Christmas Traditions Make the Holidays!

One of the fun things about Christmas is traditions. Take for instance, the Land Down Under, because, well, someday I want to visit there, just probably not at Christmas. The English and Irish predominately settled Australia so it stands to reason their traditions reflect those countries. Here’s a few of of their Christmas Traditions.
Christmas Bell FlowerAussie’s decorate their homes with ferns, palm leaves and evergreens along with Cockatoo Christmas bushblooming flowers of Christmas Bush and Christmas Bell Flower. It’s summer time in December down under, when most of the United States is looking forward to big flakes and blankets of snow for a white Christmas.
Carols by Candlelight is one of the popular events in Australia. People come together under the stars at night to light candles and sing Christmas carols. Seems to me, it’s not far from our own tradition of Christmas carolers. I just can’t imagine Christmas without snow, that’s why I live in Colorado.
christmas-dinner-1 AussieChristmas rooChristmas Day is when families and close friends gather from all over Australia for a holiday midday dinner. Some enjoy a traditional British Christmas dinner of roast turkey or ham and rich plum pudding doused in brandy and set on fire before it is brought to the table. Other families head for the backyard barbie to grill their Christmas dinner, maybe shrimp, in the sunshine or go to the beach and enjoy a picnic of cold turkey or ham and a salad. To the delight of children,  Father Christmas  in shorts may appear to greet children at the beach on Christmas! If you can’t have snow, that’s the way to celebrate Christmas.
Because I am of Swedish descent, let’s take a peek at Christmas Traditions in Sweden where in December the days are quite short, the nights long and the ground is usually snow covered. The Christmas season begins at church on the first Sunday of Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Children use an Advent calendar to keep track of the first day of December until Christmas, just like some of ours do. Each morning, they open a flap in the calendar’s Christmas scene to see the charming picture behind it. This year, I have a Victorian Advent calendar on my computer and enjoy a surprise behind each door daily.
Christmas princessThe festivities in Sweden really begin with St. Lucia’s Day, December 13th, a swed treecelebration of the patron saint of light. A Christmas market held in the old medieval section of Stockholm is where you can find handmade toys, ornaments, and candy. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Some people write a special verse to accompany the gift and even seal the package with colorful sealing wax. I have enough trouble with scotch tape and wrapping paper, I can’t imagine what would happen with hot sealing wax. Not a pretty sight, I’m sure. A Christmas tree is selected by the whole family just a day or two before Christmas and decorated, while the delightful aroma of gingerbread cookies in the shape of hearts, stars, or other festive shapes waft through to house. Christmas Christmas-TableEve is when the main feast is eaten. Presents might be brought by Santa knom(Jultomten) or  by gnomes/elves  named Tomte or Nissar. Many families set out a sheaf of grain on a pole for hungry birds. My hubby and I always put out special treats for the wild birds on Christmas.

christmas treeAs for my family, we put up the tree, Christmas decorations inside and out, the weekend after Thanksgiving. Or try to. No it’s not a real tree, only because I’m allergic. <sigh> We watch Christmas movies throughout December and make candy such as Divinity, Fantasy Fudge and Beaver Dams. What are beaver damsBeaver Dams, you ask. Well, take a package of butterscotch chips, melt them in a double boiler, stir in half-package of crispy Chow Mein Noodles and one half can of cocktail peanuts. Spoon the concoction onto foil and let set. They look like beaver dams hence the name. YUMMY.

This year I’m going, to once again, try my hand at gingerbread cookies. Its become a Christmas Tradition of sorts, an make my family cringe. Why you ask?  I haven’t had a lot of luck in previous years getting a good tasting cookie. Do any of you have a favorite recipe that I could try? Feel free to leave the recipe in the comments section.

Click on cover to read more.

In my book A Witch’s Holiday Wedding, Pepper had Christmas Traditions too, came with her Irish heritage!  Magic of family & friends a Christmas tale of true love. A Sequel to A Witch’s Journey.

Next week My Favorite Things About Christmas. What Christmas Traditions do and your family observe on Christmas Eve and Day? Or during the month of December? I look forward to hearing from you.


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Joy of the Season Blog Hop & Highway Cafe Christmas Blog Tour from the North Pole!

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Direct from the North Pole, welcome to the Joy of the Season Blog Hop and Highway Cafe Christmas Blog Tour (links to participants and rafflecopter are at the bottom of the post)!

Here at the North Pole it’s extremely busy, but we still have time for a little holiday fun and shenanigans.

