This is my second Advent as a Catholic and really want to make an effort to celebrate the liturgical year in an earthy, sensual way. I love that Catholicism celebrates the physical along with the spiritual without separating one from the other. When I was a Quaker everything was spiritual. A traditional Quaker meeting consists of sitting in a room in silence with others and waiting on the Spirit. Looking back that practice seems to disregard that Our Lord came in the flesh, like the physical body of Christ was a mere trifle! In defiance of this, here are a few ways I've come up with to honor St. Nicholas today.
I've been waiting and waiting to decorate my house for Christmas. My plan was to wait until Gaudete Sunday to put everything out. Then I remembered that my Grandma gave me almost all of her Santa Claus figurines when she moved into a smaller house. Seems like a great time to put these babies out in honor of St. Nicholas! Here's a glimpse of this collection, forgive my dark picture.
That is not even all of them. My mom has some that look like an actual bishop, so maybe I will have to snag some of those from her for next year. Some of these are a little baffling, to tell you the truth...
Here is Santa in Noah's Ark. I have a little Noah that goes in there too, but you can change him out for Santa anytime the mood strikes you.
I quite like this one of Santa inexplicably riding a pig. In fact, I have 2 of that one.
And here is Santa hugging a bear. He brought the bear a fish gift, so it's okay. I really like that one as well.
The plan is to make some speculoos spice cookies. I have a recipe handed down from my great grandmother who was born in 1887 in Belgium. The cookies are traditionally made on the feast of St. Nicholas. In Belgium they put the dough into fancy molds, but I don't have one of those. I'm going to try rolling them out and using a Santa cookie cutter on them. Usually I form them into a big roll, refrigerate and slice thin with a knife before baking. Here is the recipe:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Cream together the brown sugar, shortening, butter and sour cream. Sift together the dry ingredients, then add to the sugar mixture. Stir in the pecans. Form into a large roll in wax paper and chill for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Slice very thin and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.
The plan is to wash these delicious cookies down with Arias Punch...nicknamed so for no other reason than to honor St. Nicholas who punched Arias in the face. Any other time I would call this punch sherbet punch. It's just sprite, a little pineapple juice and a scoop of lime sherbet. My hubs tells me he's been craving this punch so I thought it was as good a time as any to bust it out, especially when I could give it a such a moniker.
I'm also thinking about painting a little peg doll in the likeness of St. Nicholas. I have already done St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Francis of Assisi. I was inspired by Jessica at Shower of Roses so I totally ripped off her St. Therese design. You should check out hers, it's way cuter!
Here is a little tidbit that is only tangentially related to what I was talking about before. It may be a little difficult to bake my cookies because my oven door is broken. I did discover recently during a bout of cookie desperation that cookies can indeed be baked in the toaster oven with mediocre results. Juuuuust throwing that out there.
And now for something completely different! This is what I got when I paused 19 Kids and Counting at just the perfect moment yesterday. It may be immature, but made me laugh. Enjoy!
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