Sunday Morning Open Thread: Joyous Season

Minor household crisis here — we haven’t put up a tree for the last couple years, but enough progress has been made in the ongoing stream of renovations (aka, the Great Niggle) that we were ready to Do It Right again. First step, take out the big box of precious, personal, mostly irreplaceable ornaments I’ve been collecting, one or two per year, since the mid-1970s. Went to the closet shelf where it’s always lived, off-season, and the box IS NOT THERE.

Spousal Unit swears of course he didn’t throw it away, not even accidentally, not even when The Guys had the utility dumpster in the driveway and they removed 2500lbs of basement walls & partitions and stuff. He wouldn’t throw away his own personal dinosaur ornaments, after all! The box could be in the (unlighted, overstuffed) shed in the back yard… or maybe in the rental storage unit (only open during weekday business hours)…

And, yes, there’s more important things in life than tchotchkes, even ones with 40 years of memories behind them. But I’ll be much more ready to enjoy The Holidays if (when) that box turns up!

What makes “the season” special to you?

What’s on the agenda as we prepare to count down to the new calendar year?
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221 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    What makes “the season” special to you?

    I got nuthin’.

  2. 2
    Ruckus says:

    @NotMax:
    Pretty much same here.
    I could say “When it’s over.”

  3. 3
    raven says:

    My bride will be 60 in a few days so we’re going to have a party for that. After that we drive to Virginia for just a couple of days and then go to the Rose Bowl.

  4. 4

    Two weeks off work and through various machinations with unions and such, it’s all paid time off. I get to sleep in, write, binge on Netflix, and maybe take a day trip to the Keys.

  5. 5

    @raven: So you’ve decided to come out here, we’ll try to put the fires out before your arrival.

  6. 6
    raven says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Yeas, I asked you about where would be the best place to catch to Metrolink Gold Line to Pasadena but I think you missed it. We’ll be staying in Hawthorne but, as you know, my brother lives in Sherman Oaks. My bride wants to go to the parade but I’m fighting that and hoping to go see the floats before or after.

  7. 7
    NotMax says:

    Not necessarily LOL fare but still snicker worthy seasonal funnies.

  8. 8
    Mayim says:

    Another vote for ‘when it’s over’.

    Chanukah is really a fairly minor holiday ~ and my mother’s yahrzeit (anniversary of her death) is the third night, so definitely not my favorite holiday.

    Although I do like all the lights, as it gets dark way too early here in Maine…and street lights are a bit of a rare phenomenon outside of a couple blocks of Main St.

  9. 9
    glaukopis says:

    I’ve caught up with the posts? How can that be? I’m always 4 or 5 behind. Anyway it’s a difficult season for me after my sister’s death in October, but I’m focusing on the golden I’ve adopted and the grandkids. I did make fruitcakes (Alton Brown’s recipe, which I love), so there’s that. Everything seems to be moving faster than my brain wants to do it. Planning to read some novels I have queued up just to get through.

  10. 10

    @raven: The Gold Line is Metro, not Metrolink(that’s the commuter line that runs on Amtrak tracks). The Metro Gold Line runs from East LA though Union Station to Pasadena and then east to Azuza. To get from Hawthorne, you’d probably need to take the Green Line to the Blue to the Red to get to Union Station and then the Gold to Pasadena OR take the Green to where it gets to LAX(it gets close, and I think there’s a shuttle) and then take the express bus to Union Station. Basically you’ll need to somehow get to Union Station to pick up the Gold Line to Pasadena. From the Valley, you’d need to get to the Orange Line to the Red Line to get to Union Station to get the Gold Line to Pasadena. Once you get to Pasadena, you’d probably want the Memorial Park station, I’m sure they run shuttles from there, or near there to get to the Rose Bowl(I know they do for UCLA games, but I’m not sure exactly where they stop). As far as seeing the floats before/after the parade, I think the opportunities before the parade are somewhat limited; however after the parade the floats are on display(for a small price, of course) at Victory Park and along Sierra Madre Blvd(Sierra Madre Villa station is the closest). I’ve seen the floats after the parade(I’ve been to the parade once) and they’re really quite a sight. I do not know if they have a shuttle from the Gold Line station to Victory Park.

  11. 11
    bystander says:

    Pasadena is my ideal of California LaLa-ness. The beautiful craftsman houses, the manicured lawns, strolling past the Rose Bowl. If they had an old folks home in Pasadena, I think I’d move there and watch reruns of Family.

    Anyway the only thing that I really want for Christmas this year is a Tomahawk Cruise Missile and a person competent and skilled enough to put on a real fireworks display the whole nation would enjoy. Or just 69% of the country, but still.

  12. 12
    raven says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Whew, complex! We’re going to have a car but reading about the $60 parking options is not too great either. My 84 ticket indicates that parking was free and I know we had a big family tailgate on the golf course but I have no recollection of the details. Thanks for the help.

  13. 13
    raven says:

    So the Post Parade is at 1pm, the same time as kickoff!!! We were planning to drive to either Morrow Bay or the mountains Tuesday so that option isn’t good either. Options!!!!

  14. 14
    NotMax says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA

    Shorter version: You can’t get there from here.

    /Firesign Theater

    :)

  15. 15
    raven says:

    @NotMax: Rancho Malario, if you lived here you’d be home now. . .

  16. 16
    Van Buren says:

    Yesterday my wife was commenting that this year’s tree seemed to have unusually strong branches. With that an ornament of great monetary and sentimental value fell off and shattered. Irreplaceable, and unsurprising that it would happen this year.

  17. 17
    ThresherK says:

    Our new little apartment doesn’t have room for a tree (with all the unpacked boxes) and I’m relieved.

    The volume of Christmas decorations Spousal Ms ThresherK has is too much. Enough to decorate way more tree than we ever had. Plus shelves and railings and all that, and it’s not like we were great at keeping clutter down to deploy it.

    I like the whole “for children” idea. The amount of decorating done at home when I was a kid (SAHM, working dad, three kids) is more than our situation warrants. If she gets more work done overcoming her hoarding tendencies, then we’ll see.

    I like the music, but beyond the 30 songs played on commercial radio. MN public radio has a good stream one can find several places.

  18. 18
    satby says:

    Since my kids are grown and gone the holiday season has always been meh. So here’s another vote for when it’s over. And my late mother’s birthday was Christmas eve, so it was always a big double celebration that we weren’t able to keep up without her.
    Especially now that I’m back working in a mall, I just want it over.

  19. 19
    satby says:

    @glaukopis: Condolences on the passing of your sister! The first holiday is hard, but it will get easier.

  20. 20
    NotMax says:

    @ThresherK

    Perhaps some new wallpaper (computer, that is)?

    ;)

  21. 21
    Sab says:

    @NotMax: I love to watch the cats destroying the tree and all the decorations. It’s the highlight of their year.

  22. 22
    Sab says:

    @NotMax: My dogs love latkes.

  23. 23
    evodevo says:

    @NotMax: LOL Antelope Freeway 1/2 mile …etc. etc. Good times…

  24. 24
    evodevo says:

    One more vote for “when it’s over” lol …I’m a mail carrier and we ALL HATE xMAS … this year especially. Amazon is over the top with parcels … we’ve at least DOUBLE the number to deliver than in ANY preceding year. It’s just barely Dec and we’re all exhausted. Ho Ho Freakin’ Ho …

  25. 25
    Jim Bales says:

    @Mayim:

    My mother died in the spring of 2005. (It was the day after our fifth anniversary, and the day before Mother’s Day. I think she had consulted the calendar, and slotted it in there.)

    That December our church offered a “Blue Christmas” service, and it was in that service that the emotional impact really hit me.

    So, one of my traditions for the season is to attend that service.

    Another tradition is for the front half of our small condo to be taken over by our son’s birthday sleepover. At some point this morning a half dozen 17-year-old boys will wake up and seek food.

