The Christmas season begins right after Thanksgiving! The thought of another big meal is a bit overwhelming. Perhaps that is why they are not compelled to cook turkey for Christmas.
I have an invitation to join an extended family for Christmas. Brenda is cooking a ham. This will be my first Christmas without a turkey (or chicken or duck). I will be taking tortiere cooked as a log rather than a pie. No pie plate in my house anymore! But the log is so much easier to serve for a larger group. My homemade green tomato relish will taste perfect with this. I understand that other side dishes will include a cranberry salad, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and more, I'm sure. There will be two different pies for dessert and I am taking Nanaimo Bars. That is another Canadian contribution to the meal.
My special Christmas treat is to visit the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, North Carolina. It is still owned by the van der Bilts and is the largest privately owned home in the USA. It is a tourist site though and not occupied by the family. It is decked out for Christmas and there are candlelight tours. I had thought I might drive to Atlanta to pick up a friend but that would double my travel time and the weather has not been that good. It is definitely a white Christmas in North Carolina. In addition, there is a detour on the main highway due to a rock slide two months ago. So I am not really looking forward to the drive but it is a 'must do' while I am down here and what a better time than Christmas.
There are definite advantages taking vacations during a recession! Usually there is a two year wait to visit the Inn at Biltmore House for Christmas. But this year Wednesday's during December are half price so I have decided to take advantage and stay right on the grounds of the mansion.
My final Christmas invitation is from Miss Ruth who is 93 years old. Her son and daughter-in-law will be visiting from Georgia and they are making the short trip to Gatlinburg (like driving to Banff). We will do that on Boxing Day, although they don't call it Boxing Day. It is just 'the day after Christmas'. We will hike up to the visitor centre and see the view and learn history, I am assuming. Then stay until after dark to see all the Christmas lights. I'm glad I am not doing the driving back in the dark on the narrow, windy mountain road.
I think Christmas is always described best in pictures. This is a picture album of things I see at home and nearby during this season, my gingerbread house, Nanaimo Bars that I made for my neighbours, the Biltmore and the view from my bedroom window at the Inn at Biltmore.