Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas

mjd-lovescooking

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Halloween - Our area announced they are allowing trick-or-treating this year. That seems bizarre since our state isn't fully open and passing out candy to a long line of kids seems like unnecessary risks for all parties involved. All of our schools aren't even open yet.

Thanksgiving - I know many people who are planning to have Thanksgiving dinner in spite of the partial lock-down. I think we're just all ready for things to go back to some kind of normal.

Christmas - It's usually a busy time of year for shopping but retailers have been focusing on online sales to fill the gap left by the economy tanking.

What is going on in your area for the upcoming holidays (if you celebrate them)?
 

TastyReuben

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For us, virtually no change.

I imagine that trick-or-treating will still go on, but no one stops at our house - haven't done so in years. We live on a little dead-end road with 22 houses, and used to, the other houses on our street would have their kids hit the houses here before going out proper, but I don't think there are that many young kids any more. Suits me just fine.

Thanksgiving - we just cook for ourselves on the day. It won't be elaborate, just turkey, stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy for sure, some other side or two, and pumpkin pie and maybe an apple pie, and that's it. We've gone to family members' houses on occasion, but I don't really care to do that, personally.

Christmas - we take the whole month or more to celebrate, food-wise. Many nights, I'll do some kind of holiday-themed appetizer or snack, especially at the weekends, I'll make special cocktails and hot bevvies, we'll have fondue Christmas Eve and festive appetizers New Year's Eve (or the other way round), and Christmas Day will be like Thanksgiving - a nice meal, but nothing too elaborate, because it's just us two. Prime rib, roasted potatoes, gravy, Yorkshire puddings, a couple of other sides, and a spice cake for dessert, most likely. We also do punches during the season.

The virus won't stop me shopping, I'll just take precautions. I love in-person Christmas shopping, and while I do order things online, I still like to go out to the shops and find things. I like seeing all the decorations and just being out during the holidays. I didn't grow up in a family that celebrates Christmas, so there's no real pressure to get together for that (my wife's family all live out-of-state).
 

epicuric

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Our government has introduced a "rule of six", meaning that gatherings of more than six people from different households are not allowed. I can't imagine there being much in the way of trick or treating this year. Christmas is hard to predict, although most people think that instead of a single, large family gathering on Christmas Day families may hold several 'mini' celebrations instead. These are worrying times for turkey farmers who traditionally gear up for selling large birds.

The economic impact of the virus will also be coming home to roost over the next few weeks. Large scale unemployment is forecast once the furlough scheme ends this month, and further restrictions on the hospitality sector will probably bring irreversible consequences to a sector that in normal times would be at its busiest. Some people have done quite well out of the crisis, either because of the sector they work in, or because they have been furloughed on decent pay, or because they have worked from home with reduced travel costs. Others have fallen between the cracks, getting no help from the government and having had no income for months. No doubt for some, Christams may be a little different this year, for others it will further highlight their misery. Such divisions have always been there, but this year they are greatly amplified, and far more visible.
 

Hemulen

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Halloween - considered as a commercial American folly (like Valentine's) in Finland and not celebrated widely. A few sporadic trick'n'treaters and parties + bartenders dressed up in eery costumes. This isn't a mask. That's me after picking my pores:

48275

Photo source: Amazon

Thanksgiving - what's that? This feast has mostly American and Canadian roots so we don't celebrate it here. We just have renowned pre-Christmas parties called 'Little Christmas' starting from...late October. They're famous for causing hangovers and divorces.

pikkujoulut.jpg

Photo source. Illustration: Mauri Kunnas

Christmas: Ah. Most people love it, some people hate it. At Christmas, you are pretty much put under obligation of staying with your family; parents and in-laws, attending Christmas worship (or at least a community singing venue), listening to the 'The Snowman' over and over again, knitting woolen socks, purchasing 15 boxes of gift chocolate and cooking and eating the same food for three days (24. - 26.12.) as there has to be plenty. Vendace roe (one of Finnish Christmas delicacies) isn't a treat after floating a few days in moist sour cream with onion. The candles, the scent of cinnamon, cloves and oranges, making puzzles and reading books under a blanket with a glass of good wine make up for everything. I'm a Christmas gal.

My favorite, a super cheesy and pathetic Finnish Christmas carol; lyrics by poet Eino Leino.


