A Christmas grab-bag

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Valchloesmall
Anne here, with a post about Christmas Downunder. I know it's early, but this is my last post before Christmas, so I thought I'd share my experience of the holiday season. The thing is, it's summer here, and yet for most of us, our Christmas traditions come from northern hemisphere winters. But what is Christmas without tradition?

It adds a kind of craziness to the whole thing, because we know we're supposed to have snow and sit around fires singing carols and drinking hot eggnog. But for us Christmas snow comes out of spray cans and we scrape it off the windows in the new year.

Instead of snow for Christmas we get flocks of parrots who come to feast in the fruit trees or pick through the grass for seeds and sweet roots. I just found an email from last Christmas, where I wrote this to a friend up to her ears in snow: Littlelorikeet
There's a hot north wind blowing, it's around 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Melbourne at the moment and the plum tree in my back yard is full of eastern rosellas and some kind of green parrot. They're clambering about, hanging upside down, screeching and fluttering as they gorge themselves on the ripe plums on the highest branches. And every now and then my dog (who is a fruit-loving dog and wants the plums for herself) barks and leaps about, and out from the tree bursts a flock of 20+  whirling, brilliantly colored parrots, who circle, then settle again. It's gorgeous to watch. I have plenty of plums for my own use, so they're welcome for the ones they get.

But it's not only the parrots who feast. Traditionalists, like my family, will usually have the full traditional baked dinner in the middle of the day, with roast pork, turkey, ham and hot vegetables, followed by hot steamed plum pudding with hot custard and/or cream. Pudding
Even if it is 100 degrees. And after the huge meal has settled, the oldies will snooze, and the younger ones will head for the beach… wearing red santa hats with white fur around the rim…

Part of my own family tradition is to start the Christmas feast with crayfish (lobsters). My grandfather was a keen fisherman after he retired and in the weeks leading up to Christmas he'd start catching crayfish and bringing them home to be kept alive in a big tub until Christmas morning. The crays often prised the lid off and would be found crawling across the garage floor, nippers at the ready. Invariably my brother would grab one and start chasing people with it.

Littleangels

As for sitting around fires singing carols, we do have rather a lovely variation on that — Carols by Candlelight. In small towns,big cities and suburban parks, people gather on Christmas Eve (though some places have it on different nights) and sit on the grass, light candles and sing carols. It's a secular, rather than a religious event. The evenings are usually warm and balmy and it's like a huge extended family picnic.
Here's a picture of two small angels –my nephews, singing unselfconsciously. And here they are again, halos slipping.  This is an old photo – they're all grown up now.Shaun&robbie

We always have a real tree and for many years it's been one my dad grew on some land we had. They're not as neatly shaped as the trees you buy, but there's a personal connection there and it's kind of fun, rigging up an uneven tree to make it stand. I love decorations and make a ritual out of unpacking them, and enjoying the associations various pieces have.

The lead-up to Christmas tends to be hectic, here, as it signals the beginning of the long summer holidays, so workplaces are finishing up their year's work, and getting ready for office end-of-work parties before they close down for a couple of weeks. It's the end of the academic year as well, so the kids are getting their certificates and putting on concerts and then they are home, needing to be entertained…

Which leads me into the theme I started two weeks ago, on holiday crafts. I've had a couple of people write to me saying they enjoyed making the projects I mentioned last time and did I have any more. So here are some more:
Here is a very pretty free downloadable snow papercut bookmark  Snowflakebookmark

Paper quilling (or paper filigree work) was a popular craft in Victorian times. It looks very complicated, but the foundation is simply rolled strips of paper. Victorian misses made beautiful snowflakes and other lovely ornaments from them.

Filigreeornament
 

Here's a site with some lovely patterns for Victorian Christmas ornaments

I've always loved jumping jacks and here are some sites with some wonderful downloadable patterns. How to make a jumping jack

Here's a jumping jack to print, cut out and assemble

A vintage santa jumping jack

An antique Dutch one here Paperdollchainsmall-1

Happy Holidays, everyone. This year I'm not doing the traditional big family  dinner on Christmas day — it's crayfish (lobster) and prawns and champagne on the beach for me! Followed by fresh cherries. I've cooked  one Christmas dinner for friends already — crayfish, oysters and prawns to start with, then roast pork (the crackling worked a treat) and roast potatoes, asparagus and green beans, then plum pudding with brandy-cream sauce, so that's it for cooking northern hemisphere traditional meals in southern hemisphere hot weather!
And I did all my present shopping on oxfam unwrapped, so hey ho — I'm freeee… 🙂 … to do my revisions 🙁

Throw a snowball or three for me, folks. We aussies are ridiculously romantic about snow — we don't get it except in the mountains in July, but our ancestors came from snowy climes and so we're brought up dreaming of a white Christmas, even as we pack up a picnic and head for the beach.

Question: what are some of your favorite holiday traditions? What's a treasured childhood memory of this special time of year?

100 thoughts on “A Christmas grab-bag”

  1. Anne
    Your traditions are very much like my families we have the hot lunch with all of the trimmings I have made 3 Chrissy cakes and I have to make the pudding this week everyone is coming to my place this year and 2 of my daughters are having babies and they are both due this Saturday so I have been working really hard to get everything done before they arrive.
    The cards are written out ready to post today the presents just need to be wrapped the tree is up and decorated by my 2 and 1 year old grandchildren you can imagine what it looks like but that is one tradition in my family the children always decorate the tree it would never make the front page of any home magazine but we love it just the same.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  2. Anne
    Your traditions are very much like my families we have the hot lunch with all of the trimmings I have made 3 Chrissy cakes and I have to make the pudding this week everyone is coming to my place this year and 2 of my daughters are having babies and they are both due this Saturday so I have been working really hard to get everything done before they arrive.
    The cards are written out ready to post today the presents just need to be wrapped the tree is up and decorated by my 2 and 1 year old grandchildren you can imagine what it looks like but that is one tradition in my family the children always decorate the tree it would never make the front page of any home magazine but we love it just the same.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  3. Anne
    Your traditions are very much like my families we have the hot lunch with all of the trimmings I have made 3 Chrissy cakes and I have to make the pudding this week everyone is coming to my place this year and 2 of my daughters are having babies and they are both due this Saturday so I have been working really hard to get everything done before they arrive.
    The cards are written out ready to post today the presents just need to be wrapped the tree is up and decorated by my 2 and 1 year old grandchildren you can imagine what it looks like but that is one tradition in my family the children always decorate the tree it would never make the front page of any home magazine but we love it just the same.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  4. Anne
    Your traditions are very much like my families we have the hot lunch with all of the trimmings I have made 3 Chrissy cakes and I have to make the pudding this week everyone is coming to my place this year and 2 of my daughters are having babies and they are both due this Saturday so I have been working really hard to get everything done before they arrive.
    The cards are written out ready to post today the presents just need to be wrapped the tree is up and decorated by my 2 and 1 year old grandchildren you can imagine what it looks like but that is one tradition in my family the children always decorate the tree it would never make the front page of any home magazine but we love it just the same.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  5. Anne
    Your traditions are very much like my families we have the hot lunch with all of the trimmings I have made 3 Chrissy cakes and I have to make the pudding this week everyone is coming to my place this year and 2 of my daughters are having babies and they are both due this Saturday so I have been working really hard to get everything done before they arrive.
    The cards are written out ready to post today the presents just need to be wrapped the tree is up and decorated by my 2 and 1 year old grandchildren you can imagine what it looks like but that is one tradition in my family the children always decorate the tree it would never make the front page of any home magazine but we love it just the same.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  6. Anne, we have a variation of the Jack-in-the-Box (one made with a cardboard cone, a stick, a bit of fabric and a smidgen of glue), who has made himself at home on our coffee table every Christmas for more than twenty years now. He, a set of Christmas blocks and a Teddy bear who reads “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” go there because even the smallest hands can touch them without fear of harm to hands or cherished decorations.
    Even though the song “White Christmas” has been a part of all the Christmases I remember, I have never seen snow at Christmas. We rarely have snow this far south in the U.S. A few flurries are enough to create great excitement and longing thoughts of school closings.
    So many of our holiday traditions are connected to food. I don’t do a lot of cooking. On a day to day basis, I opt for convenience and consider my slow cooker and microwave indispensable. But Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, I use the recipes my mother and my grandmother used and don’t begrudge the time and effort. I love the sense of connection I feel to my past and theirs. I’ll save the cake baking until after the 19th when school will be out and three of the grands will be here to argue about which cake is best and who gets to scrape the frosting bowls. That’s another tradition that goes back through the generations.

    Reply
  7. Anne, we have a variation of the Jack-in-the-Box (one made with a cardboard cone, a stick, a bit of fabric and a smidgen of glue), who has made himself at home on our coffee table every Christmas for more than twenty years now. He, a set of Christmas blocks and a Teddy bear who reads “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” go there because even the smallest hands can touch them without fear of harm to hands or cherished decorations.
    Even though the song “White Christmas” has been a part of all the Christmases I remember, I have never seen snow at Christmas. We rarely have snow this far south in the U.S. A few flurries are enough to create great excitement and longing thoughts of school closings.
    So many of our holiday traditions are connected to food. I don’t do a lot of cooking. On a day to day basis, I opt for convenience and consider my slow cooker and microwave indispensable. But Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, I use the recipes my mother and my grandmother used and don’t begrudge the time and effort. I love the sense of connection I feel to my past and theirs. I’ll save the cake baking until after the 19th when school will be out and three of the grands will be here to argue about which cake is best and who gets to scrape the frosting bowls. That’s another tradition that goes back through the generations.

