The Christmas Holiday Season's Favorite Foods

Thursday, November 22, 2012 0 comments
Christmas Holiday Foods
One of the aspects which separates holidays from all the rest of the year is food. For each and every holiday there may be special foods with which the holiday is associated. Christmas especially is known for its abundance and variety of foods and drinks. As one of the world's great melting pots America has a melting pot cuisine, with dishes originating from around the globe. There are foods from a number of different countries which represent traditional meals for holiday celebrations such as Christmas.
Christmas comes almost one month after Thanksgiving in the United States. For Thanksgiving, the traditional meal consists of roast turkey or ham as the main dish. This is also true of Christmas as roast ham, turkey, Capon or duck is one of the principal dishes to be served for dinner. As at Thanksgiving, cranberry sauce, assorted vegetables, apple or pumpkin pie and fruit cake for dessert top off a traditional Christmas dinner. Mince meat pie, filled with a mixture of chopped, dried nuts and fruit can also be an addition to to a traditional Christmas dinner. Drinks served during the Christmas holidays include a wide variety of both hot and cold beverages such as apple ciders, hot toddies, and egg nogs as well as wines. Due to the cold weather that is predominant in many countries at Christmas time, hot beverages and hard liquors are highly popular.
The Christmas Holidays are Sweet
The Christmas holidays are sweet ones. Americans enjoy large quantities of sweets, candies, cookies, cakes, pies and desserts of all types during the Christmas holiday season. Gingerbread, sweet breads, sweet rolls and other holiday treats are an indispensable addition to the Christmas holiday season. Candy and chocolate manufacturers produce special packages and types of candies for the Christmas and New Years holiday seasons.
In 2004 was conducted by the National Confectioners Association. This survey discovered that many adults at Christmas received as much pleasure from giving and receiving chocolates, sweets and candies as from other types of gifts and presents. Survey participants said giving special cakes, chocolates and candies to friends and family, placing candy canes in Christmas stockings or hanging them on Christmas trees were some of their favorite ways to share during the holidays.
Forget Diets at Christmas Time
Forget diets at Christmas time. People usually feel free to eat and enjoy the holiday season without any guilt over what (or often how much) they may eat or drink. The tradition of baking and eating gingerbread cookies at Christmas is thought to originate in Germany, coming to the United States by immigrating Germans. When the Grimm Brothers published their story, Hansel and Gretel, German bakeries began baking fancy gingerbread houses with icing and other decorations. The story of "Hansel and Gretel" described a house made of sweet bread, a pastry roof and windows of sugar glaze. German bakeries made cookie cutters formed in different shapes like little people, houses and household animals which were used as decorations on Christmas trees.
The Gingerbread Man
In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania around a hundred years ago, German immigrant homes had cookies up to a foot high in the windows as decorative ornaments during the winter months. The cookies were often gingerbread men and women with colorful rows of hard candy buttons, bows and big smiles. Passersby, fascinated at seeing these unique decorations carried the idea to their homes. The enjoyment of the many types of special foods and dishes, candies, cakes, pies, cookies and treats during the Christmas holidays provides a unique flavor to Christmas. The Christmas holiday season's favorite foods create many warm and cherished holiday memories.