Free translation:

Snowbound cottages sleep.
Snowdrifts, grounds and fields sleep.
--- // ---
The star belt of heaven twinkles.
It is the holy Christmas night.
Look, a light flashes.
The ice crystals glitter on snow.
Over the mountains and forests goes a flicker of wings.
It’s a Christmas angel.
Lord sent her to bring Christmas gifts for small children.
She holds a bushel, like she’s on her way to sow.
And she sows but to human minds.
She doesn’t bring sweets or toys; they’re for fathers and mothers to give.
What does the Christmas angel bring?
Pure ideas, golden pictures into the hearts of Finnish children.
Into the cottage, into the palace.
These pour over from her bushel; shedding over the land like little stars.
Isn’t that a marvel?
But even stranger, here is what they say:
When this angel passes by, even the old ones become children.
You don’t undestand, do you?
Go ask your mother.
Then bless yourself.
Sleep, the angel is on her way.


(Preparing Finnish Christmas dishes in an ancient way - a 48 minute movie from the 70's)
^ :roflmao: The guys (Mr Vanamo and Mr Kolmonen; professional cooks) and the setting in this 'less-culinary' film somehow remind me of The Fearless Vampire Killers (Dance of the Vampires) by Roman Polanski and the tavern keeper Yoine Shagal.
 
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Burt Blank

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They're famous for causing hangovers and divorces.
Add suicides to this and unfortunately this is the result for some in the UK. The best family Christmas I can remember after I married for the first time. We invited my in laws around for lunch. We lived in Caldy on the Wirral. The area had one vagrant (Billy) who would walk 10 mile laps all day. Everyone liked and looked after him. My MIL was a complete nightmare, her culinary skills would have made her a shoe in for pastry chef in Devils Island Prison.
We all sat down for the hor douves, my MIL was in full criticism mode. Through the french windows I spied Billy walking past on the footpath. He was looking in with a sad look on his face. I ran out, dragged him in and sat him next to my MIL. He did steam a bit as it was raining. I was lucky the fleas did not get to me. He did not talk or drink much. After the meal finished he just stood up and sang silent night then he left.
 

LissaC

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Trick or treat is forbidden in Portugal this year. We don't do trick or treat so much the children do something similar called pão por Deus, literally translates to bread for God, similar to Halloween except it's a Christian tradition. It's basically children going around people's houses asking for food and it's done on the morning of All Saints Day, November 1. Traditionally people would give bread and home baked cakes to children, you're not supposed to receive fancy candy but of course children don't like receiving bread and nowadays it's easier for people to just buy the candy. In Portugal we kind of mix both traditions, children ask for pão por Deus but sometimes they dress scary and some people decorate their homes Halloween style. Anyway that this forbidden this year, and because parties are forbidden as well my 16 year old sister will be staying with me, I'll have a candy hunt for her, try to cook something scary for dinner, we'll pick one horror movie to watch and play some detective boardgames.

Thanksgiving is not observed in Portugal, so that's a pass. Christmas is always a difficult time in my family, my grandma is generally a very dramatic person but on Christmas she goes all in. Ever since I remember being a person I remember grandma ruining Christmas for everyone. Back in the day when my dad and her were still on speaking terms she declined invitations to spend Christmas at my home, at my aunt's home, at the home of the family of my mom's boyfriend, at a neighbor's home, and went all around the neighborhood complaining she's alone on Christmas eve...arguing with my aunt and making her cry on Christmas day...arguing with my dad and having him stop talking to her shortly before Christmas...talking trash about my aunt on Christmas day as we were waiting for her to arrive for lunch...she puts the joy in Christmas. If the government puts a limit on the number of people gathering in Christmas I would willingly and selflessly exclude myself from the family Christmas celebrations...
 

mjd-lovescooking

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TastyReuben , It sounds like you've got it all figured out. I wish I could be that organized. ;-)

I wonder if they are going to have the in-store person limits for the holidays. I don't see them allowing droves of people in unless the Fire Marshall approves it. They are still counting people at our local stores.

What kind of punches do you make for Chrismtas? I don't care for egg nog but have never made any special beverages for Christmas. Would love to see your recipe(s).
 

mjd-lovescooking

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epicuric, I wonder how they plan to enforce that. I was reading somewhere the police are actually going into people's homes to enforce the limit on number of people.