    Reply
  8. Anne, we have a variation of the Jack-in-the-Box (one made with a cardboard cone, a stick, a bit of fabric and a smidgen of glue), who has made himself at home on our coffee table every Christmas for more than twenty years now. He, a set of Christmas blocks and a Teddy bear who reads “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” go there because even the smallest hands can touch them without fear of harm to hands or cherished decorations.
    Even though the song “White Christmas” has been a part of all the Christmases I remember, I have never seen snow at Christmas. We rarely have snow this far south in the U.S. A few flurries are enough to create great excitement and longing thoughts of school closings.
    So many of our holiday traditions are connected to food. I don’t do a lot of cooking. On a day to day basis, I opt for convenience and consider my slow cooker and microwave indispensable. But Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, I use the recipes my mother and my grandmother used and don’t begrudge the time and effort. I love the sense of connection I feel to my past and theirs. I’ll save the cake baking until after the 19th when school will be out and three of the grands will be here to argue about which cake is best and who gets to scrape the frosting bowls. That’s another tradition that goes back through the generations.

    Reply
  9. Anne, we have a variation of the Jack-in-the-Box (one made with a cardboard cone, a stick, a bit of fabric and a smidgen of glue), who has made himself at home on our coffee table every Christmas for more than twenty years now. He, a set of Christmas blocks and a Teddy bear who reads “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” go there because even the smallest hands can touch them without fear of harm to hands or cherished decorations.
    Even though the song “White Christmas” has been a part of all the Christmases I remember, I have never seen snow at Christmas. We rarely have snow this far south in the U.S. A few flurries are enough to create great excitement and longing thoughts of school closings.
    So many of our holiday traditions are connected to food. I don’t do a lot of cooking. On a day to day basis, I opt for convenience and consider my slow cooker and microwave indispensable. But Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, I use the recipes my mother and my grandmother used and don’t begrudge the time and effort. I love the sense of connection I feel to my past and theirs. I’ll save the cake baking until after the 19th when school will be out and three of the grands will be here to argue about which cake is best and who gets to scrape the frosting bowls. That’s another tradition that goes back through the generations.

    Reply
  10. Anne, we have a variation of the Jack-in-the-Box (one made with a cardboard cone, a stick, a bit of fabric and a smidgen of glue), who has made himself at home on our coffee table every Christmas for more than twenty years now. He, a set of Christmas blocks and a Teddy bear who reads “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” go there because even the smallest hands can touch them without fear of harm to hands or cherished decorations.
    Even though the song “White Christmas” has been a part of all the Christmases I remember, I have never seen snow at Christmas. We rarely have snow this far south in the U.S. A few flurries are enough to create great excitement and longing thoughts of school closings.
    So many of our holiday traditions are connected to food. I don’t do a lot of cooking. On a day to day basis, I opt for convenience and consider my slow cooker and microwave indispensable. But Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, I use the recipes my mother and my grandmother used and don’t begrudge the time and effort. I love the sense of connection I feel to my past and theirs. I’ll save the cake baking until after the 19th when school will be out and three of the grands will be here to argue about which cake is best and who gets to scrape the frosting bowls. That’s another tradition that goes back through the generations.

    Reply
  11. Helen — 3 Christmas cakes — wow! I believe that Christmas cake and Christmas pudding (the fruit-soaked in-brandy sort) is very unpopular in the USA. I’ve never understood why. A friend of mine says they use candied fruit, whereas we use dried fruit — sultanas, currant, etc. But I love fruit cake. I used to make one every Christmas for my dad, as it was his favorite thing.
    And in my family, my brother-in-law usually makes the Christmas pudding — it’s the size of a large canteloupe, mixed weeks before, boiled in a cloth and left to mature until Christmas day, when it’s boiled again. I love it hot, but it’s also yummy cold, sliced like a piece of dense fruit cake.

    Reply
  12. Helen — 3 Christmas cakes — wow! I believe that Christmas cake and Christmas pudding (the fruit-soaked in-brandy sort) is very unpopular in the USA. I’ve never understood why. A friend of mine says they use candied fruit, whereas we use dried fruit — sultanas, currant, etc. But I love fruit cake. I used to make one every Christmas for my dad, as it was his favorite thing.
    And in my family, my brother-in-law usually makes the Christmas pudding — it’s the size of a large canteloupe, mixed weeks before, boiled in a cloth and left to mature until Christmas day, when it’s boiled again. I love it hot, but it’s also yummy cold, sliced like a piece of dense fruit cake.

    Reply
  13. Helen — 3 Christmas cakes — wow! I believe that Christmas cake and Christmas pudding (the fruit-soaked in-brandy sort) is very unpopular in the USA. I’ve never understood why. A friend of mine says they use candied fruit, whereas we use dried fruit — sultanas, currant, etc. But I love fruit cake. I used to make one every Christmas for my dad, as it was his favorite thing.
    And in my family, my brother-in-law usually makes the Christmas pudding — it’s the size of a large canteloupe, mixed weeks before, boiled in a cloth and left to mature until Christmas day, when it’s boiled again. I love it hot, but it’s also yummy cold, sliced like a piece of dense fruit cake.

    Reply
  14. Helen — 3 Christmas cakes — wow! I believe that Christmas cake and Christmas pudding (the fruit-soaked in-brandy sort) is very unpopular in the USA. I’ve never understood why. A friend of mine says they use candied fruit, whereas we use dried fruit — sultanas, currant, etc. But I love fruit cake. I used to make one every Christmas for my dad, as it was his favorite thing.
    And in my family, my brother-in-law usually makes the Christmas pudding — it’s the size of a large canteloupe, mixed weeks before, boiled in a cloth and left to mature until Christmas day, when it’s boiled again. I love it hot, but it’s also yummy cold, sliced like a piece of dense fruit cake.

    Reply
  15. Helen — 3 Christmas cakes — wow! I believe that Christmas cake and Christmas pudding (the fruit-soaked in-brandy sort) is very unpopular in the USA. I’ve never understood why. A friend of mine says they use candied fruit, whereas we use dried fruit — sultanas, currant, etc. But I love fruit cake. I used to make one every Christmas for my dad, as it was his favorite thing.
    And in my family, my brother-in-law usually makes the Christmas pudding — it’s the size of a large canteloupe, mixed weeks before, boiled in a cloth and left to mature until Christmas day, when it’s boiled again. I love it hot, but it’s also yummy cold, sliced like a piece of dense fruit cake.

    Reply
  16. Janga, I love the sound of your jack-in-the-box and the Christmas blocks. As for snow, yes, we’re like that — I think it’s snowed in my city a couple of times in the last 10 years (in July or August), and each time, if you’re indoors you’d miss it — it lasts for maybe 15-20 minutes, but it makes all the news shows. LOL.
    Are the cakes you’re making tradtional English-style fruit Christmas cakes, or something else?

    Reply
  17. Janga, I love the sound of your jack-in-the-box and the Christmas blocks. As for snow, yes, we’re like that — I think it’s snowed in my city a couple of times in the last 10 years (in July or August), and each time, if you’re indoors you’d miss it — it lasts for maybe 15-20 minutes, but it makes all the news shows. LOL.
    Are the cakes you’re making tradtional English-style fruit Christmas cakes, or something else?

    Reply
  18. Janga, I love the sound of your jack-in-the-box and the Christmas blocks. As for snow, yes, we’re like that — I think it’s snowed in my city a couple of times in the last 10 years (in July or August), and each time, if you’re indoors you’d miss it — it lasts for maybe 15-20 minutes, but it makes all the news shows. LOL.
    Are the cakes you’re making tradtional English-style fruit Christmas cakes, or something else?

    Reply
  19. Janga, I love the sound of your jack-in-the-box and the Christmas blocks. As for snow, yes, we’re like that — I think it’s snowed in my city a couple of times in the last 10 years (in July or August), and each time, if you’re indoors you’d miss it — it lasts for maybe 15-20 minutes, but it makes all the news shows. LOL.
    Are the cakes you’re making tradtional English-style fruit Christmas cakes, or something else?

    Reply
  20. Janga, I love the sound of your jack-in-the-box and the Christmas blocks. As for snow, yes, we’re like that — I think it’s snowed in my city a couple of times in the last 10 years (in July or August), and each time, if you’re indoors you’d miss it — it lasts for maybe 15-20 minutes, but it makes all the news shows. LOL.
    Are the cakes you’re making tradtional English-style fruit Christmas cakes, or something else?

    Reply
  21. Your post reminded me of Christmases we’ve spent in the Florida Keys, where the sailboat masts were all lit in the marina—lovely. But I live in Maine, where there is snow already. Ugh.
    Our family has been having ‘cocktail parties’ on Christmas Eve instead of a regular dinner, long before the kids were old enough to drink. They always felt grown up having shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, dips and other finger foods. Now we all have plenty of champagne. 🙂

    Reply
  22. Your post reminded me of Christmases we’ve spent in the Florida Keys, where the sailboat masts were all lit in the marina—lovely. But I live in Maine, where there is snow already. Ugh.
    Our family has been having ‘cocktail parties’ on Christmas Eve instead of a regular dinner, long before the kids were old enough to drink. They always felt grown up having shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, dips and other finger foods. Now we all have plenty of champagne. 🙂

    Reply
  23. Your post reminded me of Christmases we’ve spent in the Florida Keys, where the sailboat masts were all lit in the marina—lovely. But I live in Maine, where there is snow already. Ugh.
    Our family has been having ‘cocktail parties’ on Christmas Eve instead of a regular dinner, long before the kids were old enough to drink. They always felt grown up having shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, dips and other finger foods. Now we all have plenty of champagne. 🙂

    Reply
  24. Your post reminded me of Christmases we’ve spent in the Florida Keys, where the sailboat masts were all lit in the marina—lovely. But I live in Maine, where there is snow already. Ugh.
    Our family has been having ‘cocktail parties’ on Christmas Eve instead of a regular dinner, long before the kids were old enough to drink. They always felt grown up having shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, dips and other finger foods. Now we all have plenty of champagne. 🙂

    Reply
  25. Your post reminded me of Christmases we’ve spent in the Florida Keys, where the sailboat masts were all lit in the marina—lovely. But I live in Maine, where there is snow already. Ugh.
    Our family has been having ‘cocktail parties’ on Christmas Eve instead of a regular dinner, long before the kids were old enough to drink. They always felt grown up having shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, dips and other finger foods. Now we all have plenty of champagne. 🙂

