Here's hoping that you all had a wonderful Christmas, even those who spent it with relatives! I am quite fond of the holiday season. My apartment is decorated and I have a real tree.

I created my own tradition of gift giving many years ago. I make cookies, nutbread, fudge. For about 2 weeks after Thanksgiving, I spend most of my time in the kitchen. It takes several days to make cookie doughs. There are some standards & I try to make one new recipe every year. The doughs are packed in ziplock bags and they take up a lot of space in my fridge. Nutbreads get baked first, then I make several batches of fudge (it is very popular with my friends), then I bake the Magic Bars (graham cracker crust, choc chips, nuts, coconut, eagle brand).

I spend 2-3 days baking cookies. I set up an assembly line, utilizing all 5 of my cookie sheets, lined with Silpat. I do the 350 degree ones first, moving on to the 375. The cookies are placed on cooling racks, then into bags. This year I made quite a lot. Then I have an "Open House" gathering. Each person that comes over gets a ziploc bag to fill with their favorites. This has worked out well for me & my friends. I used to pack up bags and deliver them. I am unable to do so now and this process works well, especially for those who have their favorites or ones they do not like! I now serve home made egg nog at this gathering and more people sit around talking, meeting new people, etc. The egg nog is quite delicious.

So, that's how I manage my Christmas gift giving. It is fun and I really enjoy seeing people oohing & aahing over my baked goods.

Next up is New Years. I can turn on the TV & watch football games all day. The BCS has kinda messed things up by having their Big Game (national championship) on Jan. 8, 2009. It is too bad that TV makes the football schedules. But the TV revenues are necessary to maintain the sports programs at many of our colleges/universities.

So, sit back and enjoy these holidays as we head into 2009. Eat, drink & be merry (or linda or sue!!!), for then it is back to work and grinding the way through the year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

So long

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