    Mty wife and I were up early, the table is loaded with provisions, and I am about to take a nap :-)

    Jim

  26. 26
    NotMax says:

    Planning on making a BIG pot of curried eggplant later on today. Innards warming, served over rice, when the weather turns chilly.

    So, true to form, expect a December heat wave to hit.

  27. 27
    Raven says:

    @evodevo: I was a mail handler at an SCF that was the return point for The Colombia record Club. I have always been thankful that I left off my court martial and got fired from there. The money was so good but I would have never made it.

  28. 28
    Sab says:

    @glaukopis: I thought I was the only person on the planet who actually likes fruitcake.

  29. 29
    Sab says:

    @evodevo: I am a tax accountant. I will feel your pain six weeks from now.

  30. 30

    Anne, I had to laugh that the Spousal Unit apparently felt a need to defend themselves. I recognize the situation.

  31. 31
    Raven says:

    @Sab: Our finacial guy had us use a tax dude that was going to do a great job and find every possible deduction. We turned in all our shit to the dude and heard nothing right up to April 1. Finally we were told he was doing the late filing. Months went on an nothing, finally I got word that they were all sorry, he’d changed firms, and he filed the last day. He took the fucking standard deduction and, besides that stuff with our rental house, I saw nom differences in what he did and our other Guinness did except then6 month delay.

  32. 32
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    What makes “the season” special to you?

    It’s ending.

  33. 33
    Raven says:

    @Raven: nice autocorrect

  34. 34
    rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😄😄😄

  35. 35
    glaukopis says:

    @Sab: there’s good & bad fruitcake. In mine you macerate the fruit in rum overnight then spritz every other day with brandy after it’s cooked. Only enough flour to hold together the fruit and none of those bright red&green things. Also heavy on ginger which I love.

  36. 36
    tybee says:

    the spousal unit is a retired usps employee and that, combined with years in retail when we were in college, has killed any vestige of “holiday spirit” that we had.

  37. 37

    My DIL makes a “fruit” cake that’s mostly pecans and a tiny bit of cake to hold them. It is delicious.

  38. 38
    Sab says:

    @Raven: I would never have done that to a client.

    I was bitten severely by my cat in February years ago and I went to work for twelve hours that day while my whole arm swelled up, and spent a few days in the hospital recovering from the subsequent infection and hand surgery.

    My mother died in March a few years back, and I took two days off for the arrangements and funeral.

    I have a private life but tax deadlines are relentless and if you take a client on you need to respect that.

  39. 39
    Quinerly says:

    What a lovely thread (well, except for one grumpy old Missouri man’s comment😈)! Good morning from Poco and his tribe! “Sunday Morning Coming Down” breakfast at the biker bar with my usual Sunday group, a trip to Lowe’s for more wiring for the Salle Roche project, and more New Mexico trip planning are all on my list today. Going to to try to take a break from all things political. Woke up with a better attitude…sinuses somewhat better…so that helps. And….I love fruitcake! Even the kind that comes in the box at the grocery. Slice it, soak it in whisky, and keep in the refrigerator….whipped cream on top.❤ Have a great day!

  40. 40
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @NotMax: Funny story: Many years ago when I was much younger and my friends way more foolish we decided, after too many beers into the afternoon, to head for a not much visited cave we had never been to. Asked a buddy who was camped with us how to get there. “Take the 252 road to the 217 road, go down it about 4 miles till you come to a big oak tree with a “Y” in it and turn down the trail there. You go about 2&1/2 miles till you come to a big rock on the left and a little past there…. ” He ended with “But you can’t really get there from here.”

    So we all piled into my buddy Korey’s Nissan and took off. At the first turn I piped up with, “Tim says we can’t get there from here. I got $10 says he’s right.” and it was game on. 3-4 hours and app $5,000 damage later he finally gave up and we headed back to camp. As we surveyed the damage he had done to his truck I gave him the $10 and said something along the lines of, “No, we never got there but the entertainment value alone was worth the money.”

    For some reason or other he didn’t think it was funny.

  41. 41
    Sab says:

    @Quinerly: Have a great day also. Whipped cream on fruit cake. Live and learn.

  42. 42
    Elmo says:

    My wife’s birthday is the 5th, mine is the 14th, and we have always made an effort to make the whole month festive and special.

    Then my Dad died on my birthday in 2012. Same day as Sandy Hook. It took a big chunk out of the seasonal joy.

    Last year my wife was crippled with back pain due to a pair of cysts on her spine, and we were anxiously awaiting her scheduled January surgery with great trepidation. Back surgery is iffy as hell and her surgical track record is poor.

    The surgery went better than could have been expected and she’s in a lot less pain (not none, never none). We fixed the downstairs after years of ugliness. Things are good this year. So I’m spending WAAAAAY too much money on food and drink and presents.

  43. 43
    WV Blondie says:

    Anne Laurie, if your (precious, personal, mostly irreplaceable) ornaments can’t be located, I’ve got boxes and boxes and BOXES of ornaments I will donate to your quest for new memories. Christmas was my mother’s absolutely favorite holiday; she once lived in a house with a 24-foot cathedral ceiling, and she’d round up the neighbors to cut her a 22-foot cedar to decorate! She passed away in 2004, and I inherited all her ornaments – and, like you, I had been busily collecting my own for years. If I put up three trees, I still wouldn’t be able to use them all, and it would do my heart good to think someone else would love them the way she did.

  44. 44
    Betty Cracker says:

    Oh, I hope your ornaments turn up, Anne!

    I’m going to put our tree up today. We’ve had a fake tree ever since 1999, when I hauled our last real tree home lashed to the roof of a station wagon. I was worried about it falling off, so I tied it on very securely, criss-crossing ropes through the back windows.

    When I got home, I realized that, in my zeal to ensure the tree made it home attached to the roof, I’d tied all the doors shut and made it impossible to open the door and retrieve the baby. I had to leave her in her car seat for a few seconds while I ran inside to fetch a knife to cut the ropes. And of course she bawled her eyes out, seeing her mother run off and leave her in the car!

    Never again. Hence the fake tree. (It might also have something to do with our leaving that real tree up until February and it ejecting all its needles when we finally took it out. I was stepping on those damn needles for years.)

    I hope all our ornaments survived their year in the shed. No reason they shouldn’t have. I am also sentimental about such things. But last year, a family friend admired one of our ornaments, and I whipped it off the tree and gave it to her on the spot. It was a nice ornament, but one I’d received it from a coworker whom I disliked intensely many years ago (Secret Santa). I gave it away because I realized there was no reason for me to think of that wretched woman every December for the rest of my life. But here I’ve done it again! Maybe next year.

    We generally put our tree up the first weekend in December, but we didn’t get around to it last weekend, and it was really too hot to get in the Christmas spirit. Well, it’s not hot anymore! Just took the dogs for a walk, and we’re all still shivering!

  45. 45
    delk says:

    I sort of told my husband that we will have a tree this year. He is Jewish and we had a tree, his first, our first year together. Haven’t had a tree since and this is our nineteenth Christmas together. We have always opted to go on a trip instead of decorating.

    But, we moved into our new place Wednesday and we are still not finished unpacking and the thought of decorating has my (previously broken) back aching. I told him we could get a wreath instead but who knows? Next week I may feel up to it, lol.

    Anyway, the street of the new place butts into a plaza and the neighborhood has a huge tree set up there. So we may just settle on walking the dog by it daily.

    Speaking of the dog, Gav has been somewhat freaked out with the move. He has been sleeping incredibly curled up and somewhat tentative about walking about the place.

  46. 46
    Schlemazel says:

    @Mustang Bobby:
    Bobby, I would very much like to hear how things are in the Keys, with pictures if you can. We lived in FLorida during Andrew and were shocked that even 2 years later Homestead still had huge debris piles on street corners. SPent time on Summertime Key and it seemed like all the houses were right on the water & that looked on the maps to be close to the heart of Irma. I hope things are going well for the folks there but can’t imagine it is given the relative isolation and economics of the islands.