    Reply
  26. Anne, your holidays sound wonderful!
    I don’t eat fruitcake. Can’t stand the stuff. Candied fruit just isn’t my idea of ‘fruit’. My dad’s mother made a wonderful Christmas pudding, but alas, I never got the recipe.
    I live in Michigan so I’m always happy when we have snow at Christmas. On Christmas eve, our tradition is that I make a big standing rib roast with sauteed mushrooms and salad. Christmas day is always a big ham with all the fixings.
    And then I don’t cook for a week! 😀
    😉

    Reply
  27. Anne, your holidays sound wonderful!
    I don’t eat fruitcake. Can’t stand the stuff. Candied fruit just isn’t my idea of ‘fruit’. My dad’s mother made a wonderful Christmas pudding, but alas, I never got the recipe.
    I live in Michigan so I’m always happy when we have snow at Christmas. On Christmas eve, our tradition is that I make a big standing rib roast with sauteed mushrooms and salad. Christmas day is always a big ham with all the fixings.
    And then I don’t cook for a week! 😀
    😉

    Reply
  28. Anne, your holidays sound wonderful!
    I don’t eat fruitcake. Can’t stand the stuff. Candied fruit just isn’t my idea of ‘fruit’. My dad’s mother made a wonderful Christmas pudding, but alas, I never got the recipe.
    I live in Michigan so I’m always happy when we have snow at Christmas. On Christmas eve, our tradition is that I make a big standing rib roast with sauteed mushrooms and salad. Christmas day is always a big ham with all the fixings.
    And then I don’t cook for a week! 😀
    😉

    Reply
  29. Anne, your holidays sound wonderful!
    I don’t eat fruitcake. Can’t stand the stuff. Candied fruit just isn’t my idea of ‘fruit’. My dad’s mother made a wonderful Christmas pudding, but alas, I never got the recipe.
    I live in Michigan so I’m always happy when we have snow at Christmas. On Christmas eve, our tradition is that I make a big standing rib roast with sauteed mushrooms and salad. Christmas day is always a big ham with all the fixings.
    And then I don’t cook for a week! 😀
    😉

    Reply
  30. Anne, your holidays sound wonderful!
    I don’t eat fruitcake. Can’t stand the stuff. Candied fruit just isn’t my idea of ‘fruit’. My dad’s mother made a wonderful Christmas pudding, but alas, I never got the recipe.
    I live in Michigan so I’m always happy when we have snow at Christmas. On Christmas eve, our tradition is that I make a big standing rib roast with sauteed mushrooms and salad. Christmas day is always a big ham with all the fixings.
    And then I don’t cook for a week! 😀
    😉

    Reply
  31. Anne, I love your Antipodean take on the holidays! A tree full of parrots is surely as gorgeous as any decorated tree could be. And I laughed out loud at the escaping crayfish and heading off to the beach with red and white Santa caps. 🙂
    Of course, the weather in the Holy Land at winter solstice was probably closer to the weather in Melbourne than to Buffalo, near which I grew up. There’s something very cozy about being barricaded against icy winds with good food and family, but that’s more pagan than religious.
    I’d love to see the parrots in your plum tree if you get a picture sometime.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  32. Anne, I love your Antipodean take on the holidays! A tree full of parrots is surely as gorgeous as any decorated tree could be. And I laughed out loud at the escaping crayfish and heading off to the beach with red and white Santa caps. 🙂
    Of course, the weather in the Holy Land at winter solstice was probably closer to the weather in Melbourne than to Buffalo, near which I grew up. There’s something very cozy about being barricaded against icy winds with good food and family, but that’s more pagan than religious.
    I’d love to see the parrots in your plum tree if you get a picture sometime.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  33. Anne, I love your Antipodean take on the holidays! A tree full of parrots is surely as gorgeous as any decorated tree could be. And I laughed out loud at the escaping crayfish and heading off to the beach with red and white Santa caps. 🙂
    Of course, the weather in the Holy Land at winter solstice was probably closer to the weather in Melbourne than to Buffalo, near which I grew up. There’s something very cozy about being barricaded against icy winds with good food and family, but that’s more pagan than religious.
    I’d love to see the parrots in your plum tree if you get a picture sometime.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  34. Anne, I love your Antipodean take on the holidays! A tree full of parrots is surely as gorgeous as any decorated tree could be. And I laughed out loud at the escaping crayfish and heading off to the beach with red and white Santa caps. 🙂
    Of course, the weather in the Holy Land at winter solstice was probably closer to the weather in Melbourne than to Buffalo, near which I grew up. There’s something very cozy about being barricaded against icy winds with good food and family, but that’s more pagan than religious.
    I’d love to see the parrots in your plum tree if you get a picture sometime.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  35. Anne, I love your Antipodean take on the holidays! A tree full of parrots is surely as gorgeous as any decorated tree could be. And I laughed out loud at the escaping crayfish and heading off to the beach with red and white Santa caps. 🙂
    Of course, the weather in the Holy Land at winter solstice was probably closer to the weather in Melbourne than to Buffalo, near which I grew up. There’s something very cozy about being barricaded against icy winds with good food and family, but that’s more pagan than religious.
    I’d love to see the parrots in your plum tree if you get a picture sometime.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  36. Ah yes, Christmas in Oz. I did that one year, and you’re right — boy, did it ever throw me for a loop to be sitting out by the pool with 80s temperatures on Christmas Day. And I’m from California, where we never have snow for Christmas!!!
    I lived in Melbourne (Sandringham, actually) when I was there, and I think one of my favorite parts of Christmas was the Myer windows and their ornaments. They had lovely windows and these great hand-blown glass ornaments. I brought a bunch back and can’t wait to use them on a tree here.
    Those parrots look a lot like lorikeets, minus the purple to go with the flame-red orange. Loris are great…we had them all over our backyard.
    Thanks for bringing back some great memories :).
    Jessica

    Reply
  37. Ah yes, Christmas in Oz. I did that one year, and you’re right — boy, did it ever throw me for a loop to be sitting out by the pool with 80s temperatures on Christmas Day. And I’m from California, where we never have snow for Christmas!!!
    I lived in Melbourne (Sandringham, actually) when I was there, and I think one of my favorite parts of Christmas was the Myer windows and their ornaments. They had lovely windows and these great hand-blown glass ornaments. I brought a bunch back and can’t wait to use them on a tree here.
    Those parrots look a lot like lorikeets, minus the purple to go with the flame-red orange. Loris are great…we had them all over our backyard.
    Thanks for bringing back some great memories :).
    Jessica

    Reply
  38. Ah yes, Christmas in Oz. I did that one year, and you’re right — boy, did it ever throw me for a loop to be sitting out by the pool with 80s temperatures on Christmas Day. And I’m from California, where we never have snow for Christmas!!!
    I lived in Melbourne (Sandringham, actually) when I was there, and I think one of my favorite parts of Christmas was the Myer windows and their ornaments. They had lovely windows and these great hand-blown glass ornaments. I brought a bunch back and can’t wait to use them on a tree here.
    Those parrots look a lot like lorikeets, minus the purple to go with the flame-red orange. Loris are great…we had them all over our backyard.
    Thanks for bringing back some great memories :).
    Jessica

    Reply
  39. Ah yes, Christmas in Oz. I did that one year, and you’re right — boy, did it ever throw me for a loop to be sitting out by the pool with 80s temperatures on Christmas Day. And I’m from California, where we never have snow for Christmas!!!
    I lived in Melbourne (Sandringham, actually) when I was there, and I think one of my favorite parts of Christmas was the Myer windows and their ornaments. They had lovely windows and these great hand-blown glass ornaments. I brought a bunch back and can’t wait to use them on a tree here.
    Those parrots look a lot like lorikeets, minus the purple to go with the flame-red orange. Loris are great…we had them all over our backyard.
    Thanks for bringing back some great memories :).
    Jessica

    Reply
  40. Ah yes, Christmas in Oz. I did that one year, and you’re right — boy, did it ever throw me for a loop to be sitting out by the pool with 80s temperatures on Christmas Day. And I’m from California, where we never have snow for Christmas!!!
    I lived in Melbourne (Sandringham, actually) when I was there, and I think one of my favorite parts of Christmas was the Myer windows and their ornaments. They had lovely windows and these great hand-blown glass ornaments. I brought a bunch back and can’t wait to use them on a tree here.
    Those parrots look a lot like lorikeets, minus the purple to go with the flame-red orange. Loris are great…we had them all over our backyard.
    Thanks for bringing back some great memories :).
    Jessica

    Reply
  41. Maggie — “snow already”–and then you say “ugh!” ??? See, that’s the kind of thing we just don’t understand here. Aussies go all mushy and sentimental over snow. We’ve never had to shovel it, we’ve never been trapped by it, or in danger of freezing; there’s no inconvenience at all in snow for us.
    In winter we take trips “to the snow” where we visit it like a very special favorite relative. And to have enough snow for a snowman is heaven.
    When I was a little girl and we were traveling from Southampton up to Scotland by train to join my father and sister, it was an overnight trip, and in the middle of the night we were held up for some reason. Don’t know why, but the stopping of the train woke us up. And it was snowing. It was thef irst time I’d seen it actually snowing, and my 16 year old brother and I, aged 8, shot out of the train and threw snowballs and made a hasty snowman — at 2 am, while my mother looked on, laughed, and then joined in. The rest of the train thought we were demented.
    That’s what snow does to Aussies.
    Which reminds me — joke alert: What did one snowman say to the other?
    “Can you smell carrot?”

    Reply
  42. Maggie — “snow already”–and then you say “ugh!” ??? See, that’s the kind of thing we just don’t understand here. Aussies go all mushy and sentimental over snow. We’ve never had to shovel it, we’ve never been trapped by it, or in danger of freezing; there’s no inconvenience at all in snow for us.
    In winter we take trips “to the snow” where we visit it like a very special favorite relative. And to have enough snow for a snowman is heaven.
    When I was a little girl and we were traveling from Southampton up to Scotland by train to join my father and sister, it was an overnight trip, and in the middle of the night we were held up for some reason. Don’t know why, but the stopping of the train woke us up. And it was snowing. It was thef irst time I’d seen it actually snowing, and my 16 year old brother and I, aged 8, shot out of the train and threw snowballs and made a hasty snowman — at 2 am, while my mother looked on, laughed, and then joined in. The rest of the train thought we were demented.
    That’s what snow does to Aussies.
    Which reminds me — joke alert: What did one snowman say to the other?
    “Can you smell carrot?”

