Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Traditions

I am late, late, LATE with this blog update! It's a busy time of year for all us, all over the world. Christmas is coming, school is finishing up for the year and there are holidays to plan. This year we have the addition of getting organised for enrolment into 2 schools...not to mention the fact that the Little Mrs is actually going to SCHOOL next year!!! With a uniform!! What the??? What happened there? More on that another time :).

The Mathilda's Market was very successful for us again this time. We raised $886 on market day and since then I have had orders for another $135 worth of goodies.....I'm not sure how I'm going to get it all done before Xmas but we'll see how we go.

On the ABR front.....not much has been done, unfortunately. Ayla has been sick for well over a week now with a nasty cold and eye boogers....translation: conjunctivitis. She seems to be gradually getting better now so I have plans to ABR her to the point of annoyance starting this weekend :).

And now, as is my *life's never dull around here* and flippant way, I am going to completely change the subject. With the market over and Xmas looming, it has set me to thinking about this wonderful time of year and the fact that apart from 1 little Xmas spent on a tiny coral cay chasing sea turtles, this is the first Xmas in years spent away from family and friends. Our little family will kinda be together. Steven is working nightshift over the days of the fat man and that means working all night and sleeping all day. But I have a nasty plan that will wake him early on Xmas afternoon for's called "the smell of crackling wafting from the oven". It's sure to work!

It has also had me thinking about how I have always wanted to create a family tradition around Xmas. Our current tradition (apart from the spending it with our families part) is the completely consumerist approach....wake early, hand out the presents one by one, watch each others happy responses and then eat breakfast. It's over in minutes and somehow leaves us all feeling a little empty.

Recently my friend Jen posted on Facebook that she had found the recipe she was using for her family's Xmas Shortbread competition and that the name alone should win it for her. I've always loved the specialness of cooking for others, especially at Xmas and so here begins my little tradition that I hope will grow. Not a competition....cos that's Jen's Family tradition.....but a little swap amongst family and close friends who want to join in. Even if you don't want to do any swapping, chances are that you may receive something from our family, from our heart and made from our hands. And that's the essence of what I am proposing. It's a little swap of homemade shortbread (just a little handful) and a Xmas ornament (handcrafted or not but most importantly, special) for the family's tree.

I love making shortbread and I LOVE eating it even more! I guess my idea is for this swap to happen in the earlier part of December. To re-create the excitement that we all used to feel in the lead up to Xmas, to let our friends and loved ones know that we are thinking of them at this time of year. And to take that edge off Xmas Consumerism. I've just never been able to get into the tradition of writing Xmas cards. The whole idea of having a huge stack of cards with two written lines, repeated over and over, from card to card, and the received cards being strung up all over the house like some sort of "Facebook Friends" list, has never appealed to me. I once had someone ask me, jokingly but it still stuck with me, if I didn't have any friends?? Why? I asked....."because you don't have any Xmas cards displayed around your home". Hmmmm

There is another experience that has lead me to want to cook and give at Xmas. Quite a few years ago, my Xmas gift from my little brother (my then little LITTLE brother) was some stunning and delicious Xmas cookies that he had made for me, all wrapped up in a little gift box that I still have. They were Lebkuchen cookies, which I believe may be a German tradition. Little heart-shaped syrup and spice cookies with a dot of jam in the middle and a chocolate coating on the back. I can still taste those delicious little bits of YUM! This is one of my most treasured Xmas memories. He was so proud of them and he was protectively checking the box in the fridge leading up to Xmas day, to make sure they were ok and no-one had been in there. Hands down....the best and most memorable Xmas present EVER! And actually,is the main reason I want to to do this.

I may have left it a little late this year to send out to everyone that I think of daily, but I sure am going to give it a go. And Ayla is going to help me so you'll be getting a little bit of love from her too. If you would like to join in....comment at the bottom. There are just a couple of simple rules.....The shortbreads must be made from your hands AND gluten free (don't worry, there are tons of recipes on the internet and it does seem very easy to convert basic shortbread recipes to gluten free). That's it! No other rules.


S said...

Me please, how handy that i have been thinking of you lots lately AND we are making gluten free shortbread this very afternoon!

Melissa Luxmoore said...

Oh how I wish I could insert the twilight zone music here :) You're a step ahead of me though. Have assembled ingredients but have just changed my mind on the recipe.....back to the shops :)

Robync said...

I remember the cookies very well, and I love shortbread, so I will be in the swap. hope next week end is OK to make some as there is a market this week end. All I want for christmas is my children and my darling granddaughter, guese new year will have to do.
love you

Melissa Luxmoore said...

yay! Another victim (heh hem.....swapper :)) weekend is fine.

Anonymous said...

What a great idea. I was wondering what to give Liam's two teachers as a gift. So shortbread it will be. Mind you i have never made it before.....:)

Alison Cary said...

That was Peter teaching me hoe to mysteriously anonymous!