Basic Shortbread

So Christmas is coming and now is the season for baking!

Thoughts Before Cooking:

This recipe comes from my a book I received for Christmas one year, Christmas Cookies. As I like to make anything Regency or tea related I thought it was no better time than now to include it as shortbread is perfect to pair with tea.

Background on the Cookie:

“Shortbread is made with a few basic ingredients, and the results are sensational. The key to success with this thick shortbread is baking it slowly so it doesn’t brown.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 1/4 Cups of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Salt

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well.
  2. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Combine flour and salt, gradually add to the butter mixture beating on low speed until blended.
  4. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Cut with a 2.5 inch round cutter or Christmas cookie cutter.
  6. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 275 degrees F for 50 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown.
  8. Cool 2 minutes on a baking sheet; remove to wire rack to cool.

Thoughts After Baking:

These were delicious and so buttery good.  A perfect compliment to tea, Christmas, or anytime/anything. 🙂

For more recipes, go to Baked Apple Slices

For more recipes from Christmas Cookies, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more cookie post, go to Tea and Biscuits

Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

Thoughts Before Cooking:

This recipe comes from my sister blog, MysteriousEats.wordpress.com. I like to include ay recipes that go well with tea and books.

Even though Christmas is eight months away, I don’t care. I’m making them anyway.

Truth be told I don’t

Background on the Cookie:

“These delicious tea cakes were made by an Aunt Cornelia (“Neal) on special occasions and holidays, using hand-churned butter and eggs she gathered from the hen-house. This southern Georgia version dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. “

**Dough has to be chilled**

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup of Granulated (White) Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • White Sparkling Sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add one cup of sugar, beating well.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl: combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture and the milk to butter mixture, alternating between the two. Begin with adding half the flour mixture, then add the milk, and finish with adding the flour mixture.
  6. Mix at a low speed after each addition, until just blended.
  7. Shape dough into two discs.
  8. Wrap the discs in wax paper and chill for at least one hour.
  9. After having chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Roll each disc to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface.
  11. Cut with a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter; and place one inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
  12. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
  13. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  14. Cool for one minute and then remove to wore racks to cool.
  15. Makes about two dozen.

Thoughts After Baking:

When I took it out of the fridge it was super hard and I was unsure if it would come out okay.

Not good

But after being in my hands it quickly became super sticky, so make sure you flour the rolling pin and the cutting board.

But after all that this cookies were super good. Not too sweet and perfect for tea time.

For more recipes, go to Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

For more on cookies, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

A Baker’s Four Dozen

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So today I spent the day baking, baking Christmas Cookies!

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The first were called Sand Tarts, which I got from my sister blog Mysterious Eats. They’re posting the recipe next Friday, but gave me a sneak peak. They look good, and seem tasty. You see I could only eat a little bit of each cookie as I’m still recovering from having my wisdom teeth extracted.

ouch Hermione

I was making a dozen for one of my jobs, as this Sunday is their annual Christmas Children’s Program.

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After I made those I moved on to bake the Regency Ginger Cookies, also from mysteriouseats.wordpress.comfor a Christmas Cookie Party that I am planning on going to. Not only did I want to do them because I’m all about Jane Austen, but figured no one else will do that type of cookie.

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So this morning as I prepared to make four dozen cookies (one for the kids and three for the Christmas Cookie party) I decided, hey I should bake in my pajamas, so I can be comfy.

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And then I thought I shouldn’t put on any makeup or do my hair either.

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I mean after all I was going to get ingredients all over me, was probably going to make a huge mess I’d have to clean up anyway, etc. I mean why bother?

Majorly

Majorly

But it seems like no one else got the memo. I had people stopping by all day.

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No one ever visits me without calling first, except on the day that I am a super mess.

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It was kind of funny as they looked at me with surprise and shock and how messy and grossly I was dressed.

What are you wearing?

What are you wearing?

But that’s how it goes. And now that I am done cooking, all I want to do is lay down.

i'mtired

I also sampled way too many cookies.

No, stop! Alright.

But hey, Christmas comes but once a year, so live it up!

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For more Christmas traditions, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to You’ve Got to Accentuate the Positive

For more stories of my everyday life, go to A Real Life Saver

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So I never believed in Santa Claus when I was a kid.

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It’s not like I hate him or anything or want him gone forever. My parents told me that he lived years ago and died, so the Santa that exists today is more of a feeling than an actual person. But even though I wasn’t a Santa person, I still like a few Christmas Carols that involve him.

One of my favorites is Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane). I first sang it back when I was in Girl Scouts and we went into the nursing homes to carol.

It was written in the 1940s by Gene Autry, who got the idea after he was Santa Claus in a parade. Since then it has been covered by numerous artists; like Elvis Presley, Doris Day, and Bing Crosby to name a few.

