christmas lights

Wishing you a very merry Christmas,
Lyn
W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

Shannon said...

Stopping by for the blogfest...

Your place looks so festive! It looks fabulous!

Happy Holidays!

-Shannon

Talei said...

Wow, I love how you celebrate a number of traditions, this time of year is truly special. Happy Belated Hannukah! Happy Winter Solstice and Merry Christmas! Gorgeous decorations and outstanding tree! ;)

Renae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renae said...

Your traditions sound wonderful. I love your tree, it is gorgeous!!!

DL Hammons said...

That tree is honestly one of the most spectacular I've seen today. My hats off to you!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

Donea Lee said...

I echo DL's comments - that's one awesome tree! And thank you for sharing some holiday history with us - I find that fascinating! Speaking of Winter Solstice - there's a lunar eclipse tomorrow morning (3:17am ET, I heard). I guess it's the first times it's fallen on 12/21 in hundreds of years! Now there's a holiday light show for you!! (and I love perogies!) Great new profice pic, too! Happy Holidays to you and yours!!

Guinevere said...

I love the way you incorporate different religions into your holiday celebration - I'd love to do soemthing like that with my kids someday.

It's neat to hear about how you incorporate Polish traditions into your holiday, too. We do Easter up all Polish-style to celebrate my family heritage.

Kelley said...

Its so neat to incorporate everything like that! and your tree is gorgeous! Hope your all having a good winter! Happy Holidays!
~Kelley

Lola Sharp said...

I love that you celebrate and honor all the holidays/beliefs.

Your tree is GORGEOUS!

And...I WANT THE lampoon moose glasses!!!! NEED. Where did they get them?

Also, oh how I wish the 3 of us could just stay home in our PJs on xmas, relaxing, watching movies, playing with our new goodies. *sigh* We have family obligations. Treasure your peaceful xmas day. :)

Merry Christmas/Happy holidays, Abby, and may 2011 be your best year yet.
Hugs,
Lola

Susanne Drazic said...

Your tree is beautiful! I like ribbons and bows on trees, although mine doesn't have any.

Jennie Bailey said...

Your tree is AMAZING! I want you to decorate my fake tree next year. You always do such a good job with decorating your house. I loved your Halloween ones as well. Have a Merry Christmas!!

alexia said...

I love all your different traditions! How cool! And your house is beautiful. Great decorations.

Kelly Dexter said...

I love that you incorporate bits from different traditions to tailor the holidays specifically to your family.

Your decorations are beautiful!

Christine Danek said...

What a beautiful tree. Have a wonderful holiday!

Angela Darling said...

I love how Little Monster growing up in a house that celebrates so many traditions. I think it's a shame that people tend to segregate them. They are all such incredible traditions, we should all be so lucky to learn about them and celebrate them. I gotta tell you though.. you are a brave woman to help with the lights. I usually leave the room to do something else until all the lights are done. hehehe

N. R. Williams said...

Nice holiday and I loved hearing about all those special things you do.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Tara said...

I love traditions. And I really love pierogi.

Happy Holidays.

Lisa Potts said...

Brownies are my favorite! The easier the better. Thanks for posting the recipe!

Jen Daiker said...

I love the decor! It's brilliant! I'm still making my way around the blogs, I am sorry it's taken me so long to get around to you!

Thank you for joining and sharing with us! Merry Christmas!

gideon 86 said...

I love that you incorporate different religions into your holiday decor. Your decorations look wonderful.

Happy holidays to you and your family.


Michael

Jennifer Shirk said...

I'm Polish and Lithuanian so we do the same thing on Christmas Eve--fish, pierogies, herring, etc.. We never did the hay but my mom said she and her parents had that tradition too.

Have a wonderful holiday and New Year!

Library Gal said...

Merry Christmas! So glad I discovered you blog. Best wished for the happiest of New Years.

erica and christy said...

Grrr - I missed this in my super-busy week. It's lovely - thanks for posting the pictures and your traditions. And as a teacher, I'd like to say - schools should leave Christmas alone. Seriously, families are busy enough during the holidays (as are teachers) - why add another concert/dinner/festival/blah, blah, blah.

Oops, sorry, this isn't my blog. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Abby.
erica

Melissa said...

Your decorations are so elegant and classy and stunning. I'm in awe!

Thank you so much for participating in our blog fest!

Merry Christmas!

Theresa Milstein said...

I can't believe how many people participated in this blogfest. Nice to see the photos.