I'm late sharing photos of our Thanksgiving celebration, and my daughter's birthday that happened to fall on the same day this year. My son and family were celebrating at his in-laws, so our celebration was smaller this year, with just my daughter and family and a neighbor friend. I know it will look like a large amount of food for only five people and a grandchild, but everyone takes home a large tray of leftovers, and my husband and I then enjoy what is left for a few days. Nothing goes to waste!
In fact, one of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is to make turkey stock from the carcass of the turkey the next day. I place the carcass in a large pot with a large onion, 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled carrots, stalks of celery, and any washed and frozen vegetable pieces and peelings that I've saved from preparing for our Thanksgiving meal the days before. I add the stalks of fresh parsley I've saved from using the leaves, and a large sprig of rosemary and a bunch of sage leaves from my herb garden. It is brought to a boil and then lowered to a simmer for hours--I really cook it all down to a rich broth. Then, when cooled, I strain the juice into a large bowl and discard the bones and cooked vegetables. I refrigerate the large bowl of broth overnight and then scrape off all the fat that has risen to the top the next day. Now I have a wonderful turkey stock that can be used to make soup! When making soup add salt and pepper and other seasonings like thyme, parsley, etc. Add freshly copped vegetables of choice to simmer until cooked in the stock, or frozen cooked vegetables. Add chopped turkey meat leftover from the holiday meal and cooked rice, egg noodles, pasta or barley. I add leftover mashed potatoes, if I have any, to thicken. It really is a delicious way to enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey all over again!
The day after Thanksgiving our town of Littleton holds a delightful celebration called the "Candlelight Walk." Main Street shops remain open for shopping and carolers stroll the street singing Christmas Carols. There is hot cider for sale and one can buy candles to hold in the procession. Around 6:30 PM a parade begins with a few floats passing by and then Santa Claus and his sleigh comes down Main Street. A he passes by he magically illuminates more than a million lights in the trees as he passes each block. When he reaches the end of the street he throws a switch on the big Christmas Tree in the plaza. We brought our oldest granddaughter this year and she really enjoyed the festivities while sitting on her Pop Pop's shoulders!
Our community has a large ranch house community center that is decorated beautifully for Christmas, and every year Santa Claus makes an appearance for the members. We took our two granddaughters/cousins to see him, dressed up in their matching dresses. Only the oldest granddaughter was brave enough to go up to tell him her Christmas wish list--the little granddaughter thought he was too scary. She did enjoy the ladies playing bells and the hot chocolate and cookies that were part of the celebration, however, as we all did. My daughter and son-in-law and oldest granddaughter later went on a hay ride through the community park grounds, along with other members, and sang Christmas carols along the way as the sun set. It was wonderful fun!
Another fun beginning to this Christmas season was that both of our children and their families gathered with us for a Denver tradition--an outing at Casa Bonita! Casa Bonita is a restaurant and a family entertainment spot that has been delighting visitors for over 40 years. It is cavernous in size with many different dining areas that can seat 1,000 people. Made to resemble a Mexican Village and local environment, it has at its center a 30 foot waterfall leading to a 14 foot deep pool. Daring cliff diver shows take place all evening from the cliff. The faux palm trees were lit up for the Christmas season and there were other holiday decorations all about. In addition, there are strolling musicians, and "haunted cave walk" arcades, a puppet show, and ride on figures for young children. The food is simple Mexican, and although far from gourmet, the food portions are generous. All in all it is a fun and kitschy experience that children really enjoy.
This evening my husband and I went with a few friends to a concert at the Lakewood Cultural Center in Lakewood, Colorado, to attend the 19th annual Timothy P Irvin and the Rocky Mountain Stocking Stuffers Concert. All the musicians and singers were very talented as they sang a combination of Western country and blue grass Christmas songs. One very remarkable rendition of Silent Night was sung by Jon Chandler. He told us that when he was growing up his grandparents and great grandmother lived with his family. His great grandmother told him as a child that that her great grandfather was Franz Gruber, the composer who wrote the guitar music to the song Silent Night. He then went on to perform the song so beautifully! I found the video above, on YouTube, of him telling the story and singing the song at a different venue. Click here to go to YouTube if you can not see the video. There are so many beautiful renditions of Silent Night, but I think you will also enjoy hearing Jon sing it in English and native German.
For all the fun and novelty of the Christmas season that we all enjoy--the lights, the tree, the culinary treats and presents--it is good to honor the very best of all is the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus!
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