  47. 47
    Sab says:

    @WV Blondie: This is the only time of year that I don’t miss my mother. She was very thrifty. She was born in 1928. Her mother was born in 1895. My mother had these ancestral Christmas lights that were certainly not up to any current electrical safety standards, and every year we had a big battle about not putting those phucking lights on the tree. Every year we had the same screaming battle. I miss my mother desperately, but at least once again I know my elderly father isn’t going to die in a tree originated housefire.

  48. 48
    Schlemazel says:

    @NotMax:
    “I think we are all bozos on this bus”

  49. 49
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    But last year, a family friend admired one of our ornaments, and I whipped it off the tree and gave it to her on the spot.

    I have a habit of doing that kind of thing. Keeps me from getting too attached to anything. It’s all just stuff, not very important. Doesn’t work that way with tools tho, they make me money.

  50. 50
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Some of my most prized ornaments stayed at my Chicago house when my son and his wife took it over, and she loves to decorate for holidays. So much so, that the exchange daughters spent a weekend there to be able to get the whole Christmas experience.
    The stuff I kept is in my garage now. Still debating taking some of it out to put up.

  51. 51
    Quinerly says:

    @Sab: And to take it up a notch…whip in a little homemade NC scuppernong wine into your cream just before serving. This conversation makes me think of a beloved great aunt…Hilda. She was like a grandmother to me. Made her own scuppernong wine. There’s an old Southern term for wine infused whipped cream but I’m drawing a blank. Google just failed me.

  52. 52
    Kay says:

    @Raven:

    I was a mail handler at an SCF that was the return point for The Colombia record Club.

    Guffaw. You were a handler so you didn’t get this satisfaction but returning unwanted products was one of my favorite jobs in the USPS. I returned most of those that you got, raven. I was on a mission :)

    In rural post offices there was a designated person to deliver express mail on Christmas. Since there’s only a clerk and the postmaster and the pm picks the designee, the clerk is the designee. You would have to call and see if they were bringing express out and then go into work and deliver it. My two older kids were little and they were so impressed with this- “she has to go to work on Christmas” – like I was super important.

  53. 53
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: When my mother died (and we put my old man in a home) we kids split up everything. My sisters went thru the X-mas ornaments and divvyed them all up. We each had our own personal red glass ball with our names on them in glitter that we had made when we were still quite young. My oldest sis insisted I take mine. I have no idea where it is or even if it still exists.

    ETA same with our personalized stocking. Haven’t seen it since.

  54. 54
    satby says:

    @Quinerly: huh, I had to look up what a scuppernong was!

  55. 55
    Aimai says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): l used to make a pecan/raisin one with tons of nutmeg and tons of brandy. Delicious! But no one likes it anymore or they are gluten free. I miss the ritual of wrapping and unwrapping it to drench it with brandy and the heavenly smell.

  56. 56
    WV Blondie says:

    @Sab: Yes, this is the time of year when I miss her most. Which means I’ll be making oyster stew and eggnog, two of her Christmas staples (but she wasn’t a great cook, so maybe this year I’ll look for recipes that improve on her original creations …).

  57. 57
    SK Fay says:

    @Quinerly: Delurking to ask if this could be syllabub?

  58. 58
    Spanky says:

    @Quinerly: How to enjoy whisky fruit cake:
    Buy the fruitcake.
    Buy the whisky.
    Throw away fruitcake.
    Drink whisky.

    Despite being a childless couple who’ve hit SS eligibility age, we still have certain customs we maintain – candelabra in the windows, Lights festooned along the porch roofline (Warm White only of course!), and definitely a tree. A freshly-killed from a tree farm Fraser Fir. Decorated about 20% with ornaments from the ones we used growing up, which also contained a few from my mother’s childhood. But there are accidents almost every year, so the number of legacy ornaments slowly, inevitably declines. I’m OK with that more than I used to be. It’s a melancholy reminder of the impermanence of our existence, I guess, which has itself become part of the holiday tradition. And I’m OK with letting that be without applying a good/bad judgement to the feeling.

  59. 59
    debbie says:

    @Schlemazel:

    No one gets the reference when I say that almost every day at work. Stupid young people. Sad!

    Second Christmas without the Trumpie family members. I might string some holly lights up in a doorway or do some baking for work, but not much otherwise. Just not in the mood.

  60. 60
    Tenar Arha says:

    Not much. I will light candles on my Hannukiah this week. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I do usually try to watch a few Christmas movies. Must include at least one version of A Christmas Carol, and caught the one with Alastair Sims when it was on this past week. I do like to see the original Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.

  61. 61
    satby says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: my mother’s last year’s were a bit addled with cardiac dementia, and she would often “clean” by throwing things away, including new things we might have just gotten her. No idea where a lot of her stuff went, my youngest sister had boxes of it. But nothing was all that valuable and most of her nice stuff she had divvied up when she moved out of her IL condo years before.
    The lesson I took from all that was to get rid of most of my possessions as I get older. Not a burden I want to leave to my kids.

  62. 62
    Immanentize says:

    There was about a 5 inch snowfall yesterday. Icy now, but The Immp and I are off today to pick out a tree at the local Boys and Girls Club. Family tradition as the Immp played Basketball there for years when he was wee.

    He and I have decided that every day right now pretty much still sucks and that the only difference between every day and the holidays is that there are a lot more people around telling you how much all the holidays are going to suck. So now, we snicker whenever any one says that.

    Take your pleasures where you find ’em!

  63. 63
    Quinerly says:

    @satby: Used to go all out on the Christmas decorations here. For 25 years had a pretty large open house type party all day and into the night the Sunday before Christmas. Didn’t have the party one year and that kinda broke the tradition. The next year I didn’t decorate because the year prior I didn’t get the tree down until the middle of January. Just wasn’t in the mood. Hopefully I’ll get back in the habit but there is certainly nothing wrong in taking a break from it. If it becomes a chore, don’t do it. Visit your friends if you need that homey, Christmas fix. You’ve had a rough few months and a big trip to look forward to.

  64. 64
    MomSense says:

    I hope you find your ornaments, Anne. I’m sentimental about them. When I was a teacher I used to receive ornaments from my students every year.

    I have a lot of apple ornaments and I love them.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    debbie says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’ve still got my stocking. It’s a family favorite because my aunt, who knitted all of our stockings, misspelled my name. She never forgave herself, nor did she ever knit a replacement.

  67. 67
    Libraryguy says:

    We make traditional latkes like my wife’s mother makes, but in a burst of creativity my wife decided she wanted more and came up with recipes for Italian latkes with marinara, Spanish latkes with chipotle sour cream, Indian curry latkes with raita, Chinese 5-spice latkes with plum sauce, and Greek spinach latkes with tzatziki sauce. We don’t make all of them every year, but the variety is fun to play with and adds something unique to Hanukkah.

  68. 68
    Quinerly says:

    @Spanky: I have heard of that option. Baffling. What do you do with the whipped cream?

  69. 69
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tenar Arha: You left out “Die Hard”.

  70. 70
  71. 71
    NotMax says:

    @Quinerly

    Variation on syllabub?

    Strictly FYI, there’s now this do not refrigerate ‘whipped cream’ with booze infused.

  72. 72
    donnah says:

    I’ve always enjoyed the holidays and even when I’m under pressure, which is actually always, I try to set negativity aside as much as possible to make Christmas something protected and good. I’m looking at sixty in March and my husband and I are high school sweethearts, married 37 years, and we have three adult (kinda) sons. We also have moms in their eighties. So there’s a lot of juggling going on during the holidays and sometimes it gets stressful.

    I’d give up all the gifts and food and hoopla just to have all of my sons home. It looks like they will be, and that’s all I could ask for. My sis and her daughter will also be coming home from California, and that’s a wonderful bonus. So getting through the prep stuff is just a matter of keeping my eyes on the prize and spending as much time with my boys and my family as possible.