Let me introduce myself.  I’m an elf and my name is Twinkle Bright because my elf hat has twinkle lights wound all around the scalloped edge and the pointy top.

depositphotos_56804225-stock-photo-hot-chocolate-for-christmas-dayI make yummy Hot Chocolate for Santa and the elves from a secret family recipe passed down from generation to generation. My hot chocolate keeps everyone warm and toasty inside at the North Pole. There is even an automatic dispenser in Santa’s Sleigh providing him with hot chocolate during his travels on Christmas Eve.  It goes good with the cookies the children leave for him.

While I am mixing up large batches of hot chocolate, I listen to Christmas Carols from a variety of pop, country and rock artists. I always taste each batch to insure its up to elf standards.gingerbread-man-running-650050.  You would think I’d get tired of hot chocolate, but no — never.  I love the steaming chocolaty drink.  I usually keep mine in an insulated mug so it stays warm while sampling the cookies in the elves’ bakery.  Frosted sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies are my absolute favorites.

Now, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  But you must promise not to tell…anyone.  We do a secret Santa gift exchange around here and this year I got Bob, her job at the North Pole is name checker to make sure Santa has all the correct spellings of the girls and boys. One year she spelled Chrys’ name Chris and wow what an uproar.  Luckily Santa caught it, but we had to rush to change all the tags on her packages. Whew!  I’m getting Bob a package of 120 different color markers in a jewel encrusted case for marking off the correctly spelled names after she checks them.  Do you think she’ll like that?

fudgeDo you like fudge?  Great, I’ll share with you my favorite Fantasy Fudge Recipe.

3 CUPS OF SUGAR
3/4 CUP BUTTER OR MARGARINE
1 –  SMALL CAN (5OZ) EVAPORATED MILE (ABOUT 2/3 CUP)
DON’T USE SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK)
1 – 12 OZ PACKAGE OR NESTLES SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS
1 –  7 OZ JAR OF MARSHMALLOW CREME
1 TEASPOON OF VANILLA
YOU CAN ADD CHOPPED NUTS IF YOU WISH.
BRING SUGAR, BUTTER AND EVAPORATED MILK TO A FULL ROLLING BOIL IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN OVER MEDIUM HEAT, STIRRING CONSTANTLY. (COOK 4 MINUTES OR UNTIL CANDY THERMOMETER REACHES 234 DEGREES. HIGH ALTITUDE IT TAKES ABOUT 5 MINUTES). REMOVE FROM HEAT AND ADD CHOCOLATE CHIPS AND MARSHMALLOW CREME, STIR UNTIL MELTED.  ADD VANILLA AND NUTS, STIR UNTIL WELL BLENDED. POUR INTO A GREASED (I USE BUTTER) 9 X 13 INCH PAN, SPREAD EVENLY. COOL COMPLETELY. CUT INTO SQUARES AND ENJOY!

For leaving a comment on my blog, you will be entered into a drawing for a $5.00 amazon gift card.

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Tales of redemption, magic, wildlife rescue, true love and paying it forward will leave you breathless. A Witch’s Holiday Wedding

Elemental witch, Pepper McKay and former Navy SEAL, Lathen Quartz have built Lobster Cove Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on enchanted McKay land. During a romantic interlude on Halloween night, Pepper happily agrees to become Lathen’s wife. What better day than Winter Solstice for their wedding in a town that loves celebrations and Christmas. However, planning a wedding and operating their wildlife center takes a toll on both Pepper and Lathen.

When the couple takes a much-needed break for Thanksgiving with family in Colorado, a Maine snowstorm fills the center with injured wildlife. Lathen finds himself drawn into a covert military mission, while trying to deal with issues concerning friends and family. Pepper wants to cancel the wedding. Is she having second thoughts? Will the nosy McKay ghosts, Lathen’s werewolf pack, Pepper’s parents, and her best friend help or hinder the wedding and holiday plans?

Available from AmazonKoboThe Wild Rose Press, All Romance, and  Barnes & Noble,

 

joyshop2016I am participating in Joy of the Season Blog Hop and Highway Café Christmas Blog Tour with prizes, giveaways, fun2016christmastour and games. Please click on the links to visit the other blogs on the hop and tour for more holiday tales .   You don’t want to miss out!

We are giving away prizes to two randomly selected winners: 1) an ebook bundle, including books in various genres by various authors participating in the hop; or 2) a $50 Amazon gift card. Please visit the main hop page here to see a list of books included in the bundle.

Enter now for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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