For more information on the Holiday Almanac, go here. Or to see what I've been up to on past Holiday Almanac days, check out this page.
In Eleanor's family, the Christmas tree was never decorated until Christmas Eve, after the kids went to bed, and it was a silver aluminum tree with a coloured wheel underneath that spun to turn the tree different colours.
But when I was a little kid, we lived a few hours away from both sets of my grandparents, and so we always spent Christmas in St. Pete with them. Because of this, my parents would celebrate Christmas early with us as a family before we traveled, so every year a few days before Christmas we would bake a 'Happy Birthday, Jesus!' cake, open all of our gifts to each other, and then drive late at night to Eleanor's house, where we would stay for the duration of the Christmas holidays. Consequently, we always put our tree up a lot earlier than Eleanor, but never before December 1, as my parents always thought that was tacky.
Judson and I have largely stuck with the 'after December 1' rule for our tree trimming (and I'm proud to say we've had a real live tree every year that we've been married except for our first year in Scotland, when we had no money and no ornaments to put on one), but this year we broke the rule and put the tree up two days after Thanksgiving... oops.
Anyway, decorating is one of my favourite Christmas traditions with Judson-- we light a bunch of wintry candles, put on old-timey Christmas music, and then hang ornaments (and make fun of the ugly ones we each treasure) and put out our wee Christmas village... and afterward we drink mulled wine and watch Christmas Vacation for the millionth time. It's always fun and it's rapidly becoming my favourite part of December.
So since today's directions have me 'replacing broken [ornaments] and checking tree lights,' here are some photos of this year's decorations... and since the Almanac asked me to make 'Appetiser Puffs' but did not include directions on how to do so, here are some photos of something we'll just call Appetiser Puffs (mushroom filling wrapped in puff pastry dough) which I made over the weekend for our party. My dad devised the original recipe for these, and this is the umpteen millionth time I've made these mushroom turnovers-- ahem, Appetiser Puffs-- and they always turn out delicious. In fact, I even have a photo of Judson brushing egg wash over a batch of these to take to a holiday party on Christmas in 2010, ages before we got engaged back when neither of us had any idea how to cook and we were just such babies.
However, I can't find my dad's recipe anywhere, so I used this recipe with the following modifications: shallots instead of onions, olive oil instead of butter, a splash of vermouth, fresh thyme instead of dried, 4 sliced garlic cloves, and a lot less sour cream. They were great!
5 spoons out of five. I love decorating for Christmas, and these mushroom turnovers are one of my favourite parts of Christmas. Make yourself some mushroom turnovers and get those Christmas ornaments out!