    Happy holidays, everyone!

  73. 73
    Spanky says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Ah! The personalized stocking.

    Somewhere I’ve got the picture of me at about 3 yo with Santa at the North Pole (NY). Clearly I’ve been crying and both hands are on his chest pushing him away. Santa is not happy either. And IIRC, it was a July day with temps in the 90s.

    Well, about 15 years ago the wife and I stayed a couple of weeks in the Adirondacks and of course I had to go back to the North Pole and make up with Santa. Got a new picture of me on his lap, too. We both look much happier this time.

    Anyway, got personalized stockings AND Santa hats on that trip. And a new tradition was born between my wife and I.

  74. 74
    Libraryguy says:

    @debbie: Yeah, that’s how my MiL makes them. Traditional and pure, and perfect year round. The most fraught question, though – are you an applesauce person, or a sour cream person? ;)

  75. 75
    NotMax says:

    @debbie

    Aren’t real old-fashioned latkes without some knuckle blood being included.   ;)

    Picked up 10 lb. bag of sweet potatoes for ten bucks at Costco. May well use some to make latkes.

  76. 76
    Quinerly says:

    @WV Blondie: love me some oyster stew. Made homemade eggnog from scratch for years. A lot of work. Came up with my own shortcut concoction awhile back….very high quality vanilla bean ice cream (natural, no artificial taste), very high quality store bought eggnog, tons of whipped cream, and Kentucky bourbon….plenty of nutmeg. Make sure it’s thick. Saves loads of time….my father who was quite the eggnog connoisseur preferred the short cut one. He also had no business drinking it. He was diabetic. Miss him so much.

  77. 77
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Sab: A nearby bakery makes the only really tasty fruitcake there is. Makes them cupcake style and in little balls.

  78. 78
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @satby: My old man was giving stuff away willy nilly in his last semi-coherent years. Tried to give me all his tools once, none of which I didn’t already own. My older brother ended up with them. I did accept a few things. One Xmas my mother had custom sheath knives made for all the males in her family. Being a deer hunter at the time, I got a drop point skinner. My father got a more general purpose knife. One day he just gave it to me. At first I wasn’t sure whether I wanted it or not, but then realized that I have 2 sons now and it would be kind of nice to pass a knife onto each of them. Now that you got me thinking about it, maybe this Xmas I will pass them on.

  79. 79
    Schlemazel says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    My favorite Christmas movie is “We’re No Angles” but nobody ever mentions that onw
    Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov, Leo G. Carroll, Basil Rathbone. That is a heck of a cast!

  80. 80
    Immanentize says:

    @Libraryguy: why argue? Have some with each!

    Our family tradition on my father’s side is to have a big polichinki breakfast. These are like Slovak crepes but a bit more body. On the table for filling is cottage cheese, apple sauce, jams, and (my personal favorite) sugar and cinnamon. Mix and match!

  81. 81
    Schlemazel says:

    @Libraryguy:
    Why not both?

  82. 82
    Immanentize says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That will be a very nice moment…

  83. 83
    Quinerly says:

    @satby: it’s a tough little grape. We used to pick them from a 100 plus year old vine. You squeeze the yummy grape out and leave the skin when eating them. I think I have a minor allergy to the skin. I remember being very young and eating some of the skins….itchy throat and a cough. Learned my lesson.

  84. 84
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @debbie: My mother made ours. It has some sentimental value (which is why I will never knowingly throw it away) but seeing as I dislike the whole Xmas thing as much as I do, my keeping it serves no practical purpose.

  85. 85
    ThresherK says:

    @NotMax: Maybe.

    I grew up within range of WPIX, Channel 11 in NYC, and the original Yule Log was a tradition of my childhood. We may just go with the Youtube channel and put stockings up next to the TV.

  86. 86
    Quinerly says:

    @Immanentize: this sounds wonderful. Tell us more. Recipe?

  87. 87
    Immanentize says:

    Also, there is a great bakery near me, Quebrada, that makes such an excellent buche de noel cake — a cake shaped and decorated to look like a log but inside it is chocolate cake rolled with raspberry jam. That bakery uses a coffee frosting, which I don’t much like, so I may try to make my own this year….

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    satby says:

    @Schlemazel: love that movie! Pretty much anything with Bogie, tbh.

  89. 89
    Libraryguy says:

    @Immanentize: Wow, that sounds really delicious with all the choices! I should mention that.

    As for arguing, it’s tough to go a day without some good-natured ribbing on a meaningless but important issue like that. My brother likes them plain and crispy and my wife’s response is “McDonald’s sells ones like that every day for breakfast”.

    And yes to NotMax, they _must_ be grated by hand. A food processor always seems to make them too uniform and compact.

  90. 90
    Immanentize says:

    @ThresherK: the WPIX yule log — with music! On every year at my house in upstate NY on the TV in the basement.

  91. 91
    NotMax says:

    @OzarkHillbillyCue for Citizen Kane.

    RAYMOND
    Yeah. I heard him say it that other time, too. He just said, uh, “Rosebud,” then he dropped the glass ball and it broke on the floor. He didn’t say anything after that, and I knew he was dead. He said all kinds of things that didn’t mean anything.

    THOMPSON
    Sentimental fellow, aren’t you?

    RAYMOND
    Mmm… Yes and no.

    :)

  92. 92
    Quinerly says:

    @CarolDuhart2: I can just picture those little fruitcake balls sleeping overnight in some whisky and then propped up on little pillows of whipped cream. I think the holiday spirit might be finally coming over me.

  93. 93
    satby says:

    Time to go shovel the snow, unload the car from yesterday’s bazaar, and then get ready for another day at the mall doctor’s office. By the time I park, I’m homicidal.

  94. 94
    Kathleen says:

    @Immanentize: I like that young man! I appreciate sharing the gallows humor, as my dad and I did when I was growing up.

    I

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    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Quinerly:

    “Chantilly cream”? That’s the only term I can think of, although I don’t think of it as Southern and it can refer to infusions besides wine. But terms like that sometimes acquire local or family definitions.

  97. 97
    debbie says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I don’t hang mine. One lone stocking is pathetic. I was thinking about hanging it in my workspace this year, but I’d go nuts if it was pilfered.

  98. 98
    NotMax says:

    @Libraryguy

    “These don’t taste the same as grandma’s.”

    “She was Type O.”

  99. 99
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    Be careful with those assumptions that the spousal unit is at fault…I will often not be able to find something around the house and mentally start blaming my wife for moving it until I find it where I left it. Just sayin’ we don’t always perfectly recall every action.

    As for what I like about the season…the lights are pretty. A lot of the sacred choral music is beautiful. Some of the pop stuff is good too, especially Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas – I swear if she had been a white man nobody would know who Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra were, she could sing circles around both with one vocal chord tied behind her back. I get along with my family – including extended family – well and a bunch of us always get together so that’s nice. And the food.

  100. 100
    Immanentize says:

    @Quinerly: Easiest Recipe in the world:
    Polochinki:
    1 cup flour
    1cup milk
    1 egg
    Pinch salt
    Capfull of vanilla

    Mix it all together leaving no lumps. oil a flat bottom pan (old revereware skillet is ideal) and heat until spit Skittles. Put about one ladle of the batter into the pan and swirl it around to cover the whole pan. Cook, flip. Pile them up and enjoy.

    The cooking part takes some practice. But as you get the hang of it you can make your polochinki thinner and quickly. Occasionally wipe an oiled paper towel over the pan bottom between polochinki.

  101. 101
    Quinerly says:

    @NotMax: thank you, thank you…I knew it started with a “S” but only remember my beloved aunt saying it. You kinda made my morning. It was bugging me since I brought it up and the memory of Hilda hand whipping whip cream at age 85 is a good one. She could get that cream incredibly stiff before adding her wine. Thank you, thank you!