12 Ways to Create Your Own Family Christmas Holiday Tradition - Part II

Friday, November 9, 2012 1 comments
Family Christmas Holiday Tradition gives us freedom and guidance in a time that is otherwise hectic and stressful, and often unorganized. Tradition gives us a blueprint of how our family anticipates and loves the holiday season, what they expect, how they love to celebrate.
7. When the holiday draws nearer, we children got more and more excited. When we were high-spirited and tempestuous, mom just needed to say. "Look, an angle's hair!" And we would look in awe and see really a golden hair. Little did we know that mom must have made some gift packages and the golden threat must have fallen on the floor. But for us children this was a sure sign that Christmas was near. Mom left signs of the coming holy night everywhere for us, so we would remember to be good, and patient, and kind. This made it easier for us children, who yearned for that long awaited Christmas Day!
8. Then, one day the wait was over - the 24th of December dawned. We children had to take a little afternoon nap - I am sure mom needed the time to make last adjustments to the Christmas tree and the arrangement of our Christmas presents. In Europe the Christmas tree is the highlight of the 24th. The tree is hidden from view for children, and for the first time seen in the holy night when the door to the Christmas room magically opens. The room is locked already the night before Christmas. We children were especially attentive - maybe we would hear a movement in the Christmas room - maybe an angle came by - or the Christkind personally - to bring presents!
9. The nap on the 24th was very hard for us kids. Who can sleep when such an excitement lies in the air? When we finally got up, we laid on our best clothes. Then mom came with the traditional Christmas storybook! It was a story of a little boy named Heinele, who's mother had sent him out in rags into the bitter cold winter night to sell toys to the busy people on the streets - who rushed home to their family celebration without even noticing him. The boy went into the woods and as he looked in the snow - lonely and ice cold - he found the Golden Star of Christmas.
At the same time in heaven, the angles were hectic, looking for the Golden Star that Christkind had lost as it flew over the winter world on earth. Finally they found the frozen boy, holding the Golden Star tight in his hand. He was dead. They took the boy into heaven. Here it was warm. It gave plenty to eat, and Heinele was truly happy - probably for the first time in his young life. But the good boy, as he saw that his mother in the cold house down on earth was crying because her child did not come home, returned to earth to comfort his mom, bringing her true Christmas love. Love reigned over the joy and comfort of staying in heaven. A true sacrifice.
And while we children hang on every word that came from mom's lips, suddenly - first faint but then louder - we heard the clear Christmas bell. It signaled that Christkind was here! We would rash to the Christmas room. The doors silently swung open. And we would stand there in awe, still and devout, our wide open eyes reflecting Christmas Spirit. The Christmas tree would stand in all its magic beauty - brightly shining with many real candles and magic stars. We would sing Christmas carols and dad would read the Christmas story from the Holy Bible.
Finally we children could rush to our Christmas presents - many big and little gift-wrapped boxes in all colors, decorated with beautiful ribbons and a fir twig on each gift box. We had each a little extra corner right under the Christmas tree, and close to the crib where Maria and Josef and the beautiful baby would remind us of the reason for our joy. To find our space, the packages had little cards with our names on them. And the Ah and Oh was great!
10. And mom did not forget the lonely people outside. She put a warm shining candle in each window to greet those who were lonely and cold this night.
11. The Christmas dinner was another highlight of the day. We had our traditional fish dinner with potato salad which I loved. The table was set with grace and glister. Each set had a mandarin that held a Christmas candle. Fir twigs were decorating the table. It was festive and the candle light reflected in our smiles!
12. The Midnight Christmas mass was for the older kids. I remember sitting in church and seeing the happy smiles on every face. This alone showed me that in this special night a miracle must have occurred. I could see the new hat, the new shawl, new boots that people were wearing. Everyone had something new this night. And if it was not a new piece of cloth, it was the renewed hope and light in their heart that held the promise that life is good and all is well, no matter the life circumstances.
Today I am old. My children are out of the house and I am alone again. But at Christmas time, I still remember my family's holiday tradition: the haunting scent of Christmas; the dazzling light that lightens the eye that looks into the world with hope; music and laughter that fills the hearts and the room at Christmas eve. I thank my parents for the wonderful Christmas tradition that they had given us - a tradition that lives on ...
When Christmas holiday draws near, don't let yourself be burdened by stressful last minute holiday preparations. Follow your time proven family holiday tradition - and if you don't have a holiday tradition yet, manifest your own! Utilize some of the suggestions I shared with you from our own family Christmas holiday tradition.