    Reply
  43. Maggie — “snow already”–and then you say “ugh!” ??? See, that’s the kind of thing we just don’t understand here. Aussies go all mushy and sentimental over snow. We’ve never had to shovel it, we’ve never been trapped by it, or in danger of freezing; there’s no inconvenience at all in snow for us.
    In winter we take trips “to the snow” where we visit it like a very special favorite relative. And to have enough snow for a snowman is heaven.
    When I was a little girl and we were traveling from Southampton up to Scotland by train to join my father and sister, it was an overnight trip, and in the middle of the night we were held up for some reason. Don’t know why, but the stopping of the train woke us up. And it was snowing. It was thef irst time I’d seen it actually snowing, and my 16 year old brother and I, aged 8, shot out of the train and threw snowballs and made a hasty snowman — at 2 am, while my mother looked on, laughed, and then joined in. The rest of the train thought we were demented.
    That’s what snow does to Aussies.
    Which reminds me — joke alert: What did one snowman say to the other?
    “Can you smell carrot?”

    Reply
  44. Maggie — “snow already”–and then you say “ugh!” ??? See, that’s the kind of thing we just don’t understand here. Aussies go all mushy and sentimental over snow. We’ve never had to shovel it, we’ve never been trapped by it, or in danger of freezing; there’s no inconvenience at all in snow for us.
    In winter we take trips “to the snow” where we visit it like a very special favorite relative. And to have enough snow for a snowman is heaven.
    When I was a little girl and we were traveling from Southampton up to Scotland by train to join my father and sister, it was an overnight trip, and in the middle of the night we were held up for some reason. Don’t know why, but the stopping of the train woke us up. And it was snowing. It was thef irst time I’d seen it actually snowing, and my 16 year old brother and I, aged 8, shot out of the train and threw snowballs and made a hasty snowman — at 2 am, while my mother looked on, laughed, and then joined in. The rest of the train thought we were demented.
    That’s what snow does to Aussies.
    Which reminds me — joke alert: What did one snowman say to the other?
    “Can you smell carrot?”

    Reply
  45. Maggie — “snow already”–and then you say “ugh!” ??? See, that’s the kind of thing we just don’t understand here. Aussies go all mushy and sentimental over snow. We’ve never had to shovel it, we’ve never been trapped by it, or in danger of freezing; there’s no inconvenience at all in snow for us.
    In winter we take trips “to the snow” where we visit it like a very special favorite relative. And to have enough snow for a snowman is heaven.
    When I was a little girl and we were traveling from Southampton up to Scotland by train to join my father and sister, it was an overnight trip, and in the middle of the night we were held up for some reason. Don’t know why, but the stopping of the train woke us up. And it was snowing. It was thef irst time I’d seen it actually snowing, and my 16 year old brother and I, aged 8, shot out of the train and threw snowballs and made a hasty snowman — at 2 am, while my mother looked on, laughed, and then joined in. The rest of the train thought we were demented.
    That’s what snow does to Aussies.
    Which reminds me — joke alert: What did one snowman say to the other?
    “Can you smell carrot?”

    Reply
  46. Theo, I’m going to have to try an American candided fruit cake recipe. We call candied fruit glacé fruit, and it sometimes sits on the top of a Christmas cake as a decoration. But not in the cake.
    I’ll dig out a plum pud recipe and post it. It doesn’t contain actual plums, by the way — just fruit like sultanas and raisins and currants, nuts, and a little mixed peel. But if you don’t like fruit cake, you won’t like plum pudding.
    Mary Jo I have a plum treee that’s just laden, so will do my best to get a picture of the colourful pirate raiders that I know will come. The rosellas don’t mind me and a camera; the difficulty is The Animal who, ever since she was divebombed by nesting birds, considers it her mission in life to keep birds in the air, where they belong. LOL

    Reply
  47. Theo, I’m going to have to try an American candided fruit cake recipe. We call candied fruit glacé fruit, and it sometimes sits on the top of a Christmas cake as a decoration. But not in the cake.
    I’ll dig out a plum pud recipe and post it. It doesn’t contain actual plums, by the way — just fruit like sultanas and raisins and currants, nuts, and a little mixed peel. But if you don’t like fruit cake, you won’t like plum pudding.
    Mary Jo I have a plum treee that’s just laden, so will do my best to get a picture of the colourful pirate raiders that I know will come. The rosellas don’t mind me and a camera; the difficulty is The Animal who, ever since she was divebombed by nesting birds, considers it her mission in life to keep birds in the air, where they belong. LOL

    Reply
  48. Theo, I’m going to have to try an American candided fruit cake recipe. We call candied fruit glacé fruit, and it sometimes sits on the top of a Christmas cake as a decoration. But not in the cake.
    I’ll dig out a plum pud recipe and post it. It doesn’t contain actual plums, by the way — just fruit like sultanas and raisins and currants, nuts, and a little mixed peel. But if you don’t like fruit cake, you won’t like plum pudding.
    Mary Jo I have a plum treee that’s just laden, so will do my best to get a picture of the colourful pirate raiders that I know will come. The rosellas don’t mind me and a camera; the difficulty is The Animal who, ever since she was divebombed by nesting birds, considers it her mission in life to keep birds in the air, where they belong. LOL

    Reply
  49. Theo, I’m going to have to try an American candided fruit cake recipe. We call candied fruit glacé fruit, and it sometimes sits on the top of a Christmas cake as a decoration. But not in the cake.
    I’ll dig out a plum pud recipe and post it. It doesn’t contain actual plums, by the way — just fruit like sultanas and raisins and currants, nuts, and a little mixed peel. But if you don’t like fruit cake, you won’t like plum pudding.
    Mary Jo I have a plum treee that’s just laden, so will do my best to get a picture of the colourful pirate raiders that I know will come. The rosellas don’t mind me and a camera; the difficulty is The Animal who, ever since she was divebombed by nesting birds, considers it her mission in life to keep birds in the air, where they belong. LOL

    Reply
  50. Theo, I’m going to have to try an American candided fruit cake recipe. We call candied fruit glacé fruit, and it sometimes sits on the top of a Christmas cake as a decoration. But not in the cake.
    I’ll dig out a plum pud recipe and post it. It doesn’t contain actual plums, by the way — just fruit like sultanas and raisins and currants, nuts, and a little mixed peel. But if you don’t like fruit cake, you won’t like plum pudding.
    Mary Jo I have a plum treee that’s just laden, so will do my best to get a picture of the colourful pirate raiders that I know will come. The rosellas don’t mind me and a camera; the difficulty is The Animal who, ever since she was divebombed by nesting birds, considers it her mission in life to keep birds in the air, where they belong. LOL

    Reply
  51. Anne I loved your story about the snow on your train journey that is one wish I have always had to have a white Christmas one year. I didn’t even see snow until I was 18 and went down to the Snowy Moutains for a holiday and stayed at Jindabyne loved it. I have just put the 4th cake in the oven the house smells lovely and it is cool here today in Sydney, I make them for presents for my friends and my family loves them as well one more tomorrow then the pudding on Saturday.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  52. Anne I loved your story about the snow on your train journey that is one wish I have always had to have a white Christmas one year. I didn’t even see snow until I was 18 and went down to the Snowy Moutains for a holiday and stayed at Jindabyne loved it. I have just put the 4th cake in the oven the house smells lovely and it is cool here today in Sydney, I make them for presents for my friends and my family loves them as well one more tomorrow then the pudding on Saturday.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  53. Anne I loved your story about the snow on your train journey that is one wish I have always had to have a white Christmas one year. I didn’t even see snow until I was 18 and went down to the Snowy Moutains for a holiday and stayed at Jindabyne loved it. I have just put the 4th cake in the oven the house smells lovely and it is cool here today in Sydney, I make them for presents for my friends and my family loves them as well one more tomorrow then the pudding on Saturday.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  54. Anne I loved your story about the snow on your train journey that is one wish I have always had to have a white Christmas one year. I didn’t even see snow until I was 18 and went down to the Snowy Moutains for a holiday and stayed at Jindabyne loved it. I have just put the 4th cake in the oven the house smells lovely and it is cool here today in Sydney, I make them for presents for my friends and my family loves them as well one more tomorrow then the pudding on Saturday.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  55. Anne I loved your story about the snow on your train journey that is one wish I have always had to have a white Christmas one year. I didn’t even see snow until I was 18 and went down to the Snowy Moutains for a holiday and stayed at Jindabyne loved it. I have just put the 4th cake in the oven the house smells lovely and it is cool here today in Sydney, I make them for presents for my friends and my family loves them as well one more tomorrow then the pudding on Saturday.
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  56. Jessica the parrots in the picture are indeed lorikeets. We get them and eastern rosellas, which are more colourful.
    “I lived in Melbourne (Sandringham, actually) when I was there, and I think one of my favorite parts of Christmas was the Myer windows and their ornaments.”
    The Myer Christmas windows have been a beloved local tradition here for as long as I can remember–more than 50 years — and enchant young and old. Each year they take a theme — for example a fairy story, and each window contains a scene from it.
    Here’s a site that tells more and shows some of the windows of the past.
    http://www.myer.com.au/about/christmas.asp
    One of my sisters was married on 20 December. Her husband’s beloved great-aunt was a nun who got special leave to attend their wedding. She had to be back in her Melbourne convent by midnight, and since the wedding was in Geelong, the only people driving to Melbourne were the bride and groom, heading off on their honeymoon. So the bride and groom drove off at the end of the reception with boots and tin cans and shaving cream and JUST MARRIED on the back — and a nun sitting in the back seat.
    As they neared the city, Aunty Mary leaned forward and said diffidently, “Bobbie, do you think we could make a little detour?” My brother-in-law, wondering where on earth a 75 year old nun wanted to go at 11.30pm, agreed, of course.
    “Can we stop and look at the Myer Christmas windows?” she asked.
    Of course they did

