A Christmas Carol
First, a little piece of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I have to admit that I don't have much use for Dickens generally, but A Christmas Carol is a holiday tradition for me. I read it nearly every year, because it is so lovely and puts me in just the right mood for Christmas. Here is one of my favorite bits, when Scrooge is being haunted by the Ghost of Christmas Present:
But soon the steeples called good people all, to church and chapel, and away they came, flocking through the streets in their best clothes, and with their gayest faces. And at the same time there emerged from scores of bye streets, lanes, and nameless turnings, innumerable people, carrying their dinners to the bakers' shops. The sight of these poor revellers appeared to interest the Spirit very much, for he stood with Scrooge beside him in a baker's doorway, and taking off the covers as their bearers passed, sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch, for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other, he shed a few drops of water on them from it, and their good humour was restored directly. For they said, it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. And so it was! God love it, so it was!I love the idea of a Christmas spirit sprinkling us with happy dust. Because that's what Christmas feels like to me--general warm fuzzies that I cannot wholly explain. Family and good food and presents. Traditions and memories of past happy holidays. A chance to just be jolly to all you meet.
"Is there a peculiar flavour in what you sprinkle from your torch?" asked Scrooge.
"There is. My own."
"Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day?" asked Scrooge.
"To any kindly given. To a poor one most."
"Why to a poor one most?" asked Scrooge.
"Because it needs it most."
Every year my mom makes batches and batches of Christmas cookies. My favorites have always been Viennese Snowballs, walnut cookies that are rolled in powdered sugar. They are simple cookies--easy ingredients and easy directions, but so delicious.
1 cup walnuts
1 cup butter, at room temp.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
confectioner's sugar for coating
Preheat oven to 350 F. Pulverize walnuts into a paste in an electric blender. With a wooden spoon or fingers, mix the walnuts, butter, sugar, and flour to a smooth dough. Shape the dough into small balls. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet until lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes. Cool one minute. While still warm, roll the cookies in the confectioner's sugar.
And the Little Giftie
Thanks to the amazing creative efforts of Twin, here is an assortment of gift tags just for you. Click on the image below to download and print out on regular 8 1/2 X 11 paper.