Saturday, December 20, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 20 December - Christmas Parties



Thomas MacEntee of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:

Holiday parties, a neighborhood open house, buffets – all these take place in abundance during Christmastime. Do you throw a party each year or did your family throw parties around Christmas? Any special theme like Ugly Christmas Sweater or perhaps a gift wrapping or cookie decorating party?
Tell us about your best Christmas parties and your memories of Christmases past.

I don't remember our family hosting Christmas parties as such.  My father had work Christmas parties featuring Santa for the kids.  You can tell I was having a great time in this photo can't you?  Will I like the present Santa gives me? First world problems, I know, I know.

And then when I grew up, I got to attend my own work Christmas parties where you could dress up and be silly.  I remember walking all the way home from ABC Toowong studios to our house in Taringa dressed as a star and blinking all the way.  Robert was a pudding. Loani was a Christmas tree.



Early on. when we were renting at Carrington Street Rosalie, we used to go to the neighbours' next door for Christmas drinks. We were a household of rowdy "early 20 somethings" and they were very tolerant and patient retirees.  We used to enjoy going to their place for a drink and a laugh.  It's awful but I can't remember their names.  My sister-in-law will remember.  She was the responsible, grown-up member of the household.





Good neighbours are worth their weight in gold aren't they?

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com


Sepia Saturday 259: Christmas 2014


Alan on Sepia Saturday says:

So here we are, at the end of the fifth year of Sepia Saturday, still going strong, still going sepia. Tradition dictates that we slow things down a little over the festive season with a single call covering both Christmas and New Year. And tradition dictates that it is a festive prompt. So here it is - families, festivities, trees, candles and wine. The image comes from the Flickr stream of the Archives of the Royal Family of Denmark. All you have to do is to post an old image linked to this seasonal theme (or not if you are a Sepia Scrooge) sometime over the festive season and link it to the list here.

Barbara McLoughlin, Ted and Ethel Conner Christmas 1959

Well I may not have the wine but I've got the candles.

Although there is no identifying information on this photo, I am dating it at 1959 chiefly because of the McCalls magazine that my paternal grandmother is holding.  It seems to be a Christmas issue and when I searched online for a McCalls magazine issue cover circa 1959...bingo! ...I found one for sale here and I think I've found a match.  

So there we have it, my mother (before she was married) and paternal grandparents celebrating Christmas in 1959.

Oh I do like being a family tree detective...I do I do.

For more images matching the theme, go here.

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 19 December - Christmas Gifts




Thomas MacEntee of Advent Calendar of Christmas memories says:


In addition to Christmas cookies, many families prepared special, once a year treats to share with others. Popcorn balls? Christmas is a time to give gifts to family members, loved ones and friends as well as neighbors. What is your Christmas gift giving routine? Do you go all out with wrapping paper and ribbon? What types of gifts do you typically give? And what was the best gift you ever received for Christmas?
Tell us about Christmas gifts and your memories of Christmases past.

Well of course in an ideal world I would make everyone presents but I don't make the time/am too lazy.  I have made presents in the past - not always entirely successful but it's the thought that counts yes?

So I try to be original but it gets very difficult - year after year.  I hate giving people gift cards/money but then postage is so expensive these days that it is often more sensible to avoid disappointment and debtors' jail.

I do like to give books (of course).  

The best gift I ever received for Christmas was a real live choir singing me Christmas carols in my living room - that was a pretty special gift from my very good friend, the Queen of the Tea Cosies.  

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 18 December - Christmas Baking




Thomas MacEntee of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:

In addition to Christmas cookies, many families prepared special, once a year treats to share with others. Popcorn balls? Fudge? Caramel corn? What do you remember about these dishes and the activity of making them? Share recipes if you have them or just share your memories of making Christmastime foods.
Tell us about your special Christmas foods and your memories of Christmases past.

Baking.  I should do it more.  Now you think I'm going to tell you that we used to make Fat Rascals every year for Christmas.  We didn't.  I've made them once in my life - for a Welsh friend because it was Wales Day or some such and I thought I'd make a gesture to her Welsh-ness.  I'm only putting a picture of them here because I needed a picture of baking.  Pretty aren't they? If you want a recipe, google it, like I did.  I can't remember what recipe I used to be honest.  Sorry about that.

