Project 365, #359: Christmas Eve Dinner.

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Taking a break from the ornaments, I wanted to show off the very special and delicious feast Mum spent the day preparing for us!

The main dish was an extra large coppa roast that Dad and I had butchered from one of our pigs earlier this month. It was covered in a perfectly yummy sauce of cranberries that Mum created, and the whole thing was juicy and tender.

Alongside this we had applesauce with cinnamon, sourdough with dried fruit bits, and a fresh green salad of local veggies with Litehouse bleu cheese dressing, and a lovely red wine. The whole meal was so amazing that we didn’t even need (or want) any dessert!

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Project 365, Triptych: Christmas Ornaments: Family.

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#356: Dad and Penguins.

I mentioned how animals were important in my family a couple days ago, how we each of us connect to different animals at various times for a multitude of reasons. What I didn’t say was that Dad has, for as long as I can remember, been pretty ambivalent towards family traditions like this. He didn’t really see the reason we (mostly my sister and I) got so attached to doing certain things and why they were important to us, but he’d go along with it anyway (for the most part) when we insisted.

This has manifested in interesting ways, and the penguins are one of the more interesting. Since each member of the family would get animal-themed presents (in addition to the wooden ornaments I already mentioned, we’d also get things like calendars and figurines and whatever else.) this meant that whether he wanted one or not, Dad needed to have an animal so we could get him presents.

I’m not really sure how penguins ended up assigned to him, actually, because it happened when I was still quite young. When I learned to use Mum’s sewing machine as a child, it was to hem Christmas-penguin fabric into bandanas for Dad. We’d get him penguin toys for his desk, and penguin ornaments for him to hang on the tree. However it came about,  the penguins stuck, and have been ‘his’ animal for years now.  They and my Dad have become forever intertwined.

 

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#357: Mum and Birds.

Mum, on the other hand, has always encouraged our traditions — however much some of the more odd ones have bemused her. She has had many animals that are ‘hers’, and one of the most prominent on the Christmas tree have always been the birds. These are the birds made with real feathers, and wires on the feet to wrap around the branches so they look real. I have no idea how many she has now, but there was a time when she’d receive one or two new ones each year. All are unique, and I’m sure she could recount the story behind each one.

I’ve always thought the birds were one of the prettiest things on the tree, and I think it’s lovely having them perched here and there throughout the whole thing. They bring a little of the woodland into the living room — appropriate in so many ways — and are each beautiful works of art and craft.

 

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#358: Heritage.

Some of the ornaments we hang tell the story of our heritage. Mum loves discovering and learning about the genealogy of her family — a passion she’s slowly rubbing off on me — and we honor it in a number of ways. This viking ship is one of them, since our Danish ancestors were, in fact, vikings! It’s little things like this that help keep those roots real in our hearts and minds, when so much else is lost through the generations of separation between us and those distant relations. And what better time to reflect on our past than on the holidays: a time of family and celebration!

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Project 365, #355: Christmas Ornaments: Pom-Pom Birds.

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These little pom-pom birds perch on branches of every Christmas tree I’ve ever decorated. They are easy to make, even as a little kid, and I remember several years of doing just that. I have several “generations” of these decorations, with various changes to design and style depending on what was available and how old I was. They were all given lives and relationships as I created them, and some of those I even remember when I see them again now.

I have birds with open beaks, closed beaks, feather tails or felt tails, some with googly eyes, and one even has a white bib (she’s the baby of the “family” I created that year). The ones with wooden clothes pins usually have the year I made them written on the bottom (thanks to my Mum being quite organized about keeping track of these things), and there are a few with plastic clothes pins that I made in my girl scout troop one year (when Mum was the leader).

There are many things it just wouldn’t feel like a proper Christmas tree without, and these little birds — as simple and silly as they are — are one of them.

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Project 365, #354: Christmas Ornaments: Moose.

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Pretty much every ornament in my family has a story or a tradition — or both — behind it. With life getting busy around the holidays, and work taking up much of my time, I decided that an easy but interesting theme I can maintain off and on these last few weeks of the Project is to share some of those stories and traditions. Starting with the wooden moose.

Every member of my immediate family has wooden animal ornaments like this moose, and each animal we have is unique and meaningful to the individual at the time it was given. It may represent a stage of our lives, or our favorite animal at the time, or a native creature of the place we lived at. Whatever the meaning, it gives the simple wooden carving a special meaning, and a special place in both our hearts and our Christmas trees.

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Project 365, #353: Front Porch.

Sitting on the rarely-used front porch of the vacation rental, enjoying the view…

(Edit: Taken with my phone rather than my Canon camera.)

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Project 365, Triptych: Christmas At Home.

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#350: Hawaii Christmas Wreath.

Not quite as gorgeous as when it was fresh, but still lovely. This is a wreath Mum designed and crafted from local plants she gathered herself.

 

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#351: Wrapping Station.

With no guests staying the vacation rental side of the house, we can turn the extra bedroom into a gift wrapping station! Mum is also using it as a sewing room, with her work table set up at the end of the bed.

 

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#352: Our Christmas Tree!

Mum had the brilliant idea this year to get a tall skinny artificial tree so it would actually fit in our tiny living space without rearranging everything.

I absolutely love it! The proportions look fabulously art deco, which gives the whole thing an appropriately eclectic feel when decorated with the contrast of Mum’s old-fashioned unique ornaments. Then we wrapped the base with a tree skirt sewn and gifted to us years ago by one of Mum’s sisters.

The whole display fits our home and suits our family perfectly.

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Project 365, #349: Kea’au Night Parade.

Called the Parade of Lights, this is a very special Christmas parade.

Each year, we and our friends gather under pop-up tents decorated with Christmas lights (organized, set up, and run on a generator very generously by one of the friends). We drink hot chocolate with whipped cream, eat the cookies and savories we each brought, and visit until the dusk, when the parade begins.

It starts like any other parade, with marching bands and boy scouts and the like. But as twilight gets darker, the floats start coming by…

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Every one of them decked out in lighted finery.

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Lots of creative imagination on display.

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As always, it was over far too soon, and we all had a marvelous time kicking off the holiday season with the beautiful display of lights!

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