December 11, 2008

Advent Calendar: A Few of My Favorite Things

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I thought I had written myself out of ideas for the Advent Calendar last year, but inspiration came as I was listening to Christmas music. I decided to make a list of a few of my favorite Christmas things. Here goes:

*Favorite Christmas Carol* Good King Wenceslas. There are so many carols that I love but this one just has something about it that speaks to me. It isn't just a catchy tune; it tells a story. And the story is a good one. A great king leads his servant through a storm to find a poor man in need. I remember an animated special on TV every year as a kid and for some reason loved watching it.

*Favorite Christmas Movie* A Christmas Story (or Ralphie's Christmas). All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun but all the grown ups around him say, "You'll shoot your eye out." Weren't we all like Ralphie once? Of course, now as a parent I understand the adults' fears but as a kid I just wanted that one thing that would make Christmas the Best Ever! If you'd like to see A Christmas Story but don't want to sit for 2 hours, here's A Christmas Story in 30 seconds by Bunnies or you can enjoy a scene from the movie right here:





*Favorite Christmas Gift to Give* It's not just me being cheap but I love to give handmade presents. In my younger years, it was a necessity because I was broke but now I just like giving something I made with my own hands. In the past I've made snowman candles, decoupaged pots, bath salts and other things I've forgotten. I'm not sure how the receivers feel about my Homemade Christmas but I hope they know I give from the heart. Here are some 3-D star ornaments you can make yourself.

You'll need:
Double sided cardstock in pretty colours
Glue
Glitter
Hole Punch
Ribbon

Instructions:

I found instructions for making 3-D stars from Lost Button Studios. I reduced the sized to 80% and printed out a template. Cut out. Trace template to cardstock. Cut out. Follow instructions for folding. Cut out a large circle out of coordinating cardstock. Glue edges of star and place in center of circle. Hold in place and before glue dries sprinkle with glitter. Tap off excess glitter. After glue dries, punch hole in top and string a ribbon as a hanger. Voila! A pretty ornament to give to friends.

*Favorite Christmas Gift to Get* Books! Now I love to get handmade gifts too but nothing beats a book, especially something really unique. My parents were so great at getting me interesting books when I was growing up. One of those was an illustrated copy of Edgar Allen Poe's stories. I still have it. It's really beautiful.

*Favorite Christmas Cookie* It's still my mother-in-laws Melt-In-Your-Mouth Shortbread from last year's Advent post. Here is the recipe one more time:


1 lb butter
1 cup sifted icing sugar
3 cups sifted flour
½ cup cornstarch
Cream butter, add sugar & gradually add flour & cornstarch sifted together. Whip mixture until fluffy & mixture breaks or looks curdled. Drop by teaspoons or put through cookie press onto cookie sheet. Bake at 300F until light golden brown (about 20 minutes).

*Favorite Christmas Candy* Here in Canada, every year the restaurant chain Swiss Chalet has the Festive Special: chicken, potato, cranberry sauce and stuffing. As a treat, they used to give mini Toblerone bars. A few years ago they switched to Lindt chocolates instead. You would have thought they committed blasphemy. "What?! No Toblerone!" Even Rick Mercer made a comment on his show about it. I was so disappointed. So, you've guessed it. Toblerone is my favorite holiday candy. Probably because it's so hard to share, I get to eat it myself ;) Nom, nom, nom...

*Favorite Christmas Tradition* It might sound dorky but my favorite tradition is visiting friends and relatives. This time of year is the one time people make an effort to see old friends.

*Favorite New Tradition* Now that I'm a parent, the best new tradition in my life is Christmas morning after Santa's visit. I get to relive that excitement I had as a child through my daughter. When I was her age, I was awake before the sun rose. Christmas Eve is so busy my girl is exhausted and I'm usually awake before she is, waiting for her to wake up. I love how Christmas brings the kid out in all of us.

So, what are your Christmas favorites?

Finally, I'll leave you with a photo of my cat who's not very impressed by a Santa hat.





****I got the dates mixed up so enjoy my post a day early****

27 comments :

  1. My favourite Christmas tradition is decorating the tree - we string cranberries for it and it's always fun to sit around and chat or watch a movie while stringing cranberries. My favourite cookie is Ginger Snaps. I have a great recipe for them too - I guess I should post it on my blog and share it with people. :)

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  2. I've been looking for a good shortbread cookie recipe. I have to give this one a try!

    I love chocolate, but have never tried Toblerone. I've heard such great things about it, but for some reason I haven't ever bought one. I think I'm going to have to remedy that.

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  3. I love A Christmas Story, too. Elf is a close second for me. I think I have that exact same shortbread recipe - it was my mom's.

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  4. Scott Schwartz who played Flick in A Christmas Story is a friend of mine... I love that the movie has become such a cult movie and think it's hysterical that around this time of year in toy stores you will find the ladies leg lamp !!

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  5. I love A Christmas Story, too! Somehow I never saw it until about 3 years ago, but now it's my fave. Interesting tidbit -- the actor who played Ralphie was in Elf, he was the elf keeping track of Will Ferrell's Etch-a-Sketch production. And you can't really tell it from that movie, but he turned out cute!

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  6. Your cat doesn't seem very happy with that little hat :)

    I love Toblerone. Oh my, that stuff is yummy.

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  7. I have been enjoying your favorite Christmas carol several times each day. My son is learning the song on both the violin and the piano.

    It is lovely.

