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Info for Christmas Delights
Early Christmas trees were often decorated with apples, nuts, cookies, colored popcorn, and candles. The invention of electricity in the early twentieth century and use of electrical Christmas lights helped spread the use of the Christmas tree.
Boxing Day: In English-speaking countries, the day following Christmas Day is called "Boxing Day." This word comes from the custom which started in the Middle Ages around 800 years ago: churches would open their "alms boxe" (boxes in which people had placed gifts of money) and distribute the contents to poor people in the neighborhood on the day after Christmas. The tradition continues today - small gifts are often given to delivery workers such as postal staff and children who deliver newspapers.
The legend of Santa Claus was brought by Dutch settlers to New York in the early eighteenth century. Santa Claus was depicted as a tall, dignified, religious figure riding a white horse through the air. Known as Saint Nicholas in Germany, he was usually accompanied by Black Peter, an elf who punished disobedient children. In North America he eventually developed into a fat, jolly old gentleman who had neither the religious attributes of Saint Nicholas nor the strict disciplinarian character of Black Peter.
Christmas cards: The custom of sending Christmas cards started in Britain in 1840 when the first "Penny Post" public postal deliveries began. As printing methods improved, Christmas cards were produced in large numbers from about 1860. They became even more popular in Britain when a card could be posted in an unsealed envelope for one half-penny- half the price of an ordinary letter.
Stamps are distributed each year by many nations to commemorate Christmas.
This is a delicious relish for your holiday table.
1 pkg. frozen strawberries (10 oz.), sweetened, sliced, thawed
1/2 c. sugar
1 pkg. cranberries (12 oz.)
1. Drain syrup from strawberries into 1-cup measure.
2. Add enough water to equal 1 cup liquid.
3. In 3-quart saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat syrup mixture, sugar, and cranberries, stirring occasionally.
4. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until cranberries have popped.
5. Stir in strawberries and cool to room temperature.
6. Spoon into a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate 3 hours.
Did You Know? . . . .
Did you know that artificial Christmas trees were on the market by 1900? They were available by mail from Sears, Roebuck and Company, and cost 50 cents for 33 limbs, or a dollar for 55 limbs.
Gingerbread Boys and Girls
Christmas would not be complete without traditional gingerbread boys and girls.
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. molasses
2 Tbs. vinegar
5 c. flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
2 c. powdered sugar
half and half cream, to mix with powdered sugar
1. In large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and salt.
2. Stir in egg, molasses, and vinegar; beat well.
3. In large bowl, sift dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture; chill 3 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
5. Lightly grease baking sheets.
6. On lightly floured surface, roll dough out ?-inch thick.
7. Cut out with gingerbread boys and girls cutters.
8. Place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet.
9. Bake 6 minutes.
10. Cool slightly and remove from baking sheet.
11. When completely cool, decorate.
12. Add sufficient cream to 2 cups powdered sugar to make proper icing consistency.
Did You Know? . . . .
Did you know that one of the greatest joys you will ever feel is the look in your child's eyes when he gives a plate of cookies you have made together to a neighbor or friend, or a stranger?
Cranberries add great flavor and color to rich chocolate fudge.
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pkg. sweetened dried cranberries (6 oz.)
1 c. pecans, chopped
1. Line the bottom and sides of 8 x 8-inch baking pan with plastic wrap; set aside.
2. In medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips and corn syrup.
3. Cook over low heat until melted and smooth.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Add powdered sugar, evaporated milk, and vanilla.
6. Stir vigorously until the mixture is thick and glossy.
7. Add cranberries and nuts; mix well.
8. Pour into prepared pan.
10. Chill 8 hours, or until firm.
11. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares.
12. Store covered in refrigerator.
13. Serve at room temperature.
Yields: 25 squares.