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Virtual Xmas Party -- TODAY!!

For this Virtual Xmas Party, we've been all over the world, looked
at the houses lighted with decoraations, shopped at the Broadway Market and
listened to music, opened our hearts to the lost, lonely and unappreciated, 
baked and cooked, went to church and to an open house and to a school play.
 We've cleaned and decorated the inside of the house.  We're ready to virtually
travel to many spots around the globe -- Enjoy this Party.

Your host is Carolyn Schaffner in Buffalo, NY

****The creator of this scene has stepped away from the monitor and
I can no longer see who it is.**

Inside, in my living room, which has a loft over it and a 23' ceiling
(at the highest), I put a 17" Cedar tree. It is along the big wall and
right next to the railing of the loft. It is decorated with the miniture
globe lights, all white (notice a compulsion here???) and assorted

Also on that same wall is a 52" diameter wreath decorated by Ashley with
red berries, golden apples, sprigs of this and that, ribbons etc, very
Martha Stewart-ish.

The railing an stairway bannister have doug fir garland swagged on them,
white twinkle lights and big red bows. More garland at the top of the
walls in the dining area (which is open to the living room - room is a
misnomer here, it is all one big room with the dining room and kitchen
under the loft, and the living area open above.) The dining room garland
has colored lights in it.

Placed strategically around are Christmas arrangements, cresh and
For the party night I put luminaria along the walk from the front gate
to the arbor.

Carolyn,  I am looking forward to attending the Virtual Xmas Party and from
my beautiful island will bring Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Shrimp Pilaf, Collard
Greens and one of my favorite desserts, Ambrosia (to me a very special
fruit salad.  Another favorite of many here is Truffle Pudding, but this is
one of my favorites.  Icicles are a bad word here, whenever any slight ice
storm hits it causes great havoc to everything and everyone, so we are not
partial to this word.  We have many pretty white lights blinking through the
palm spathes, very sparkly and festive.  Interior home decorations depend
on taste, traditional for me.  Golf, tennis, walking the beach and feasting
seems to be the activities participated in with some arm bending by many.

Songs are the traditional Christmas Carols heard everywhere.  We don't
ever wish for a "White Christmas" but do enjoy the song.  I have seen many
white Christmases in the past, we were snowed in one Christmas Eve In
Illinois and a few years later in Easton, Pa.  Grew up in Indiana, had l04"
snow one season in Virginia, Minnesota.  Now you know why I really love
this island.  I am truly blessed.  My best to you and look forward to joining
in the holiday fun!

Love, Claire 235, Isle of Palms, S.C.

In this house  I keep a traditional English dinner which is on
the 25 th Dec. but I do have a tradition desert.
In Denmark the big day is the 24 th Dec, the traditional christmas bird is
Goose,  served with boiled potatoes, sugar brown potatoes, Red Cabbage, (
some have another veg, but that is rare ) and a brown sauce.
Desert: is the Traditional  Ris a L'amande
A lot of people have roast pork, but Turkeys are beginning to find their
way on to the Christmas table.
My self.
Coming from England I always keep the English Tradition of eating dinner on
the 25th Dec.
Roast Turkey, with Sage and Onion stuffing,  roast and creamed Potatoes,
Brussel Sprouts, I have a few Carrots ( finger shape ) to add contrast, and
a brown Sauce

                                   ArthurUs Goose Recipe
Cooking a Goose is similar to cooking Ducks.
6-8 people  5Kg goose
wash inside with salt water,
Stuffing ( Danish ) rather bitter apple pieces mixed with stone free
Stuffing ( English ) sage and onion, Apple sauce goes well with a goose.
Cooking time 3-4 hours. I like to twist the leg bone and if the bone comes
away clean the bird is done
                                    I do it for all types of poultry.
Temp. Start 210 c until the bird is brown then sink to 175c
The bird.
Prick the skin, not too deep other wise the fat runs into the flesh and not
Place on a rist (if one has one ) in the oven tray, start cooking with the
back up for roughly half an hour then lay the bird on it's back and finish
cooking, I have a little water in the tray at the start then I make a roux
and  remove the fat from the tray and use the residues for a rather thick
sauce ( GRAVY )
Some people have Orange gravy with goose but it's not me, maybe pieces of
orange but not gravy.
Sage and onion stuffing, I buy that when I am in England,
but I do have a recipe for that.
350 g Onions
50 g Butter, melted
75 g soft bread crumbs
 2 teaspoons chopped Sage.
salt and pepper
1 egg (optional )
Simmer the onions in a LITTLE water  with seasoning for 15 minutes (not to
big onions)
Strain and chop.
Mix with the rest of the ingredients.
Bind with the egg OR onion stock ( from boiling the water ) on can use any
meat stock.
I hope that the above can be of some help, but there is not a lot of
difference between a duck or goose.



