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Initial post: Dec 1, 2012 10:21:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012 10:33:31 PM PST
KayKay says:
Welcome Yall to FB&C and thanks for coming. Stay awhile and join the search for good books and pursuit of good chat. Share what you find with us. With the holidays upon us I continue the theme with some interesting info on holiday traditions Some common traditions, however, have fascinating histories that can enrich any celebration.
The history of Christmas traditions spans dozens of countries, cultures, and centuries. From the simple act of sending a Christmas greeting card to decorating a holiday tree with tinsel and lights, individuals around the world continue these traditions each year as they share in the joy of the holiday season. Christmas as a festival or holiday did not start until some years after Christ's birth and death. Even the actual date of Christ's birth is in question because of reference to multiple calendars over the years. Some theorists have surmised that the celebration of Christmas is related to the Jewish Festival of Lights, during which Jesus was born. Others associate it with the Roman holiday of Saturnalia, which was a celebration of the births of several Roman gods. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia online, Christmas (or "Mass of Christ") was not one of the earliest celebrations of the Catholic Church. However, in various places around the Holy Land, starting in about 200 AD, masses celebrating Christ's birth became annual events. In the fourth century, the date of December 25 was settled on by most churches as the annual celebration .These masses started in various locations around and near the Holy Land. Some of the early masses included dramatic representations of the Nativity. As early as the fourth century, hymns and carols became part of these dramatic events. It was not until 1223 that St. Francis of Assisi presented the nativity in the form of the crib or crèche that we now know. Elements of various pagan celebrations that took place around the month of January gradually worked themselves into Christmas celebrations. Among these elements were gift giving, greeting cards, and the Yule log, which was based on a practice of a landlord providing a tenant with wood on the birth of a child. Various other elements, such as the Christmas tree and visits from Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, were based on other holidays and practices. Over time, Christmas became a major feast day with special foods, such as minced meat, goose, and hot mulled spirits, not eaten the rest of the year. Other saints' days, such as Saint Lucia's Day in Sweden, also became associated with the Christmas holidays.

Santa Claus
The original Santa Claus was a pious and kindly monk, St. Nicholas, born in Turkey in approximately 280 AD. Throughout his life, St. Nicholas was known as a protector of children and admired for his generosity. Legend has it that he gave away vast amounts of inherited wealth to is based in historical truth. The modern image of Santa did not appear until 1823, however, when Clement Clarke Moore wrote his iconic "Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem. The "jolly" image of Moore's Santa was not the same as the more formal, spiritual image found in many European countries, but it was quickly adopted as a wholesome, heartwarming figure to represent Santa Claus. Today, the image of Santa has evolved away from the jolly elf image Moore portrayed and instead Santa is seen as a kindly grandfather figure that embodies the spirit of kindness and generosity of the Christmas season. Santa Claus has been around in one form or another since the fourth century. Santa Claus, Old St. Nick, and all of the other incarnations of Father Christmas are based on St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children and sailors.

Christmas Trees
Christmas trees are among the most popular holiday traditions practiced worldwide. Evergreen trees have always been prized in the winter because they represent the continual growth and bounty of nature, and before people began decorating trees they brought evergreen branches and boughs into their homes to string near windows, mantles, and doorways. The green branches were thought to keep away evil spirits and illness .The first decorated Christmas trees were brought into homes in the 1500s in Germany. Trees were frequently decorated with strings of popcorn, cranberries, cookies, and other edible items to demonstrate ongoing bounty. Protestant reformer Martin Luther is credited with adding the first lit candles to trees because they reminded him of the sparkling beauty of stars. Electric strings of Christmas lights replaced candles in the late 1880s as a safer, easier, and eventually more affordable alternative. The Christmas tree, which was probably based on pagan symbols, became a symbol of everlasting life and hope, especially in Europe and North America. Adorned in lights (initially candles) and smelling of the outdoors, it became an important part of the Christmas celebration. Gifts were originally hung on the tree, and they now take a place of honor under the tree. The holy leaf is also an evergreen symbol of everlasting life and is also associated with the crown of thorns Jesus wore when he was crucified.

Christmas Carols
The history of Christmas carols have roots in pagan celebrations, when dancing and singing were popular parts of mid-winter celebrations. Carols were eventually adopted as a religious expression of joy and celebration, becoming ever more elaborate. In 1223, St. Francis of Assisi introduced carols to Christmas mass, making them a staple of the holiday season. With the advent of the radio, many popular carols were composed and spread to listeners with ease, and today's carols frequently mimic cultural trends and events.

