OUR LIFE IN 3D

The Home of Daddy's Day Dare! ~ I am just trying to stay above water

Raise a Glass!

I just finished breaking an entire package of Christmas Oreos into teeny-tiny pieces……I say with a sneer. I’ll keep Christmas from coming this year!

Its true, I just wasted an entire package of Oreos. Well, not really ‘wasted’. We’ll get back to them. But it is one of my Holiday Traditions.

We are nearing that time of year when we prepare our  holiday Christmas  traditions; traditions we all cherish over the years. I know every one has their own traditions. I wanted to share some of our favorites.

First is our holiday Warm Spiced Wine. Hot spiced wine is an easy and festive way to celebrate the season. It can be made ahead of time and served by the glass to visiting family and friends. I actually got this recipe from the Flemming’s Steakhouse  a few years back.   The wine is great if it is cold outside. Plus, it fills your rooms with a very aromatic holiday scent for the evening. This recipe is Flemming’s Vin Brule.

You will need: 1 orange, sliced and seeded
½ cup of sugar
1 cup of tea or water
3-4 cloves
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 bottle of red wine – they recommend a light fruity wine like a Pinot Noir

Simply combine the orange, sugar, water or tea, and spices in a stainless steel pot. Slowly bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the wine and slowly reheat but do NOT boil. Strain and serve.  

In Italy they say wine enhances any meal or mood. Our tradition is to enjoy the spiced wine Christmas eve; after church, after the kids go to bed. Plus the warm cinnamon fills the house with a traditional smell. I pour a coupla glasses, make a fire, and watch “A Christmas Story”.

That’s one of ours traditions, whether for the two of us or a festive gathering with friends or family.

Another tradition we have enjoyed is a train under the tree. We still get a real tree. I love the smell of one! The train we use has been passed down from my father, a 1963 Lionel. It is one of the fond memories from my childhood, hoping to pass it on to our kids.

Although Dylan asks me tonight, “Why do you get the train out Daddy if you never run it”. OK, so I try to protect the train. It may run a total of 10 minutes the whole month of December.  I told her “Well I got the other pieces out (Dickens village) and how many got broke this year? (we always have some casualties with the youngungs roaming around) She thought that did make sense.

It has evolved into a nice Dept. 56 Dickens Village beneath the tree. We picked up a piece or two each year when we were first married, including the 12 Days Of Christmas pieces. My hope is the girls cherish this as much, when they get older, as I did when I was a kid. Take a look at our living room: transformation

After opening the gifts Christmas morning I always make a French Toast brunch. The thing that makes this breakfast special is the batter we use is actually egg nog (think about it). The egg nog makes a great, thick coating and we can drink the balance with our meal. Mmmmmm! Add in some bacon and some warm buttery blueberry syrup and you might just skip the opening of presents and head right to Brunch.

Christmas dinner has usually consisted of the baked ham. My family travels a great distance for the dessert though for my homemade Oreo Mint ice cream.  I make it from a Ben & Jerry’s recipe. The broken up Oreos and mint ice cream could be the most perfect after dinner dessert! This is the best stuff!

The mint has a soothing feeling after a big dinner. Plus the decadence of homemade ice cream satisfies any gluttonous urges. 

An alternate dessert, if you are simply too full after Christmas dinner, is my Raspberry Alexander. I actually made this favorite way back when I was a bartender in my 20’s. It’s a shot of Chambord, plus a shot of milk and 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream swirled together in a blender. Pour in an up glass and top with a sprinkle of nutmeg.  If you don’t want to wait that long, simply pour some Chambord over a heap of vanilla ice cream in a bowl.

I grew up with leaving our opened Christmas gifts beneath the tree for a few days. It still seems festive that way to me. My wife likes to put the gifts away right away, clearing the mess and making some room. We dispute who is correct each year.

So, I want to ask you,

which do you do on Christmas?

Do you put your gifts away that day or leave them out a few days longer?

Please settle this for us.

And I invite you to share some of your treasured Christmas traditions in the comments! Especially if they are vastly different from ours.  No one’s is right or wrong.

Because Christmas, perhaps, doesn’t come from a store. Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

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29 thoughts on “Raise a Glass!

  1. Tarah Hayes on said:

    Hey Andy!
    It’s Tarah (Jessie’s oldest sister) before I start can you please tell Sabrina and the girls HI for me! I miss that sweet little Dylan, I never got to meet the new bundle of joy but from what I can see I would melt over her too! Christmas for us has always pretty much been the same year to year. Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa’s with all of the family, then Christmas morning Santa would come to our house! Even with us girls being 29-25-24 Santa still comes, and we all gather at Mom and Dad’s house bright an early! About 4 years back Mom, Jess, Cass and myself started going to Midnight Mass. I think for us it was a way to remember that there is another reason for this glorious time of year, we always get wrapped up in gifts and the hussle and bussle of it all that the spirtual part of Christmas slips away. About the presents after Christmas morning, Mom would make us take them back to our rooms she didn’t like the clutter either. Then again there would always seem to be a few presents that lingered under the tree for a couple of days so I think our family is 50/50. Then like you we would have a big Christmas morning breakfast and fall fast asleep again! I saw you crush up Oreo’s for your ice cream thought I would share a sweet little treat with you using crushed Oreo’s.

