At our house – well the one we’re living in – Christmas is a rather quiet affair. With moving boxes in every corner, it didn’t make much sense to pull out all the decorations. That didn’t mean we’re ignoring the holiday all together. We moved a little Arborvitae into our living room and put some lights and small ornaments on it. Add a star on the top, and we have a Christmas tree that can move to the mill house with us come spring.
We have finally closed on both the purchase of the Monches Mill House, and the sale of our current home. We’re renting from our home’s new owner while working on renovations on the mill house. That didn’t keep me from doing some decorating though! The day we closed, I ran over to the mill house to put up some outdoor decorations. I think I had a need to mark my territory. Mother nature added her own frosty decorations! Who needs fake icicle lights? Even unoccupied, the house looks like a Christmas card!
Not only is the work on the mill house, and the packing up of our belongings keeping me occupied, but I also launched a Christmas program that I’m doing at bookstores and libraries. It’s a presentation on the history of Charles Dickens, his book “A Christmas Carol,” and how it affected the Christmas we celebrate today.
Along with my verbal presentation, I put up a display.
I also served Wassail and a variety of Dickensian Christmas treats. The candied orange peel was the favorite of kids and adults, alike.
As were the Shrewsbury Cakes!
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg, orange peel and vanilla.
Stir in flour and salt to make a stiff dough.
Wrap dough in wax paper. Chill for several hours or overnight.
Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in sugar.
Arrange balls 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Flatten the balls gently with bottom of a small glass.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Our Christmas may be quiet this year – but it’s still filled with traditions of old. Just wait until next year – I’ll be pulling out all the stops to celebrate our first real Christmas in the mill house!
I hope your holiday is a happy and healthy one, whether large or small, contemporary or traditional, and I hope your new year brings you all the best!