Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Eve’

Many, many years ago I was invited to a neighbor’s house to celebrate Boxing Day.  I thought this was a bit odd since I wasn’t a servant and I didn’t have any servants.  I was soon introduced to an Americanized version of Boxing Day.  The premise here was to bring a gift all wrapped up that was actually something you had previously received as a gift and either a) you didn’t want it because b) it was ugly or useless.  Oh there were really some strange and odious gifts exchanged that day.  The gift-giving was done in the manner of a Yankee Swap;  You picked a gift and you kept it or traded it.  Well, anyway that’s how that Boxing day went down.

This is how we began Boxing Day this year!  We were all tired from the late night of Christmas Eve and the long day of Christmas night so everyone slept just a little bit later on Thursday morning.  But right after breakfast without any formal plan set, it just began to unfold….The day after Christmas could only mean one thing!  We MUST CLEAN!  Perhaps it is some genetic pre-disposition or familial personality disorder, whatever it is, this is what happened.

Joel got the vacuum cleaner out and he began vacuuming  the rugs, I took out the swifter and did the kitchen floor and the hallways and the foyer.  I used about 6 swifter pads;  There has been a horde of people going inside and out, through the garage, in from the pool and all about.  The house was recently renovated and all the floors  are now a white-washed wood and the swifter did its thing over and over again.  I left piles for Joel to swoop up with the vacuum.   Meanwhile, Chiara packed up gifts and swept up pine needles.  I tackled the stairs next and was quite pleased to see the white of the treads re-appear.  Elsewhere, dishes were washed, clothes washed and folded and the dishwasher emptied.  It was a glorious morning, the house had been reclaimed and restored to its pristine beauty and we had taken on Boxing Day and given it an Italian twist.

There would be a Yankee Swap later that night after dinner.  But first we had to do some preparing for tonight’s party. Oh yes, there WOULD be a party tonight, albeit not quite so large as yesterday but this one would be here!  Only 15 adults and 6 kids.  Chiara decided to make several baking dishes of Eggplant Parmesan, we would serve the pork loin left over from Christmas Eve and make a big salad and a bowl of quinoa.

Susan and JR were coming for dinner with their 3 boys, the youngest is Hunter who is a classmate of Finley’s.  Susan brought a huge spiral cut ham and it’s a darn good thing she did since the pork loin did not cook through and we couldn’t serve it pink and cool.  This party spread itself out through the house!  We had kids (big and little) watching Elf and a couple other Christmas movies, adults out on the veranda, a couple of us in the dining room dishing on everything and everybody, Finley and a couple of the boys had a bow and arrows and were shooting at the front door and lots of wine drunk in all the rooms.

JR took the boys home, eventually both the girls went to bed and the die-hard game players gathered round in the living room to play some games.  Joel had gone out with Chiara in the afternoon to buy some new games.  Tonight we were going to play Quelf and Loaded Questions.  We are hardcore, laughing, yelling, arguing and all the time playing to win!  The wine kept flowing, there was some other mind-altering substances and as they say, “Let the games begin”!  Quelf was hysterical as we watched Joel stand and try not to bend his arms and legs, Dennis had to sit on his hands, Justin did the color for a basketball game in the voice of a parrot as well as mind-bending tasks, some which were subject to group analysis.  Overall one might observe it as familial blood-letting!

Loaded Questions is an adventure in delving into your fellow players psyche.  Since I’ve already portrayed our family as the crazy bunch they truly are, you can only imagine how this game was played!  I’d love to tell you about it but like the New York Times only all the news that’s fit to print.  And on that note I think it’s time to close the chapter on Boxing Day with the Bertis/Clarks/Presses and Pucci’s came to an end.

Except for the Yankee Swap which was wildly funny as the swapping, trading, stealing took place.  Those that participated seemed to have a grand time and I think perhaps the $50 bill was the prize of the evening!

English: Gift ideas for men - wrapping paper e...

