Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas

 Good morning and a Happy Christmas!

The dinner is prepared and the meat in the oven.  Presents will shortly be opened.  
This year our preparations have been in two stages.  An early beginning when I was well ahead of where I needed to be and then (because of a spell in bed) a last minute panic.  The cards got sent out on the day of Royal Mail's deadline at the weekend.  On Tuesday Partner-who-loves-tea and I went to the three local supermarkets (Aldi, Tesco, and Sainsburys) and bought them.  I don't mean that we made purchases - I mean we bought them.  Or that is how it seemed.  While in Tesco's we met a friend who has a husband, children and about twelve grandchildren.  In her trolley she had seven items.  Our trolley had splayed wheels because of the weight and was overflowing leaving a trail of items.  There is something wrong when that happens.  A trip to the bank sorted an additional mortgage to pay for it all.   Getting home was OK but to comply with the car's handbook we should really have pumped up the back tyres by a few psi because of the additional weight....  

The tree was late going up but it is there now and the presents are wrapped and safely underneath it.

Doesn't one of our US friends wrap her gifts beautifully - the ones with the big red ribbon. What is in there is hardly important when the attention to wrapping shows such love.

Friend-uber-special sent us a Vintage Shiny-brite for the tree and every year when we put it on we shall think of her and her husband.   

And this year we have also added a Christmas pickle!

In the 1880s Woolworth stores started selling glass ornaments imported from Germany and some were in the shape of various fruit and vegetables. It seems that pickles must have been among the selection!  Around the same time it was claimed that the Christmas Pickle was a very old German tradition and that the pickle was the last ornament hung on the Christmas tree and then the first child to find the pickle got an extra present. However, this seems to be a total myth! Not many people in Germany have even heard of the Christmas Pickle!
There is an equally unlikely story linked to St. Nicholas. It's a medieval tale of two Spanish boys travelling home from a boarding school for the holidays. When they stopped at an inn for the night, the evil innkeeper killed the boys and put them in a pickle barrel. That evening, St. Nicholas stopped at the same inn, found the boys in the barrel and miraculously bought them back to life!  But it is most likely that an ornament salesmen, with a lot of spare pickles to sell, invented the legend of the Christmas Pickle!

It has been such a mild winter so far that the birds are nesting – or at least this one from New Jersey is…

We will have to make such the squirrel doesn’t get the eggs.

We also put up two new decorations that we had bought ourselves.  We usually get one or two new ones each year. 

Lots of Love to you all...


  1. Well, we are German, and we observe the pickle tradition every year! You are right in assuming that not very many Germans know about it, but some (like us) certainly do. Last night it was me who found the pickle, and I got a small box of special Christmas chocolates :-)
    Your tree is beauitiful, and the presents underneath have certainly all be chosen and wrapped with much love.
    Merry Christmas to all of you!

  2. You have a good day John and all the best for 2015.

  3. Merry Christmas to you and your family John! We have a pickle ornament. When our boys were little we always hid it in the tree on Christmas was a fun game to see who could find it and get a little extra gift...usually a gift card to McDonalds! Have a great day!

  4. I'm insanely envious of your Christmas Pickle..... I want one too.
    Today: Christmas dinner at YoungerSon's house, with 3 little children and some in-laws. Tomorrow: the BDBFB (Boxing Day Big Family Brekky) when OlderSon and family joins us all at my house for brunch and more prezzies.
    Have a lovely day, enjoy your Christmas dinner!

  5. The blessings of the season to you and your family.

  6. A blessed Merry Christmas to you and your family! Your tree is lovely, and i know what you mean about buying the store. It seems i did that a couple of times this year, too.

  7. Thank you, John, for your lovely Christmas greeting - Happy Christmas to you, too! McGregor

  8. Hope you and Jo and the family had a wonderful Christmas Day.
    Glad you are feeling much better and up and moving around again.
    Beautiful decorations on the tree and I love the stories behind each one.
    Good thing I didn't send you a gift this year, there was no room under your tree!!!
    My friend didn't go to the UK for the holidays, she stayed on the island.

  9. Lots of love and joy to you and Jo, too. I loved your post and laughed and laughed about the fate of the wheels on your supermarket trolley and the wheels on the SUV. These things do tend to get out of hand sometimes, don't they? But it's all part of the fun. Thanks for a truly wonderful post. I hope you have a great next few days, when the girls and their husbands will be stopping by for a visit. We'll be thinking of you and drinking a cup of tea to your health. Much love to you all, more anon, xoxo Carol

  10. PS - Rob wants to know if you've given out your Boxing Day boxes to the help yet? :) xoxoxo

  11. Fabulous ornaments. It looks so inviting. Sure you had a lovely day eating your way through the supermarket haul too....

  12. Well you certainly make up for that bah humbug of a brother of yours.

  13. Lots of fun ornaments you've got in your tree. I've never heard of a Christmas pickle before! I now have three Christmas owls though - a present this year from my brother. Alas they are a bit over-dimensioned (even if not "all that" big) for my miniature tree so I have left them sitting underneath it. I feel about Time this Christmas just about as you describe your shopping experience. Having no obligations whatsoever and no need to be anywhere in particular at any specific time, I still ended up with no time (?!) for blogging, for example.

  14. I was away over Christmas and absent from Blogland so missed your Christmas tree special. How festive your tree looks with all those lovely decorations! I love the Christmas pickle and its tradition. I did the pre-Christmas supermarket run with my daughter and her trolley sounded just like yours. She came back up north with me a few days later so I guess we managed to eat it all. Amazing, isn't it? Happy New Year to you and Jo.

  15. I like all your different fun tree decorations. Myself I think they are great to remember people and events by.


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