In the garden I have a Christmas tree with Christmas tree 
illumination, and an apple tree with some colored lights. We 
have a corn sheaf for the birds.  

We took up the Xmas tree and began decorate it with lots of 
tinsel and lots of decorations.  This Xmas tree is indoors. Many 
people have real ones but we have an plastic tree; itUs rather 
like a real one. In the window we have an illuminated star (star 
of Bethlehem) and Xmas candles. We like to have an Xmas rose 
(hellebore) on the table and a pot of Christmas flowers 
(hyacinths tulips etc.). We have the Xmas cards on the living 
room table also and have an little Xmas creche in the children's 

We have built a gingerbread house, with lots of candy on 
standing in the kitchen an a tray, (the kids eat it up after Xmas).

The big difference between our Xmas compared to you is that on 
the 24 th, in the evening the Santa comes here with an sack with 
gifts, and that he shows himself.

That has to do with the tradition that in Sweden in the old days 
we didn't have a 'Santa'. We had a Brownie in every house. That 
brownie had to have an reward at Xmas every year, maybe new 
clothes or food (plate of rice pudding put outside on Xmas eve.  
The plate was often empty in the morning, maybe they believed it was the brownie, but I think it was some badger or fox).

If the brownie was well treated all went well in the house and
the animals were well also (The brownie took care of the 
animals as well, and if the horse had its tail plaited, you knew 
that the brownie had been there).

On Xmas instead of 'Santa' we had an Xmas goat that was coming 
with the gifts. And one city in Sweden built an huge Xmas goat 
made of straw every year. Some have smaller Xmas goats made of straw.

Later, the traditional goat had transformed himself to a 'Santa'.

We have an funny name on the Xmas presents:  'JULKLAPP'.  I 
heard an explanation of this word on TV this weekend. This is 
because on Christmas you went to another person and knocked 
on the door and throw in a piece of wood or something, with 
something written on it, and then you ran.
(klapp = similar. to knock.)

All the traditions are changing constantly. When there is no need 
for them they don't appear any more. The tradition of having the 
traditional 'LUTFISK' on the Xmas table is more and more 
transformed to having salmon instead.

Many traditions are from Germany.
But the tradition of gingerbread seems old.  The nuns in the 
convent around the year 1300 were eating gingerbread.

Xmas has been celebrated here since the Vikings but then, it 
was to honour some another gods (Frej and Freja .....), and to 
prepare themselves to the coming year. Then later on this 
celebration was transformed to a Christian one.

The recipe of Kottbullar (or meatballs), is a real Swedish one, 
suits well on all occasions also on Xmas, children love them.

Best Wishes

Gunnar Andersson, ekaguan@kkeka.ericsson.se

Thanks for the invitation!

  In every previous season, we have followed the same pattern in our
house on Christmas day - get up around 9am, have a big breakfast, then help
get the cookery underway. Then we go sit by the fire and open all the gifts
(the best part of the day) and follow that with an enormous dinner. The
afternoon is spent by recovering from dinner!! - usually in the form of a
stroll around the nursery. In the evening we have a light tea and retire to
bed early. Boxing Day we usually walk a lot to try and lose a few pounds!

