Sunday, November 8, 2009

Setting the tone of your holidays with your senses

This time the video has the sound and video in sync so you don't have to close your eyes...unless you want to;) (For videos my voice goes up 10 notches and I can't seem to control my face, yikes.)


We talked about setting the tone of the holidays using your senses.

Music was always playing when we were growing up. I still think of the music from my past as my soundtrack of life. I do sometimes break out in song. Rebecca does it all the time too. She does it in craft stores ALL THE TIME!! I pretend I don't know her most of the time...if that doesn't stop her, I join right in with her;) I'm not kidding. We sing in stores. And it isn’t pretty. But our voices sound similar. I’m not sure if that is good or not;)

When we were kids, we had reel-to-reel and record players to play our music on. (We only had an 8 track in one of our cars, never in our house.) I love the sound of a record spinning and crackling and popping on a record player. I have so many specific Christmas albums that were huge in our Christmas rotation. Last year, I was finally able to find one of my very favorite albums from my childhood in CD format. I had searched for it on a CD for years and years. It was the New Christy Minstrels Merry Christmas album. The version we got has two albums on it. The second album is a bit hyper and crazy. Only listen to it if you have had a ton of caffeine or sugar. But the first album is spectacular!

If you ask the 4 oldest siblings what our favorite Christmas album was from our childhood, they would tell you Christmas in the Stars particularly What do you get a Wookie for Christmas

Seriously, you must go listen to this right now. It may shed some light on my geekness, but I fully embrace my inner geek.

And one last favorite Christmas record from my childhood was The Osmonds! I mean, you can’t have Christmas without Jimmy singing It never snows in LA. I can totally relate to that now since we live in Arizona-Phoenix area and it NEVER snows here.

My kids have a few albums that they love to listen to at Christmas time. Barenaked for the holidays not only rocks out some awesome Christmas songs, but there are some really great Hanukkah songs as well.

My husband listens to a lot of Christian music. Somehow he missed the fact that Relient K Let it Snow...Let it Reindeer was a Christmas album. If you look at the cover it has Rudolph right on it. We totally scored with his mistake! He still loves Relient K, but he isn’t as crazy about Christmas music as my kids and I are. He thinks Christmas music should only be played around Christmas time and not all year long the way I like it…silly man! Still it is an album we can all totally enjoy!

And let’s talk about the scents of the holidays…

Our favorite scent for the whole holiday season is Wassail. Here is the recipe from our secret family vault. It makes a huge batch, which is great when you have the whole family around for dinner.

1 Qt Water

4 Cups sugar

12 Whole Cloves

1 Cinnamon Stick (or more)

Boil for 5 minutes, then add:

1 (12oz can) orange juice frozen

1 (8oz can) lemon juice frozen

4 Qt water

Simmer and enjoy! You could make it in a crock pot.

Rebecca shared with you a powder version. We like that for times when you want just one mug full.

We would love to know what your favorite Christmas albums are, and what is your favorite holiday do you set the tone of the holidays with your senses?



This is Rebecca now. I wanted to share what I am thankful for. I am thankful to those people in my life who inspire me! It is always so much more fun to craft with people and I'm thankful that I have a few different groups that I get to craft with (children, family, and friends). I have had wonderful women before me that serve as my biggest inspirations, and I am proud to be following in their footprints. As a blogger, of course I also peruse way more blogs than I should. I love all the amazing women out there that put their fantastic ideas out there...just because. While I will not make most of the great ideas that I see, they help spark my own ideas, or remind me of ideas I had long ago that just haven't been tackled yet. And of course, I am thankful for this blog and the other RootsAndWingsCo Gals. It is great to have something pushing me outside of some of my boundaries. Being creative helps keep me centered, and so I am thankful for those that help push me to make the time to create, as well as those that inspire me.


