Christmas

Writing 101 Challenge: Special Food

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‘Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory. Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.’

Many foods and dishes went through my head for today’s writing prompt. There’s special French toast at each birthday, rice pudding with left over rice, egg dish at Easter, and favorite dishes at potlucks. I picked an overall food group that makes the season. I choose Christmas cookies at Christmas.

Christmas cookies have been part of my Christmas celebration for as long as I can remember. I always knew the season started when my mom began making cookie dough. There was never ever just one type of cookie made. Instead there was a wide variety to please most stomachs: sugar cookie, gingerbread, peanut butter balls, killer balls (chocolate bon bons), molasses, and always a new cookie to try.

My mom, sisters, and I put on aprons ready to help measure, stir, crack, and taste. Licking the beaters was always the best. (I’ve eaten raw cookie dough as long as I can remember.) The cookie production was always messy and chaotic, but at least only one kind was made at a time. Everything flowed within the flour mess as each had a job. Laughter and Christmas music was heard in the background.

Anticipation hung in the air as the cookies baked. We peaked from outside watching them bake. Finally, the moment to taste our delicious creations. Silence as we took our first bite then smiles and mmms were suddenly heard. Christmas is truly here.

Now came the fun part to give personality to each cookie. Sugar cookies and gingerbread were frosted with bright colors, candies, and sprinkles to dazzle. Each looked so unique that you almost didn’t want to eat.

Cookies were carefully selected and placed on plates. Plastic wrap held them together with a red ribbon. The cookies were ready to give to friends, family, and neighbors. Our special treats became theirs to taste. The Christmas season was truly here.

 

 

Merry Christmas from the Grinch!

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Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!

― Dr. Seuss

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope you have a safe and festive holiday!

Goodbye Christmas

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If you visit you’d find no Christmas decorations, cookies, holiday songs in the background, and peppermint scent. (I feel bad for peppermint, since its only time to really shine is December.) If you turn on your radio, you won’t hear Christmas music. After listening for weeks they suddenly cut you off. Personally, I think they should gradually stop the songs. Perhaps just a few Christmas songs every hour.

We spend weeks or maybe months for some individuals preparing for the holidays. We plan meals and return to stores for ingredients we forgot the first time. We hope our best clothes or that ugly Christmas sweater looks presentable. There’s debate about who should get what. Perhaps even family arguments and conflicts occur with those you hardly see. (We secretly wish they’d perhaps leave the gathering sooner.) Christmas decorations are hung and they soon look part of the room. And the actual event takes place for just a few days.

Most people have traditions during the holiday season whether they realize it or not. Perhaps you spend a weekend picking the perfect Christmas tree in the woods. (I’ve never done that. I’m always reminded of the scene in the movie Christmas Vacation.) Maybe you view Christmas lights all over town. Maybe you cook certain foods only during the holiday. Our hearts pour out with goodness as we donate, share, and give.  Traditions and the it’s-Christmas-so-I-must-be-kind feeling makes everything special. The season may be over, but hopefully that cheer and goodness carries throughout the year.

Even though the season may be over, there’s still positive aspects. You can easily get a parking spot and won’t be waiting in long lines at the store. Those annoying Christmas songs vanish. Our schedules are back to normal. There’s no more delicious food to tease us, which we know shouldn’t be eaten.

We may say goodbye to Christmas, but keep that holiday spirit within you throughout the year. If you need a refresher, don’t be afraid to enjoy Christmas music anytime of the year. If you’re lucky maybe you’ve even saved holiday treats in the freezer. It comes just once a year, so hopefully yours was memorable.

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

― Charles Dickens

Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad

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José Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad 

written and illustrated by David Diaz

song lyrics by José Feliciano

All Ages, 28 pages

I was excited when I discovered this book at the library, since “Feliz Navidad” is one of my favorite Christmas Songs. (Go ahead and click the video to listen while you read.) In the book, José Feliciano’s Feliz Navidad the reader almost sings along as the lyrics are slowly written on the pages. José Feliciano was born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York at a young age. He wrote “Feliz Navidad” when he was homesick during the Christmas season. Feliciano was born blind, but that didn’t stop this songwriter who won six Grammy Awards with more than sixty-five albums. The book describes a parranda that is a Christmas tradition in Puerto Rico. A parranda is basically a caroling parade when neighbors and friends surprise each other from house to house with small instruments. The festive parade lasts hours and moves through the neighborhood with singing, dancing, and food. At the end, there is a huge feast and cookout often with a roasted pig that brings everyone together. The book was very colorful and festive, which is appropriate for such an upbeat Christmas song.

 

The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale

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The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale

by Aaron Shepard, illustrated by Wendy Edelson

Ages 8 & up, 32 pages

Van Amsterdam is an honest baker in the Dutch colonial town that later becomes Albany, New York, who gives exactly what his customers pay for. Van Amsterdam was always busy, because people trusted him and his treats were so good. He was especially busy before December 6 to celebrate Saint Nicholas Day. The gingerbread cookies painted red and white with a bishop cap are famous throughout town. An old woman enters the store and demands another cookie, but Van Amsterdam isn’t tricked since a dozen is twelve. However, after meeting the old woman everything goes wrong in his bakery and no customers enter his bakery. Van Amsterdam has a dream that Saint Nicholas himself gave him one of his own cookies but realizes that it was the old woman. He awakes and realizes that he can give his customers more. Van Amsterdam is determined to get his customers back as he bakes many Saint Nicholas cookies. The old woman enters and she’s pleased when the baker hands her thirteen cookies instead of a twelve.

 

Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons

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Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons

by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jane Dyer

Ages 5 & up, 40 pages

Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons is similar to a vocabulary book with lessons than an actual story. You may not realize it, but there are many lessons and emotions when we make cookies. Each page has a bold word and definition that relates to the cookie making process.  Some of the words and lessons mentioned are Anticipation to wait all day to make cookies,  Charitable to give a batch to people, Frustrated that the cookies burnt again, and Family to enjoy the cookies together. In the book, animals have human-like characteristics as they help bake and share cookies. If you enjoy this book, the author wrote similar food lesson books. Personally, Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas without baking and sharing cookies.

 

Weekly Quote: Dr. Seuss’ Christmas Grinch

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What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

― Dr. Seuss (How the Grinch Stole Christmas!)