My favorite version? The one from The Year Without a Santa Claus

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For more Christmas Carols, go to Hark the Herald Angels Sing

For more on The Year Without a Santa Claus, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

The 25 Carols of Christmas

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Christmas is coming, and you all know how much I love it! The tree…

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The parties!

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The Christmas baking!

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The holiday cheer!

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And of course, the Christmas carols.

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And I have tried to do something every year here on my blog. The only problem is that I get so busy.

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So many things come up around the holidays. My first year I tried to do the 12 posts of Christmas, reviewing a different Christmas film in the 12 days leading up to Christmas. It didn’t go as planned.

You shouldn't have messed with me

Besides all the other Christmas things I was doing, I ended up getting sick doing only 7/12 posts.

Noo!

The next year I tried to do a countdown, but it didn’t work out, so I did a singular post (like my Saint Patrick’s Day ones) in which I talked about 25 of my favorite films that have something to do with Christmas. I repeated it again for last year.

However, this year I decided I would try my best to do another countdown. At first I wanted to do The 25 Episodes of Christmas, reviewing my 25 favorite TV episodes. But when November 18th rolled around and I had yet to review even one, I decided it was best to scratch that idea, at least for this year.

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But then I got another idea. Why not review a Christmas Carol everyday? Do the regular posting as well, but just include a carol at the bottom of the post?

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So that is what I am going to try to do. Fingers crossed that I will accomplish it.

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So get ready for some Christmas songs headed your way!

ChristmasfromJaneAusten

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To read the 12 Posts of Christmas, begin with On the 12th Day ‘Til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas (2009)

For 2013’s Christmas post, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For 2014’s Christmas post, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

It’s a Jolly Holiday

14) Your Favorite Holiday

Your favorite holiday? Oooh that is a hard one to answer. Choose one?

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In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a big holiday person. I love all holidays, even those that aren’t “real” (November 5th or May 4th?). What can I say?

love it

So if I had to pick my three favorite holidays? Here we go!

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3) Thanksgiving

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I love Thanksgiving as I love everything it stands for. I know a lot of people want to say how “the first Thanksgiving shouldn’t count” as “it opened a door to genocide” or whatever, but that’s not true. Not all relationships between the Native Americans and pilgrims (pilgrims not Puritans. Huge difference) was bad. In this case, the Native Americans helped those early settlers. If it weren’t for that goodwill, I wouldn’t be born as my family most likely never would have immigrated and met.

I also love how Abraham Lincoln recognized that in all the stress, bumble, and grind of everyday life; time should be given so that all can stop and be thankful for all they have.

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

I also love gathering with family and enjoying each other’s company. And of course, I love to eat until I explode.

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For more on Thanksgiving, go to I Before E, Especially After P

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2) Halloween

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

I know you had to see this coming. What with my Horrorfest I do every year (going on my fourth year and it is going to be good. I promise!), you had to know that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

What can I say about this holiday? I love that it is fall and there are dry leaves and pumpkins everywhere. I love the chill in the air and that it is usually the start of rain. I love the candy. I love dressing up in a costume, I only wish I could do that more. And most of all I love the horror films that are showing everywhere and on sale to buy. I just love Halloween.

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For more on Halloween, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

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1) Christmas

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I LOVE Christmas! Words cannot describe how much I enjoy when it comes around. I love how almost everyone is trying to be nice and kind, goodwill abounding; people actually going out of their way for others.

Plus I love picking out the perfect gift and wrapping it up and placing it under the tree, just waiting to see their face when they open it!

Going to church, cookie baking, carols, Christmas movies! And the tree, we go every year to chop one down and then decorate with the same decorations we’ve had every year. Pulling out our nativity and retelling the Christmas story again!

I love it, and can’t wait for it to come around!

ChristmasfromJaneAusten

For more on Christmas, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

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For more holidays, go to Every Heart Beats True for the Red, White, & Blue

On the 8th Day ‘Til Christmas: Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

On the 8th day ’til Christmas  my blogger gave to me

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Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

This film is another one of those that goes under the cliché of two people who can’t stand each other being stuck together for a period of time; and then end up falling in love. This copies the film, It Happened One NightThat is such an influential film that I promise you I will do a review on it.

So this film was made by abc family, a part of their 25 Days of Christmas. It stars the amazing Melissa Joan Hart; sparking her return to acting; along with the very handsome Mario Lopez. I had the biggest crush on Mario Lopez when he was A.C. Slater on Saved by the Bell. (Although he was my second, my heart first belonged to Mark-Paul Gosselaar).

So the film starts out with Trudy, (MJH), being ragged on by her parents. In everything she’s been in lately, she always has mean parents, it makes you wonder if they are really like that.

Hmm

Hmm

Anyways, her mom is complaining about Trudy. Everything about her and she does is wrong. In fact, one thing her mother always complains about is Trudy’s hair, so she decided she would get a perm “to fix” it. It doesn’t turn out as planned as she completely wrecks her hair.