Katrina here,

My all time favorite scent for the holidays is pine tree. Seriously!! When ever I go to a store like Target, Walmart, Home Depot, etc I have to walk in through the garden center (even if what I need is on the other side of the store) just to smell the trees as I walk through. As a kid we always had a real Christmas tree. Many years we drove up to the Santa Cruz mountains in California to select our tree. In later years, there were a few years my mom would select a live potted tree. Not one of those tiny ones but they were always at least 5 footers. Now that I have my own family we have an artificial tree. I have tried every thing from pine scented plug ins, to simmering pots to buying a live wreath just to get that smell in my house. The plug ins were a bit strong so I would take the vial and set it in a small vase to hide it and just let it slowly release it's scent on it's own. I usually place it somewhere near the tree. I have also taken it and rubbed a bit of the scent here and there on the tree (like perfume). Somebody actually asked me if my tree was real one year because the smell was there. I don't have a fireplace but if I did you can bet I would light it up for special events during the holidays, especially Christmas Eve. There is just something about it.

Some of my favorite Christmas music are of course the old classics but the Chipmunk Christmas album is one that I had to get for my boys. As a kid I would play that one over and over. As a grown up I have found that I really like Mannheim Steam Rollers. I guess I can't totally get away from the old classics but I love the way they have given the songs a modern feel.

For drinks we always did a lot of spiced cider or spiced tea (orange or apple). Another winter time favorite from my grandmother was compote. It is basically mixed dried fruit in a pot covered in water and maybe a cinnamon stick added in. You simmer it till all the fruit is soft. It is great to just eat/drink out of a cup warm or top it with a bit of whipped topping or on vanilla ice cream. Ok so I realize that may not sound yummy to most of you, it may be a thing you just have to grow up with to appreciate. It is a legacy from my long gone grandmother along with many of her yummy dishes like pierogies and fried dough topped with powdered sugar. Just the thought of those takes me back and makes me miss her. It also makes me think of my sister who is the baker in our family. Making things from my childhood takes me back and makes me feel close to my far away family and those that are no longer with us.

For setting the tone, I often look to my fond memories from my childhood. I try to recreate some of them for my children but I also try to set the tone in a way that works for us. It will never be exactly the same as it was all those years ago however, you can create new traditions that set the tone for your family.

Happy Holidays!!

HHH button


Angela said...

Bwahahaha! LOVE the "What Do You Get a Wookie for Christmas?" song!!!! We named our chihuahua Wookie, and I had to show my girls the song! :)

I make the same mixture on my stove that my mom did when we were kids... hot water, orange peel, cinnamon, and cloves. Smells like Christmas. We listen to Transiberean (sp?) Orchestra CDs at our house while decorating.

Amy said...

For me, I know it is the fall/holiday season when I step outside and smell the crisp air mixed with smoke from someone's fire. That puts me in such a great holiday mood. Our apple cider does the trick, too. I guess I'll have to put up the recipe on my blog. I'd love to have you stop by sometime- most of the stuff I have made and posted has been from one of your posts! :)

Sondra said...

I've never thought of filling your home with things that tickle your senses. Although that is exactly what I do.

I'm divorced and for the past 10 years have to share Christmas with my sons dad. Today while we were driving home from the airport from this weekend's visit, he told me he spoke with his dad and told him wanted to stay home for Christmas.(he is now 15) He then proceeded to tell me - it was because our house is decorated so cute, it smells good and we play Christmas music.

I laughed because I had watched your video earlier today about the very same thing.

I am glad that even though we have a difficult situation - I still make great memories for my children's senses and it really means a lot to them.

Merry Christmas! And may this season be filled with joyful things that tickle all of your senses. :-D

~ Maranda @ {Evoked} ~ said...

I am a new reader of your blog and this post has really got me excited about Christmas! There is just something special about this time of year...

My husband and I have been married almost 5 years, and although we don't have children yet, we are already starting new traditions as well as carrying on old ones from both sides of our family.

Music is very important to me and it is interesting to see our our Christmas playlist changes and grows each year. Elvis Christmas songs are a staple, these are especially important to my husband - but I have really come to love all the variations of Christmas favorites sung by Elvis.

My favorite Christmas song of all time is a rather unknown song by Nat King Cole called "The Happiest Christmas Tree". My family listened to it nonstop growing up, but when we lost the tape we had the hardest time re-locating that song in the stores. We always talked about it and looked for it, but it wasn't until itunes became so popular that we actually found it. I surprised my family with it by popping it in the cd player on Christmas morning one year. So many memories....

Thanks for a wonderfully nostalgic post!