With most necessary activities behind me, I can now concentrate on the usual Christmas preparations. Each year I try to simplify things, however, old habits die hard and other folks' expectations hold on pretty tight.
With the garlands up in the house (personally, my favourite part of the season).....
....and outside (seems you can never really get the outside done without freezing. Either you are doing it in pleasant weather and the neighbours wonder if you own a calendar, or you wait for a "tasteful" time to begin decorating and it has by then become very cold!)
My baking list has gotten shorter this year but there are still some folks out there who will get trays of cookies, so honestly, it is impossible to just make a few kinds of cookies!! We all have our favourites and "it just wouldn't be Christmas without them" is the cry that goes up each year, when I sit down, pen in hand to make a short list. I think I have it down to thirteen, for the moment. I do get some help from the boys and even Marty pitches in occasionally.
The first things I make every year are the traditional Scottish Shortbread, above, and Peanut Brittle for my father-in-law. Both are simple recipes, one done in the food processor, the other in the microwave. With the cold weather outside, the kitchen is the cosiest place to be!