    Reply
  57. Jessica the parrots in the picture are indeed lorikeets. We get them and eastern rosellas, which are more colourful.
    “I lived in Melbourne (Sandringham, actually) when I was there, and I think one of my favorite parts of Christmas was the Myer windows and their ornaments.”
    The Myer Christmas windows have been a beloved local tradition here for as long as I can remember–more than 50 years — and enchant young and old. Each year they take a theme — for example a fairy story, and each window contains a scene from it.
    Here’s a site that tells more and shows some of the windows of the past.
    http://www.myer.com.au/about/christmas.asp
    One of my sisters was married on 20 December. Her husband’s beloved great-aunt was a nun who got special leave to attend their wedding. She had to be back in her Melbourne convent by midnight, and since the wedding was in Geelong, the only people driving to Melbourne were the bride and groom, heading off on their honeymoon. So the bride and groom drove off at the end of the reception with boots and tin cans and shaving cream and JUST MARRIED on the back — and a nun sitting in the back seat.
    As they neared the city, Aunty Mary leaned forward and said diffidently, “Bobbie, do you think we could make a little detour?” My brother-in-law, wondering where on earth a 75 year old nun wanted to go at 11.30pm, agreed, of course.
    “Can we stop and look at the Myer Christmas windows?” she asked.
    Of course they did

    Reply
  58. Jessica the parrots in the picture are indeed lorikeets. We get them and eastern rosellas, which are more colourful.
    “I lived in Melbourne (Sandringham, actually) when I was there, and I think one of my favorite parts of Christmas was the Myer windows and their ornaments.”
    The Myer Christmas windows have been a beloved local tradition here for as long as I can remember–more than 50 years — and enchant young and old. Each year they take a theme — for example a fairy story, and each window contains a scene from it.
    Here’s a site that tells more and shows some of the windows of the past.
    http://www.myer.com.au/about/christmas.asp
    One of my sisters was married on 20 December. Her husband’s beloved great-aunt was a nun who got special leave to attend their wedding. She had to be back in her Melbourne convent by midnight, and since the wedding was in Geelong, the only people driving to Melbourne were the bride and groom, heading off on their honeymoon. So the bride and groom drove off at the end of the reception with boots and tin cans and shaving cream and JUST MARRIED on the back — and a nun sitting in the back seat.
    As they neared the city, Aunty Mary leaned forward and said diffidently, “Bobbie, do you think we could make a little detour?” My brother-in-law, wondering where on earth a 75 year old nun wanted to go at 11.30pm, agreed, of course.
    “Can we stop and look at the Myer Christmas windows?” she asked.
    Of course they did

    Reply
  59. Jessica the parrots in the picture are indeed lorikeets. We get them and eastern rosellas, which are more colourful.
    “I lived in Melbourne (Sandringham, actually) when I was there, and I think one of my favorite parts of Christmas was the Myer windows and their ornaments.”
    The Myer Christmas windows have been a beloved local tradition here for as long as I can remember–more than 50 years — and enchant young and old. Each year they take a theme — for example a fairy story, and each window contains a scene from it.
    Here’s a site that tells more and shows some of the windows of the past.
    http://www.myer.com.au/about/christmas.asp
    One of my sisters was married on 20 December. Her husband’s beloved great-aunt was a nun who got special leave to attend their wedding. She had to be back in her Melbourne convent by midnight, and since the wedding was in Geelong, the only people driving to Melbourne were the bride and groom, heading off on their honeymoon. So the bride and groom drove off at the end of the reception with boots and tin cans and shaving cream and JUST MARRIED on the back — and a nun sitting in the back seat.
    As they neared the city, Aunty Mary leaned forward and said diffidently, “Bobbie, do you think we could make a little detour?” My brother-in-law, wondering where on earth a 75 year old nun wanted to go at 11.30pm, agreed, of course.
    “Can we stop and look at the Myer Christmas windows?” she asked.
    Of course they did

    Reply
  60. Jessica the parrots in the picture are indeed lorikeets. We get them and eastern rosellas, which are more colourful.
    “I lived in Melbourne (Sandringham, actually) when I was there, and I think one of my favorite parts of Christmas was the Myer windows and their ornaments.”
    The Myer Christmas windows have been a beloved local tradition here for as long as I can remember–more than 50 years — and enchant young and old. Each year they take a theme — for example a fairy story, and each window contains a scene from it.
    Here’s a site that tells more and shows some of the windows of the past.
    http://www.myer.com.au/about/christmas.asp
    One of my sisters was married on 20 December. Her husband’s beloved great-aunt was a nun who got special leave to attend their wedding. She had to be back in her Melbourne convent by midnight, and since the wedding was in Geelong, the only people driving to Melbourne were the bride and groom, heading off on their honeymoon. So the bride and groom drove off at the end of the reception with boots and tin cans and shaving cream and JUST MARRIED on the back — and a nun sitting in the back seat.
    As they neared the city, Aunty Mary leaned forward and said diffidently, “Bobbie, do you think we could make a little detour?” My brother-in-law, wondering where on earth a 75 year old nun wanted to go at 11.30pm, agreed, of course.
    “Can we stop and look at the Myer Christmas windows?” she asked.
    Of course they did

    Reply
  61. from Sherrie,
    Anne, while there are lots of people here in the US who don’t like fruitcake, there are just as many of us who like it (including me!). But we love to joke about it, and right after Thanksgiving the fruitcake jokes start circulating. In fact, the closer it gets to Christmas, just saying “fruitcake” out loud is enough for people to start laughing. It’s become a beloved butt of many a Christmas joke.
    I LOL’d reading all your fun stories about escaping crayfish, jumping off a train at 2 a.m. to have a snowball fight, and newlyweds departing with a nun in the back seat. I can tell you are a “storyteller.” (Takes one to know one!)
    There *is* something special about snow at Christmas, isn’t there? I can remember many white Christmases from my childhood. Here in Washington State, you can play in the snow any time you want, no matter the season, because our mountains are only a short drive away.
    My fondest Christmas memory (among many) involves a story that I probably told here last year (if I did, then apologies.) It has to do with a hideous plastic flower that passed from family member to family member and back again. One of us had gotten a Christmas present with this truly horrible avocado green plastic flower decorating the package in lieu of a bow. We saved the flower, and the next year, it appeared on my Mom’s present. The year after that, it appeared on my sister’s present. And so it went, staying in the family and causing great hilarity when it came time to open presents. Whoever ended up with the flower would use it on a family member’s gift the following year. This went on for years and years until the flower disintegrated.
    And then there was the time when I was a kid and Mom said I could set up the Nativity scene in a bed of angel hair. Remember angel hair? Beautiful gossamer stuff that was actually spun glass. Well, it looked so pretty and fluffy and soft that I just had to take a handful and rub it against my cheek. I had a red, painfully inflamed cheek for Christmas that year.
    Oh, and I remember this green pickle ornament my mom treasured. I forget the significance of the pickle, but it was a green glass Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a pickle, and it was always a big deal deciding where to put it on the tree. Maybe one of our commenters will remember what the green pickle was supposed to signify?

    Reply
  62. from Sherrie,
    Anne, while there are lots of people here in the US who don’t like fruitcake, there are just as many of us who like it (including me!). But we love to joke about it, and right after Thanksgiving the fruitcake jokes start circulating. In fact, the closer it gets to Christmas, just saying “fruitcake” out loud is enough for people to start laughing. It’s become a beloved butt of many a Christmas joke.
    I LOL’d reading all your fun stories about escaping crayfish, jumping off a train at 2 a.m. to have a snowball fight, and newlyweds departing with a nun in the back seat. I can tell you are a “storyteller.” (Takes one to know one!)
    There *is* something special about snow at Christmas, isn’t there? I can remember many white Christmases from my childhood. Here in Washington State, you can play in the snow any time you want, no matter the season, because our mountains are only a short drive away.
    My fondest Christmas memory (among many) involves a story that I probably told here last year (if I did, then apologies.) It has to do with a hideous plastic flower that passed from family member to family member and back again. One of us had gotten a Christmas present with this truly horrible avocado green plastic flower decorating the package in lieu of a bow. We saved the flower, and the next year, it appeared on my Mom’s present. The year after that, it appeared on my sister’s present. And so it went, staying in the family and causing great hilarity when it came time to open presents. Whoever ended up with the flower would use it on a family member’s gift the following year. This went on for years and years until the flower disintegrated.
    And then there was the time when I was a kid and Mom said I could set up the Nativity scene in a bed of angel hair. Remember angel hair? Beautiful gossamer stuff that was actually spun glass. Well, it looked so pretty and fluffy and soft that I just had to take a handful and rub it against my cheek. I had a red, painfully inflamed cheek for Christmas that year.
    Oh, and I remember this green pickle ornament my mom treasured. I forget the significance of the pickle, but it was a green glass Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a pickle, and it was always a big deal deciding where to put it on the tree. Maybe one of our commenters will remember what the green pickle was supposed to signify?

