Archive for December, 2011

HOLIDAY FIND:

The holiday market at Holley New York’s Hurd Orchards.

GIFT WE WANT:

“Almost Famous – the Bootleg Cut” recently released on Blu-Ray DVD for the first time.

WAY TO GIVE BACK:

Help a child smile for the first time by buying a holiday gift in support of Operation Smile.

I mentioned the fun I have been having finding old Christmas items in the house.  I just came across this Santa pitcher and I think is just great.  I love the whimsical design that harkens to the 1950’s. He makes a nice addition to the bourbon cabinet to make it look festive for the season.

I think I may have come across a new theme for the upcoming flea market season…  Christmas barware.  Just what I need – another collection!  But what a great one!

santpit

HOLIDAY FIND:

Trixie and Peanut’s holiday shop with specialty items for our pets and those who love them.

GIFT WE WANT:

An iVictrola – old school record player horns modified for the iPod = very cool!

WAY TO GIVE BACK:

Help No Kid Hungry eliminate childhood hunger in America.

DK1I love reading anything by Charles Dickens any time of year and am a big fan of his work.  Like so many, I pull out my well-worn volume of “A Christmas Carol” every year and read it.  Sometimes, I read it aloud to myself, doing voices and everything.  But that is a story for another time.

This year brings some extra excitement for us Dickens fans as 2012 marks the bicentennial of his birth.  As a result there will be all sorts of commemorations of this milestone all over the world, especially in London.

The wonderful Museum of London has already kicked things off with a new exhibition.  The museum describes the event as “a major new exhibition at the Museum of London focusing on the life and work of Charles Dickens, launches a year of celebrations in the capital marking 200 years since his birth.”

Meanwhile, everything you need to know about the Dickens Bicentennial can be found on the official Dickens Bicentennial website.

I am hoping to mark the Dickens Bicentennial in many ways, and it is a good excuse to visit London in 2012 – even more so than the Queen’s Jubilee and the Summer Olympics.  As if I have ever needed a reason to visit London.

In the meantime, please excuse me as I retire with a tumbler of bourbon and my copy of “A Christmas Carol” as I settle in for one of my most cherished holiday traditions.

See the official Dickens Bicentennial website here.

See a brief story about the Dickens Bicentennial from the BBC here.

See more about the Museum of London’s Dickens Exhibition here.

dmt2I have been having a fun time sorting through the boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations I found stored away in the attic of the old family homestead.  My mother loves Christmas, and every year decorated with a different theme.  The result of this is an eclectic mix of items from mid-century kitsch to Victorian charm.

As a tribute to my mother’s creativity, I have been decorating one of the three trees in the house with a mishmash of ornaments from the various years.

But it is the old Christmas ceramics that I just love.  I found this set of vintage Santa demitasse cups which I adore.  I placed them in the built-in liquor cabinet to help keep my growing bourbon collection company.  I discovered that the little bottles of Bailey’s Irish Cream I purchased fit nicely inside these great cups.  I am going to use them as decoration on the table while entertaining for the holidays.

dmt1

HOLIDAY FIND:

Snowflake Doily Placemats from the Curiosity Shoppe.

GIFT WE WANT:

A membership to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

WAY TO GIVE BACK:

Support music education for children through Little Kids Rock.

PRSSMy dream is to some day host Christmas dinner for the family.  However, since moving so far north (to New Hampshire) it is hard to get everyone up here for Christmas with all the competing events and things the family has going one.  So I will settle for Thanksgiving.

However, the good news is that this year I will be continuing the recent tradition of my preparing Christmas dinner for my parents and their lifelong friends Don and Sylvia, who are very much like an uncle and aunt to me.

I will be making the dinner at the home of my parents.  I like to prepare a menu that includes traditional Christmas dinner elements, but is just a little different and relatively healthy for the restricted diets of some of the participants. 

My menu is below and is mostly simple things of my own creation.  However, I found a great recipe in Country Living magazine for Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells, which I am going to try.

I will let you know have it turns out.

Christmas Dinner 2011

Starters:

  • Tomato soup (Made from tomatoes preserved from my garden)
    Garnished with shaved parmesan and mint
  • Salad of fresh greens with a light raspberry vinaigrette

Entrée:

  • Pan-seared turkey loin with figs and cranberries
  • Pumpkin-Ricotta Stuffed Shells
  • Garlic and Herb Mashed potatoes
  • Steamed Asparagus with Lemon
  • Traditional Butternut squash
  • Fresh-baked rolls

Assorted desserts and surprises!

HOLIDAY FIND:

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.

GIFT WE WANT:

A guitar shaped cast iron skillet from Lodge Cast Iron.

WAY TO GIVE BACK:

Make a donation in a friends name and help homeless pets with Petsmart Charities.

HOLIDAY FIND:

The 12 Days of Christmas Plates from Olive and Cocoa.

GIFT WE WANT:

New pajamas from Brooks Brothers.

WAY TO GIVE BACK:

Adopt a gorilla in the wild and support the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

HOLIDAY FIND:

Everything you need to celebrate Hanukkah at Hanukkah Sale.

GIFT WE WANT:

Anything from Cartier – even if it is just to support their wonderful Winter Tale advertising campaign featuring the most beautiful leopard ever.

WAY TO GIVE BACK:

Support Create Now and help “transform lives through arts mentoring.”