Christmas Trees, Books and Recipes

Free Today on Amazon

Due to my San Francisco holiday, I didn’t put up the Christmas tree until December 19. It was a snowy day and as I hung the ornaments, I listened to the holiday music I’d been studiously avoiding since before Thanksgiving. It was an enjoyable way to spend a cold, dark afternoon.

I’ve always been one to put up the tree later in the season. If I put it up too early, it becomes part of the furniture and by the middle of December I barely notice it’s there. Traditionally, Christmas trees weren’t put up until close to Christmas, sometimes not until Christmas Eve. Here’s an interesting article on when to put up and take down the tree.

Here’s our tree after I finished decorating.

Oh Christmas Tree

A fake – err – renewable tree from Target.

I love interesting, fun, creative ornaments. Here’s a video of my favorite one. Turn up the sound to hear the holiday message from a certain Vulcan.

A lot of people have both Monday and Tuesday off this year, and are doubtless enjoying the long holiday weekend. If you’re looking for something to read or some holiday cooking inspiration, I’ve got a nice variety of Amazon freebies listed below.

However you celebrate, have a happy and joyous holiday season!

Hell's Christmas  Hell’s Christmas by Cynthia P. Willow
Monika Hell seemed to have it all. She was gorgeous, owned a nice condo, an expensive car, an endless wardrobe, and had a great job as a store manager in the mall. But, she was mean, miserable, and worst of all, hated Christmas. Kidnapped from the mall parking lot on Christmas Eve, her life is turned upside down. Now, on Christmas morning, she finds herself in a freezing alley with nothing but the tattered clothes on her back. With no identification, no money, and no one willing to help, Monika is forced to start all over. Could losing everything she’d worked for all her life lead her to find what’s been missing all along?

Rain and Revelation  Rain and Revelation by Therese Pautz
On the rugged, rain and windswept coast of Ireland, twenty-year-old Eliza Conroy’s predictable life is shattered when she returns home to find her mother bathing in her own blood. Eliza sets out to understand the events leading up to that fateful day and discovers that she has been deceived her entire life by those she loves and trusts the most. What she uncovers threatens to destroy her family and tight knit community and Eliza is forced to choose between the cost of speaking the truth and remaining silent.

Dear Santa...... A CHRISTMAS STORY  Dear Santa…… A CHRISTMAS STORY by Jay Frankston
This is a true story about a Jewish man bringing magical joy to children in a big city at Christmas time. Perhaps you have already read this story in Reader’s Digest or Chicken Soup for the Soul. Even so, you will enjoy reading it over and over again. This little book has been translated into 15 different languages.

Christmas in Pennsylvania: 50th Anniversary Edition  Christmas in Pennsylvania: 50th Anniversary Edition by Alfred L. Shoemaker
Originally published in 1959 and written by one of the seminal figures in American folklife studies, this classic work examines the folk origins of Christmas in the Keystone State. Composed of interviews and contemporary newspaper reports, it records holiday traditions from the eighteenth century through the early twentieth century, including mummers, Christ-Kindel and Kriss Kringle, Christmas trees and trimming, Belsnickels, the Philadelphia carnival of horns, Moravian pyramids and putzes, Pittsburgh firecracker celebrations, and holiday treats. Now with full-color images, this edition includes Don Yoder’s new expanded afterword on recent research of Christmas customs and a selection of traditional recipes.

COOKING CHRISTMAS! (Donnas@Home)  COOKING CHRISTMAS! by Donna Stafford-Skare
“HELP! It’s my turn to cook CHRISTMAS DINNER” Sound familiar? If so, HELP is at hand! COOKING CHRISTMAS, has most everything you will need to put together a deliciously, memorable meal! From Recipes, Menus, In-depth instructions, Wine suggestions, Required cooking utensils (and the best ways to get them), food staples, Safety measures, AND SO MUCH MORE! As a BONUS, we have also included a Prime Rib NEW YEARS Dinner, with all the trimmings, and again, explicit instructions. If you are a Novice cook, then this book will quite likely become your CHRISTMAS & NEW YEARS MANUAL! If you simply need a reminder, or your adult kids could use a little help, then COOKING CHRISTMAS is for you as well! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Katharine's Mouth Watering Christmas Recipe  Katharine’s Mouth Watering Christmas Recipe by Katharine Koe
Prepare a memorable Christmas dinner with Katharine’s Mouth Watering Christmas Recipe. These are simple Christmas recipes that are packed with flavor and down-home goodness. They are easy Christmas recipes to make and all will become favorites of your family.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Holiday Recipes

Usually Yahoo’s front page links lead to nowhere but a glorified advertisement. But sometimes a link can lead to something fabulous. This is one of those times.

The following link will take you to a page with a slideshow featuring 25 favorite cookie recipes. Each slide contains a photo and the recipe without a lot of hoo-hah. Go here for the recipes.

As an added bonus, the article contained a link to Sunset Magazine’s Ultimate Holiday Cookbook. It looks like a great resource, but be warned, you will face a lot of pop-ups as you click through. If you don’t mind that, check it out here.

Yahoo! also provided a link to a slideshow with recipes for holiday gifts you can prepare in your kitchen. If you like homemade gifts, this could be a great resource. Check it out here.

Enjoy your holiday preparations!

A Victorian Christmas in San Francisco

I’m on the final day of my San Francisco holiday. I’ve had a lovely time, visiting friends, eating delicious food, and enjoying some only-in-San Francisco activities.

One of those activities is a yearly event that is dear to my heart. I’ve performed there on several occasions and still know many of the people who make this event so fabulous. I’m talking about the Great Dickens Christmas Fair.

This five-weekend holiday event recreates the London of Charles Dickens. Along with crafts and food, there are hundreds of costumed actors, musicians and dancers who perform on the stages or wander the streets, interacting with the customers. For example, you’ll see the Ghost of Christmas Present leading Scrooge, in his nightdress, through the streets and interacting with other performers. It’s a good time and really puts you in the holiday mood.

I wore male attire, though I wasn’t portraying a man. When asked, I replied, “I am not a gentleman, I am a lady of bohemian inclination.” Shocking!

While there, I enjoyed tea with my friends, Andy and Todi, who perform as part of a comedy act, Ballet Russe.

Todi and Me

Todi and Me. I’m the “blond.” Photo courtesy of Andy. Thanks, Andy!

It was a proper tea, with cucumber sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and lemon custard. When they weren’t performing, we wandered around and had a swell time.

Andy and Me

That’s me and Andy, a couple of flash coves.

You never know who you’ll run into on the fair streets of London town.

Me and Abe

After posing, we hunted down a few vampires.

All this might put you in the mood for a little (or a lot of) Dickens. Project Gutenberg has a number of the works of Charles Dickens, in many different eBook formats, and all for free. You can find them here.

Enjoy the dickens out of reading Dickens. If you’re in or near San Francisco, the Dickens Fair runs until December 23. Go!