    Reply
  63. from Sherrie,
    Anne, while there are lots of people here in the US who don’t like fruitcake, there are just as many of us who like it (including me!). But we love to joke about it, and right after Thanksgiving the fruitcake jokes start circulating. In fact, the closer it gets to Christmas, just saying “fruitcake” out loud is enough for people to start laughing. It’s become a beloved butt of many a Christmas joke.
    I LOL’d reading all your fun stories about escaping crayfish, jumping off a train at 2 a.m. to have a snowball fight, and newlyweds departing with a nun in the back seat. I can tell you are a “storyteller.” (Takes one to know one!)
    There *is* something special about snow at Christmas, isn’t there? I can remember many white Christmases from my childhood. Here in Washington State, you can play in the snow any time you want, no matter the season, because our mountains are only a short drive away.
    My fondest Christmas memory (among many) involves a story that I probably told here last year (if I did, then apologies.) It has to do with a hideous plastic flower that passed from family member to family member and back again. One of us had gotten a Christmas present with this truly horrible avocado green plastic flower decorating the package in lieu of a bow. We saved the flower, and the next year, it appeared on my Mom’s present. The year after that, it appeared on my sister’s present. And so it went, staying in the family and causing great hilarity when it came time to open presents. Whoever ended up with the flower would use it on a family member’s gift the following year. This went on for years and years until the flower disintegrated.
    And then there was the time when I was a kid and Mom said I could set up the Nativity scene in a bed of angel hair. Remember angel hair? Beautiful gossamer stuff that was actually spun glass. Well, it looked so pretty and fluffy and soft that I just had to take a handful and rub it against my cheek. I had a red, painfully inflamed cheek for Christmas that year.
    Oh, and I remember this green pickle ornament my mom treasured. I forget the significance of the pickle, but it was a green glass Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a pickle, and it was always a big deal deciding where to put it on the tree. Maybe one of our commenters will remember what the green pickle was supposed to signify?

    Reply
  64. from Sherrie,
    Anne, while there are lots of people here in the US who don’t like fruitcake, there are just as many of us who like it (including me!). But we love to joke about it, and right after Thanksgiving the fruitcake jokes start circulating. In fact, the closer it gets to Christmas, just saying “fruitcake” out loud is enough for people to start laughing. It’s become a beloved butt of many a Christmas joke.
    I LOL’d reading all your fun stories about escaping crayfish, jumping off a train at 2 a.m. to have a snowball fight, and newlyweds departing with a nun in the back seat. I can tell you are a “storyteller.” (Takes one to know one!)
    There *is* something special about snow at Christmas, isn’t there? I can remember many white Christmases from my childhood. Here in Washington State, you can play in the snow any time you want, no matter the season, because our mountains are only a short drive away.
    My fondest Christmas memory (among many) involves a story that I probably told here last year (if I did, then apologies.) It has to do with a hideous plastic flower that passed from family member to family member and back again. One of us had gotten a Christmas present with this truly horrible avocado green plastic flower decorating the package in lieu of a bow. We saved the flower, and the next year, it appeared on my Mom’s present. The year after that, it appeared on my sister’s present. And so it went, staying in the family and causing great hilarity when it came time to open presents. Whoever ended up with the flower would use it on a family member’s gift the following year. This went on for years and years until the flower disintegrated.
    And then there was the time when I was a kid and Mom said I could set up the Nativity scene in a bed of angel hair. Remember angel hair? Beautiful gossamer stuff that was actually spun glass. Well, it looked so pretty and fluffy and soft that I just had to take a handful and rub it against my cheek. I had a red, painfully inflamed cheek for Christmas that year.
    Oh, and I remember this green pickle ornament my mom treasured. I forget the significance of the pickle, but it was a green glass Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a pickle, and it was always a big deal deciding where to put it on the tree. Maybe one of our commenters will remember what the green pickle was supposed to signify?

    Reply
  65. from Sherrie,
    Anne, while there are lots of people here in the US who don’t like fruitcake, there are just as many of us who like it (including me!). But we love to joke about it, and right after Thanksgiving the fruitcake jokes start circulating. In fact, the closer it gets to Christmas, just saying “fruitcake” out loud is enough for people to start laughing. It’s become a beloved butt of many a Christmas joke.
    I LOL’d reading all your fun stories about escaping crayfish, jumping off a train at 2 a.m. to have a snowball fight, and newlyweds departing with a nun in the back seat. I can tell you are a “storyteller.” (Takes one to know one!)
    There *is* something special about snow at Christmas, isn’t there? I can remember many white Christmases from my childhood. Here in Washington State, you can play in the snow any time you want, no matter the season, because our mountains are only a short drive away.
    My fondest Christmas memory (among many) involves a story that I probably told here last year (if I did, then apologies.) It has to do with a hideous plastic flower that passed from family member to family member and back again. One of us had gotten a Christmas present with this truly horrible avocado green plastic flower decorating the package in lieu of a bow. We saved the flower, and the next year, it appeared on my Mom’s present. The year after that, it appeared on my sister’s present. And so it went, staying in the family and causing great hilarity when it came time to open presents. Whoever ended up with the flower would use it on a family member’s gift the following year. This went on for years and years until the flower disintegrated.
    And then there was the time when I was a kid and Mom said I could set up the Nativity scene in a bed of angel hair. Remember angel hair? Beautiful gossamer stuff that was actually spun glass. Well, it looked so pretty and fluffy and soft that I just had to take a handful and rub it against my cheek. I had a red, painfully inflamed cheek for Christmas that year.
    Oh, and I remember this green pickle ornament my mom treasured. I forget the significance of the pickle, but it was a green glass Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a pickle, and it was always a big deal deciding where to put it on the tree. Maybe one of our commenters will remember what the green pickle was supposed to signify?

    Reply
  66. Doesn’t spotting a hidden green pickle give the finder a special gift?
    And Anne, I don’t have a problem with fruit cake, as long as their not candied. Candied fruit is just so…unnatural! lol So please! Post your recipe. I’m always looking to try new ones. 🙂
    And I think I really got turned off of candied fruit the year we ate dinner with my aunt and uncle who were here from NYC. They stayed at the old Book Cadillac hotel in downtown Detroit and took over the restaurant for Christmas dinner. We were served a huge slice of ham with the most hideous candied cherries all over it. The ham was swimming in it! That was the last time I considered candied fruit anything but disgusting…

    Reply
  67. Doesn’t spotting a hidden green pickle give the finder a special gift?
    And Anne, I don’t have a problem with fruit cake, as long as their not candied. Candied fruit is just so…unnatural! lol So please! Post your recipe. I’m always looking to try new ones. 🙂
    And I think I really got turned off of candied fruit the year we ate dinner with my aunt and uncle who were here from NYC. They stayed at the old Book Cadillac hotel in downtown Detroit and took over the restaurant for Christmas dinner. We were served a huge slice of ham with the most hideous candied cherries all over it. The ham was swimming in it! That was the last time I considered candied fruit anything but disgusting…

    Reply
  68. Doesn’t spotting a hidden green pickle give the finder a special gift?
    And Anne, I don’t have a problem with fruit cake, as long as their not candied. Candied fruit is just so…unnatural! lol So please! Post your recipe. I’m always looking to try new ones. 🙂
    And I think I really got turned off of candied fruit the year we ate dinner with my aunt and uncle who were here from NYC. They stayed at the old Book Cadillac hotel in downtown Detroit and took over the restaurant for Christmas dinner. We were served a huge slice of ham with the most hideous candied cherries all over it. The ham was swimming in it! That was the last time I considered candied fruit anything but disgusting…

    Reply
  69. Doesn’t spotting a hidden green pickle give the finder a special gift?
    And Anne, I don’t have a problem with fruit cake, as long as their not candied. Candied fruit is just so…unnatural! lol So please! Post your recipe. I’m always looking to try new ones. 🙂
    And I think I really got turned off of candied fruit the year we ate dinner with my aunt and uncle who were here from NYC. They stayed at the old Book Cadillac hotel in downtown Detroit and took over the restaurant for Christmas dinner. We were served a huge slice of ham with the most hideous candied cherries all over it. The ham was swimming in it! That was the last time I considered candied fruit anything but disgusting…

    Reply
  70. Doesn’t spotting a hidden green pickle give the finder a special gift?
    And Anne, I don’t have a problem with fruit cake, as long as their not candied. Candied fruit is just so…unnatural! lol So please! Post your recipe. I’m always looking to try new ones. 🙂
    And I think I really got turned off of candied fruit the year we ate dinner with my aunt and uncle who were here from NYC. They stayed at the old Book Cadillac hotel in downtown Detroit and took over the restaurant for Christmas dinner. We were served a huge slice of ham with the most hideous candied cherries all over it. The ham was swimming in it! That was the last time I considered candied fruit anything but disgusting…

    Reply
  71. When my nephews were small, the family would gather at my parent’s for Christmas eve, and the boys never wanted to stop playing and go home. So my teenage brother sneeked out to the garage and retrieved a motheaten stuffed trophy deer head. He brought it around to the front of the house and stuck it up through the bushes so it looked like it was peering in the window. “Look, kids!” said their parents,”It’s the Scout Reindeer! Santa sends him around to check that the kids are in bed.” The boys couldn’t get their coats on fast enough. That was more than 30 years ago, and we are still using the same deer head, even though it is shabbier than ever. The nephews are all grown up now. The youngest is 35, and he still puts up the Scout reindeer to the window for his cousin’s kids on Christmas Eve. The Scout Reindeer is one of our most cherished traditions- along with the “Make it, Bake it, or Fake it ” gift exchange…

    Reply
  72. When my nephews were small, the family would gather at my parent’s for Christmas eve, and the boys never wanted to stop playing and go home. So my teenage brother sneeked out to the garage and retrieved a motheaten stuffed trophy deer head. He brought it around to the front of the house and stuck it up through the bushes so it looked like it was peering in the window. “Look, kids!” said their parents,”It’s the Scout Reindeer! Santa sends him around to check that the kids are in bed.” The boys couldn’t get their coats on fast enough. That was more than 30 years ago, and we are still using the same deer head, even though it is shabbier than ever. The nephews are all grown up now. The youngest is 35, and he still puts up the Scout reindeer to the window for his cousin’s kids on Christmas Eve. The Scout Reindeer is one of our most cherished traditions- along with the “Make it, Bake it, or Fake it ” gift exchange…

    Reply
  73. When my nephews were small, the family would gather at my parent’s for Christmas eve, and the boys never wanted to stop playing and go home. So my teenage brother sneeked out to the garage and retrieved a motheaten stuffed trophy deer head. He brought it around to the front of the house and stuck it up through the bushes so it looked like it was peering in the window. “Look, kids!” said their parents,”It’s the Scout Reindeer! Santa sends him around to check that the kids are in bed.” The boys couldn’t get their coats on fast enough. That was more than 30 years ago, and we are still using the same deer head, even though it is shabbier than ever. The nephews are all grown up now. The youngest is 35, and he still puts up the Scout reindeer to the window for his cousin’s kids on Christmas Eve. The Scout Reindeer is one of our most cherished traditions- along with the “Make it, Bake it, or Fake it ” gift exchange…

