I bought a book called Christmas Traditions. I bought it shortly after Thanksgiving thinking that maybe it would have some ideas in it that even Martha Stewart herself hadn’t thought of. But the book didn’t even hold a candle to Martha. After all Martha is the queen at taking something simple like Orange and Clove Pomander balls and turning it into a 32 step process requiring kitchen utensils I’ve never even heard of. I really had high expectations for this book. I was let down. I was so let down that it got tossed into my recipe book cabinet and I hadn’t even thought of it until today when I saw it laying there begging for a a second chance. So I thumbed throught it again. Again there was nothing that stood out and grabbed me right away. Basically some very nice ladies had obviously gotten together for their weekly sewing night and thought “Hey we should write a book of Christmas Traditions for people who have never celebrated Christmas before.” This is obviously what they were thinking when they put this gem together. There is a section on making scented pinecones and orange clove pomander balls and another section on how to make an “easy” gingerbread house using graham crackers and icing. (Real Quick side note: what is the point of orange clover pomander balls?) Then the book suggests a “new idea for office fun” to host a cookie exchange with your co-workers. Yep there’s an idea no one had ever thought of before, and aren’t cookie exchanges just great? You spend the better part of a Sunday baking 12 dozen different types of cookies to show up on Monday and get 12 dozen cookies from the 11 other people in the exchange who also thought that no one else would make mexican wedding cakes and snickerdoodles. And you basically go home with the exact same 12 dozen cookies you made in the first place. Of course I can see the point of adding this tradition to the book because if anyone watches the Today show on a regular basis they would never have heard of such a thing….. maybe everyone would bring 12 different types of vegetables and every exchange them, but never cookies. Next came the chapter about animals and Christmas. Of course it had the standard “feed the birds” craft of attempting to spread peanut butter on pinecones then roll them in birdseed and hang them outside. By the way, if your trying this trick at home, there is no way to “spread” peanut butter on pinecones, you have to basically just chuck it on there in hunks where it will stick. Next step……. Caroling. They listed the words for Jingle Bells, 12 Days of Christmas and O Christmas Tree. Who doesn’t know the words to Jingle Bells? Teagan’s pre school class sang Jingle Bells at their Christmas pagent – they are 4 and 5 year olds – did you have to print the words to Jingle Bells? (and I’m not even going to point out the obscure trivia that Jingle Bells was not intended to be a Christmas carol, it just got adopted as one). There was the chapter on how to make paper sack luminaries, and ice luminaries (not for people who live in Indiana where one day your ice luminary would be fine and the next day it would be a candle surrounded by a puddle). It had great wrapping ideas like using plain brown wrapping paper stamed with colored christmas themed stamps and “a playful gag” of wrapping a small box inside a larger box.
I almost feel bad for being such a sarcastic critic of this book, because I think think they had really good intentions. But seriously this book should have been labeled Christmas Traditions for 1st graders. And I have to admit it did have a few good points like the Gift of the Magi by O Henry – one of my favorite Christmas stories, the origin of Mistletoe which I didn’t know and a really easy recipe to make peanut butter dog biscuits which Ramey rates as a 10. (I won’t point out that Ramey eats anything placed in his dog bowl without question).
I actually started thinking about making my own Christmas Traditions book. It might be a little scary for some. For starters take “Christmas Dinner” which in my family is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Thinking of fixing a nice ham, turkey and all the trimmings? Well throw that right out the window. We pick a theme for Christmas Dinner and run with it. Everything from BBQ to Fondue to Taco’s and Finger Sandwiches. Last year we all picked a country out of a hat and had to fix a dish native to that country (I fixed rum cake and mojitos – any ideas what my country was?). We could also discuss wrapping, Momma Jr would have a lengthy chapter on how to make the “clown bag” christmas present. We would have a “traditional” baking section thanks to Kimmie – everything from fudge, to cookies and rice crispy treats. Of course you have to add the Archway cookies because Nana always had Archway cookies at Christmas – Nana wasn’t much of a baker when it came to cookies!
Ok so since I’m writing this on New Years Day, I’ll make a resolution……… for next year I will come out with the “Andi.bee Christmas Book.” I can’t wait……. Martha Stewart might actually have a heart attack if she reads it, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. After all I owe it to Martha since I’m still trying to make her “smiling confetti” to ring in the new year with by scanning all your party guests pictures into your computer, reducing the size of the picture to a 1″x 1″ then printing the pictures and using a 1″ circle punch cut out each picture and adding the pictures to your already pre-made confetti – then each guest will feel better about themselves as the toss their own smiling face confetti at the stroke of midnight. Yeah. I’m on step 1 scanning the pictures…… and as you can see it’s way past midnight on Dec 31st. (if you don’t believe me go to MarthaStewart.com)