Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Snow is falling, though not quite as heavily as it was a few minutes ago.  It blankets the already covered lawns and walkways.  It clings to tree branches and windshields.  It creates driving havoc. My husband is hard at work sanding the roads making them safe for the trip home from Sunday Christmas shopping trips.   But the freshly fallen snow also creates beauty. It creates almost a quiet hush over the neighbourhood, with the exception of the cries of excited children.
The neighbourhood children are all busy building snowmen and forts and piling the snow as high as they can to slide down it on their toboggans and snowboards.  They take a wheelbarrow and literally shovel the snow off the road or the neighbouring lawns and pile it up.  Their cheeks are rosy and their woolen mittens hang from their strings, heavy with balls of snow, and wet from play.  They take turns pulling each other on a sled, up and down the cul-de-sac.  For them, snow means Santa will be here soon... soon enough!! Only 33 days away! Yikes!
I must confess, I'm getting in the spirit earlier this year than years past.  Maybe because I'm not at work and I've had time to think about the holiday season.  I started my Christmas letter a couple days ago and today started on my Christmas cards.  My international ones should have gone out last week... opps!! I'll get those out tomorrow.  
I was even prepared enough to mail my cousin's parcel to Finland by the end of October this year.  And it arrived on Thursday!! Hurray!! The past two years I mailed it before mid November and it didn't arrive until February!  Happy Valentine's instead!  My cousin has a 2 1/2 year old daughter, and she is the reason I send gifts.  I have no little girls in my family and my girlfriends all have boys, multiple boys!! So spoiling a little girl at Christmas is wonderful.  I bought her a Tinkerbell doll, which H allowed her to open already.   And saved the rest of the parcels for Christmas.  Her daughter said that Santa lives in Canada!  I can accept that and will fill that roll happily!
I visited my first couple of craft shows yesterday as well, which always gets me in the mood for Christmas, even if I'm not buying... ideas and looking at the Christmas crafts always helps set the atmosphere.  I did buy some Finnish cinnamon twists... soooo yummy, and Finnish dark rye mini bread rounds.  They're like a flat bun... slice, butter (or margarine in my case), fresh roasted turkey... Delectable.  I love my ethnic background cuisine...
I was going to start my Christmas baking today, I even bought most of the ingredients last week... but I was sidetracked by... well... okay, I just found the couch too comfortable and really couldn't decide at all what I want to start with!! Nanaimo bars... Raspberry macaroon bars... Butter tarts... Stained glass cookies... Ginger cookies... Just for starters.  I always bake, lots, and give some to my bachelor uncle and my papa.  My grandma in the past few years always had me make her Nanaimo bars for her as she had trouble with.  I found the recipe online and modified it so that it was perfect... and now I'm the Nanaimo queen of the family.  This week mum, papa and I will also make our first batch of stollen - German fruit bread - NOT fruit cake.  This light, almost fluffy bread is filled with almonds, candied peel and red and green cherries.  It's as much of a Christmas family tradition as turkey and sweet and sour purple cabbage for dinner!
The snow has slowed considerably... It's almost warm enough to turn to rain... I would have gone out to shovel the driveway, but tried the other day and failed miserably shovel in hand... way too hard on the shoulder.

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