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Friday, December 5, 2014

10 Things I Look Forward to During the Holidays

This was a prompt yesterday on and I had to include my response here:

Create a Top Ten List of your favorite Christmas activities. Your favorite should be #1.

10. ADVENT CALENDAR! I started this tradition last year, even though I've heard about it for many years in German class, but I started it last year to start new Christmas traditions and I love it. I love the chocolate - last year I bought it from Asher's (Pennsylvania chocolate) and that was good, but this year I bought a German calendar from Germany and oh man... I love German chocolate.

9. Making Christmas gifts. I know, I know. I'm the crazy one for this sentiment of the holidays. I love making my Christmas gifts. After I am done updating this, I will be working on mom's Memphis scrapbook. She comes home tomorrow, I want to make sure I am done by tomorrow. Next week I'll work on Kaitlyn's Europe scrapbook. Tonight after mom's scrapbook, I'll put together my gift booklet I'm giving Aunt Kathy and I might give one to Kaitlyn and Matthew (her brother).

8. Baking. When nan was still alive, this would be the time of year she'd make pizzelles. For my non-Italian readers, this is a Pizzelle  . She made the best ones. She would even roll chocolate into them as well. So good - everyone loved her pizzelles. We might make them this year, I think we kept one of the irons. I love baking Christmas cookies. I sent a bunch of cookies to friends (and Twiztid) on Wednesday. Ah, I'm so nervous - I hope my friends like the cookies! My chocolate chip cookies came out hard for some reason  - I think I let the butter sit out too long and I put olive oil to grease the pans. Anyway, I hope they do like the cookies I sent them:

*Bullet*Lavender cookies with lemon icing
*Bullet*Norwegian Pepper Cookies
*Bullet*Norwegian Pepper Cookies with vanilla icing
*Bullet*Oatmeal Raisin and Cranberry
*Bullet*Chocolate chip
*Bullet*Date bars
*Bullet*Two chocolate covered pretzels from Asher's
*Bullet*Christmas Jelly Belly jelly beans

I'm glad it was only $16 to send out the cookies. The rest of the cookies I have, I'm not sending... I am giving them to the library for Christmas, the Connors (nan's old neighbors who I still keep in touch with) and the Browns (my neighbors). I love making things.

7. Spending time with friends and family. I loved seeing dad's family around this time of year. His family is Italian and I love the Italian traditions. I get to see mom's family too - I love spending Christmas Eve at Aunt Kathy's house and catching up with my cousins. I'm Italian and Irish. Mom's side of the family is more Irish and we have relatives still in Ireland. They don't come to the States often (especially since Great Grandma died in 2009 at 99.5... she immigrated to the US from Ireland in the 1930s... so, yep, I'm still a newbie to the US technically. Same with the Italian side... they came in 1914... not sure if I still have relatives in Italy though), but we sometimes do Irish traditions. I love doing both the Irish and Italian traditions, but since both sides are Catholic... they're pretty much similar in that respect. I love those traditions, although I am not a practicing Catholic anymore (most people in my family aren't), but it's just something I like to do and will carry on when I do finally move. When I was still in college, friends and I would have holiday parties at the Lincoln Room or my house. Those were fun.

6. Christmas Tree Cutting Down and Decorating. We're going to cut down our Christmas tree this year! We stopped for 4 years, but we always used to go to a tree farm and cut down our tree. I loved trekking through the farm to pick out the perfect tree, then getting apple cider afterwards. Decorating the tree is fun too, Mimi thinks so as well! Miss Olivia and my other old cat loved this time of year as well.

5. Candy Canes and Everything Peppermint. I love candy canes and I love peppermint.I love when Starbucks have the peppermint cappucino out - I haven't gone in 2 weeks... I should go tomorrow after work to get some peppermint flavored goods. I also love the peppermint teas I can get (buy myself in stores). I need to get some candy canes too... I just have to be careful of my tooth this year. I can't wait to get a crown in January.

4. Receiving Cards and Trinkets. I love when I receive cards from people in the mail. I love getting cards from the Connors and some of nan's family. Marsha usually sends me a card too as does Andrew (friend in the UK) and my Facebook buddy from Sweden used to send me a card and chocolate (I sent him some chocolate too). Last year, people of Instagram had card exchanges and last year I received some cards from people on Instagram (still have those). That was so cool - I received cards from Scotland, Indiana and Germany. This year I look forward to receiving cards from the Snail Mail forum. I also like receiving handmade things too. Usually the library gives me something for Christmas and my other job used to as well. Hmm... would it be inappropriate to send my old boss a card? I'm thinking of sending Darlene a card too.

3. Christmas movies! I loved Grumpy Cat's The Worst Christmas Ever movie the other night on Lifetime! I'm thinking of ordering it for dad for Christmas. I ordered the soundtrack for dad from FYE, but it has't shipped yet. I also love Charlie Brown's Christmas because I love that Christmas tree and just the meaning behind the movie. I prefer old movies.

2. Surprises. Who doesn't love a good surprise?

1. Making bacalla with nan.  Bacalla is part of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, but nan only made the bacalla because the rest of the dishes were too involved. Dad would get her the cod a week before Christmas Eve and she would soak the cod in water about three days before frying it. She would soak it to get the excess salt out. I would help her make the batter and I would watch her fry the cod dipped in batter. I loved eating those and I loved helping her make it. I miss doing that with her (among other things). This year I want to try making bacalla on my own. 

Nan tearing up the cod for the bacalla.

After the batter is fried.

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