I haven't been doing Friday Fives much lately (mostly because Fridays tend to be busy at Habitat), but it's the last day before the holiday break (we're closed all next week, until January 2nd), most people are already gone and I can't stand to do any more work on our database today. :) Here are the five questions as posed by RevHRod:
What was one of your favorite childhood gifts that you gave?
This questions specifies childhood, so it's hard for me to remember anything really great. My mom used to always have to help my brother and I shop for my dad - there were a lot of ties and tie tacs I recall! I think maybe the best thing I can think of right now was baking my dad's favorite dessert - Whoopie Pies. I have no idea where the name comes from, but they're bascially cakelike chocolate cookies that you pair up and fill with a fluffly marshmallow based frosting. They're messy and time consuming to make but even as a kid I was always into baking and knew this was something I could do for Dad (with only a little help from Mom).
What is one of your favorite Christmas recipes? Bonus points if you share the recipe with us. Aside from Whoopie Pies, which I don't have memorized to share with you all here from work, I love to make pumpkin pie (but it HAS to be made with sweetened condensed milk - the recipe is usually on the label of the can if you buy Borden's Eagle brand). I also bake an assortment of Christmas cookies with an old favorite being Magic Cookie Bars (also a sweetened condensed milk recipe) and a new favorite being cashew cardamom shortbreads.
What is a tradition that your family can't do without? (And by family, I mean family of origin, family of adulthood, or that bunch of cool people that just feel like family.) There are a ton of traditions this time of year, but I think one of the most fun is that Trouble inherited a horn that he mom had always used as a Christmas decoration. For the first couple of years it had a big bow on it and we hung it on the wall each Christmas, but as soon as it came out of the box of Christmas stuff, Trouble would have to blow it (usually several times before the sound was anything remotely musical). The bow has long since faded and the horn is tarnished; we don't use it as decoration anymore but it's always on the top of the Christmas box when we putt the stuff out and it always gets played - a signal that the season has begun in our house!
Pastors and other church folk often have very strange traditions dictated by the "work" of the holidays. What happens at your place? Ha ha ha! This is one of the reasons I'm glad I'm not a pastor. I don't think church could possibly be the same if it was my full time job. Since my calling and seminary education have led to a different path, I don't feel like my work really impacts the holidays so much. However, as someone who worked several years in emergency services and having a partner who always works in emergency services, one or both of us often end up working on the holidays, so we end up being very flexible with dates. The traditions stay the same (cookies, fancy meal, tree, gifts, etc.) but they often get split up among different days as it fits around work stuff. It's often times that much nicer because Christmas can be split up among three or four days rather than a gluttonous one day event.
If you could just ditch all the traditions and do something unexpected... what would it be? Hmmm. I really like the traditions, and am generally not good at unexpected. I'm afraid I'm not good on this question. Instead, I'd like to reinstate one of my family traditions from when I was growing up. We always opened one gift on Christmas Eve after coming home from church, then opened gifts from relatives and friends on Christmas morning, but saved all the gifts to and from each other (just our immediate family). Then we'd open the gifts from each other 1 per night for the 12 days of Christmas, saving the biggest/best gift for January 6th on Epiphany/the 12th day. It spread the season out and reminded us that Jesus' birth was only the beginning.... Since Trouble and I have been together we haven't done this (although we spread out the holiday in our own ways -see above) mostly because giving each other 12 gifts would be WAY too extravagant!