Fruitcake was originally a holiday treat in ancient Rome. This rich cake infused with nuts, dried fruit, and liqueur is hearty and can be kept without spoiling for long periods of time. This made it perfect for travelers and winter storage, as well as a treat to make ahead of time and have on hand for unexpected visitors. Today, fruitcakes come in many delicious varieties as well as more classic recipes that have the rich, savory tastes of classic cakes.

Christmas Cards
Prior to telephones, text messages, and e-mail, personal letters were the only way for distant friends and family members to communicate. Lengthy letters would often be sent for the holidays, but the first Christmas cards were not created until 1843 in England. Sir Henry Cole, swamped with holiday preparations, did not have time to compose different letters and instead commissioned renowned artist John Calcott Horsley to create a holiday scene card that could hold a brief personal message. The idea of Christmas cards caught on quickly, and today there is a wide range of spiritual, whimsical, and classic designs available. Millions of cards are mailed during the holiday season each year.

Poinsettias, with their bold red leaves and luxurious foliage, are a popular holiday flower. Using poinsettias for holiday decorations began as a Mexican Christmas tradition, where legend says that poor children would bring poinsettias to honor nativity displays when they could afford no other gift. The flowers were introduced to the United States by Joel R. Poinsett in 1828, during his service as the ambassador to Mexico.


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Leonard Little - Monday, Dec 03: Start Time 12:30 PST or a bit earlier
IrishM - Tuesday Dec 04: start time: 5-6 am EST (or so)
SDR Marla- Wednesday, December 5 start time: 8-9 AM EST
Robb - Thursday, December 06 Start Time 11pm to Midnight PST
Lover of Books - Friday, December 7th Start Time 12:30am PST
TnT - Saturday, December 8 start time by 7AM CST
Robb - Friday, December 14 Start Time 11pm to Midnight PST

Open Dates:
Sunday, December 9
Monday, December 10
Tuesday, December 11
Wednesday, December 12
Thursday, December 13
Saturday, December 15
Sunday, December 16

*** Please consider volunteering to be a thread starter. ***
Choose an available day, copy/paste schedule into a post and add your info. Thank You!

Don't forget the book discussion for (NOT FREE) - RISE OF THE DRAKYN (Sword of Souls) - (NOT FREE) is being held on Friday, December 7 so if you haven't read the book yet you might want to start soon I hope all volunteers are still available and will speak up if anything has changed so we can make alterations if necessary...

Here is the link to yesterday's thread:

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 10:26:45 PM PST
Lyn says:
Thanks for the start.
Thank goodness for the Evernote web clipper.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 10:30:52 PM PST
KayKay says:

Leonard Little - Monday, Dec 03: Start Time 12:30 PST or a bit earlier
IrishM - Tuesday Dec 04: start time: 5-6 am EST (or so)
SDR Marla- Wednesday, December 5 start time: 8-9 AM EST
Robb - Thursday, December 06 Start Time 11pm to Midnight PST
Lover of Books - Friday, December 7th Start Time 12:30am PST
TnT - Saturday, December 8 start time by 7AM CST
Terri B in ME - Sunday, December 9 start time 11PM EST
Robb - Friday, December 14 Start Time 11pm to Midnight PST

Open Dates:
Monday, December 10
Tuesday, December 11
Wednesday, December 12
Thursday, December 13
Saturday, December 15
Sunday, December 16

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 10:35:47 PM PST
KayKay says:
I agree Robb - maybe I will do a "things we love" thread and that will surely be on my list. LOL.

Sorry so long today - tried to clean it up a bit so easier to read.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 10:44:43 PM PST
Kay Kay....
What a wonderful opening! So interesting. Thank you for taking the time to put this together for us.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 10:50:54 PM PST
Lyn says:
Merry Christmas George.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 11:52:18 PM PST
ebook addict says:
@Lover of Books

from last night's thread...Thanks so much for clarifying on the Dr Pepper cake. When I opened my document, I was actually making the changes to a Buttermilk Chocolate Cake recipe. Wonder how that would have turned out?

