December 22, 2008

Christmas Traditions

I found a list of Christmas Traditions on another Michigan blog, A2EatWrite, and thought it looked like fun. The topic of traditions brought to mind one of our holiday traditions-- the smashing of the gingerbread house. For several years now I've made a gingerbread house(s) and let my son Alex smash them after Christmas is over. Sometimes he likes helping with the house construction but his eyes really twinkle when he gets that rubber mallet in hand and starts swinging. Most years I only get pictures of the smashing action but this year I managed to remember to take a picture of the house before it's destruction. For the gingerbread this year I used this dark molasses gingerbread recipe from Martha Stewart but I prefer her snowflake gingerbread recipe. This was my first year using the dark gingerbread and after tasting the house extras I made a batch of the snowflakes (I've used that recipe several times in years past). I definitely preferred the gingerbread snowflake recipe. It's spicier and has the perfect amount of molasses. The darker gingerbread looks nice but isn't as tasty.

I really love how the chimney turned out this year, it's just crooked enough.

My Christmas Traditions
*Please let me know if you post a copy of the list, I'd love to read them.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Mostly paper but I save bags and try to pass them along. This year I found some reusable, magnetic, collapsible boxes that I'm going to try to use in place of cookie tins. If they work, they'll be great because cookie tins take up so much space in storage.

2. Real tree or Artificial?
Real, this year's tree is a concolor fir, which smells like tangerines! I also like getting white pines and balsam firs for their long, soft needles. We've been buying our trees from the same grower for over 9 years now. The have the best shaped trees. I hope to get some seedlings in the spring and plant my own firs and pines on our land. Maybe in 10 years I'll be cutting down a tree from my own backyard!

3. When do you put up the tree decorations?
Little decorations and books come out right after Thanksgiving and the tree usually goes up on my birthday (the 12th). This year because of the ectopic pregnancy and the surgery I put it up a week early. I'm so glad I did because I lost a week to healing and it would have been sad to have the tree so late.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Sometime between the 2nd and 6th. It depends on how wild New Year's Eve was.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Yes, and I really like fruitcake too.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I'm drawing a blank. All my Christmas memories are about Christmas Eve at my grandparent's house and about the food.

7. I followed the links back but there seems to be no question number 7...
but I did find a great blog called Proclamations of a Lady Dunbar!

8. Easiest person to buy for?
Alex, he just wants Legos.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?
I set up my Nativity puzzle as a Nativity scene but this year Alex keeps putting it back together.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail, with a picture of Alex in red striped pajamas. I think I'm going to let it go this year and send moving announcements instead. I just ran out of time.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I can't think of anything that was that bad.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
It's a Wonderful Life! It's one of my favorite movies of all time along with Harvey, which has a lot of the same spirit.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Late November unless I see something that really would be great for someone.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
I don't think so but I recycle lots of packaging.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Cookies and pierogi tie.

16. Lights on the tree?
I like all white but as a kid I always had bubble lights. Some of my parents sets were really ancient and I loved them.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Aspenglow sung by John Denver (This is also a good version, it's the second song.)

Music Playlist at

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home?
We have my husband John's family over at our house for Christmas Eve and then go somewhere for my family on Christmas Day.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Gold glitter star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Both, we open presents with the family we are with. Santa comes Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
The traffic. My mind can't quite handle the number of people in metro-Detroit. It's like rush hour all day.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
A white plastic reindeer that was from my father's parents.

24. Favorite Christmas dinner?
The traditional Slovak Christmas Eve meal: pierogi, bobalki, split pea soup, sauerkraut and mushroom soup. I eat meat on Christmas Eve now since we're with John's family and I just started the braised beef short ribs for our meal today.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
For my family to be healthy and my new house to be completed before March. (I can hope can't I?)