27 November 2014

25 November 2014

Rudolph Day, November 2014

The last Rudolph Day of 2014 features two books:

12 Stories of Christmas, Robert J. Morgan
This is a sweet collection of Christmas stories with a spiritual bent, perfect for reading during the Twelve Days of Christmas. The tales range from nostalgic, such as the story behind a snowglobe that takes a boy back to 1943 when the family car is stolen, and the gentle story of a telegraph girl who searches a hospital for news of her brother at Pearl Harbor, and the story of an unexpected catalog delivery to an impoverished family during the Depression, to humorous, in which a teenage bookworm is persuaded to participate in his aunt's opus of a Christmas play and falls prey to stage fright in a delightful way. There are even romantic tales. My favorite ended up being the last, about the husband of a young couple awaiting the birth of their first child; he's encouraged to build a cradle by his wife, who's tired of him fussing over him. The result is a total surprise!

The volume is peppered with beautiful color photographs that relate to the stories without being actual illustrations based on the text. This is a lovely gift book for those who like heartwarming or spiritual Christmas tales.

An Old-Fashioned Christmas, text by Karen Cure
I almost didn't pick this book up because it looked as if it was mainly recipes, but for only a dollar I did anyway, and was unexpectedly delighted. The book does present recipes, but from different periods in American history, and, along with the recipes, Cure tells us something about each of the historic locations/homes in the book: Colonial Williamsburg, Winterthur Museum, and Sleepy Hollow Restorations representing Colonial America; Victorian America's homes: the Mark Twain House and Chateur-Sur-Mer in Newport. The Gallier House in New Orleans, the Conner Prairie Settlement, and Columbia, a State Park in California are regional representations. "Christmas With the Presidents," a series of recipes from George Washington's kitchens, and some vintage Christmas carols finish out the volume. Liberally illustrated, with a third of the photographs in color. Perfect for fans of Christmas and history.

23 November 2014

Merrymaking in the Midst of Danger

Especially for "Stir Up Sunday," the day when the Christmas pudding would be made so it could be soaked in brandy, cooked, and then put away until Christmas.

Christmas on the Edge of the Abyss, 1939

BBC's Christmas in World War II

London in the Blitz

British newsreel: Christmas Under Fire

From the series Wartime Farm: Christmas Episode

Stir Up Your Sunday!

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent is "Stir-Up Sunday," from the first words of the collect in the Anglican service. Traditionally, this is the day the Christmas pudding is made, and then soaked in brandy or another spirit and put away to serve on Christmas Day.

More about Stir-Up Sunday, with a traditional pudding recipe.

Jamie Oliver talks about Stir-Up Sunday and Christmas puddings.

According to Catholic Culture, Stir-Up Sunday is also the First Sunday of Advent.

A Telegraph writer makes the case for home made pudding, not one purchased at the store.