Smorgasbord Christmas Celebrations Rewind – The Third Day of Christmas with guests – Jennie Fitzkee, Lisa Thomson #Food Carol Taylor, Camembert Puffs and Mulled Wine

Welcome to the rewind of the series from 2018 which features not only the food and traditions of Christmas but also some special guests who it would be lovely to share Christmas dinner with in person. In the series my guests shared their best Christmas gift ever…and there will be food including from our resident foodie Carol Taylor, my favourite drinks for the holidays, and of course music to get you into the spirit of the season..

On the Christmas before we left for Cape Town and aged eight in 1962, I was in a bit of a quandary. I had searched the house top to bottom looking for my Christmas presents including the in the basement which was officially out of bounds, unless I was with my sister listening to her record player which had been banished from my father’s earshot.

I had found my five year old brother’s present which I have to say being a tomboy I was more than envious of. It was a red cowboy hat, waistcoat and holster with a silver six shooter… I knew who the weakest link in the family was and I applied pressure daily to find out what my gift was… Eventually the week before the big day he partially cracked and announced heatedly that it had ‘four wheels and you pushed it’.

You will probably gather that a dolly pram was not exactly what I had in mind. But I was a properly brought up child, and whilst I was more excited by the books that I received, I showed appropriate gratitude for said pram, which held a blonde haired replica of what my mother considered to be the perfect child……

It took me 24 hours, but I was was wearing the holster, gun and cowboy hat which I borrowed from the end of my brother’s bed while he slept. Sadly…. when we left a few months later for South Africa the pram had to be left behind and of course by the time we got back two years later I was a teenager and it was gifted to another.

Time for a little music and here is Bing Crosby with the classic I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

Time to look at how Christmas is celebrated around the world and you can read more via Why Christmas.

Today a look at Egypt where around 15% of the population are christian and celebrate Christmas. They are far more serious about advent than we are here, with a 43 day period of abstinence from all animal products. It is 43 days because they don’t celebrate Christmas until January 7th as in Russia, Ethiopia and Serbia.

There is a special service on Christmas Eve that sometimes go on until the early morning. Having been so good before Christmas, families go to town for their Christmas dinner with a favourite being ‘Fata’ a lamb stew containing bread, rice and garlic.

A great many other Egyptians also celebrate Christmas, but in the commercial sense with most supermarkets selling traditional foods and hotels and restaurants hosting special festivities.

We are now on Day three and in the traditional 12 days this would be 27th December and celebrates the life of St John the Apostle. John and his brother James were disciples of Jesus and John is probably the only one of the apostles who did not suffer a martyr’s death. He lived a relatively long life and is attributed as the author of several books in the New Testament.

The origins of the Twelve Days of Christmas will probably never really be clarified as several people lay claim to it. France is the likely suspect but it has been sung in various formats since about 1780 in England. I suspect that modern day pop stars would be delighted to have their songs still being chanted 240 years later.

As far as the song is concerned according to folklore the Three French Hens probably refer to a variety of chicken from France. There are a number breeds of chicken associated with France particular around the time of the origins of the song. These were the Crevecoeur, Houdans and the La Fleche. I also suspect that the elite of the day thought that using the term French Hen sounded more upmarket that chicken!

Time for my first guest…..pre-school teacher and Wedding Dancer….Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie – Blog: Jennie Fitzkee – Facebook: Jennie Fitzkee – @jlfatgcs

And if you are wondering about the Wedding dancer and singer bit.. then meet the  Mermatrons. A group of friends who came together and have supported each other and entertained many over the years.

Here is what Jennie had to share about her most favourite Christmas gift ever

1989 was a year of very little money. It was also the year our son desperately wanted the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier for Christmas. Yes, desperately. Ninety nine dollars was the price tag, and that might as well have been nine million dollars. We couldn’t get him his dream. He understood, sort of. He never complained, yet we talked about that dream occasionally over the years.

When he became engaged to be married, we spent Christmas with her family. He unwrapped a huge package from her parents. And there it was, the GI Joe Aircraft Carrier. I don’t know who cried first, but there were many tears shed. Everyone watched in delight as this now grown man played with his beloved toy. Sometimes dreams do come true.

