Monday, December 21, 2015

Holiday Post 2015: Traditions, Manners and Other Miscellany

The holidays are finally here. As I write this, we are four days away from Christmas Day. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus, the Winter Solstice, some other celebration, or none at all, I hope this is a time for peace and rest for you out there. This year, we ran a bit late putting up our Christmas tree, which we did last night. The coquito did get made a bit earlier this week, so we are enjoying that just fine.

By the way, coquito, the traditional Puerto Rican holiday drink, is fairly easy to make, and there are many recipes out there. We choose a version without eggs, but the basics are rum, condensed milk, coconut cream or coconut milk (depends how much coconut flavor you like and how thick you want it to turn out), and some cinnamon to garnish. From there, it can vary. Some folks like adding nutmeg or some other holiday spices when they blend it. Other recipes ask for condensed and evaporated milk. For rum, naturally Puerto Rican rum is preferable, especially white rum, but hey if what you got is dark rum from some other island, hey, rock on. My best advice is to run a search on Google and find a recipe you like, try it out. If you are really curious, leave me a comment, and I will tell you mine. By the way, this is something you drink out of a shot glass; you don't chug it.

Celebrating the Holidays

As I have mentioned before, in our household we are very easy going about the holidays. We are not church goers. For us, resting and spending time at home with family after a long year of work is what matters. Our daughter is home for college, so she gets to rest after an arduous semester. We open presents, snack, have some coquito, then later a nice meal. Since I will be spending time with the family, this week I will be featuring some posts with links and interesting things I have found to amuse you while I am gone. As always, comments are welcome.

  • Now for many folks, I understand that the holidays can be a time of stress. Putting up the tree and dealing with some details around the house can be hard. So here are 15 tips and tricks to help out from better ways to put up the tree if you use a natural tree to using a piece of bread to sweep up glass from the floor. The last tip about wrapping the whole tree, if you have a fake tree, does not work as well for us since we have limited space. We store ours in a large tub. Story via Mental Floss.
  • Money can also be a source of stress during the holiday season. Many people consider the usual: gifts, food for the feast, so on. But they often fail to consider other additional costs of the holiday that may not appear so evident. So via Wise Bread, here are "13 Holiday Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About.
  • And speaking of costs, it seems the items on the traditional 12 Days of Christmas song are a bit more pricier this year, according to PNC's Christmas Price Index. A hat tip to The Week.
  • Our pets, for those of us who have pets, are part of our families, and we do our best to include them in our celebrations. However, you want to make sure your pets remain safe and happy, and this is a time of year where it is very likely they might eat something or mess with something that could be bad for them. To help out with that, here are some tips on holiday pet dangers to avoid, via Wise Bread. For example, those nice poinsettias a lot of people like can be toxic to pets if they gnaw on them.
  • This is the time of year when many people feel generous. One way to express that generosity is giving to charity. But do you know how to vet a charity or nonprofit to make sure your money goes to where it does the most good? Via ProPublica, here is "How to Vet Nonprofits Before You Give."
  • Apps are popular these days for folks who use their smartphones. If you are one of those folks, you may be interested in one or more of these apps to help you get things done over the holidays. Via Mental Floss.
  • If you are traveling and you are staying at someone else's house, here are few reminders on do's and don'ts of being a house guest from The Art of Manliness.
  • Now, you may do your best to mind your manners when you go visit your relatives for the holiday, but chances are you got a cranky right winger Uncle Bob who worships Trump and Rush. You may be tempted to tell him to go eff himself, but instead, Robert Reich gives you some ideas so you can at least have a conversation armed with facts.

Christmas cards, not so ordinary decor, and other odds and ends

Let's have a look at some quirky stuff.

Stay tuned for other holiday posts this week where I will look at gifts, what the hell happened in 2015, and of course, books and reading. Enjoy your week and holidays.

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