Last year though, all of this changed - I "escaped" home and now live ten
miles from the nursery with my girlfriend Kate. We only moved in together
three weeks before Xmas last year, so we were not well prepared! We had
breakfast at our home in the morning, drove here to the nursery to have
dinner with my parents, and then went on to Kate's parents house for a huge
supper. It was lovely, but we were fooded-out!!! We also had (and gave) tons
of gifts!
So this year we are doing things slightly differently in the hope that we
will not explode from over-eating! We plan to start with breakfast at home,
then I will come here to my parents, and Kate will go to her parents. We plan
to go for a walk to build up an appetite (probably a better plan than trying
to walk it off afterwards!) After a couple hours we will all get together at
nd have one ENORMOUS meal! After that we will play
some games, have a few drinks and generally flop around a bit!

Favourite Christmas food: my personal favourites have to be:
for breakfast: scrambled egg with smoked salmon
for dinner: roast venison in a red wine and juniper marinade, with cranberry
sauce, along with sage and thyme stuffing, roast potatoes, rich gravy and all
the trimmings
for dessert: Mum's home made sherry fruit trifle (I don't like Xmas pud)
for supper: something easy-going after all that! Cheese and biscuits is a
and at regular intervals during the day: CHOCOLATE!
Plus plenty of good wine and fine traditional real ales - we have an
excellent local brewery that makes a special winter ale each year. The
strength of the ale corresponds to the year, so this year's ale is 9.7%
alcohol (for 1997) (almost as strong as wine, but we drink this by the
pint!). It is called "Old Pecker" and its lovely!

Favourite Christmas activity: opening the gifts, and seeing family love what
you have chosen for them. I'm not Christian, so there is no church-going for
me. For me Christmas is about being with the family (or families now!).
I have one other favourite Christmas activity - it involves Kate and some

Christmas decorations:
at my parents home: well, their house is huge (a converted 200 year old barn)
so we cut lots of boughs from the nursery and decorate with those. We have an
enormous tree, about 16-18 feet high. Lots of tinsel too and plenty of cards.
It usually takes two or three days of hard work to decorate the house.
at home with Kate: well, our apartment is tiny, so no room for a tree. I take
some boughs of berries from the nursery, and we add some simple white lights.
Twigs and stems decorated with simple gold and silver stars and globes are a
favourite. Kate has artistic training, so she loves to play at making
Christmas decorations!

Well, that's my Christmas. I think the keywords are "food" and "drink" in our
family - and lots of it. As for Boxing Day - well then the keywords are
"indigestion" and "bloated"!!!!!!!!

Hope you have an excellent and very happy Christmas, followed by a prosperous
and iris-filled New Year!  :-)

Graham Spencer
Croftway Nursery, UK
No snow for Christmas here - snow rare before January.

This year won't be much of a festive
occasion I figured I'd tell you what I really like doing for Christmas

First of all, our mahjor Christmas celebration comes on Christmas eve.
(The result of myhusband nad his ex-wife having joint custody of their
son, but now that he's gone the custom remains for us.) (Another reason
for celebrating Christmas eve is that our grades used to be due on Dec.
26, and since we are both major procrastinators, that's usually put off
til; the last m,inute and so that's what we do Christmas day.)
ANyway, I always coook a goose, too--only it's stuffed with slightly
crushed garlic and roasted til crisp, pricking constantly to get ris of
the fat (which comes out garlic flavored and makes the most wonderful
gravy imaginable.)  I mash the potatoes with sour cream and littel goose
cracklings. Then I make a succotash pudding which is just like the
traditional corn pudding people often serve, except using limas, too.  And
finally the family traditional cabbage rolls, which are stuffed with
bacon, rice and sauerkraut and onion, and served with browned butter.
When Roger finally emerges I bring out plates of creamy Brie and saga blue
cheese and small cocktail rye bread, and a couple bottles of champagne,
and we nibble and open gifts and talk.

Next morning I emove all the precooked Christmas dinner from the frig and
stick it in the oven and grade while it heats.

