Everything Christmas Daily Advent

The content posted here is from the book, Everything Christmas, created by David Bordon and Tom Winters, founders of Bordon-Winters LLC, published by WaterBrookMultnomah, copyright 2010.

DECEMBER 1

SCENTED APPLESAUCE-CINNAMON ORNAMENTS

3 cups applesauce
3 cups ground cinnamon

     Mix applesauce and cinnamon together until it is thick enough to hold a form.  Flatten the mixture on a flat surface and cut into cookie-cutter shapes.
     Place cookie shapes on a cookie sheet to dry for 3 to 4 days depending on the size and thickness of the cookies.  If using as a hanging ornament, make a hole with a toothpick before drying.

Makes 15 ornaments.

LET US KEEP CHRISTMAS
Grace Noll Crowell

Whatever else be lost among the years,
Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing;
Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,
Let us hold close one day, remembering
Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men.
Let us get back our childlike faith again.

DECEMBER 2

Christmas Dinner in England

Traditional English Menu

Roast Turkey
Stuffing and gravy
Roast potatoes
Vegetables
Bread sauce
Cranberry sauce
Christmas pudding with brandy sauce

The History
  • In medieval England, peacocks and swans were eaten only by the rich at Christmas, but boar's head was the main course.  In eighteenth century, turkey, along with beef, slowly replaced the boar's head as most people's Christmas meal.
  • The Christmas pudding was a porridge called "frumenty", a dish made of wheat or corn boiled in milk.  As time went on, other ingredients, such as dried plums or prunes, eggs, and lumps of meat, were added to make it more interesting.  When cooked, it was poured into a dish.  This pudding was called "plum pudding."
  • Update:  Today, a Christmas pudding is a brown pudding with raisins, nuts, and dried fruit.  It is served with custard or brandy butter.  Often brandy is poured over the pudding, which is then set alight as it is carried to the table.  The lights are turned off so people can see the dramatic dessert.

HAMLET: ACT I, SCENE I
William Shakespeare

Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes,
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome;
then no planets strike
No fairy takes,
nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed, and so gracious is the time.

DECEMBER 3

Christmas Idea:  Create a Christmas card tree by using a hole-puncher to put a hole in the top left corner of the card through both front and back.  Tie the card to the tree with a ribbon.  You might also want to place a Christmas basket on the coffee table or kitchen counter in which to place cards as they arrive, giving family members a chance to look at them.  Handmade, particularly beautiful, and sentimental Christmas cards can be easily maintained in an album with favorite cards from past years.

PRINCESS VICTORIA'S DIARY
Christmas Eve, 1932

After dinner we went upstairs. I then saw Flora, the dog which Sir John was going to give Mamma. Aunt Sophia came also. We then went into the drawing room near the dining room. After Mamma had rung a bell three times we went in. There were two large round tables on which were placed two trees hung with lights and sugar ornaments. All the presents being placed round the tree.

I had one table for myself and the Conroy family had the other together. Lehzen had likewise a little table. Mamma gave me a little lovely pink bag which she had worked with a little sachet likewise done by her; a beautiful little opal brooch and earrings, books, some lovely prints, a pink satin dress and a cloak lined with fur. Aunt Sophia gave me a dress which she worked herself, and Aunt Mary a pair of amethyst earrings. Lehzen a lovely musicbook. Victoire a pretty white bag worked by herself, and Sir John a silver brush.

Mamma then took me up into my bedroom with all the ladies. There was a new toilet table with a white muslin cover over pink and all my silver things standing on it with a fine new looking glass. I stayed up till half past 9.

DECEMBER 4

HOLIDAY PEANUT BRITTLE

2 cups sugar
2 cups raw peanuts
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup white corn syrup
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

     Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil.  Add sugar and syrup.  Boil until it spins a thread (300 degrees F).  Add peanuts and cook until golden brown.  Remove from heat.  Stir in soda, butter, and vanilla.  Quickly spread onto 2 greased cookie sheets.  Chill for about one hour, and then break apart.