Going to have to try Evernote that people are talking about, when I get some time not needed for looking through these huge Kinlib lists.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 12:02:13 AM PST
@ebook addict

I'm so glad you saw my post. I was going to repost it on today's thread just in case you missed it. I do know that some recipes for the Texas Sheet Cake do call for buttermilk as opposed to sour cream so the results probably would have been fine.

I also need to check out Evernote. Maybe after the holidays are over....

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 12:34:22 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012 12:36:50 AM PST
Biscay says:
Kay Kay, thanks for another wonderful start and for taking the time and trouble to collect all that information.

Robb, I'm sorry I missed you on the other side - I had just posted that link and was preparing the rest (and about to double check the link myself as I hadn't been there lately) when our connection died - and it's been quite a few hours coming back on again. You must have been wondering, since I dropped out pretty much mid-conversation?!

Looking at the sausage rolls on the site now, the sage and onion ones were exactly the ones I meant. Tiny, rich and delicious! And as I said on the other page, I'm almost sure I used a frozen GF puff pastry for them - from either the supermarket or the organic food shop I got the sausages from (for the filling).

I'll post the rest of it a bit later. Thanks for the name suggestion (and Ketta's two, too).


Posted on Dec 2, 2012 1:00:58 AM PST
SDR Marla, I posted a thank you for the birthday gift on yesterday's thread quite late, so just in case you didn't see it - I want to sincerely thank you for your thoughtfulness. I know I will enjoy reading "The Witch Awakening". Thanks again.


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 1:04:52 AM PST
Kay Kay, what a great start!

Loved all the folklore information. Christmas is my favorite holiday and even though it has gotten so commercialized, what is most important to me is having special moments with family and friends.


Posted on Dec 2, 2012 2:32:31 AM PST
4Nbahu says:
@ Kay Kay Thank you for a wonderful opening. I love learning new things. I didn't know anything about the yule log.

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 2:44:12 AM PST
4Nbahu says:

I "bought" a book for free and reviewed it. The author now says there is an updated version, yet MYK doesn't list an update. I haven't received any emails about updates. Do I have to purchase the book again to get an updated version?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 3:39:15 AM PST
TerryInTexas says:
no way. if Amaz9n has the new version, that ought to be what downloads, go to the book webpage, near the bottom there is a place to complain, tell many the author says there is a new copy, do they have it?

yep, up again, needed sinus meds and Advil. about to nod off so i can be up and at dads by 9, but had to answer robbs question from last night.

yes, I make fantastic divin ity. it finally happened when i figured out "beat til finish dulls and candy sets" had to be about 10 mjnutes, never less, maybe longer, but never, ever less than 10. on a dry day.

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 6:23:41 AM PST
B.J. says:
Good morning. (317)

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 6:42:20 AM PST
Good morning all! From my wish list this morning:
Weekend Homesteader: December

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 6:57:29 AM PST
Biscay says:
Robb, sorry for the delay. Anyway, here is the page with that GF mince pie pastry I had saved. I hope this link works better than the previous one I posted for you - this time I checked to make sure.[]=mince_pies

With your experience cooking with GF & DF etc, I'm pretty sure you could tell if it was something you might find useful as a base recipe? Lots of different mincemeat varieties there as well, but the one I used - Nigella's Cranberry mincemeat - isn't there. It goes something like this, starting with 2 1/2 oz soft dark brown sugar and 2 fl oz ruby port. After that small quantities of each ingredient - you can google for it maybe but I would think it is just all to your own taste - I substituted some Green Ginger Wine for the brandy and added a little bit of finely diced rhubarb and apple to stretch it out a bit, as I didn't have fresh cranberries or quite enough currants!

1. In a large pan, dissolve the sugar in the ruby port over a gentle heat.
2. Add 10oz fresh cranberries and stir.
3. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves, currants, raisins, dried cranberries and the zest and juice of a clementine.
4. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down and has absorbed most of the liquid in the pan.
5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
6. Add the brandy, few drops almond extract, vanilla extract and 2 tbsp honey and stir well with a wooden spoon to mash the mixture down into a paste.
7. Spoon the mincemeat into sterilised jars and, once cool, store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

I noticed there is a GF Christmas cake by the same author in that collection above, too...

Hope that's of some help or inspiration when planning some of your GF/DF Festive Fare!


Posted on Dec 2, 2012 6:59:29 AM PST
Suze says:
Good Morning and thanks again to Kay Kay....great start.

@ Biscay

"All is Bright" Biscay......I'm still thinking!