    Reply
  74. When my nephews were small, the family would gather at my parent’s for Christmas eve, and the boys never wanted to stop playing and go home. So my teenage brother sneeked out to the garage and retrieved a motheaten stuffed trophy deer head. He brought it around to the front of the house and stuck it up through the bushes so it looked like it was peering in the window. “Look, kids!” said their parents,”It’s the Scout Reindeer! Santa sends him around to check that the kids are in bed.” The boys couldn’t get their coats on fast enough. That was more than 30 years ago, and we are still using the same deer head, even though it is shabbier than ever. The nephews are all grown up now. The youngest is 35, and he still puts up the Scout reindeer to the window for his cousin’s kids on Christmas Eve. The Scout Reindeer is one of our most cherished traditions- along with the “Make it, Bake it, or Fake it ” gift exchange…

    Reply
  75. When my nephews were small, the family would gather at my parent’s for Christmas eve, and the boys never wanted to stop playing and go home. So my teenage brother sneeked out to the garage and retrieved a motheaten stuffed trophy deer head. He brought it around to the front of the house and stuck it up through the bushes so it looked like it was peering in the window. “Look, kids!” said their parents,”It’s the Scout Reindeer! Santa sends him around to check that the kids are in bed.” The boys couldn’t get their coats on fast enough. That was more than 30 years ago, and we are still using the same deer head, even though it is shabbier than ever. The nephews are all grown up now. The youngest is 35, and he still puts up the Scout reindeer to the window for his cousin’s kids on Christmas Eve. The Scout Reindeer is one of our most cherished traditions- along with the “Make it, Bake it, or Fake it ” gift exchange…

    Reply
  76. Sherrie, yay — a fruit cake lover! Maybe it’s an aussie thing — we also have fruit cake for wedding cakes. We have this tradition where if an unmarried girl sleeps with her slice of cake (they’re more like fingers of cake and they’re wrapped in a paper napkin or put into a paper holder ) under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband…
    Love the story of the passed on flower. And puch on the spun glass. Pickle? No idea.
    Theo, I can’t stand candied cherries, either. Christmas here is cherry season, so we have bowls of fresh cherries. Yummmm.

    Reply
  77. Sherrie, yay — a fruit cake lover! Maybe it’s an aussie thing — we also have fruit cake for wedding cakes. We have this tradition where if an unmarried girl sleeps with her slice of cake (they’re more like fingers of cake and they’re wrapped in a paper napkin or put into a paper holder ) under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband…
    Love the story of the passed on flower. And puch on the spun glass. Pickle? No idea.
    Theo, I can’t stand candied cherries, either. Christmas here is cherry season, so we have bowls of fresh cherries. Yummmm.

    Reply
  78. Sherrie, yay — a fruit cake lover! Maybe it’s an aussie thing — we also have fruit cake for wedding cakes. We have this tradition where if an unmarried girl sleeps with her slice of cake (they’re more like fingers of cake and they’re wrapped in a paper napkin or put into a paper holder ) under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband…
    Love the story of the passed on flower. And puch on the spun glass. Pickle? No idea.
    Theo, I can’t stand candied cherries, either. Christmas here is cherry season, so we have bowls of fresh cherries. Yummmm.

    Reply
  79. Sherrie, yay — a fruit cake lover! Maybe it’s an aussie thing — we also have fruit cake for wedding cakes. We have this tradition where if an unmarried girl sleeps with her slice of cake (they’re more like fingers of cake and they’re wrapped in a paper napkin or put into a paper holder ) under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband…
    Love the story of the passed on flower. And puch on the spun glass. Pickle? No idea.
    Theo, I can’t stand candied cherries, either. Christmas here is cherry season, so we have bowls of fresh cherries. Yummmm.

    Reply
  80. Sherrie, yay — a fruit cake lover! Maybe it’s an aussie thing — we also have fruit cake for wedding cakes. We have this tradition where if an unmarried girl sleeps with her slice of cake (they’re more like fingers of cake and they’re wrapped in a paper napkin or put into a paper holder ) under her pillow, she will dream of her future husband…
    Love the story of the passed on flower. And puch on the spun glass. Pickle? No idea.
    Theo, I can’t stand candied cherries, either. Christmas here is cherry season, so we have bowls of fresh cherries. Yummmm.

    Reply
  81. Gretchen I LOVE the scout deer!! I laughed out loud when I read it. What an inspirational thing to do and I love that way it’s now a family tradition.
    The “Make it, Bake it, or Fake it ” gift exchange sounds interesting. I’m going to lunch on Monday with a group of romance authors and we do a Kris Kringle of home made (or similar) gifts, which sounds the same kind of thing.
    For the adults in my family I now buy gifts through Oxfam unwrapped, in which you give a gift that actually goes to a poor family in another country. It’s great — you don’t add to the unnecessary “stuff” in people’s houses and people can say, “I got a goat for Christmas.” LOL

    Reply
  82. Gretchen I LOVE the scout deer!! I laughed out loud when I read it. What an inspirational thing to do and I love that way it’s now a family tradition.
    The “Make it, Bake it, or Fake it ” gift exchange sounds interesting. I’m going to lunch on Monday with a group of romance authors and we do a Kris Kringle of home made (or similar) gifts, which sounds the same kind of thing.
    For the adults in my family I now buy gifts through Oxfam unwrapped, in which you give a gift that actually goes to a poor family in another country. It’s great — you don’t add to the unnecessary “stuff” in people’s houses and people can say, “I got a goat for Christmas.” LOL

    Reply
  83. Gretchen I LOVE the scout deer!! I laughed out loud when I read it. What an inspirational thing to do and I love that way it’s now a family tradition.
    The “Make it, Bake it, or Fake it ” gift exchange sounds interesting. I’m going to lunch on Monday with a group of romance authors and we do a Kris Kringle of home made (or similar) gifts, which sounds the same kind of thing.
    For the adults in my family I now buy gifts through Oxfam unwrapped, in which you give a gift that actually goes to a poor family in another country. It’s great — you don’t add to the unnecessary “stuff” in people’s houses and people can say, “I got a goat for Christmas.” LOL

    Reply
  84. Gretchen I LOVE the scout deer!! I laughed out loud when I read it. What an inspirational thing to do and I love that way it’s now a family tradition.
    The “Make it, Bake it, or Fake it ” gift exchange sounds interesting. I’m going to lunch on Monday with a group of romance authors and we do a Kris Kringle of home made (or similar) gifts, which sounds the same kind of thing.
    For the adults in my family I now buy gifts through Oxfam unwrapped, in which you give a gift that actually goes to a poor family in another country. It’s great — you don’t add to the unnecessary “stuff” in people’s houses and people can say, “I got a goat for Christmas.” LOL

    Reply
  85. Gretchen I LOVE the scout deer!! I laughed out loud when I read it. What an inspirational thing to do and I love that way it’s now a family tradition.
    The “Make it, Bake it, or Fake it ” gift exchange sounds interesting. I’m going to lunch on Monday with a group of romance authors and we do a Kris Kringle of home made (or similar) gifts, which sounds the same kind of thing.
    For the adults in my family I now buy gifts through Oxfam unwrapped, in which you give a gift that actually goes to a poor family in another country. It’s great — you don’t add to the unnecessary “stuff” in people’s houses and people can say, “I got a goat for Christmas.” LOL

    Reply
  86. Anne, imagine a cake filled with all sorts of oddly candied fruit along the exact same lines as the cherries you can’t stand. THAT’S why I can’t eat fruitcake! I’d have no problem with fresh fruits.
    got a goat for Christmas *snort*

    Reply
  87. Anne, imagine a cake filled with all sorts of oddly candied fruit along the exact same lines as the cherries you can’t stand. THAT’S why I can’t eat fruitcake! I’d have no problem with fresh fruits.
    got a goat for Christmas *snort*

    Reply
  88. Anne, imagine a cake filled with all sorts of oddly candied fruit along the exact same lines as the cherries you can’t stand. THAT’S why I can’t eat fruitcake! I’d have no problem with fresh fruits.
    got a goat for Christmas *snort*

    Reply
  89. Anne, imagine a cake filled with all sorts of oddly candied fruit along the exact same lines as the cherries you can’t stand. THAT’S why I can’t eat fruitcake! I’d have no problem with fresh fruits.
    got a goat for Christmas *snort*

    Reply
  90. Anne, imagine a cake filled with all sorts of oddly candied fruit along the exact same lines as the cherries you can’t stand. THAT’S why I can’t eat fruitcake! I’d have no problem with fresh fruits.
    got a goat for Christmas *snort*