    Oreo Truffles

    1 Package of crushed Oreo’s
    1 8oz Package of cream cheese
    2 Bags of Wilton Candy Melts (White Chips)

    Crush all the Oreo’s into small bits, then mix in your cream cheese. Once the mixture is sticky and holds a shape roll small amounts into balls. Whatever size you would like it is up to you. Place them on a cookie sheet and stick in the refridgerator, about 15 minutes after they have been in the refridgerator start melting your Candy Melts, read the directions on the bag. Take the truffles out, then you simply just roll your truffles into the melted chocolate coating the entire ball and place back on the cookie sheet. Let them harden for a bit in the refridgerator. Then enjoy!

    You can even let the girls have fun and add sprinkles to them before the outside shell hardens!

    I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

    Lovingly,
    Tarah

    • Sorry, I had to go out to get all those ingredients. It sounds D-lish! It was great hearing from you! Please tell everyone we wish them a very Merry Christmas as well. We miss you! And if you make it to town please stop by! ~ I could use a break!

      All the best Tarah!

      ~Andy

  2. We always get a real tree too– and cut it ourselves! It’s a great tradition. Additionally, we make homemade dark hot chocolate and read classic Christmas poetry like Milton’s “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity.”

  3. Kate, it must be COLD where you live! Its going to be 70 here today. I have been reading the story of Christmas to my oldest before she goes to bed.She’s 31/2. I should find Milton’s poem as well. Thanks for sharing!

  4. When I was a little girl we could never open our presents till Christmas Day. That would be fine if Mom saved them till Christmas Eve but no she would put them out as she bought them (of course Santa always brought some too) Do you know how much temptation that was for an eight year old? So late at night a week before Christmas I would tip toe out of my room and slowly unwrap a present or two then carefully wrap them back up. Christmas morning would come and I would tear that wrapping off those gifts, being so excited at what my presents were (usually Barbies) I would run and hug and kiss Mom and Dad and say thanks. Mom and Dad never knew I already knew what I got And that my friend was the beginning of my acting career..lol

    • Your parents never figured it out? My parents brought down both their gifts and Santa’s gifts Christmas eve but I had found their hiding spot 3-4 years before I confessed I no longer ‘believed’. so, like yo, I had to pretend. Thanks for looking in CJ! Have a great week!

  5. The kids love the train and always want me to run it. But I don’t let them touch it too much. It still has the paid receipt in the box from 1963. The whole village we try to make look like a department store window but it gets harder to do each year. Thanks for looking in and commenting Diana! Have a great week!

  6. GymRockStar on said:

    Reblogged this on Lifting My Spirits and commented:
    Love the train!

  7. Yum, thank you for sharing your recipe traditions! And all the others. We leave our stuff out, ad nauseum because my birthday is Jan. 4, so we like to keep things festive through then, even if the tree has deteriorated to Charlie Brown Christmas tree-status by then. We’re the last dufuses on the block to haul our tree out, usually, and we don’t care. Gifts? They stay under our tree until A.) children have written a proper thank you letter to the giver, or B.) giver has visited children and seen gift under tree and/or in use. Great post, 3D!

    • Well Sea Muse, if you can ‘speed’ up the coast Christmas week you and your crew can sample some of those goodies. :)Thats a great policy for keeping the gifts beneath the tree. I will remember that. When we were kids our tree and train village was set up in our basement, which we didn’t use too much and so that tree stayed down there until Valentines Day.

  8. Growing up my family would leave opened presents under the tree. We don’t do that now because I just want them to put their stuff away. Plus, they don’t want to leave their stuff there anyway.

    • You’re right. After 2 hours it hard to determine which is th enew toys and which were pre-Christmas. Every year the room gets smaller it seems. I hope you and your congregation are doing OK Derek! Thanks for stopping by…

      • We are doing alright. It is a weird place to be, but we are learning some things. I have posted some on what is going on over the past week, if you are interested in that. But, we are trying to get a handle on Christmas coming. I had forgotten about that in all the craziness.

  9. I’m originally from TX, but never heard of leaving the opened gifts under the tree. We don’t have a real protocol in our family. Most gifts end up stacked and piled on the nearest clean surface until it’s time to play with them or they can be sorted out. We also watch “The Shoot Your Eye Out Movie” as my daughter calls it, and have recently adopted an Elf on the Shelf. My husband is insane for Christmas so we’ve got the Griswold spirit in most every room in the house. Sounds like yours is a great place for building memories, and the Rasp. Alex. sounds devine!

