Tradition while I was growing up was to go to my grandparents house, or them come to or house here in Florida and open presents from the HUGE stockings my grandma has. She would shop for small stocking stuffers like hair bands and toothpaste, you know, the things you actually use, and wrap them all up. My parents and I had 1 stocking with gifts wrapped in 3 different types of wrapping paper to show which gift went to whom. My grandpa would dress up as Santa Claus and bring in a big bag of presents. We would bake traditional Italian Christmas cookies which always seemed to be more fun to bake than to eat. I still like pizzelles though. They're an Italian waffle like cookie, and according to Wikipedia, Pizzelle were originally made in the Abruzzo region of south-central Italy. The name comes from the Italian word for "round" and "flat" (pizze); this is also the meaning of the word pizza. We flavor ours with anise, but I'm sure vanilla or walnut would be great too. They're made from an egg based batter and poured on a pizzelle iron to cook. When warm, they can also be rolled and used as a cannoli shell. Some people even dust them with powdered sugar. We would also make Italian prune cookies which were not my favorite. Sort of tasted like fig newtons.
I wish I had a picture of my grandpa dressed up in that Santa suit. I'll have to search and scan one in if I find it. I remember the Christmas I found out Santa was my grandpa. I was 5 years old and we were having Christmas in my grandparents basement. My grandpa said he had to go upstairs to fix Aunt Dot's washing machine or dishwasher (their house is a Manor on the beach where they used to rent out rooms). I knew the only washing machine was in the basement with us and that she didn't have a dishwasher - something fishy was going on...Then Santa came and confirmed my suspicions - he was wearing my grandma's glasses! He had brought me a precious little kitten and my little cousins were there so I didn't say anything, but I knew. I don't know what age I was that I revealed to my parents what I had discovered that night. Santa still brings you presents as long as other people didn't know you knew, right? :) The kitten he brought me that year was Princey, the only cat I've had in my life. He was such a great kitty, a constant companion. He passed when he was 16 years old in 2003.
Here's the 2 of us in one of his favorite lookout spots in my parents house.
DH and I finished up our shopping for the family last night. We stopped at Andy's and picked up some beer for the weekend - Sierra Nevada regular and Christmas edition and also Hacker Pschorr. Had to stock up for Christmas and also the big UFC fight on Saturday. It's a big one Forrest Griffin defending his title against Rashad Evans, Nogueira v Frank Mir, Wanderlei Silva v Rampage Jackson. Andy is also going to check out availability on a special bottle of 30 year aged scotch for DH's 30th birthday next year. I picked up an extra few small things for DH today and Christmas is ready to start.