TOP TEN FAVORITE CHRISTMAS TOYS OF ALL TIME FOR BOYS
  1. Video games
  2. Matchbox cars
  3. Legos
  4. Electric trains
  5. Swiss army knife
  6. Toy soldiers
  7. Bicycle
  8. Skateboard
  9. Construction set
  10. Yo-yo


DECEMBER 5

LITTLE TREE
E.E. Cummings

Little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower.

who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see I will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly

I will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would
only don't be afraid

look the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,

put up your little arms
and I'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy

then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very proud

and my little sister and I will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel!"

Christmas Idea: Try these ideas for using candy canes:
  • Use candy canes as stirring sticks for hot beverages.
  • Add crushed candy canes to vanilla frosting and make sandwiches with cookies or graham crackers.
  • Add crushed candy canes to cookie and treats.
  • Melt chocolate bars or white almond bark, add crushed candy canes and chill.
  • Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of iced cupcakes or ice cream sundaes.
  • Layer ice cream and hot fudge sauce with crushed candy canes and top with whipped cream for a peppermint twist treat.


DECEMBER 6

Bill for the Twelve Days of Christmas Gifts
from the Joyful Noiseletter

The complete catalog of gifts in the old Christmas carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas" today would cost you a total of $15,231.72! J. Patrick Bradley, chief economist at Provident National Bank in Philadelphia figures the breakdown of prices for the 12 days as follows:
  • One partridge in a pear tree, $27.48 (Partridge, $15, pear tree, $12.48)
  • Two turtle doves, $50
  • Three French hens, $15
  • Four calling birds, $280
  • Five gold rings, $600
  • Six geese-a-laying, $150
  • Sevens swans-a-swimming, $7000
  • Nine ladies dancing, $2417.90
  • Ten lords-a-leaping, $2686.56
  • Eleven pipers piping, $947.70
  • Twelve drummers drumming, $1026.68

KEEP CHRISTMAS BEAUTIFUL
Ann Schultz

Let us keep Christmas beautiful
Without a thought of greed,
That it might live forevermore
To fill our every need,
That it shall not be just a day, 
But last a lifetime through,
The miracle of Christmastime
That brings God close to you.

DECEMBER 7

Tips for a Safe and Healthy Christmas Tree
  • Select the freshest-looking real tree available.  Once home, make a fresh cut across the tree's base and immediately place it in water.
  • Keep the tree's water container full at all times, checking the water level daily.
  • Be extra careful with electricity, all open flames, and other heat sources during the holidays.
  • Place the Christmas tree far away from heat registers, space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves.
  • Regularly check the tree for dryness.  If the needles fall off when you touch them or the stems break off when you bend them, your tree may be dry.  Check the water level.  If it is low, add water.  If not, it's time to take down the tree.

SUGAR COOKIE ORNAMENTS

1 batch sugar cookies (homemade or store bought)
Christmas cookie cutters
Drinking straw
12" long dowel at least 3/16" in diameter
Ribbon

Roll out the cookie dough. Using cookie cutters, cut out different shapes. Use the drinking straw to poke a hole near the top of the cookie. (Make sure not to get too close to the edge of the cookie. To add holes to purchased cookies, heat a few at a time in a 300 degree F oven for about two minutes, then puncture cookie with drinking straw). After baking, use the hole to attach ribbon and tie to anything. Tie to the tree and use as ornaments or use as package tie-ons.

To make a tree topper star, roll cookie dough to about 3/8" thickness. Cut out the shape of a star, and working on a cookie sheet, press the star onto a 12" long, 3/16" dowel. Bake the cookie, dowel and all, in a 350 degree F oven until lightly browned. Cool completely before lifting from the cookie sheet. The star may be left plain or decorated with icing. Wire the dowel to the top branch of the tree, and tie with a ribbon or clip on bow.

DECEMBER 8

CHRISTMAS BELLS
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

When Christmas bells are swinging
Above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing
From lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish,
And loves we used to know.


One of the most glorious messes in the world 
is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.
Don't clean it up too quickly.
ANDY ROONEY


DECEMBER 9

PINE CONE DOOR DECORATION

You will need:
  • Several large pine cones
  • 5 yards of weather-resistant velvet ribbon (3"-wide)
  • Floral wire
Make a large bow with the ribbon, catching the loops at the center with a length of floral wire.  Also at the center, attach long ribbon streamers with another length of wire.  Bend the ends of both wires into a loop for hanging.  Clip the ends of the streamers into an attractive notched shape.