  102. 102
    Kathleen says:

    @CarolDuhart2: Does bakery begin with a “B”? (LOL).

  103. 103
    kindness says:

    I am so sorry about the lost ornaments. I hope they are just misplaced and show up. Sentimental value is way higher than money. (Blaspheme to a certain political set, I know but I’m just a rebel).

  104. 104
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @donnah:

    just to have all of my sons home.

    My youngest made it up from NOLA last year, don’t think he’s going to this year. The boys always spent Xmas with their mother but it was nice having him around for a few days before and after. My eldest now has divorced and remarried in laws, I probably won’t see him at all for the holidays either. My wife and I always spend Xmas out in the woods somewhere. Nobody else is out and about so we have wherever we go all to ourselves.

    The one Xmas tradition I do continue to uphold is the making of a poteca. I always give the boys a healthy chunk of it, and the wife and I pig out on it for a few days. My older brother wants to learn how to make one and he may come out and make it with me. If so I’ll have to send some home with him. :-( S’ok, all in the family.

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    debbie says:

    @Immanentize:

    Whoa! Someone else has Revere?

  106. 106
    Kathleen says:

    @Quinerly: My SIL makes that every Christmas. My daughter makes the Baked Potato Soup.

  107. 107
    ThresherK says:

    @Immanentize: Did you also watch Bob McAllister’s Wonderama on channel 5?

    PS I have the feeling you are also one of the Juicers who lives somewhere between NYC and Boston; please correct as necessary.

  108. 108
    Libraryguy says:

    @NotMax: Thanks, that’s the first belly laugh I’ve had in weeks!

  109. 109
    Kathleen says:

    @ThresherK: “We may be kids, and not full grown. But we have problems of our own. Kids are people, too (Wackadoo wackadoo wackadoo)”

    That Wonderama? My daughter watched that when she was little ( in the 70’s).

  110. 110
    Immanentize says:

    @debbie: Why yes! Not a whole set anymore, but two sized frying pans with poaching inserts for each (6 and 4 respective to pan size). In fact, brunch today at Chez Imm is eggs bendict.

    But I mostly have the larger pan to make polochinki.

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    Immanentize says:

    @ThresherK: Wonderrama! WNEW! Yes, I now live the I-95 corridor — just North of Boston.

  112. 112
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My dad organized all his stuff before he died. Each of his 5 kids got one of his uniforms and I got the binoculars he took from the paratrooper he gave first aid to on Corregidor. He left me the porthole from his destroyer that he nabbed when she was converted but my step-mother has yet to give it to me.

  113. 113
    Quinerly says:

    @NotMax: Pro tip…in Hilda’s house (retired school teacher, never married)…no problem with refrigeration of the syllabub. What didn’t go on the fruitcake was just eaten on its own in a bowl. Then naps for everyone! So many Old English connections in Southern cooking…plus all the wonderful foods introduced from Africa. Love me some black eyed peas and collards on New Year’s day. I still cook them on that day every year.

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    Spanky says:

    @Quinerly:

    What do you do with the whipped cream?

    Eat it with a spoon! Duhhh!

    Or, you know, whatever floats your boat.

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    Sab says:

    @Immanentize: I made your pumpkin pie recipe for turkey day. Huge hit. One pie eaten, other pie taken home by my son in law. My apple pie pretty much sat there.

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    Quinerly says:

    @Steeplejack (phone): NotMax is my new best friend….syllabub. And it even has its own Wiki page.

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    geg6 says:

    I am not a Christmas person, so the two weeks PTO and having time to hang with my (all retired) girlfriends is the only thing I love about it. I hate decorating just to take it down two weeks later. I hate the crowds wherever you go. And I hate, hate, hate the pressure of getting gifts and to act like I enjoy all this crap that I definitely don’t. I try to get out of putting up a tree every year and every year, John insists we put it up. Ugh. Can’t wait for the big day to get here and be gone.

    In better news, my BIL and I have set our plans for dinner and The Last Jedi showing, so that makes for some happy holiday magic.

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    Quinerly says:

    @Immanentize: thank you! And yes, I have an old Revereware skillet. Who wouldn’t?

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    NotMax says:

    @ThresherK

    Date back to host Sandy Becker, followed by stalwart Sonny Fox.

    Interesting interview with Fox on those pioneering days. Wonderama comes up about 6 minutes in.

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    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Schlemazel: Damn, I’d almost forgotten that movie! (goes straight to the netflix que)

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    MomSense says:

    @Immanentize:

    I miss hollandaise. Damn cholesterol.

  122. 122
    ThresherK says:

    @Kathleen: Yes, that one. I can’t remember when, exactly, but we were a B&W TV home when I watched it.

    @Immanentize: In my CT home the hierarchy of NYC TV reception was led by 11 & 5, with some 13 (Fischer-Spassky chess recreated on a wall) & 9. Only in the summer would some bits of 7 and 4 show up, and never 2. The child who determined this grew up to be a radio geek. Whocoodanode?

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    ThresherK says:

    @NotMax: I’ll watch that; thanx.

  124. 124
    Jager says:

    Christmas 1996, I had broken up with a low term girlfriend, so I’m alone. Decide to invite my 5 orphan employees to my house for dinner on Christmas Eve, I bake a big ham all the trimmings, we drink and eat, then drink some more, we’re shit-faced to say the least. About 10 pm, the youngest guy, 22 and innocent as hell, says, “Hey let’s go to a strip club!” My pal George says, “If you can find one open, we’ll go.”. The kid gets on the phone, and sure enough he finds one. Off we go. The place is almost empty, 10 dancers, a handful of sorry ass customers and the bar staff. We sit down in front of the stage. One of the dancers focuses in on the kid, he’s mesmerized, she finishes her set, asks him if he wants a private dance and he leaves with her. He’s gone forever. The young dancer finally comes back, naked, her g-string and bra under her arm. She stops, punches me in the arm and says, “I hope you’re not a cheap son of a bitch like your son!” Found out from our boy, he only had 36 dollars in his pocket and he owed her about $150. (we chipped in and gave her a $100) Our boy said, “I didn’t know you had to pay, I thought she liked me.” The best/worst Christmas ever. The kid works on ESPN now and every year I send him a card and write “I thought she liked me” on it.

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    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Kathleen: Yes, Bonomoni’s. Best bakery around.

  126. 126
    NotMax says:

    @ThresherK

    Watch all the way through. He relates a story about surviving as a POW in a German camp.

  127. 127

    @debbie: I get not being in the mood. For several years, we didn’t have a Christmas tree because it just felt like too much work and it was just us. Then a couple of years back, I decided we make our own cheer, so I bought a little artificial one with the lights already on. Now I put that up, put on a dozen of our favorite ornaments, and voila! Tree. I like the lights in the darkened winter days and we near the solstice.

  128. 128
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: My little Bro ended up with all Pop’s WWII and Korea stuff. He’s been putting it up on the internet (as you know) or at least that which he can. One thing I remember which I always thought was kinda cool was a silk bandana they all wore with a very detailed map of Korea on it. As I recall it was for in case they got shot down and had to make their way back. It was actually quite beautiful.

  129. 129
    Schlemazel says:

    @Jager:
    OH MAN! THAT IS MY NEW FAVORITE CHRISTMAS STORY OF ALL TIME!
    Thank you for sharing it – it was a CHristmas miracle

  130. 130
    oldgold says:

    During the holiday season we have 12 to 15 family members show up for several days.

    My favorite Christmas lights are tail lights!

  131. 131
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MomSense: DAMN THE CHOLESTEROL< FULL HOLLANDAISE AHEAD!!!

  132. 132
    Heidi Mom says:

    I love Christmas cards — buying them (mostly from the National Wildlife Federation), sending them, receiving them. It’s a dying custom, I know, and I’ve accumulated enough cards to last the rest of my life.

  133. 133
    debbie says:

    @Jager:

    In a twisted way, that could be a scene from It’s a Wonderful Life.