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Because she was distracted by her hair and a phone call from her mother she also misses a job interview.

What else could go wrong?

What else could go wrong?

When she gets to work, Raj’s Diner, her boyfriend stops by. Instead of going with her to her Christmas Family Reunion, he dumps her.

mary_bennetCan't get a break

Trudy has a complete breakdown, kidnapping the next guy she sees, David (Mario Lopez), and takes him with her. She has a 19th century gun, but David manages to slip on some ice making it much easier for Trudy to lug him in her car.

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Trudy ties him up with pantyhose and her scarf. She explains the situation and starts to tell him a little bit about herself. She runs out of gas and has to go get some, but the attendant comes out to pump her gas and sees David tied up. Trudy hurriedly explains that he’s her bf and they are going away for a weekend of “fun”. He runs back to his store and Trudy hurries to pump the gas before he gets back, worried he is going to call the cops. As the attendant comes out, he gives her free furry handcuffs for her “weekend”.

Unknown

So every Christmas Trudy’s family rents out a place for Christmas where they can be away from the world. No cellphones, phones, or any electronics are allowed. This year they are going to a cabin far out in the middle of nowhere. She takes David there, but first goes into the cabin to tell her parents that “Nick”, (as she is pretending David is Nick ), likes to pretend that he is kidnapped and doesn’t want to be there. When she brings David in, he starts yelling about him being kidnapped but all Trudy’s parents do is laugh. When her brother and sister also come in, they have the same result. Trudy also becomes the key-master, in charge of  hiding the phones and keys from everyone.

Its-so-crazy

Trudy also keeps an eye on David, by having him share the room with her; telling her mom that she’s old enough to sleep in the same room as her bf. They end up sharing a room with bunk beds. That night David tries to escape, and Trudy catches him, bringing him back to the cabin.

I don't think so

The next day, David catches Trudy on the phone, and the two fight over it until Trudy crushes it with a meat mallet. The mom lends David some of the dad’s old clothes, which are too small, causing him to be the butt of everyone’s jokes. When the mom needs something from the store, he and Trudy’s dad go out to get it. Trudy tries to stop them, but everyone convinces her it will be great “bonding time”. While the guys are gone, Trudy’s sister helps her with her hair; straightening it out.

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David and the dad drive out to the closest store,  which happens to be the same gas station that Trudy had stopped at before. When David tries to convince him that he was kidnapped and needs help; the man brings out a shotgun and tells him to go back to the pretty lady. David complies. As he and the dad are driving back; David tries to take the wheel, almost crashing them. The dad puts David in a chokehold and calms them down. When they get back, David is so bummed that he is still stuck there he flings himself down upon a chair. When he does that, his too-tight pants rip, and Trudy’s older brother comes to his rescue by lending him some of his clothes.

When he goes to get the clothes, David discovers that Trudy’s brother Jake has a phone. He borrows it and runs into the bathroom to hurriedly call his girlfriend, Jessica. When he reaches her, he can say nothing; because she is too busy yelling at him for standing her up.

007HIS_Gabrielle_Miller_002 HOliday in handcuffs not happy

I am not pleased

David is finally able to explain by bursting out that he was going to propose. Now this part made no sense to me. Jessica is the daughter of David’s boss, and used to the high life. And he was going to propose to her in a diner?

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

That makes no sense! You think he would pick something a little more classy than Raj’s Diner.

Anyways, he tells Jessica that he’s been kidnapped and to send help asap. Jessica promises to help, eagerly thinking of the ring she will be receiving.

By this time Trudy has figured out what is going on, and picks the lock on the door. She grabs the phone and tosses it in the toilet, but it’s too late by then. David laughs at her, and promises that he will be the best bf ever, just to make things worse when her family finds out what she did. He proves to be as her family tells him of all of Trudy’s secrets, has him put the angel on the top of the tree, make Trudy fetch David pie, and has him read Twas the Night Before Christmas. Trudy becomes extremely upset the way that her family seems to like David more than her.

After they read the book, the mom has them write out their Christmas lists and leaves Oreos and milk out for Santa. Here Trudy and David have a heart-to-heart. Trudy tells him that she is a disappointment to her parents and David tries to console her.

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The next day is Christmas, and in the morning Trudy and David spend the day out having fun. They play hockey and take a walk out in the snow. They both learn more about each other as David reveals that his parents died when he was about six, and was raised by his grandpa. He worked his way through college and studied architecture, becoming a developer only  because there was more money in it. Trudy realizes that while her family isn’t perfect there is plenty to be thankful for. She also tells David about the best Christmas she’s ever had. One year she was supposed to be in an ice-skating performance and it was canceled because of snow. She was so disappointed, that her father sprayed water over the patio, icing it up and decorated the whole area with lights so she could perform for them there.