Wrap a piece of floral wire around the base of several pine cones, twisting these wires around each streamer.

Project tip:
Clean your cones with a stiff brush to remove dirt.  Place any cones that are sticky in a 200 degree F oven for a few minutes.  After the cones have cooled, rinse them and dry thoroughly.

SKATING AT RATZEBURG
Taken from "Christmas Out of Doors" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The lower lake is now all alive with skaters, and with ladies driven onward by them in their ice cars. Mercury, surely, was the first maker of skates, and the wings at his feet are symbols of the invention.

In skating there are three pleasing circumstances: the infinitely subtle particles of ice which the skate cuts up, and which creep and run before the skate like a low mist, and in sunrise or sunset become coloured; second, the shadow of the skater in the water, seen through the transparent ice; and third, the melancholy undulating sound from the skate, not without variety; and when very many are skating together, the sounds and the noises give an impulse to the icy trees, and the woods all round the lake tinkle.

DECEMBER 10

Rules for Department Store Santas
Jenny Zink
(To employees of Western Temporary Services, world's largest supplier of Santa Clauses)
  1. Santa is even-tempered.
  2. Santa does not hit children over the head who kick him.
  3. Santa uses the term folks rather than Mommy and Daddy because of all the broken homes.
  4. Santa does not have a three-martini lunch.
  5. Santa does not borrow money from store employees.
  6. Santa wears a good deodorant.
BREAD PUDDING

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups low fat milk
6 slices sourdough bread
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cups low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt

Beat eggs in an electric mixer on high speed until frothy. Add next 5 ingredients. Continue beating on a lower speed while adding milk. Cut bread slices into 1-inch cubes with the crusts on. Butter inside of a 9-inch baking dish and add bread cubes. Sprinkle raisins and pecans over bread cubes. Pour milk mixture over bread cubes. Cover and refrigerate 40-60 minutes. Stir bread cubes after 30 minutes of soaking to completely submerge all bread cubes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake 45-60 minutes or until pudding is firm and brown. Cool slightly and cut into squares. Serve with frozen yogurt.

DECEMBER 11

CHRISTMAS DINNER
Washington Irving

     When the cloth was removed, the butler brought in a huge silver vessel of rare and curious workmanship, which he placed before the squire.  Its appearance was hailed with acclamation; being the Wassail Bowl, so renowned in Christmas festivity.  The contents had been prepared by the squire himself; for it was a beverage in the skillful mixture of which he particularly prided himself:  alleging that it was too abstruse and complex for the comprehension of an ordinary servant.  It was a potation, indeed, that might well make the heart of a toper leap within him; being composed of the richest and raciest wines, highly spiced and sweetened, with roasted apples bobbing about the surface.
     The old gentleman's whole countenance beamed with a serene look of indwelling delight, as he stirred his mighty bowl.  Having raised it to his lips, with a hearty wish of a merry Christmas to all present, he sent it brimming round the board, for every one to follow his example, according to the primitive style; pronouncing it "the ancient fountain of good feeling, where all hearts met together."
     There was much laughing and rallying as the honest emblem of Christmas joviality circulated, and was kissed rather coyly by the ladies.

DECEMBER 12

CHRISTMAS CRESCENT COOKIES

2 sticks butter
2 cups flour
2 cups chopped pecans
5 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. salt

     Cream butter and sugar together.  Add vanilla and water.  Stir in flour and salt.  Add pecans and mix.  Divide into balls the size of walnuts.  Shape the balls into crescents.  Bake at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes.  While warm, roll in powdered sugar.

DECEMBER 13

Nothing Says Love Like a Letter

     The simple act of letter writing can be a wonderful Christmas gift, especially for an older person.  Begin with a personal greeting and some thoughts about how you know the person or special memories from your relationship.  Make your letter personal, including interesting events from your everyday life--our dog had puppies or a description of this year's Christmas program, for example.  Don't brag:  keep it real.  Close with a show of genuine concern.
     A special letter can also make a wonderful keepsake gift for a child or grandchild.  Write about your memories--the day they were born, the day they started school, the day they graduated from college, the day they got married, a special vacation together, time spent at your home--the options are endless.
     Package your letters in decorated envelopes.  Mail or hang on the tree.