  134. 134
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jager: That has to be among the best Xmas stories ever.

  135. 135
    ThresherK says:

    @debbie: Take away the scraping up $100, and it sounds like a scene out of Pottersville, complete with the crowd getting ugly at the end.

    However, the idea of “guardian angel rescues wide-eyed kid after he shortchanged a stripper” has a certain pitchable quality to it. Get me Hollywood, stat!

  136. 136
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @oldgold: Heh.

  137. 137
    Quinerly says:

    @Jager: ❤

  138. 138
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    My wife has a colonoscopy tomorrow, so she’s on the starvation diet today. Why do I suddenly feel this deep and irresistible compulsion to grill up her favorite baby back ribs?

  139. 139
    debbie says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    That ain’t in the Christmas spirit. bub.

  140. 140
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    What makes “the season” special to you?

    We had the big family thing on Turkey Day, likely it’s just the wife and I and a quiet dinner.

    For me one of the biggest joys for years is if I manage to have enough vacation hours to take off the whole week. This year I’m retired / self-employed and my boss (me) has guaranteed the week off.

    However before then there’s a bunch of reports and stuff my boss (me) wants to get done.

    We traditionally spend a day or two in New York during Xmas week. For various reasons we’re doing that next weekend instead. And seeing a Broadway show, something we haven’t done in many years. For rea$on$.

  141. 141
    Jager says:

    Christmas 1997, I’d just started dating Mrs. J. I invite her over to my house for dinner, it’s about 10 days before Christmas. She walks in, looks around and says, “You decorated a ficus?”
    Since then, I’ve spent every Christmas living in a Macy’s window.

  142. 142
    burnspbesq says:

    Goal shouldn’t have counted. Salah shoved Martina off the ball.

  143. 143

    My second Christmas alone. Not feeling it. Worse, I’m on call and not able to go to my mom’s either. Luckily, my brother and niece will be there so she doesn’t have to spend her first one alone.

    January cannot get here soon enough.

  144. 144
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @debbie: I know, that’s part of what makes it so irresistible. ;-)

  145. 145
    Culture of Truth says:

    please keep us updated – did you find the box??

  146. 146
  147. 147
    Quinerly says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant): Hang in there. It’s my third Christmas without my mom. Always went home to NC…even for the last two ones. Starting a new tradition to get my mind off her death and being alone…I’m going to paint my kitchen. I, like you, am looking forward to January.

  148. 148
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant):

    I’m so sorry.

    I’m not feeling it either, not because of anything personal, but because of the tragedy that has befallen my country. Nothing to celebrate.

  149. 149
    Kathleen says:

    @ThresherK: We watched it in Cincinnati on Channel 3, which was I believe WXIX. It’s now a Fox affiliate.

  150. 150
    Kathleen says:

    @CarolDuhart2: I’ve hit that place a few times when I’m over that way.

  151. 151
    Amir Khalid says:

    @burnspbesq:
    If the ref doesn’t say anything, I’ll take it as good. Besides, it’s Mo Salah. I’ll enjoy his goals while Liverpool have him. Given his scoring rate, I’ll be very surprised if Barca or Real Madrid don’t offer a bazillion euros for him in the summer.

  152. 152
    Kathleen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My grandfather had, among other items, an arm band with a swastika, a medal, and a gun, which, when my dad and his brother were kids, went off when my uncle was playing with it. I think it had a bullet in it. That may have contributed to my Dad’s lifelong hatred of guns since the bullet whizzed past him. My uncle’s wife now has all of the souvenirs, which has upset my aunt to no end.

  153. 153
    Kathleen says:

    @debbie: Or A Christmas Story.

  154. 154
    Quinerly says:

    @Heidi Mom: My mom loved Christmas cards! I got out of the habit years ago. I have been in the process of cleaning out 50 plus years of family memories in the house I grew up in. She kept at least 50 years of cards…at least the really good ones. I have to face the big Christmas closet when I’m back on that clean out task in May. It’s basically the last closet. Going to be tough…a lot of Christmas memories, plus she was a First grade school teacher for 30 years…boxes of little cards/handmade presents from students. I dread that closet more than I dreaded dealing with her bedroom.

  155. 155
    Kathleen says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant): Oh, so sorry to hear that.

  156. 156
    Emma says:

    They will be evaluating my father for physical and mental rehab tomorrow. It’s quite likely he might not even be home for Christmas, though everything is progressing as it should, according to the doctors. I am looking forward to the end of the year!

  157. 157
    Emma says:

    @Quinerly: You know, there are people who collect Christmas cards. Pay decent money for some of them.

  158. 158
    DesertFriar says:

    Since we re talking about BBC1 and Christmas, they did Peter Pan last year for Christmas, It is excellent. I would recommend it to everyone.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNCutxWbpIU

    This year BBC1 will do A Christmas Carol. Premise is that the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society have been banned from the BBC for their Peter PAn. They commandeer the studio and put on A Christmas Carol. It will star Derek Jacobi and Diana Rigg. Should be great!

  159. 159
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathleen: A buddy of mine’s father came back from WWII with a Russian made pistol, something he carried as he was ferried across Yugoslavia by Tito’s partisans when he got shot down. His father, being wiser I guess, removed the firing pin so he didn’t have to worry about it.

  160. 160

    @Quinerly: Thank you.
    @zhena gogolia: Yes, there’s that too. The AL senate election, and the coverage of it, has been particularly annoying. Mom’s an election official and will be on the job as usual. Hoping there are enough decent white Alabamans at the polls to prevent another disaster, replete with the punditubbies clucking about the black vote (thus proving that they suck at math).

  161. 161
    Yarrow says:

    @Jager: That is one of the best Christmas stories ever!

  162. 162
  163. 163
    JMG says:

    Due to being out of town for this and the next weekend, we won’t put up our tress (we always have two, one big, one little, in different rooms) until Dec. 18. The plus is our daughter comes home from France for a week starting on the 19th, so she’ll help us decorate the big tree. Next weekend we go to NYC to meet the mother of our son’s girlfriend. This seems like a pretty serious invitation. Girlfriend is a former ballet dancer so we’re going to the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center.

  164. 164
    BC in Illinois says:

    What do I enjoy most about (for us) the Christmas season? It’s not the decorations or the food — though I come down on the pro-fruitcake side of things — it’s the music. And part of what makes the musical experience special is the enjoyment of low-level, polite, family bickering about Christmas music.

    Our family has accumulated musical dislikes over the generations. My father hated “White Christmas.” (I think he had his lifetime quotient of Irving Berlin during WW II.) I’ve passed that on to my children, along with a dislike for songs about snow, snowmen, etc. (Does anybody remember “Suzy Snowflake”? I hated that, even at Weller Road Elementary School. YouTube informs me that it was a Rosemary Clooney hit.) Mrs. BC also has little tolerance for songs about bells or trees. (“Jingle Bell Rock” and “Rockin’ Around . . .” included. I play them on the piano, just to get a rise out of her.)

    Which means that, for a musical family – – there will be people among our crowd playing trumpet, trombone, piano, horn, flute; along with various people singing in various choirs and children’s choirs – – we jettison much of what we get as “Christmas music.” We then can begin to catalog our likes and dislikes of what we get at church. (Six “family units,” all within a 5-mile radius . . . five different churches.)

    And here likes and dislikes can get specific and intense. Bach. John Rutter. Paul Manz. The Trevor Pinnoch version of The Messiah [[or Messiah, without the “the,” is that’s important to you.]] Hugo Distler. Latin. Allison Kraus. The rejection of Celtic Women and Mannheim Steamroller. Barenaked Ladies. Christmas music from Scotland, Germany, Russian Choirs.

    Then finally, when we gather around piano and guitars, we can choose from our songbook of 100 carols (including Australian carols — “Christmas in the Scrub” is a favorite — and groan about each other’s selections. A veritable Christmas music “Festivus” — explain how each family member’s taste in music has disappointed you. 18 people, the traditions of 6+ families. Lots to talk about.