Later, they go inside and play chess where they have some more heart-to-hearts and David realizes how sorry Trudy is for kidnapping him. They also just happen to walk under some mistletoe, causing the two to share a kiss and start up some feelings between the two.

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Later when David is cleaning up, he finds an album with photos of Trudy’s artwork. She does a lot of portraiture; very post-impressionism style. Trudy finds her mom, and discovers that not everything is perfect in her parent’s marriage.

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When present time comes around nobody gets what they want. Trudy receives a pink sweater, as her mom buys her one every year; Jake gets a tie; the Dad gets underwear; the mom a case of socket wrenches; and the grandma a mug that says “World’s Greatest Grandma”.  David got a backscratcher and Katie (Trudy’s sister) a book of all the law firms in the nation. Trudy is also given a briefcase, which starts another argument about Trudy’s need to get a “real job”. David can’t watch her parents be so cruel to Trudy, and interrupts telling them that her artwork is amazing. He also pulls out his ring for Jessica and proposes. It’s so sweet and romantic.

Double double yay

Meanwhile Jessica and the cops have tracked down Trudy’s friend and coworker to find out where Trudy is. They interrupt her and her boyfriend, and when the cops threaten her, she spills all.

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Back at the cabin, all are getting ready for Christmas dinner. In fact Trudy walks in on David getting ready, getting a great look at his bod. All I can say is I greatly appreciated the writers creating this scene.

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Right before dinner, David gets Trudy and tells her he has a Christmas surprise. He has recreated her prefect Christmas. He sprayed the patio so it was icy, and put lights up everywhere; and asks her to show him her ice-skating routine. She does and the two’s love for each other is cemented, but neither has realized it.

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You're_in_love_with_her

Christmas dinner arrives, and all hell breaks loose. Katie tells her parents that she dropped out of school and has used the tuition to start a pilates studio in CA. Jake reveals that he is gay and has been seeing a man for a long time. The parents tell all about their marital problems. Just as all is revealed, the cops break in arresting everyone and letting the cat out of the bag about the kidnapping.

ouch Hermione

Everyone spends the night in jail. The next day they are all released as David chooses to not press charges.

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Trudy realizes that she is in love with David, but puts herself into her painting, creating a piece about David’s Christmas surprise.

Meanwhile David is starting to see that Jessica isn’t the right person for him. He starts to reevaluate what his life is going to be like with her, and not quite pleased with what it will be like.

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As all this is happening, one of Trudy’s pieces is picked to be in a show. She invites her brother to come to it, and he brings along his boyfriend. At the show Trudy is surprised to see the rest of the family. The parents have been in counseling and all have promised to be more open with each other. Trudy’s piece also gets sold. However, her happiness is short-lived as she is heartbroken over David, he got married the Saturday before.

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Trudy leaves the show by herself, and is kidnapped. She is blindfolded and taken somewhere by………….David! David is the one who had purchased her picture and came to tell her he couldn’t marry Jessica. That not only is he in love with her, but she inspired him to create his own architectural firm. The film ends with the two being together; happily ever after!

Holiday in handcuffs kiss

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To start the 12 Posts of Christmas from the beginning, go to On the 12 Day ’til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas

For the previous post, go to On the 9th Day ’til Christmas: Borrowed Hearts

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For more on two who hate each other falling in love, go to I Don’t Want the Money

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year 

Merry Christmas!

I don’t know about you all, but I’m excited for Christmas! If you couldn’t guess already I LOVE holidays and am so excited!!!!!!! EXCITED 😀

As you know I talked about doing an everyday movie post of my favorite Christmas films like I did for Halloween, but I won’t be able to do that until the 13th as I am in crunch time :0 for finals. I haven’t decided what exactly to call it, but thinking around the lines of the Merrymaking and Joy: The 12 Posts of Christmas, but that’s just a tentative title; I’m not fully in love with it and thinking of altering it.

Since I can’t give you a full length post just yet, I thought I’d leave you with a taste!

Even though I can’t stand Mr. Elton, I think he says a true fact about Christmas:

At Christmas

It’s so true. We’ve been having all kinds of storms where I live and yet I had a Christmas party and everyone came out to enjoy it; even braving these stormy elements.

One of the best things about Christmas is that fact that there is such joy and unity in the world. Everyone wants to hang out and spend time together; the parties, caroling, white elephanting, family gatherings, christmas cookies baking, christmas movie watching, etc!

Double double yay

So I hope you are preparing yourself and getting ready to countdown to one of the best holidays throughout the whole entire year.

I will be posting soon!

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To start the 12 Posts of Christmas, go to On the 12th Day ‘Til Christmas

For a previous holiday post, go to Thanks-A-Lot

For more on Emma, go to Let’s Hear It for the Boys

For more of my favorite songs, go to CANDY TIME!

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Resort Getaway