 Carol Wallace
PA (just outside Scranton) Zone 5b with some zone 6 microclimates
                     Christmas Morning at the Lacey's

   We gather in the basement where I share my collection of antiques with
my son's internet business.  The knotty pine walls are decorated with
Christmas quilts I have made - one is of old world Santas, another is a
star pattern, and another a line of angels.  Our homemade grapevine tree is
covered with dried  flowers from our garden, and little clear lights,
topped with a white paper angel and skirted with a cow quilt (husband is a
veterinarian).  We use lots of red candles in old family holders on the
table and for our breakfast feast have sliced oranges, a ham quiche, sticky
rolls, fruitcake and stollen.
  Merry Christmas to all from snowy Sioux City, Iowa.  Lawrence and Helen Lacey

My two favorite appetizers are:  1) to take some pastry dough and cover a
wedge of brie with it.  Then surround the brie package with garlic and roast
it all.  Serve it on the crackers of your choice.  2)  Take some cream
cheese and top it with a layer of pesto sause and minced sun dried tomatoes
( I usually sprinkle other various spices on top).  Serve this over crackers
or wedges of toasted bagel bits or french bread.

This year for Christmas Eve I'm having Mediterranean Chicken

1 Tablespoon each (FRESH)
(chop them up)

In a baking pan
Olive oil (how much is up to personal taste--but you should have enough to
cover your chicken breasts)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves minced garlic
Then add fresh chopped spices
Flatten chicken breasts
Add them to marinate mix in pan.

Marinate for 2-3 hours
Grill or bake

Serve over European salad greens
Sprinkle feta cheese over it all
and sliced olives

Drizzle salad dressing over it

Salad dressing

2 Tablespoons of each of the 4 fresh spices (chopped-up)
in olive oil

The next day I usually chop up the leftover chicken,  feta cheese and olives
and add them to boiled/steamed red potatoes.

My Mom's recipe is apricot salad.

1- 3oz pkg. of orange jello (if you double the recipe you can use 1 orange
and 1 apricot jello)
dissolve in 1 cup of boiling water
Add 1/2 cup of pineapple juice
1/2 cup apricot juice
Let it cool until it slightly thickens
Add 1 cup or can of apricots (drain)
Add 1 cup or can of crushed pineapple (drain)
Chill until firm

1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup apricot juice
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 beaten egg
2 tbsp butter
Cook until thick
Let cool
add 1 cup cool whip

Spread topping over jello
Sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese.
Barbara R --Zone 9, Northern California--Grad. Student

 We do celebrate it alright
but are slow gettig started. Last year we bought the Xmas tree on
the 24th. hoep to do better this year. I think Santa should have
Mulled Wine in the liquid form not iris. I believe he doesn't need
any more snacks. 
 For me this is
adding a bubble of fun to Christmas so i am hoping to produce the
game after I have some hort friends to tea tomorrow. 

Usually when i come to pot luck dinners I bring salad;
chopped up Romaine lettuce, chopped Feta cheese and cucumber
dressing. Gets eaten right up. Second part coming tomorrow.

Diana Louis <dlouis@dynamicro.on.ca>
Zone 4/5 Newmarket, Ontario, Canada

Xmas in Oz! Well, most of the food isthe same as in Europe or wherever your
ancestors came from. As Australia is home to over 140 different language and
ethnic groups you can see this is pretty far ranging.

The debate here usually extends to how hot it is going to be and if its
going to be fine. ie.fine and hot will see many Xmas picnic lunches at the
beach or by the pool. Raining and everyone complains and gets testy!

Christmas songs are the usual affair except there are some ingenious


Oh yeah, and since its the beginning of the long summer holiday (vacation)
period, it's when everyone starts to switch off - what the media calls the
silly season begins and we dream of beaches, listen to the cricket on the
radio and the weather report for the surf conditions, reruns on the box and
basically switchh off from the rest of the world - what I would paraphrase
from one of our historians as the good part of the tyranny of distance.