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  8. I was wondering why you would post an Advent Calendar post a day before you are participating in the calendar. lol

    Books are my favourite thing to get for Christmas, too. :)

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  9. Melanie- Mmmm...ginger snaps.

    Alyce- Oh you have to try it!

    Bermuda- There are so good!

    DesLily- How cool that you know someone in the movie!

    Tammy- I watched Elf just the other day and remember the Etch-a-sketch scene. Too bad I wasn't paying attention.

    Iliana- No, she was not too happy. It was my girl's idea. She thought it was hilarious.

    Christina- Oh how nice!

    Kailana- Yeah, duh! I was thinking of my girl's Christmas concert and got the date all mixed up. I really need to write stuff down.

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  10. Well, it was such a lovely post that it deserves two days in the limelight!

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  11. Anyone that has a cat will appreciate the fact that you were able to get a picture before that hat was ripped off. Great post looks like I have some cookies to try.

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  12. Loved your post!

    I wish I was handy and creative but I am not, not in the make-your-own-gifts-department. People would be horrified to receive anything I had created. LOL. And they would try hard to put on the right expression ;o) I did write two guide-books which were published, but cannot keep giving that darn book away, I guess all have read it by now.

    I love to receive books, of course, and giftcards for bookshops, ebay and Itunes.

    Louise

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  13. Great, wonderful post! Love your Victorian postcard - I can never get enough of Victorian illustrations. The Christmas special you loved - and me, too! - was 'A Christmas Messenger', narrated by Richard Chamberlain. Loved that Bunnies version of 'A Christmas Story' - we really love that movie. My husband got a wall clock last year featuring the 'It's a Major award' leg lamp. The Swiss Chalet/Toblerone debacle - no wonder Rick Mercer went on about it. And I have to admit I love the picture of your cat tolerating the merriment, if only for a second.

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  14. I agree! Handmade presents are fun! This is the first year that I've given handmade presents, and I must say that I'm addicted! Thanks for the great post!

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  15. What a good post. And I love your star ornament; I think I'll have to try that. (and your shortbread... mmm... I may have said that last year. Doh. I really will try it this year. :)

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  16. I love favorites! Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Marg- Thanks :)

    Krissi- Cleo is the mellowest cat. You can do anything to her and she doesn't care. My other cat though...I'd be covered in scratches if I tried it with her.

    Bogsrider- How cool that you wrote a guide book!

    Julia- Thanks for reminding me! I'll have to look for it. A Major Award clock- that's too funny!

    Penelope- It's a lot of fun to do!

    Melissa- Good luck and have fun!

    Debbie- Thanks!

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  18. I LOVE Toblerone too! And I think handmade gifts are wonderful. There's something about knowing that someone took the time to make something for me that makes me feel all warm inside.

    Lovely post, Chris :)

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  19. I love "A Christmas Story" as well. The bunny movie was awesome. I must show my husband.

    Thank you for sharing the star ornament.

    Poor kitty:)

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  20. Thanks for sharing all your favourites. That star ornament looks great and thanks for the recipe too.

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  21. We've got some of the same faves! Great post!

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  22. A lot of your Christmas favourites are also mine. I love making gifts for people; it's so much more satisfying than buying a mass-produced present from a store. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time for gift making this year, but I managed to do a Buy Nothing Christmas a couple of years ago. It was tons of fun.

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  23. Where do you live in Canada? I didn't know!! I'm in Ottawa, which is deadly cold today - -21c when we woke up! and not going to warm up much, which with the bus strike means terrible shopping! gah. I did love your post, very much. I LOVE A Christmas Story - my husband and kids do now too that I'm made them watch it - and as you know from my advent post, I do make homemade cookies (and brownies) and cook meals from scratch, but forget homemade gifts! Bogsider and me have something in common!! I think my favourite song is Little Drummer Boy, it always brings a lump to my throat, no matter how often I hear/sing it. oh, great post, Chris! thank you for sharing! and now I have to try those shortbread cookies, at last i might have found one that might work for me...

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  24. Nymeth- Toberlone is soooo yummy!

    Vickie- I just stumbled upon the bunnies. I thought it was hilarious.

    Melissa- Thanks!

    Suey- Thanks, I'm glad we share them :)

    Kerrie- You are welcome.

    Memory- There's a huge Buy Homemade (buy only homemade gifts) movement on Etsy.

    Susan- Hi! I'm in Nova Scotia. My hubby travels a lot to Ottawa for business. He said it was quite cold last week when he was there.

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  25. Thanks for sharing all your holidays favorite, even when it early *grin*, with us :)

    I don't think it dorky that your favorite tradition is to visit your family and friends. I think that is a wonderful idea. Because you would want to spent your days with all the people you haven't seen in so many years, who also important in your life :)

    I also agree that hand-made presents are always special. It little things that mean so much more. And I always love to make something for the people I love :)

    My favorite? I love O'Holy Night song. I love to put up our tree and make some peppermint Bark, which I give out as gift every years. I love all the old classic and new Christmas movies (both made for TV movies & motion pic movies. And beside wrapping up presents I LOVE to see the excitment look on kids face when they open their presents. It as someone said, I love the kids bring out in all of us. :)

    I wish you and your family a Happy Holidays!

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  26. Hmmm--I'll have to go back and listen to Good King Wenceslas. It's never been my favorite, but I don't thin I've ever really listened to the words. LOVE Christmas Story! Those shortbread cookies look delicious. Thanks for sharing your favorite things with us!

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