    Then we can share reactions to various congregational traditions, sermons, and (of course) Bible translations. [ You wouldn’t BELIEVE what somebody did/said/suggested/rejected . . .! ] Good times.

    Not everybody’s cup of tea, I know, but that’s part of what I look forward to and enjoy every Christmas.

    Now that I think of it, this is part of what I inherited from my father. And, in my part of the family, it is my place to pass the tradition on into the next. We get together and evaluate the traditions, while keeping the family together.

    [ Now I’m off for the rest of the morning. ]

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    raven says:

    @Kathleen: If it went off it had a “bullet” in it.

  167. 167
    Amir Khalid says:

    Damn. Damn damn damn. Everton have had nothing to show all day, and then equalise with a penalty by Manchester United reject Wayne Rooney.

  168. 168
    frosty says:

    @debbie:

    Whoa! Someone else has Revere?

    Yep. For a few Christmases mom gave us a Revereware pan and dad gave us Craftsman tools. Still have all of them, but don’t use them that often any more.

  169. 169
    danielx says:

    Putting up the tree today…..and I imagine the cats will knock it over by 6 pm.

  170. 170
    ThresherK says:

    @BC in Illinois: Does anybody remember “Suzy Snowflake”?

    I don’t remember it from its time. It does make the rounds on Snooze 100.5 during all-holiday music.

    I do not categorically loathe all commercially successful music and artists which rose in the years between the end of the Big Band era (c. 1948) and the rise of rock ‘n’ roll (c. 1954), however, this is an example of the depths, and Rosemary Clooney performed so many better songs.

  171. 171

    @danielx: You should take pictures.

  172. 172
    Brachiator says:

    I guess this Christmas will be a bit jam packed. My nephew didn’t get all his college requirements done last May, so we will be including his graduation with the holidays.

  173. 173
    debbie says:

    @danielx:

    I trust you’ve seen this, then?

  174. 174
    frosty says:

    Our Christmas traditions have shifted every couple of years. First it was going to my wife’s parents, then driving to North Carolina and spending it with her sister one day and my parents another, then after all the in-laws passed away, we’ve been cutting a tree and having it at home.

    Another change this year as my older son is working in Pittsburgh on holidays since he has no seniority in his new job. So we’ll be celebrating on the 26th. We decided to skip the tree this year but I’ll be hanging some lights this afternoon. Frankly, I’m not missing putting up the tree, lights, and ornaments.

  175. 175
    Brachiator says:

    @Schlemazel:

    My favorite Christmas movie is “We’re No Angles” but nobody ever mentions that onw

    Is that the one about the Saxons in ancient Britain?;)

    ETA. I sympathize with the possible auto-correct issue.

  176. 176
    Yoda Dog says:

    We got the tree up last night, finally. My 2-year-old started decorating the tree by herself before we could even get the decorations out of the boxes. My wife and I were both utterly amazed, no idea how she knew what to do? It was adorable, I wish I could share the video because words can’t do the cuteness justice.

  177. 177
    Kathleen says:

    @Quinerly: My condolences. My mother died 23 years ago and my Dad died 13 years ago. They always made Christmas so special for me. I still miss them. The coping and cleaning are easier with siblings, and I am blessed with two great brothers.

  178. 178
    Kathleen says:

    @Emma: I hope it all turns out well for him and you. It’s not easy dealing with these things.

  179. 179
    stinger says:

    @stinger: If you’re really moving back to Michigan, we should have an eastern Iowa BJ meetup before that happens. I was going to suggest one a year ago, to celebrate the election outcome, but then could hardly get out of bed for a few months after the actual election returns.

  180. 180
    1000 flouncing lurkers (was fidelio) says:

    @Quinerly: Syllabub?

  181. 181
    Kathleen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m surprised my Grandpa didn’t do something similar.

  182. 182
    Brachiator says:

    I’ve been hearing good things about the new movie, “The Man Who Invented Christmas,” a fanciful retelling of how Dickens came to write his little take about Scrooge. The only thing is I’m not sure whether it has opened in the US yet. I’ve only seen UK and Australian reviews.

    It stars Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens, and most critics praise his performance, and some ladies who have seen the film praise his intensely blue eyes.

    The rest of the cast is supposedly very good, especially Simon Callow and Jonathan Pryce.

  183. 183
    Kathleen says:

    @raven: Ha! As you can tell I’m not well versed in firearms!

  184. 184
    burnspbesq says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Dumb play by Lovren. Calvert-Lewin’s momentum was taking him out of a shooting angle. No need for Lovren to put a hand in the middle of Calvert-Lewin’s back and shove.

  185. 185
    stinger says:

    @BC in Illinois: I don’t care for the rest of the song, but there’s something about the line, “Giddyup, Jingle Horse, pick up your feet”, that puts a grin on my face. Don’t know why.

  186. 186
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Brachiator: No, it’s the one about circles and ellipsoids.

  187. 187
    Kelly says:

    I’m off to an aunt’s 90th birthday party this afternoon. She still works full time, quality control at a vegetable cannery. Walks to work on days it’s too icy to drive.

  188. 188
    Kathleen says:

    @BC in Illinois: My favorite Christmas music (other than Handel’s Messiah, which I sang with Glee Club in High School and even had a couple of solo recatatives) is the Kingston Trio’s Last Month of the Year from 1960. I picked up a used copy in a San Francisco book store in the mid 60’s. It’s the best album they ever made in my opinion and my Dad always played many of the songs on the radio during holiday season:

    https://www.last.fm/music/The+Kingston+Trio/Last+Month+Of+The+Year

  189. 189
    Schlemazel says:

    @Brachiator:
    No, it’s the one with the convicts escaping Devils Island

  190. 190
    Gelfling 545 says:

    The visits. My granddaughter and great nephew will be home from their first semester in college. My nephew will be here (he lives near Saratoga Springs) and we will be meeting his boyfriend for the first time. He’s never brought anyone to meet us before. The 30 somethings have planned a full agenda fro the Christmas to New Year week. Lasagna & games night, Polish food night & movie night. New Year’s day is my sister’s birthday so I usually have her family over for a crèpe buffet., so lots of cooking.
    It’s been a tough year for us what with the political situation, my nephew’s death and the news that my bil has Parkenson’s disease. I’ve had to reflect on what makes me want to stay on this side of the grave. I’ve found it’s these people, even when the family strain of cussedness rears its ugly head, who make me want to keep going. There’s still some joy to share.
    Proud parent moment: daughter #2, the one in law school, has been selected to go with a legal team to Puerto Rico to help with “disaster law” (apparently that is a thing) needs.

  191. 191
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @Brachiator: i saw it here last week and enjoyed it very much.

  192. 192
    Brachiator says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    No, it’s the one about circles and ellipsoids

    Oh yeah. Used to be double billed with The Man on the Flying Trapezoid.

  193. 193
    Amir Khalid says:

    @burnspbesq:
    Giving away needless penalties like that has cost Liverpool quite a few points this season. We need calmer, more self-assured defenders.

  194. 194
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Brachiator:

    Simon Callow always cracks me up. We watched Four Weddings and a Funeral the other night.

  195. 195
    Immanentize says:

    I am not stuffed with egg, butter and ham and hollandaise…. Burp

    Christmas music albums from the last few years I love:
    “Christmas” by Low. This is one of the most amazing modern Xmas albums ever.
    “Tinsel and Light” by Tracey Thorn (formerly lead singer of Everything But The Girl) Amazing version of “Sister Winter” and “Joy” and River — all semi-sad songs.
    “Quality Street” by Nick Lowe. Great set of original and traditional songs a bunch of which have a cool rockabilly swing sound. Check out his version of “Silent Night.”
    Every single Christmas thing by Sufjan Stevens.

  196. 196
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Brachiator: That’s the one!

    @Gelfling 545: Good for her.

