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Nov. 28th, 2012 05:08 pm
annuala: (Default)
So the last two days involved some kitchen time... I like to be prepared for the holidays well ahead of time, even for Christmas Eve supper. I baked two tourtieres for that, one yesterday and, once I was informed that we'd likely need two, another today.


Tourtiere is a French-Canadian dish, a meat pie that's traditionally served at supper after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, though it can be served pretty much any time. Recipes vary: mine includes ground pork and beef, onion, garlic, and a mix of spices and herbs. But what I liked best about this year's end product (so far--there'll be no tasting till Christmas Eve, of course) is that perfectly golden-brown crust. It's something I aim for and often fall short of whenever I bake pies.
annuala: (xmas)
Due to technical difficulties (we lost internet access yesterday morning), I was unable to brighten your Christmas day with this:

I have a bonus treat, too. We had a family brunch yesterday with my brother, SIL, and niece. Last night, it was dinner at their place. And as some do, we're having family over for Boxing Day. It was going to be a potluck dinner, but it's become a finger-food-and-nibblies sort of affair. Nothing wrong with that! But if you've had your fill of family for the season, here's a seasonal tune from Elvis Costello:

annuala: (countdown)
I was brought up Catholic. I spent countless Sunday mornings in church and attending Sunday school (technically called Catechism, even though since Vatican II, the Catechism has rather gone by the wayside). I have to admit, even though I'm sort of lapsed, I still feel the pull to Mass on Christmas Eve. And Christmas Eve Mass always--in whatever church I was in--included this song. It still calls up indefinable emotions for me.

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Right, into the home stretch. Here's a traditional carol that I once had to sing as part of a choir. (Yes, strangely enough, I was part of a choir once, long ago. Can't credit it now.) This version is sung by the great Pavarotti. I dare you not to have tears in your eyes and/or feel uplifted by this.

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The forecast is calling for snow tomorrow, a couple of inches. Naturally, that means I won't be driving. Sadly, that will be hard on both parties: me, because I won't be able to sneak a nap in the afternoon (I'll be short on sleep that night), and my brother, because he'll have to stay till 11 PM in order to drive me home. But I'll try to be positive. After all, who doesn't like a white Christmas? And hey, Kim Stockwood here can almost (almost!) make me feel good about snow:

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A blessed Yule to you, if you celebrate the solstice, as the Norse (and Germans, and others) did. For indeed, 'tis the longest night of the year. It's already getting dark here, and it's not even 3:30 PM yet! (Though I suspect that might have a little something to do with the rain.) In honour of this holy night, an offering from the choir of King's College, Cambridge, "O Holy Night."

(Yes, I know it's a different holy night, but let's just go with it.)
annuala: (countdown)
Oooh, here we are, just five more sleeps till Christmas... or in my case, four and a half sleeps (I won't be getting much sleep Friday night, on account of a) working late and b) working early the next day).

On my frigid walk this morning, I was listening to a Christmas mix CD that I'd made some years ago and wondering how I'd make up to [personal profile] jenni411 for "Dominick the Donkey" yesterday. And then the next track on the CD was the following. [personal profile] jenni411, I know there's nothing particularly Christmassy about Pachelbel's Canon in D, but somehow Trans-Siberian Orchestra make it work.

annuala: (countdown)
Sorry I missed out yesterday. I got up late, having had a late night beforehand, and I had to be at work for 11:45, so between breakfast & my shower, I didn't have a chance to go online. But I'll make it up today with two videos.

I'm in a sort of silly mood, so here are a couple of silly ones. First, the inimitable Louis Armstrong with "'Zat You, Santa Claus?"

And here's another, possibly not as well known: Lou Monte's "Dominick the Donkey"

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Nuts! I love 'em! I remember Dad always buying a bag of mixed nuts in the shell at Christmastime, and all of us having a go at them. Dad ate the most, I think, but I'm sure I was a close second. And what do you need to get at nuts in the shell? A nutcracker, of course!

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A couple of Facebook friends posted a version of this involving the Muppets, which put me in mind of the "proper" version. It's always been one of my favourite carols, though I tend to prefer an all-bells version.

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Until I hear this song on the radio, it's not really Christmas. I don't know why. I've loved it since I was a kid.

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Guess what? The weather has turned! It's sunny... and... well, baby, it's cold outside!

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This is my niece's favourite holiday tune. (I'd say "Christmas," but the song never mentions Christmas, just snow, sleighs, and bells!) At 3, she's hard-pressed to sing any song the whole way through, save "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star," but she sure can jingle those bells! Here's Diana Krall putting a jazz spin on it.

annuala: (countdown)
Time for an old chestnut... roasting on an open fire, of course. Most people seem to like Nat King Cole's version of "The Christmas Song" the best, but frankly, I don't think you can go wrong with the writer of the song. I give you the Velvet Fog, Mel Torme, singing his classic:

annuala: (countdown)
It's not really looking a lot like Christmas here--we're having another one of those aberrant Decembers, like last year, when it rains instead of snows (though there was a bit of snow mixed in the rain when I went to the supermarket this morning). It's kind of chilly & dreary, actually, with all this rain. It almost makes you want to go someplace warm for Christmas...

annuala: (Default)
Let's be silly today for the advent calendar. There are lots of silly Christmas songs, songs about missing front teeth and mommies kissing Santa Claus and reindeer running over grandmas. But this is one of the best (and least annoying, IMHO). Make room for that big, big present!

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Today is St. Nicholas' Day; if you're a Dutch child, this is the day you discover treats in your wooden shoes. Somehow, St. Nicholas (Sinter Klauss) became conflated with the gift-giving that surrounds Christmas over the centuries, and now we have Santa Claus (or HoHo, as my three-year-old niece calls him). So in honour of the day, today's Advent Calendar treat is a little tune to remind us that the jolly old elf himself is on his way:

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Today, the advent calendar has a little Canadian content, or Can-con as we call it here in the Great White North. We open up the little window and... omigosh! Barenaked ladies!

annuala: (Default)
Today's song is a bit... off-beat. I know it's a favourite of a lot of folks. I like it as representative of how many of us experience the holidays with our loved ones. Family: the people who know us the best, and know exactly which buttons to push. So behind the little window today, we have The Pogues:

annuala: (countdown)
One of my favourite seasonal movies is The Nightmare Before Christmas. I know it's a favourite for a lot of you, too. It's generally the one DVD I pop in to start my Christmas viewing. In honour of that (I'll be watching it tomorrow night, likely), here's Jack Skellington discovering Christmas Town:


annuala: (Default)

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