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A Christmas to Remember V

 

 

Classic Italian Panettone

 

 

A Holiday Tradition from Italy. I wait all year for
this bread because it is quite delicious sliced thinly, toasted and
then topped with a thin layer of butter and a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar. 

 

 

 

 

Fontanini Centennial Collection Italian Stable Nativity Scene

Manger: In Norway, straw is laid under the tree in memory of the stable and manager. In some countries straw is laid under the table cloth symbolizing the straw on which Christ was laid at his birth. Europeans regard wheat and hay as a symbol of the Nativity. In America we often set up a manger scene.  

 

Mince Pies

 

Mince Pies: In ancient times these were made in shapes to represent the manager. The contents were supposed to commemorate, in their mixture, the items which the Wise Men gave to the Christ Child.

 

    Mistletoe: There are several interesting versions of the mistletoe legend. From Scandinavia comes the story of Baldur, or Balder the Apollo of the north who was hated by Loki, a wicked spirit. Baldur could not be harmed by anything which sprang from earth, fire, water or air. Loki used much effort in an attempt to devise a way to kill Baldur and finally succeeded by shooting him with a dart made of mistletoe.  

The gods, who had loved Baldur, wished to make some reparation to his mother Frigg, so they dedicated to her the mistletoe so long as it did not touch the earth. Frigg was determined that the mistletoe should no longer be an instrument of death and sorrow so she declared it to be the emblem of love and that all who passed under it should receive a kiss as a token of love.

Kissing beneath the mistletoe was regarded as a token of peace. The custom of kissing beneath the mistletoe also comes from the belief that the maid who was not kissed under the mistletoe would go another year without getting married.

When used in connection with the Christmas festivities in America, the white berries symbolize purity and the leaves the everlasting life of the babe. To others, it is just an excuse to get kissed. Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant.

 

Christmas Decorations, Feasts, Gifts and Traditions

 

Movies: It is the time of year to pull out those classic movies and watch them again. The Sound of Music is one of those movies you can watch again and again. I found this site: Trapp Family  I think you will also be interested in my Bavarian Page. Here is a link to the movie reviews:  The Sound of Music

 

 

Renaissance Holiday

 

  Music: What would Christmas be like without holiday music? Read about how the Grinch tried to steal Christmas, but everyone still sang and was happy even without presents. Did you know that you can give the same gifts as the Three Kings did? Planet Artisan  has a chest filled with frankincense and myrrh. The natural and fragrant resin nuggets of the ancient trees are in the chest and it is wrapped in a velvet pouch. It also includes a free Christmas Card. 

 

A Music Box Christmas

 

 

  Panettone: A Milanese specialty sold around Christmas time. It is a festive cake made with liberal amounts of butter. It also contains eggs, milk, raisins and currants. The light texture is very appealing and you will want to slice the Panettone and toast slices. They can then be spread with more butter and dusted with confectioners' icing sugar. Read about the history of this delicious cake. Make your own with this recipe and these pans or order one from la dolce. They have a great selection or try Need 2 Have.
 
 

 

   Peppermint Candy Canes: For a treat, stir your hot chocolate with an upside down candy cane. You can also add a piece of chocolate and two tablespoons of milk powder to those instant hot chocolate mixes. They are never quite rich enough for me. I want my hot chocolate to be creamy! If you like flavored hot drinks, look for Starbucks Christmas brew. You can also crush candy canes and sprinkle them on buttery cookie dough before baking. 

"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influences of each."  Henry David Thoreau  

I am almost sure he is talking about drinking hot chocolate and sitting by a fireplace in the winter! :) 

 

Champagne Truffles

 

 

    Piñata:  We owe a debt of gratitude for this interesting Christmas custom to Mexico. The Piñata is a paper bag made in different shapes or can also be made from a paper and glue mixture. The Piñata is filled with candies and then suspended from the ceiling on Christmas Eve. Blind-folded children take turns trying to break the Piñata with a stick. When the gifts scatter on the floor they are eagerly picked up by the other children. The one who breaks the Piñata receives an extra gift.  

 

Christmas Plum Pudding with Brandy Butter

 

     Plum Pudding: Centuries ago the King of England was caught in the woods where he had been hunting with his friends on Christmas Eve. The cook put everything he had in the pot for the simple feast and made the first plum pudding. The ingredients used on that occasion are said to have formed the basic recipe for plum pudding. 

Try the Plum Pastries at this site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miniature Poinsettias

Poinsettia: Dr. Joel Poinsettia first brought back small wild plants which had tiny yellow flowers surrounded with gorgeous red leaves to his garden in South Carolina. The shape of the red flower is like a many pointed star which gives it real significance as the Christmas flower. White and pink poinsettias are also found, yet the red ones remain the favorites and are sold everywhere as Christmas time approaches. White poinsettias could also be mixed in with the red ones to be a symbol of all that is holy and precious.  

 

 

The Christmas Crocodile

Page 6 of Christmas Symbols & Traditions

 

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