  197. 197
    JMG says:

    Great Christmas music, pop division: Booker T. and the MGs Christmas album.

  198. 198
    Shantanu Saha says:

    My birthday is the day after Christmas, so fuck Christmas.

  199. 199
    MomSense says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant):

    I’m sorry. I think we are all hoping 2018 will be better.

  200. 200
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised at the number of Scrooges on this thread, and yet I am.

  201. 201
    Ruckus says:

    @satby:
    I working, very, very slowly mind you, on getting rid of everything other than clothes and books. Less to move, nothing to store and little for someone to have to give away. Especially since there is no younger generation to hoist them off onto. I’m hoping to have another 20-25 yrs in me, what’s the use of getting this old if you can’t make it far enough to bother, and piss off if necessary, anyone under 50? Or even 60.

  202. 202
    Kathleen says:

    @Gelfling 545: What a great family! Yes, you should be very proud of your daughter! Good for h er!

  203. 203
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    You just arn’t old enough yet to understand. It isn’t worth the effort. It’s great when you have the energy reserves and youngins to see smile and squeal with delight. But like every thing else, it gets old. It might be OK if you have grand kids, but if you don’t or they live hundreds or thousands of miles away, at some point they end up having to go to somewhere else for the holiday and it just isn’t the same. You’ve probably already given and gotten everything you actually need so gifts aren’t that big a deal either. A while back I wrote about a several hundred mile bus/train trip I’d taken and a woman who sat next to me for a while. Eighty one and had 18 kids and 108 grand kids. Now that of course is far too many but she seemed happy and was a hoot to talk to. She still worked, she still smiled, she’s still having fun. Not all olds are so lucky.

  204. 204
    Ruckus says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant):
    We need an old scrooges xmas.
    At some point most everything starts to go sideways. And then upside down and backwards. We lose the important stuff, people. We feel like it isn’t worth it anymore. But it is. We get pissed at life, but it is what it is. I put a smile on my face and that puts one in my mind. Of course almost no one but me can see it, the beard and all, but it’s still there. Some days, when it’s hardest to paste that smile on my face, is when make it the thing for the day. Someone somewhere always smiles back. I met a nice lady who has 18 kids and that same smile. I make new friends, even if only for the short time our paths cross.

  205. 205
    Brachiator says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Simon Callow always cracks me up. We watched Four Weddings and a Funeral the other night.

    A delightful movie that still holds up well.

    Callow has written a fair amount about Dickens, and played him on an episode of Doctor Who.

  206. 206
    J R in WV says:

    @debbie:

    I have my mom’s REvere ware, use it every day. Wife gave me All-clad some years back, use it a lot too. And some cast iron to fry with. Did my first fried chicken in forever, wince i really learned to fry well, which took me years and years.

    Leave it alone is the first rule of frying.

  207. 207
    No Drought No More says:

    Of course your husband accidentally tossed the Xmas decorations, and he will never cop to it. Never.

  208. 208
    Quinerly says:

    @Kathleen: I’m back from our group’s breakfast gathering and the thread be dead. If you pop back over,just wanted to say thank you for your kind words….one Kathleen to another.

  209. 209
    Quinerly says:

    @1000 flouncing lurkers (was fidelio): earlier discussion. My great aunt hand whipped mounds of whip cream and would fold in her homemade scuppernong wine. Couldn’t think of the term for what it was called….NotMax found it! Check out the wiki page. The description is a bit different but it’s basically the same thing. In the South, the old folks called it syllabub. Served on fruitcake or ambrosia at the holidays.

  210. 210
    J R in WV says:

    @Shantanu Saha:

    “My birthday is the day after Christmas…”

    Mine is the day after yours. We have stopped doing xmas, and just join a neighborhood winter solstice dinner next door. We do some presents with neighbors. I got a nice kitchen tool for neighbor cook, and we’re going to scan/reproduce some old photos for everyone local.

    The local creek is named for teh family ofneighbors who were elderly when we moved into the hollow. They raised tobacco, which was THE cash crop here while the federal quota system kept prices tolerable. They made $2-3k annually and lived on that, raised nearly everything they ate.

    Earl passed after having a heart attack in his garden on a beautiful August afternoon, how he would have wanted to go. Great gardener, had to be!

    Our last decorated tree was at least 12 feet tall, I put in guy wires to the wall behind it to make it secure, and then we had guests at a pot luck dinner party help decorate it, slowly, all evening. Wife has given away the nice things to a neighbor who still does a tree most years. Not being religious at all we just gave up the ceremonial parts, except for occasional gift giving.

  211. 211
    jc says:

    So the dad begged his job to give him the evening off so he could see his daughter perform. But instead they decided to “let him go,” because he was being inconvenient to their bottom line — welcome to Trump’s America. And you’d better say ‘Merry Christmas,’ and keep shopping, peons.

  212. 212
    WaterGirl says:

    @MomSense: The thought of all those ornaments – of course they were apples! – made me chuckle out loud.

  213. 213
    WaterGirl says:

    @donnah: It all sounds lovely. Have you figured out how to link to (what I’m sure is your beautiful) art project yet? I can’t recall for sure what it was – was it Pooh?? But I do recall that I really wanted to see a photo.

  214. 214
    WV Blondie says:

    @Quinerly: That eggnog recipe sounds scrumptious! I’ll give it a try – thanks!

  215. 215
    WaterGirl says:

    @Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant): Somebody obviously wasn’t thinking when they wrote that schedule. That sounds pretty bleak. On the other hand, I am in awe of the grace you have shown in your grief – Imm, also. I’m willing to bet that you will find a way to make it through and it will be less grim than expected.

  216. 216
    WaterGirl says:

    @jc: Bastards. That’s really terrible. Hopefully a year from now he will look back and think with a bit of smugness: “Living well is the best revenge.”

  217. 217
    No One You Know says:

    I can relate to the loss…I’ve stopped cleaning out the garage because it’s my fault whenever something can’t be found.
    (But I’m also prone to keeping every craft supply I’ve ever bought, and now have more than I’ll use in my lifetime.)

    We’ll go watch the people we used to be at the mall. It’s amazing how different that experience is now. We don’t mock. We just wonder at the levels of unhappiness in a season of joy.

    Probably invest in a better grade of bourbon for egg nog. And I’m still writing and researching the novel.

    I don’t know if I’ll do the Christmas dinner this year, or propose Jewish Christmas (go out for Chinese).

  218. 218
    Shana says:

    @NotMax: LOL. I always seem to want to make soup when it’s unexpectedly hot outside. It’s become a joke in our family.

  219. 219
    Shana says:

    @debbie: Nope, best latke recipe is 2 1/2 pounds of yukon gold potatoes, 1 onion, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup flour or matzo meal, salt and pepper. Potatoes and onion should be ground, not grated. Squeeze out the potato water.

    The latkes are easier to form as a patty if everything’s ground instead of grated. I used to use my mother’s hand grinder (it’s still in a box in the kitchen somewhere, now I use the attachment on my kitchenaid mixer).

  220. 220
    debbie says:

    @Shana:

    Never! Onions in the latkes totally screws up the moisture content. You can’t get crisp latkes that way.

  221. 221

    @stinger: We’re probably moving to the Chicago area. A meetup would be great! If you click on my nym, you get my web page with a place you can email me. After the New Year would be better.

    Here’s the recipe

    Pecan Date Fruitcake Recipe

    Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour + cooling

    Ingredients
    2 pounds pitted dates, quartered
    1 pound pecan halves (4 cups)
    1 pound candied cherries, halved (2-1/4 cups)
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    4 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    Directions
    Grease and line three 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans with waxed paper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine dates, nuts and cherries. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir into fruit mixture until well coated. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and vanilla until foamy. Fold into fruit mixture and mix well. Pour into prepared pans.
    Bake at 300° for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Remove waxed paper. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap and store in a cool dry place. Yield: 3 loaves.

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