What we used to bake for Christmas was mince pies and Christmas cake but I haven't got any pictures of those.  I would stand for hours chopping up fruit and reading the recipe out to my increasingly harassed mother.  There would be the obligatory stirring of the mixture by everyone.  Then the mixture (for the mince pies) would sit in a Moccona coffee jar in the pantry for a while to ferment and then I think my father would make the pies.  And dust them with icing sugar. I'm not sure where the recipe came from - I suspect the Aerophos cook book.  Which I can't find.  There is a recipe in the Commonsense Cookbook (1960 edition) though and here it is:

2 ozs sultanas
2 ozs currants
1 oz candied peel
2 ozs brown sugar
1 level tablespoon butter
2 large apples
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
A little grated lemon rind and juice
1/8 teaspoon spice
1/2 lb short crust


  1. Wash and dry fruit
  2. Cut peel finely
  3. Peel, quarter, core and cut apples into dice
  4. Mix fruits, sugar, butter and flavourings together
  5. Divide short crust into two, one piece a little larger than the other
  6. Roll the larger piece out a little larger than the tin
  7. Line the tin with it
  8. Wet round the edge and put fruit mixture in
  9. Roll out the remainder of the pastry
  10. Cover the fruit
  11. Trim pastry, firm edges together
  12. Glaze with white of egg or water and sugar
  13. Bake in a hot over for 15 minutes
  14. Lower heat, cook half an hour longer
  15. Sift icing sugar over top.

Here is a picture of my maternal grandfather and my mother.  See that plate over on the right?  I suspect that had mince pies on it but they've gone - that's how good they were!



So that's my baking story.  What's yours?

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 17 December - Christmas Stories



Thomas MacEntee of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:


Whether it is A Christmas Carol by Dickens or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Suess, we read or heard special stories at Christmastime. What is your favorite story and who wrote it? Do you have a tradition of reading certain stories each year at Christmas?
Tell us about your favorite Christmas stories and your memories of Christmases past.

My favourite story is The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen.  It's not a very cheerful tale but I remember vividly the picture of the little girl outside looking in at the people inside having a great time at Christmas.  The story is actually set on New Year's Eve.  You can get a sense of it here.




A more cheerful story that someone sent me yesterday can be found here




May your Christmas stories be powerful and meaningful.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 16 December - Christmas Travel







Thomas MacEntee from Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:

“Over the river and through the woods” as the song goes . . . Christmas time can often mean travel home or meeting up with family at a special destination. Do you remember traveling back home for Christmas? Were there any trips that standout in your memory? What methods of travel have you used to make the trip home?Tell us about your Christmas travel and your memories of Christmases past.

I don't think there is a transport method we haven't used to get to our Christmas destination.  Well, maybe a bicycle or a donkey.

We have used shanks pony to walk across the creek to my sister-in-law's for Christmas.

We have driven from Brisbane to the Blue Mountains.

I have caught a plane.




Here I am at Mascot Airport with my mother's turkey stuffed firmly under my arm.

We have caught the car ferry to Stradbroke Island for Christmas in years gone by.  You can see the joy in Caspar's face here.  Such a great feeling to get on that ferry and leave the troubles of the world behind you and enter island time.





The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com

Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - 15 December - Christmas Tree Decorations





Thomas MacEntee of Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories says:


Do you have unique decorations that you use each Christmas? How did you get them or were they passed down to you from family members? Do you have certain traditions surrounding Christmas decorations such as purchasing one from every state or country you visit? Describe your favorite decorations!
Tell us about your Christmas decorations and your memories of Christmases past.
Let's be honest.  I am a complete sucker when it comes to Christmas decorations.  It will be with great reluctance that I give these latest finds away as gifts this year.


I did decide to keep the birdie though and he is now perched on top of the tree.


One of my colleagues is very talented when it comes to making Christmas decorations...bless her.  Here are some from last year and the one with the spider on it is from this year.


Our thoughts tonight though are with everyone in Martin Place in Sydney and their families.  We are sending positive thoughts your way for a peaceful resolution.

The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com