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 7:05:05 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012 7:07:11 AM PST
Biscay says:
Now for some book picks to contribute to the other purpose of the thread - somehow even though I posted these first three yesterday I managed not to actually click them, but they are still free so I was able to remedy that:

Don't You Forget About Me by Suzanne Jenkins (sequel to Pam of Babylon also still free)

Tourist Trap (Rebecca Schwartz #3) (A Rebecca Schwartz Mystery) (The Rebecca Schwartz Series) by Julie Smith

and a new one from the wishlist - can't remember putting it there, but someone must have mentioned or recommended it at some point!

The Night They Nicked Saint Nick (A Christmas Story for the whole family) by Carl Ashmore

and one I picked up in August:

Mew is for Murder: A Theda Krakow Mystery (Theda Krakow Series) by Clea Simon

Have a great morning/afternoon/evening all book-hunting and chatting.

And please, if you feel inspired, help me with your suggestions for my Christmas name if you haven't already - I'll pick one from the offerings after today's thread closes :)


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 7:08:00 AM PST
Biscay says:
Thank you Suze - that one sounds just like you - bright, bubbly and breezy! I like it. It's in the hat :)


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 7:16:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012 7:52:49 AM PST
Lyn says:
Okay, is Christmas Cake the same as Christmas Pudding?

ETA: deliaonline has a cake recipe. Cake is the edible fruitcake with a marzipan topping. And Pudding is Figgy Pudding. Yes, people. For all who have ever wondered about the English Figgy Pudding in stories and songs, the recipe will be forthcoming at a later date. I will just save time and give the Graham Kerr version which is about 1/5 the calories of the real thing but tastes exactly the same. And you don't have to search for suet.

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 7:34:04 AM PST
Scarlett859 says:
Saw this posted on another thread...

all of Elle Lothlorien books are free: (romantic comedies and 1 thriller)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 7:36:01 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012 7:37:08 AM PST
Biscay says:
Robb - not quite - similar though. This is in my experience only, of course - the pudding is the one that's made a long time ahead, often with suet, and hung in a cloth (or bought at the supermarket...) and on the day it is steamed to heat it through, and then set alight with brandy poured over it at the table. Round shape. Served usually only after Christmas lunch, with vanilla custard (Bird's, maybe!?) and brandy butter - I might have made that last part up through wishful thinking. No one's actually the slightest bit hungry by the time it appears, and is usually eyeing off the pavlova or sorbet for something refreshing, but can't resist a small celebratory bowl. A little goes a long way. After Christmas Day there is pudding galore to be eaten at every opportunity through the rest of December and often January, depending how big the original was, and how big the Christmas lunch/dinner were!

The Christmas cake is usually more of a square fruit cake and tends to hang around from early December - I don't think anyone really likes it all that much by the time Christmas actually rolls around, having been offered too many pieces. It can stand with having alcohol injections to keep it moist but then you have to confess in case the person eating it is driving. Aren't traditional wedding cakes made of something like this under the fondant and icing - it keeps forever it seems - and Christmas cake can be decorated with some plain white paste-style icing as well. But I think it's often just plain. Nice with sherry, though :) Again, a little goes a long way.

Please take any regional difference with a pinch of salt (or a glass of sherry) as I'm sure the Brits reading this will be laughing up their sleeves at my colonial interpretation :) Delia, Sophie or Nigella among others will surely set you straight, though!

I once made some Bishop's cake at Christmas time too and that was really lovely - it's a bit less "cakey" - you slice it very thinly so that with all the big pieces of glace fruit it looks like stained glass (well, that's the theory!)

ETA: Robb, I guess while I was rambling and typing, you were googling which is much smarter :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 7:40:37 AM PST
Biscay says:
Hope it all goes as smoothly as possible, TinT. What a tough job to have to do - huge, too. I wish you had someone there to spoil you with some nice homemade divinity (which I've actually never heard of until yesterday's thread, but I'm learning fast!)

Biscay x

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012 7:46:38 AM PST
Lyn says:
Sorry Terry
Got busy thinking Christmas Pudding and forgot all about Divinity. I know that I have mom's old recipe. I know that we used to make it. But maybe the reason it doesn't work here is the last part of your response - on a dry day.
30 day in November - 27 had measurable rain.
Day 2 of December - 2 had measurable rain.

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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  35
Total posts:  74
Initial post:  Dec 1, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 3, 2012

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