I also forgot to mention how all of this is framed by the hibiscus and
frangipani flowering away in the heat shimmer!
Happy holidays

Robert Swieca
IN%"roberts@phm.gov.au"  "Robert Swieca"

 I love your 12
days of Christmas and I must have some Ho Ho Ho somewhere round the
house.  Yes we do have fir and pine.  The English usually go for the
traditonal  turkey/plum pudding bit and the more sensible have
braai=barbecue and cold joints and salads etc  round pools and
things.  I do both!  Try to have the trad on Christmas eve night
ending with the Christmas Mass and go to neighbours on the day itself
for a long drawn out lunch with uproarious singsongs round the piano.
 Very merry and fiendishly hard on the digestion.  But what the heck
its only once a year.
Sally in South Africa
Sally Guye
email zosg@warthog.ru.ac.za

   Even though we don't have a "white" Christmas ours are never boring.
There are only three of us for Christmas this year but here are our
plans.  We get up at the crack of dawn and start a fire.  Then we make
hot chocolate and pass out the presents and make a huge mess in the
floor that the dog and cat are sure we put there just for them to play
        After all the ooh's and ah's as everyone checks out there toys we move
on to brunch, Texas style.  Sausage, gravy, hash browns and scrambled
eggs all rolled into flour tortillas and washed down with bloody mary's.
        Once fortified we will start cooking Christmas dinner while listening
to Christmas music by Mannheim Steamroller on the stereo.  We will start
the turkey first and watch him close to keep him basted so he will be
juicy and golden brown.  Next comes the spiral sliced honey ham with
pineapple rings, cloves and mustard glaze.  For vegetables we are
planning sweet potato pie and green bean casserole along with cornbread
stuffing and giblet gravy.  We will have deviled eggs, stuffed celery,
pickles and olives on the relish tray.  Home-made bread and sweet butter
rounds out dinner.  After we have eaten until no-one can breathe then we
will slice the pumpkin roll and top it with some whipped cream or maybe
a slice of my award winning pecan pie.
        At which point we will collapse in the living room and watch a movie
and be extremely grateful for good food and family.
        Nope, Christmas is not boring.  Fattening yes, but never boring!
Dana Brown, Lubbock, Texas  Zone 7

Okay my Xmas
As you are aware we or at the beginning of our summer the weather here is a
bit unsettled but 9 times out of 10 it is roasting hot.

We have our main meal at night time as it is too hot to eat a large meal
during the day.
The heat is such that the middle of the day is usually spent napping (kids
get up at the crack of dawn) or lying under the trees talking & relaxing
watching the kids swim.
This year we will have our table underneath a large Pohutakawa tree known in
NZ as the Christmas tree because it flowers at this time of year with bright
red flowers set against deep green leaves.
With the waves crashing against the beach as a backdrop.
Music is supplied by the native birds Tui & Bell birds.
We will have a group of friends & family with us normally we have 10/15 for
the meal.
As for the meal it's self we will have fresh seafood for an entree' usually
crayfish (lobster) paua (abalone sp?) fish (snapper or mau mau).My husband
will have been diving for these the day before so they are really fresh.

Then onto the mains we usually have Ham, Turkey, Roast beef, with a
selection of salads & coleslaws, New potatoes steamed, butter beans, minted
peas, sweet corn, with all the sauses etc.

Desert well ! ! we will have icecream, fresh strawberries, blue berries,
boysenberries,  pavolova with cream & kiwifruit topping, trifle loaded with
alcohol, peaches, pears, apricots, steamed pudding doused in brandy just
before eating, custard, whipped cream & lots of nuts, chocklate hail,
hundreds 7 thousands.

Then we are too stuffed to do much but wash the meal down with either a nice
bottle or two of wine or cider for those that don't drink.
A round of irish coffee finishes the meal of nicely.

The food is served buffet style I set out the course on a table you go up
fill your plate & them return to the main table.  I do it this way otherwise
I am so busy serving people that I don't enjoy the company of our "guests"
When the last person is full of that course it is cleared & the next on
brought in & so the cycle repeats.
This way I also get to lay a nice table to eat on that isn't all cluttered
up with food.
I try to have a low long centerpiece that way people can talk over the table
& see across without anything to block the view
I try to do a piece that has native foliage in it with red roses as a
recurrent theme.
Sonya van der Hulle at mcsmudh@wave.co.nz
Edgecumbe,The Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand.


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>*      O       O       O       O  .|.  O       O       O       O       *
>*                                 -*-                                  *
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>#                                              #
>#              Guy Lippens                     #
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