At last we are getting this party started with the first of 4 days of fun! I’ve been looking forward to this hop, filled with eye candy and sweet treats for our holiday season.Will you be following the amazing posts from the team on the Virtual Cookie Exchange &Christmas Blog Hop-being hosted by Carol from Just Let Me Quilt?
Every time I join in or follow one of these hops I find new to me bloggers and because I enjoy reading their post have to start following them. 😉. Do follow them when you enjoy their posts or leave a comment to show how much you appreciate their time spent for your enjoyment.
Here is the list for today’s posts:
For most of us Christmas is a time to share with family and friends, perhaps do some extra charity work and best of all, enjoy treasured family goodies.
My family is a mixed bag; Canadian, American and further back English, Irish, Scots and Welsh. As a child I remember the Christmas baking would start usually on my birthday, October 15th. That would be the day my Mom would gather the four of us kids around and the slicing, dicing, chopping, measuring and mixing would commence. Once everything was ready my Mom would prepare the right order to assemble the ingredients and we would make our fruitcakes. Each child made a wish as we took turns stirring while my Mom enjoyed a wee tot of the rum we used in the cake! Once the cakes were baked they got wrapped in cheesecloth and then drizzled with brandy and wrapped again and stored in the tins. My mom would check them often to make sure they were kept just moist enough. Then just before Christmas they would be gifted to family and friends. To this day I think I am the only one of us that likes fruitcake.
From that day on, when my Mom had time we made all of the traditional favourites; shortbread, ginger snaps, coconut crumbles, thumbprint cookies, icebox cookies, pies and so much more.
Once I left home and started having children some of those traditions were maintained. I did discover that I could not make the shortbread until just before Christmas. I always made Almond Shortbread, Lemon Shortbread (just add grated peel and a few drops of lemon juice to your shortbread recipe). Both of my sons preferred to eat it while frozen and my cookie containers would be empty on Christmas Eve Day. I also had a daughter that did not care for sweets! (How is that possible?)
The one treat my daughter enjoyed was my modified version of Nanaimo Bars. I substituted cream cheese for the middle layer and cut back on the sugar I use. Because the kids liked to bake with me but had difficulty cutting the squares, I started making them in mini muffin pans or cutting them before I put the top layer of chocolate on them. Then the cut squares could be put on racks or parchment paper and the warm chocolate drizzled on top.
That same daughter (I only have one!) always insisted that Christmas Eve was a night for a snacking dinner. I usually made a pot of onion soup and the kids would fill platters with sliced meats, veggies, dips, cheese, crackers and pickles. We would sit around the coffee table in front of the fireplace with goodies, mugs of soup and play board games until I could get them to bed. My daughter’s favourite dip had to be made every year. This Artichoke Dip is a quick fix and my daughter would stand in front of the oven watching it to see when it was cooked “just right”! Somehow the warm dip always wound up being in front of her and she managed to put a bit away for her Christmas Day lunch! That recipes can be found Here if you want a warm, savoury snack that my daughter still makes every year and has her grandchildren addicted to.
Another tradition I used to have when I was married to my first husband was for him to dress up as Santa Claus and we would go to a nursing home in the Okanagan Valley where his parents lived after his mom has a stroke and his dad was diagnosed with dementia. The home didn’t have a lot of money in the budget for a big Christmas celebration so Santa appeared at the grocery store and the store donated oranges, veggie, meat and cheese platters, and chocolates for the celebration. The bakery donated baked goods and a cheese platter. The businesses in town donated little stocking stuffers. My SIL, BIL and I got together in October and November and made gifts for all of the residents since some of them had no family to share the holiday with. The gifts we made were hand painted boxes, Christmas ornaments and other small treasures (there were 120 residents our last year doing it) and just made sure Santa could bring some little treasures to each resident when he visited.
Sadly his parents passed away and we moved up north to the town of Wells, BC which is the bedroom community which services Barkerville. There we found we could still give back to our community. My husband was Santa in Wells for the kids Christmas Parties and Father Christmas in Barkerville during the Victorian festivities there. We had fun decorating the park next to our little store and had the tree light up there each year.
Sadly he passed away in November but the costumes I had made are still being used. I left them with his daughter when I moved away and she manages to find a volunteer every year to continue the tradition her father and I started.
Now that I live here in the Kootenay region of British Columbia and my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren live in Alberta and Mexico it is more difficult to get everyone together without there being a Pandemic so I make my gifts early and get them in the mail. All of their households are filled with quilts, stockings, placemats and such and they have asked that I not gift them any more for a few more years!
I took part in Carol’s Christmas in July blog hop and had fun creating some table toppers, tree skirts and mug rugs. You can read about it HERE.
Then in October it was time for the From The Heart Blog Hop hosted by Carol and I started my Christmas Project. The local organization which does the annual Christmas Dinner And Hampers usually has a back room at their dinner. The kids can go with a volunteer to pick out gifts for their parents which volunteers help them wrap. Due to Covid the Dinner and Party are cancelled and the number of recipients needed baskets has drastically increased. So many crafters in our valley are creating gifts to tuck in the hampers; knitted and crocheted mitts, hats and scarfs and sewn and quilted goods. I started making scrappy snappy bags which you can read about HERE and added a few runners to the pile.
Then I decided I needed to start a new project using some
hoarded treasured Christmas fabrics.
I had fun getting out my Accuquilt cutter and dies and preparing my fabric with some two sided interfacing.
I had fun doing some appliqué and calculating (math sure is hard right now!) and ended up with these two runners being finished last week, except I just realized I forgot to embroider the snowpeople’s mouths! I’ll get right on that!
I also started on this fun little table topper (using Vicki’s Snowman topper as a starting point) but have not yet finished it.
My DH is the world’s biggest Grinch so I no longer decorate. Instead I make treasures and find new homes for them. These runners and the table topper will be the start of a box of donations for the Christmas Hampers next year.
I’d like to thank you for spending time with me as I share my love of all things Christmas! I hope you visit all of the other blogs that are stops on this Hop. Please remember to show some love to these amazing designers by commenting on their posts and follow their blogs if you enjoy them as much as I do! Now I’m off to see more quilty goodness and collect some fun recipes for more treats. I’m hoping someone will post my Mom’s shortbread recipe which someone borrowed out of my recipe box 😉 Carol
Linking with Pretty Piney TGIFF