    • I like that, ‘The Shoot Your Eye Out Movie’. I am slowly turning into the ‘turkey junky’. And it sounds like your husband and I need to get together and swap some ideas. I am off next week so I hope to finish the rest of the decorating. I have so many leaves coming down outside it hard to set up the outdoor lights and scene. The Rasp. Alexander always got rave reviews, kinda like Rasp soft ice cream, if your diet alllows such. Thanks for stopping by Ms. Griswald! 🙂

  10. strawberryquicksand on said:

    One tradition that we have at Christmas is to buy my dad After Dinner Mints. Another is that I go to church with mum and aftewards open one present. (I’m not religious, mum is Catholic – I would go along for the singing of carols because it was fun). Being an Aussie family we open pressies on Christmas day, so opening one after midnight mass was kinda fun. Technically it was Christmas day. Now that I’m married to a Finn I’m quite used to the idea of “little Christmas” or opening presents on Christmas even and celebrating then.

  11. When we were kids we got to open one gift Christmas Eve too. And you are right, half the fun of Christmas Eve services was the music. I think Christmas Eve or Christmas day would be OK either way as long as the whole family was able to be together. Christmas Eve would spoil the illusion of Santa though, although I beleive Europeans have a different version of Santa don’t they? Thanks for dropping by and adding your great traditions Ms. Strawberry! Its a wonderful time of the year no matter how you celebrate it.

  12. We put most of them away, but a few presents and the package aftermath may sit there for an extra day!

  13. Whoa, looking at my comment from last year – what a trip! I suppose the only comment I can add that is new to you this year is my love of all things trains. We also had lots of toy trains. There is a place about 8 miles from our house that has the most incredible model railroad setup – you can look at all the different little communities and things for hours as different electric trains speed ’round and ’round. Your girls would love it…I know our boys do, it’s a place of wonder. Trains are very nostalgic. I took my boys on their first real train trip in 2011 – they’ve never forgotten it. That’s a wonderful setup you’ve got there under the tree!

    • Thank you SSM! Would you believe decking the tree takes a good. 2 days? I try to make it like a department store but it is harder to do each year. I love the sound of your neighborhood train station. Any pics previous blogs? It sounds like you know your trains! Thanks for adding inhere, again this year! Merry Christmas!

  14. I’ve got my glass raised and I’m waiting for you to fill it!!! I can’t decide which incredible drink I want first. Perhaps all of them? And the homemade ice cream with ores – YES PLEASE! What great traditions you have. It was fun to see the village come to life.

    We definitely leave the gifts under the tree for a couple of days. I give each kid a laundry basket and tell them to put all of their toys in the baskets (at least this way they are not scattered all over the place). It seems to work for us. Mr. Brickhouse is usually the one who can’t handle the chaos and mess. 🙂

    I see you read my “bata” post, I was having technical difficulties and could not accept comments. I finally figured it out! I can picture you in a royal looking bata! LOL.
    Have a wonderful Christmas, Andy!

  15. I think, living where you live Maria, you should try the Hot spiced wine. In the end its not far from a sangria with all that fruit in there. And our tree, with village, takes a good full 2 days to come to life, with all the buildings and people and trees and bushes. And I just made bunch more ice cream so there is plenty to go around…PERFECT after one of your spicy meals! the image of me in a blue Bata is not far from the truth EXCEPT I know cameras will be blazing so I do try to throw on some jeans that morning..Have a great weekend Ms. Brown Eye! Thanks for dropping in…

  16. Maybe a good idea would be opening one present daily, but you would need like to add a few more presents in exchange of the wait. and you can always leave those boring books for the last day.
    I already opened my stuff a while ago, also the one I bought for myself yesterday, but I will play with it on xmas night, I wont be bored.
    I think the best is to focus on the dinner and desserts, the little train under the tree too.
    Couldnt watch the video cause youtube is not working here, again.

  17. Andy, Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

  18. Hi Andy,

    Thanks so much for sharing your Christmas traditions with your blogging family. I just love reading about what people do for Christmas. You are creating some wonderful memories for your children.

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

    Nancy

  19. We just laid some reindeer food for the reindeer team out on the lawn and now warming the Pinot Noir with the fruit, coves and cinnamon. The girls are getting their jammies on and Christmas Story starts at 8pm. I was sitting in church earlier for the girl’s Christmas pageant and gave my wife a nudge at the beginning and whispered in her arm “Let Christmas begin.”
    Best wishes for a wonderful beginning, middle and end to your Christmas holiday and its happy memories Nancy! Thanks for dropping by..

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