Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Holiday Potluck and Recipe Ideas

Branch full of Rosehips
My Neighbors' Rosehips

Suggestions by Robin

Here in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice arrives this Saturday. Christmas will be here in a week, followed by the last week of the year and New Year’s. It’s a magical time of year, when days are short and hearts are bright. It’s a time to share food and fun with friends and family, a time when charity towards others is easy—ideally speaking. But what if we’re stressed, overwhelmed, and can’t balance our obligations? What if we’re estranged from our families? And OMG, what if we’re working retail? How can we best enjoy the holiday season as it builds inexorably to its conclusion?

Red and Green Ivy
Wintery Ivy
First of all, ask yourself what you enjoy most about this time of year. Then take as many opportunities as you can to enjoy whatever that is. What I like best is the lights. I make a point of driving by some houses that are lit up every year, or go on mini-excursions in search of displays. I walk around the neighborhood every couple of days to see who’s lit. Perhaps you like the music (my second fave), a special Christmas decoration, certain people that you see once a year, a particular cookie or traditional treat, your Christmas tree, or the seasonal parties. Whatever they are, find ways to maximize your enjoyment of your favorites. Make it your priority to find them, do them, enjoy them.

Four different types of pumpkins
Ornamental Pumpkins: Recipes TBA Soon
And what about those aspects of the Christmas season that we don’t like? Whenever thoughts of the unwanted come up, stop and ask yourself “What DO I want?” Focus on what you want, not what is painful, as you plan your course of action. Sometimes this is easy, like if you choose to walk out of a store that’s playing a carol that you can’t stand. It’s harder if others are involved. For example, if you’d like a “normal” family Christmas, you won’t be able to force others to change. However, wanting a Christmas where you feel good is feasible. Perhaps you can brainstorm (alone or with others) about changing up the routine, say no to an obligation that’s not fun, or distract yourself by focusing on getting more of what you enjoy most about Christmas. Your happiness is important, and obligation is never reason enough to do anything.

Rosemary Plant with Christmas Lights
My Rosemary Sporting Solar Net Lights
Okay, this was supposed to be about Christmas season foods and menu suggestions. Sometimes the posts just write themselves. On to the food! Everyone has traditional foods that they enjoy over the holidays, so please leave a comment and let us know your favorites. Best wishes for a happy Christmas season. Get out there and create the Christmas experiences that you like best.

Christmas/Holiday Potluck Ideas for Hosts & Guests

DIY Pumpkin Puree for Pie Filling
Peppermint Frosted Brownies

December Sunset with Bare Trees
Short Days Can Be Beautiful

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