10 Useful Tips For an Excellent Christmas Holiday Package

Thursday, October 25, 2012 4 comments
It's time to get your bags packed and wrap your mufflers up for Christmas. Here are few festive tips to get you started.
Christmas is almost knocking at the door! So, what are you waiting for? Hurry and pack your bags for a wonderful Christmas holiday. Here are 10 useful tips for an excellent Christmas holiday package.
1) Plan your Christmas holiday well ahead as you can avail of some reasonably great discounts if you book in advance.
2) Locate and choose a reliable and knowledgeable travel agent who can offer you an excellent Christmas holiday packages with discounts and special offers.
3) The internet houses an array of impressive discounts and offers on Christmas holiday packages. So do not forget to browse through it before you step out.
4) Christmas season is one of the best seasons for a holiday. Pick a holiday spot which is not very crowded as it may dilute the essence of your holiday.
5) Make sure the accommodation, meals, car rentals, sight seeing, tours, activity reservations etc. are included in the holiday package. That would make your Christmas holiday even more joyful by avoiding last minute hassles.
6) If you are in the spirit of celebrating Christmas while holidaying, ensure that you opt for a place where Christmas is heartily celebrated.
7) If you are planning a Christmas holiday with your family, make sure that everyone has some activities to engage themselves in that they enjoy being part of.
8) During Christmas, air travel is at its peak. One must buy tickets at the earliest and check flight schedules.
9) If you have other entertaining activities chalked out and are not included in your holiday package, make it a point to get it arranged well in advance to avoid last minute disappointment.
10) The last but most important tip is to make a checklist of your luggage and your program during your Christmas holiday so that you won't miss out on anything special. Do not clog your schedule with too much to do, as this may spoil the charm of holidaying.

12 Ways to Create Your Own Family Christmas Holiday Tradition - Part I

Monday, October 1, 2012 1 comments
Family Christmas Holiday Tradition gives us freedom and guidance in a time that is otherwise hectic and stressful, and often unorganized. Tradition gives us a blueprint of how our family anticipates and loves the holiday season, what they expect, how they love to celebrate.
Tradition gives us the opportunity to lay out our Christmas holiday activities well in advance. We can prepare a plan of action, and organize our holiday events using a true and proven site map. That takes off stress from last minute activities, e.g., the frantic search for needed holiday decor, or the headache of coming up with the right holiday menu.
But what shall we do, if our family does not have a Christmas holiday tradition yet? Simply, we create our own tradition. Let's open the music box of our own childhood memories. What was it that made Christmas holidays so special? Was it the heavenly scent of cinnamon, orange and fir, all woven into the air in a potpourri of Christmas promise? Or do we remember mother's Christmas story at candlelight? Was it the holiday music that touched our heart? With our own Christmas holiday memories at heart, let's manifest our own family Christmas tradition! Here are twelve ways!
1. Build the excitement and joy up in your and your family's heart. Start by decorating your home to invite Christmas promise into your family's life. My mother used to decorate every picture in our home with a little fresh and wonderfully smelling fir twig. When we saw that mother was preparing for the holidays, excitement built up in our lives.
2. On December 1st, we brought in a fir wreath with four candles. Often three of those candles were purple, but one was pink. Living through the first two weeks, we children were eagerly looking forward to the third Sunday when the pink candle of Joy and anticipation was lit.
3. Of course, we had an Advent calendar and one of us was allowed to open a window each day. This meant that we children went to great length to ensure that we were good kids - cleaning up our rooms, removing the trash, washing the dishes, etc. - so every one of us got a turn to open a window.
4. It was custom that a Madonna statue was carried from house to house in memory of Maria's search for a place to give birth to her child. So when it was our turn to open our family door and heart to Maria, our mother would bathe the room in warm, gentle candle light. We sang the old carols and prayed. It was an honor to accommodate the statue for one night, and every family tried to prepare a special welcome.
5. On the 4th of December, mom would bring in St. Barbara twigs from the garden. These cherry twigs, now brown and barren, will open their blossoms in the holy night. We watched the Barbara twigs carefully every day with excitement and wonder. Because out of these seemingly dead brown twigs, soon little green leaves would develop in the warm family room.