English: Gift ideas for men – wrapping paper example. Please source http://www.giftideasformen.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Read Full Post »

CANDLES have been associated with Christmas since forever because as we all know before electricity, before gas and kerosene lamps, there were candles.  And candles have always been part of our holiday imagery.  Think back over the years.  I remember Christmas cards featuring candles in lantern posts and pictures of a little kid in a nightshirt holding a candle in the classic candle holder as part of the Christmas culture.

Light the way!

Light the way!

Victorian Christmas trees were adorned with real candles and LIT !  How did they escape burning the house down?  In the 20th Century, we electrified the candles and put them in every window in the house.  I was so obsessed with that concept that when we built a house, I made sure the electrician knew I wanted an outlet under every window on 3 sides of the house.  I’ve used small votive candles in luminaries to light the way to my home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  However, now that we are in the 21st Century, we have technology on our side.  Behold the battery-operated candle and one that is made out of a wax-like material and look SO REAL, it’s hard to believe they’re not.  

These candles have really come of age this past year.  You can purchase all sizes and colors in a great number of stores.  I have found several in The Christmas Tree Shop (not a pun and not really a Christmas shop) and bought a bunch at Costco.  These candles are The ANSWER.  What a terrific way to set a mood.  Scattered around the house during the holidays, they produce just the warm glow you’re looking for.  And as far as luminaries, these candles will surely not blow out in the breeze and catch the bag on fire!  

Think about the myriad ways in which you can utilize these faux but-oh-so-real-looking candles and make your life prettier and softer.  So much of the holiday preparations are time-consuming and costly.  With these candles you get a lot of bang for your buck,

They even come scented!

They even come scented!

Read Full Post »

Having overnight company during the holidays?  Why not present your guests with a festive pail filled with all their needs for a comfortable visit.  You might even tell them in advance that they needn’t buy all those airplane-securtiy-sized neccesities when they come to visit.

bathroom neccessities, striped pail, toothpaste, toothbrush, washcloth

What You Need When You Want It

Read Full Post »

Hopefully you got your Advent calendars early this year so you were ready to peel open door number one. Oh the anticipation that the traditional Advent Calendar engenders!  This year I purchased at an Advent House for Finley.  An amazing work, possibly home-made, however, extremely well-crafted.  An adorable cottage replete with dormers and all together 25 little door opening up into a tiny space ready to hold some minute treasure.  Unfortunately the space is so tiny, not much could fit in there other than pennies, dimes, stickers, gummy bears and a couple of colorful ponytail holders.  Not too exciting but happily, Finley is staying in bed in the morning as instructed or else, she doesn’t get to open up a door.

So I decided to make an Advent Blog for my readers filled with all kinds of Christmas and holiday related ideas!

I know I’m starting late but I will catch up, promise!

December 1 One Holiday decorating idea

Fill old Mason jars with small ornaments

Christmas decor, old ornaments, vintage Christmas ornaments, Mason jars

Colorful Christmas Ornaments in Mason Jars

Read Full Post »

The simple joys of community, kids eagerly awaiting Santa Claus‘s arrival, free hot cider and ginger snaps, a crisp cold night and lots of fire trucks lined up on Main Avenue – that’s what was happening in Ocean Grove tonight.  Peter and I joined our friends, Trish and Ron at the Fireman’s Park early in the evening.  The volunteer Fire Department of our little town sponsors this annual event.

Santa’s sleigh was in the park  awaiting his arrival by fire truck!  That was a sight and a sound!  At least 6 fire trucks and an Emergency vehicle came wheeling down Main Avenue with sirens wailing and lights flashing.  The kids screamed and jumped up and down because Santa Claus was coming.  By the way, Trish did too!!!

We sipped piping hot cider and munched on ginger snaps and watched the long line of kids wend their way to Santa.  Once on his lap, you could see  joy on the faces of  the little ones – the believers!

Santa Claus, Ocean grove,Christmas Eve,

Santa Claus Arrives

photo by Trish Martin

Ocean Grove, Fireman's park,Christmas Evep

Mrs. Santa Claus Came Along for the Ride

photo by Trish Martin

Fireman's Park, Ocean Grove, Christmas Eve

I Believe

photo by Trish Martin

Ocean grove, Fireman's park, Christmas Eve

Trish and Ron


Read Full Post »