    Reply
  91. Ok, here’s the recipe for the fruit cake I used to make for my dad.
    Anne’s easy boiled fruit cake
    150 gms butter (5.5 oz, or just over 1.25 sticks of butter)
    3 cups mixed dried fruit ( or equal parts sultanas and currants. NOT candied fruit)
    1 mashed banana or one grated apple (I use up fruit that’s a bit soft.)
    1 cup brown sugar.
    2 teaspoons mixed spice (or a teasp each of ground allspice and cinnamon,
    1 teasp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
    1 cup water
    2 large eggs
    2 cups self-raising flour.
    almonds (optional)
    1) Preheat oven to 180C or 350 F
    2) In a large pot slowly bring to boil butter, fuit, sugar, spice, water and soda. It will froth up (that’s the bicarb soda.) As soon as it boils, switch off heat and leave for 10-15 minutes to cool.
    3) While the mix is coolng, grease and line a cake tin with baking paper or brown paper. Put extra layer of paper in base to help prevent burning.
    4) Into warm but not hot mix, stir in well beaten eggs, then fold in flour. (You can do this directly into the pot — saves on washing up)
    5) Pour into cake tin.
    Cover with almonds if you like, in a pattern or scattered — whole blanched, slivered or flaked
    Put a couple of sheets of folded brown paper over the tins in the oven – this stops cake from darkening too much during the long cooking process.
    6) Bake 65 minutes in moderate oven (180C or 350 F)
    Test to check it is cooked by putting a skewer into the middle. If it comes out sticky cook a little longer.
    Leave in tin to cool. It will keep in an airtight container for weeks… if you can last that long.
    NOTE: This is a very forgiving recipe. Don’t stress over proportions of dried fruit — it’s mostly sultanas and currants, but I will often throw in dried apricots, raisins, chopped dates, dried figs, a little dried peel, etc. Also you don’t need the mashed banana or apple — I added it in to the original recipe once to use up an overripe banana and I loved the taste and the extra moistness it gave, so I do it all the time now. Pinapple also works.
    Mixed spice is a combination we buy in Australia, but you can mix your own and vary the proportions to taste — 1 teasp allspice, 1 teasp cinnamon, half teasp of nutmeg, and quarter teasp of ground ginger and cardamom)

    Reply
  92. Ok, here’s the recipe for the fruit cake I used to make for my dad.
    Anne’s easy boiled fruit cake
    150 gms butter (5.5 oz, or just over 1.25 sticks of butter)
    3 cups mixed dried fruit ( or equal parts sultanas and currants. NOT candied fruit)
    1 mashed banana or one grated apple (I use up fruit that’s a bit soft.)
    1 cup brown sugar.
    2 teaspoons mixed spice (or a teasp each of ground allspice and cinnamon,
    1 teasp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
    1 cup water
    2 large eggs
    2 cups self-raising flour.
    almonds (optional)
    1) Preheat oven to 180C or 350 F
    2) In a large pot slowly bring to boil butter, fuit, sugar, spice, water and soda. It will froth up (that’s the bicarb soda.) As soon as it boils, switch off heat and leave for 10-15 minutes to cool.
    3) While the mix is coolng, grease and line a cake tin with baking paper or brown paper. Put extra layer of paper in base to help prevent burning.
    4) Into warm but not hot mix, stir in well beaten eggs, then fold in flour. (You can do this directly into the pot — saves on washing up)
    5) Pour into cake tin.
    Cover with almonds if you like, in a pattern or scattered — whole blanched, slivered or flaked
    Put a couple of sheets of folded brown paper over the tins in the oven – this stops cake from darkening too much during the long cooking process.
    6) Bake 65 minutes in moderate oven (180C or 350 F)
    Test to check it is cooked by putting a skewer into the middle. If it comes out sticky cook a little longer.
    Leave in tin to cool. It will keep in an airtight container for weeks… if you can last that long.
    NOTE: This is a very forgiving recipe. Don’t stress over proportions of dried fruit — it’s mostly sultanas and currants, but I will often throw in dried apricots, raisins, chopped dates, dried figs, a little dried peel, etc. Also you don’t need the mashed banana or apple — I added it in to the original recipe once to use up an overripe banana and I loved the taste and the extra moistness it gave, so I do it all the time now. Pinapple also works.
    Mixed spice is a combination we buy in Australia, but you can mix your own and vary the proportions to taste — 1 teasp allspice, 1 teasp cinnamon, half teasp of nutmeg, and quarter teasp of ground ginger and cardamom)

    Reply
  93. Ok, here’s the recipe for the fruit cake I used to make for my dad.
    Anne’s easy boiled fruit cake
    150 gms butter (5.5 oz, or just over 1.25 sticks of butter)
    3 cups mixed dried fruit ( or equal parts sultanas and currants. NOT candied fruit)
    1 mashed banana or one grated apple (I use up fruit that’s a bit soft.)
    1 cup brown sugar.
    2 teaspoons mixed spice (or a teasp each of ground allspice and cinnamon,
    1 teasp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
    1 cup water
    2 large eggs
    2 cups self-raising flour.
    almonds (optional)
    1) Preheat oven to 180C or 350 F
    2) In a large pot slowly bring to boil butter, fuit, sugar, spice, water and soda. It will froth up (that’s the bicarb soda.) As soon as it boils, switch off heat and leave for 10-15 minutes to cool.
    3) While the mix is coolng, grease and line a cake tin with baking paper or brown paper. Put extra layer of paper in base to help prevent burning.
    4) Into warm but not hot mix, stir in well beaten eggs, then fold in flour. (You can do this directly into the pot — saves on washing up)
    5) Pour into cake tin.
    Cover with almonds if you like, in a pattern or scattered — whole blanched, slivered or flaked
    Put a couple of sheets of folded brown paper over the tins in the oven – this stops cake from darkening too much during the long cooking process.
    6) Bake 65 minutes in moderate oven (180C or 350 F)
    Test to check it is cooked by putting a skewer into the middle. If it comes out sticky cook a little longer.
    Leave in tin to cool. It will keep in an airtight container for weeks… if you can last that long.
    NOTE: This is a very forgiving recipe. Don’t stress over proportions of dried fruit — it’s mostly sultanas and currants, but I will often throw in dried apricots, raisins, chopped dates, dried figs, a little dried peel, etc. Also you don’t need the mashed banana or apple — I added it in to the original recipe once to use up an overripe banana and I loved the taste and the extra moistness it gave, so I do it all the time now. Pinapple also works.
    Mixed spice is a combination we buy in Australia, but you can mix your own and vary the proportions to taste — 1 teasp allspice, 1 teasp cinnamon, half teasp of nutmeg, and quarter teasp of ground ginger and cardamom)

    Reply
  94. Ok, here’s the recipe for the fruit cake I used to make for my dad.
    Anne’s easy boiled fruit cake
    150 gms butter (5.5 oz, or just over 1.25 sticks of butter)
    3 cups mixed dried fruit ( or equal parts sultanas and currants. NOT candied fruit)
    1 mashed banana or one grated apple (I use up fruit that’s a bit soft.)
    1 cup brown sugar.
    2 teaspoons mixed spice (or a teasp each of ground allspice and cinnamon,
    1 teasp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
    1 cup water
    2 large eggs
    2 cups self-raising flour.
    almonds (optional)
    1) Preheat oven to 180C or 350 F
    2) In a large pot slowly bring to boil butter, fuit, sugar, spice, water and soda. It will froth up (that’s the bicarb soda.) As soon as it boils, switch off heat and leave for 10-15 minutes to cool.
    3) While the mix is coolng, grease and line a cake tin with baking paper or brown paper. Put extra layer of paper in base to help prevent burning.
    4) Into warm but not hot mix, stir in well beaten eggs, then fold in flour. (You can do this directly into the pot — saves on washing up)
    5) Pour into cake tin.
    Cover with almonds if you like, in a pattern or scattered — whole blanched, slivered or flaked
    Put a couple of sheets of folded brown paper over the tins in the oven – this stops cake from darkening too much during the long cooking process.
    6) Bake 65 minutes in moderate oven (180C or 350 F)
    Test to check it is cooked by putting a skewer into the middle. If it comes out sticky cook a little longer.
    Leave in tin to cool. It will keep in an airtight container for weeks… if you can last that long.
    NOTE: This is a very forgiving recipe. Don’t stress over proportions of dried fruit — it’s mostly sultanas and currants, but I will often throw in dried apricots, raisins, chopped dates, dried figs, a little dried peel, etc. Also you don’t need the mashed banana or apple — I added it in to the original recipe once to use up an overripe banana and I loved the taste and the extra moistness it gave, so I do it all the time now. Pinapple also works.
    Mixed spice is a combination we buy in Australia, but you can mix your own and vary the proportions to taste — 1 teasp allspice, 1 teasp cinnamon, half teasp of nutmeg, and quarter teasp of ground ginger and cardamom)

    Reply
  95. Ok, here’s the recipe for the fruit cake I used to make for my dad.
    Anne’s easy boiled fruit cake
    150 gms butter (5.5 oz, or just over 1.25 sticks of butter)
    3 cups mixed dried fruit ( or equal parts sultanas and currants. NOT candied fruit)
    1 mashed banana or one grated apple (I use up fruit that’s a bit soft.)
    1 cup brown sugar.
    2 teaspoons mixed spice (or a teasp each of ground allspice and cinnamon,
    1 teasp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
    1 cup water
    2 large eggs
    2 cups self-raising flour.
    almonds (optional)
    1) Preheat oven to 180C or 350 F
    2) In a large pot slowly bring to boil butter, fuit, sugar, spice, water and soda. It will froth up (that’s the bicarb soda.) As soon as it boils, switch off heat and leave for 10-15 minutes to cool.
    3) While the mix is coolng, grease and line a cake tin with baking paper or brown paper. Put extra layer of paper in base to help prevent burning.
    4) Into warm but not hot mix, stir in well beaten eggs, then fold in flour. (You can do this directly into the pot — saves on washing up)
    5) Pour into cake tin.
    Cover with almonds if you like, in a pattern or scattered — whole blanched, slivered or flaked
    Put a couple of sheets of folded brown paper over the tins in the oven – this stops cake from darkening too much during the long cooking process.
    6) Bake 65 minutes in moderate oven (180C or 350 F)
    Test to check it is cooked by putting a skewer into the middle. If it comes out sticky cook a little longer.
    Leave in tin to cool. It will keep in an airtight container for weeks… if you can last that long.
    NOTE: This is a very forgiving recipe. Don’t stress over proportions of dried fruit — it’s mostly sultanas and currants, but I will often throw in dried apricots, raisins, chopped dates, dried figs, a little dried peel, etc. Also you don’t need the mashed banana or apple — I added it in to the original recipe once to use up an overripe banana and I loved the taste and the extra moistness it gave, so I do it all the time now. Pinapple also works.
    Mixed spice is a combination we buy in Australia, but you can mix your own and vary the proportions to taste — 1 teasp allspice, 1 teasp cinnamon, half teasp of nutmeg, and quarter teasp of ground ginger and cardamom)

    Reply

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