DECEMBER 14

Ever wondered what "Figgy Pudding" is in the Christmas Carol We Wish You a Merry Christmas?  Well, here it is...

FIGGY PUDDING

1/2 pound dried figs
1/4 cup fluffy breadcrumbs
1 cup almonds or walnuts, chopped
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup candied citrus peel
3 Tbsp. melted butter
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

     Chop the figs and mix with crumbs.  Brown the almonds or walnuts.  Mix with other ingredients.  Put the mixture into a greased mold and bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.

     Hard sauce:
     Beat 1 cup of butter for about 2 minutes.  Add a cup of icing sugar and 1 Tbsp. vanilla.  Beat for 5 minutes.  Pour over hot pudding.

DECEMBER 15

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS
CARD GREETING
Author Unknown

Oh, life is but a river;
And in our childhood, we
But a fair running streamlet
Adorn'd with flowers see.

But as we grow more earnest,
The river grows more deep;
And where we laugh'd in childhood
We, older, pause to weep

Each Christmas as it passes,
some change to us doth bring;
Yet to our friends the closer,
As time creeps on, we cling.

DECEMBER 16

CHRISTMAS SNOWBALLS

4 sticks butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups finely chopped pecans
6 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar (to roll
     cookies in after baked)

     Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
     Mix first 5 ingredients well.  Form into 1-inch balls.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 to 20
minutes until cookies turn lightly brown.  Remove from
oven; cool for 5 minutes.  Roll each cookie in confec-
tioners' sugar.
     When cool, roll again until well coated.  If cookies
break up while rolling in sugar, cool for another
5 minutes.  Makes about 100 cookies.
DECEMBER 17

Santa's Christmas Advice:
  • Encourage people to believe in you.
  • Always remember who's naughty and who's nice.
  • Don't pout.
  • It's as much fun to give as it is to receive.
  • Some days it's okay to feel a little chubby.
  • Make your presents known.
  • Always ask for a little bit more than what you really want.
  • Bright red can make anyone look good.
  • Wear a wide belt and no one will notice how many pounds you've gained.
  • If you only show up once a year, everyone will think you're very important.
  • Whenever you're at a loss for words, say: "HO, HO, HO!"
Who Brings the Gifts?
Santa doesn't bring the gifts in these countries:
  • Spain and South America:  The Three Kings
  • England:  Father Christmas
  • France:  Pere Noel (Father Christmas)
  • Russia:  Babouschka (a grandmotherly figure) or Grandfather Frost
  • Holland:  St. Nicholas
DECEMBER 18

HOMEMADE CLAY FOR TREE ORNAMENTS

1 cup cornstarch
2 cups baking soda
1 1/2 cups cold water
string
paint
clear shellac

     In a saucepan, stir together cornstarch, baking soda, and water.  Heat,
stirring constantly until mixture reaches a slightly moist, mashed-potato
consistency.  Pour onto a plate and cover with a damp cloth.  When cooled,
knead like dough.  Roll out to a quarter-inch thickness and cut with a knife or
cookie cutter.  Pierce a hole near the top for string.  Let dry; paint.  When
paint is dry, finish with a coat of shellac.

DECEMBER 19

AWAY IN A MANGER
Author Unknown

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed.
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle 'til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.

HISTORICAL NOTE: 
Many have the misconception that Martin Luther wrote this sweet Christmas carol,
but historians say the first two verses were originally published in a Lutheran Sunday
school book in 1885, author unknown.  Its title in the song book, "Luther's Cradle
Hymn," is probably the source of the confusion.  Some credit the music to James R.
Murray, while others believe he merely harmonized an old German folk song.  The
words are frequently sung to the tune of the Scottish song, "Flow Gently Sweet
Afton."

DECEMBER 20


From home to home and heart to heart,
from one place to another.
The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us
closer to each other.

AUTHOR UNKNOWN