I am sure the farmers are worried. I cannot begin to imagine how many are going to have to close if this continues much longer. I heard (it may have been on this forum) that some farmers are giving away food because they cannot get it processed to sell to the local stores. I wonder if there's a way to connect farmers with local food banks and/or schools that have to provide daily meals for students on the free lunch programs?

Christmas is a difficult time of year for many even without the pandemic. You are correct that it will be amplified this year. I used to volunteer at various ministries around the holidays. This year I won't be able to due to some health problems. I can't wait to feel better to start volunteering again. Last year, I did an "Angel card" project which is just writing out Christmas cards for people and mailing them. I enjoyed that as I love arts and crafts. I'll try to find a similar project this year.
 

mjd-lovescooking

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Hemulen, Ah, the commercialism of all holidays IS annoying. I don't recall being inundated with holidays so much when we were kids. I especially don't care for seeing Christmas stuff before the first leaf falls in Autumn.

That mask is scary! (but made me laugh).

Little Christmas sounds like fun until the part about hangovers and divorces, of course. It reminds me of a video my kids loved when they were little. I can't think of the name of it but it featured Elmo musing about what if there was Christmas every day. ;-)

Your Christmas sounds like fun! Are you going to post some of your Christmas recipes? I would love to see them and maybe try a few. I remember going to the Museum of Science and Industry for "Christmas Around the World". They would have Christmas trees decorated in different styles from different countries around the world. It was amazing to see as a child.

I cannot see the video. There is an error message.

The poem is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it!
 

mjd-lovescooking

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Burt Blank, It sounds like you made the best of it and Billy appreciated the company and meal. I'm sorry your former MIL was such a treat but know that you aren't alone. Mine wouldn't even acknowledge me most of the time until she developed cancer and wanted to make things right with her god, I guess. His whole family was/is that way toward me. They are only second to my family's hatred. The nice thing about not being "good enough" is that I don't have to keep trying. I know it's going to go badly so I don't engage. Malcontents hate that. LOL

Your post made me think of one of my favorite corny holiday movies. Have you seen the movie "Mixed Nuts" with Steve Martin? It's hilarious. Mixed Nuts - Wikipedia
 

mjd-lovescooking

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LissaC, I'm not surprised T-o-T is forbidden. I was actually surprised they're allowing it to happen here. Kids are already great at spreading germs without introducing more ways to do it. LOL

I would love getting bread and home baked cakes. It sounds like a fun time mixing it all up like that.

My parents had two more kids when I started college so I have much younger siblings too. They are adults now.

I am trying to bribe my two children into NOT going T-o-Ting and will buy them all the candy they want. I'll have to mail it which should be fine since it's getting colder out.

I'm sorry to hear about Christmas with your family. If it's any consolation, my family is beyond difficult too. There is always some kind of squabble happening and just general discord. For decades, I volunteered in my local community on the holidays so I had a reason why I couldn't make it. I don't mean that was the only reason. I love helping others and volunteering. I just didn't have to go make myself busy because somebody in my family is basically coming to my house trying to force (yes, physically) me to go to the holiday dinners.

My family only cares about getting photos so they can pretend that everything is normal and "perfect". It's sad on so many levels. Even now, they are seniors and are still just as hateful as ever. ;-(

I wish I could give you a hug. (((((((((LissaC)))))))) if hugs are okay.
 
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TastyReuben

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I'm not going to lie...I love the "commercialization" of Christmas as much as any other aspect. It's just another part of Christmas, and just as it's easy to feel the season when walking across a meadow with a covering of crunchy snow, it's also easy (for me, anyway) to get that feeling when going through a bustling shopping mall, with all the decorations and music and people in their Christmas colors, carrying bags and bags of goodies. I love it!
 

caseydog

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I am expected to go "home" at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm hoping that traffic between Dallas and Houston will be light, due to fewer people traveling to gather for those holidays. I rather doubt it, though.

On Halloween my neighborhood is pretty much a ghost town (pardon the pun) every year. I keep all the lights turned off on the front side of the house, and nobody ever comes to my door for candy. The local mall usually has trick-or-treating where the kids go from store to store collecting candy.

CD
 
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