How lovely and what a moment.. I did manage to find a picture of a GI Joe Aircraft Carrier

I had a few ideas of what I could get Jennie as a gift for Christmas and eventually decided on a virtual invitation to join in with the next Mama Mia flashmob… location to be determined…courtesy of Youtube

Time for another recipe from Carol Taylor from one of our cook from scratch posts in recent weeks. Cranberries have long been associated with Christmas and usually in cranberry sauce to go with the turkey, however you might like to create a starter from these delicious ingredients. You can find other cranberry recipes: Here

Camembert Puffs:

These little puffs don’t take long to make so if I need a quick snack if visitors pop in around sundowner time then these don’t take long. I always keep a little box of already cut puff pastry squares which I can just pop in the oven and I always have a container of cranberry as we like it in a sandwich if we have cold chicken or pork and it is lovely with hot meat or pork schnitzels which I just top with some cream cheese and a spoonful of cranberry sauce.


• I pack of frozen Puff Pastry, thawed.
• 125 gm(4 oz) of Camembert Cheese.
• 100gm Cranberry Sauce.
• 1 sprig of thyme…leaves picked.
• 1 large egg, beaten.

To Make:

  1. Line 2 baking tins with baking parchment.
  2. Roll out puff pastry and cut into bite-sized squares ( 3cm)
  3. Put onto baking trays making sure you space well apart. Brush top with beaten egg. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 mins.
  4. Put into pre-heated oven 180 or gas mark 6. Cook for approx 10 minutes or until golden brown. Slice Camembert into equal sized pieces and put one in the centre of each pastry square. Top with a tsp of cranberry sauce. Put back into the oven until cheese has melted.
  5. Garnish with Thyme.

You can find a goldmine of recipes on Carol’s blog for wonderful healthy and cook from scratch dishes.

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

My next guest is Lisa Thomson whose passion for writing began during her divorce and has blossomed into more creative pursuit without losing that drive to help others.

Lisa was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She eventually moved to Edmonton, Alberta. As a graduate of University of Alberta, with a BA, Lisa worked in Recreation Administration for several years. During her divorce, she continued studies in Residential Interiors. Lisa has been a constant reader and journal writer throughout her life.

Lisa’s passion for writing began during her divorce and has blossomed into more creative pursuit without losing that drive to help others. Her two self-help books, “The great Escape; A Girl’s Guide To Leaving a Marriage” and “A divorce Companion”, help economically-dependent women going through divorce.

“Hearts Unbroken-short stories”, is her first published fiction. Lisa resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. She was featured in “B.C. Book World News” as an Indie author to watch. Yoga, painting, and drawing are her favorite hobbies when she is not wine tasting. She has published several articles for Huffington Post Divorce, as well as

 Lisa shares her most favourite Christmas present ever….

It was 1976 and I was in seventh grade. My best Christmas present ever was a brand new pair of skis, a ski jacket and proper ski pants!

The year before I had been enrolled in ski lessons along with my two brothers. It was exciting. It was thrilling to fly down the snow covered slopes! The only problem was, I hadn’t the proper jacket or pants to wear. We rented the equipment which was fine by me! But my warmest pants happened to be a pair of corduroy slacks. Unfortunately, they tore during one of my lessons. How embarrassing! For the next lesson I fixed them up by sewing them myself. I was 11 years old and not exactly proficient in my sewing skills, LOL. I was proud of myself though and wore them again. When another skier looked at my pants in the tow rope line up, and pointed at the stitching, she asked “Did you sew those yourself?” I must have blushed 50 shades of pink. “Yes,” I answered hesitantly. I’ve never been more mortified. Why on earth did I think I could sew and no one would notice?

Well, getting that brand new ski suit and skis was dreamy and the best Christmas present of my childhood, hands down! I did NOT say pants down…

Oh my, I do feel for Lisa, and one does hope that the skier in question got stuck on the ice on the ski lift for a very long time by her tongue……

So I headed off to ‘Youtube’ and I have secured an invitation to the next Freelance Nutcases Ski Expo – you will however have to provide your own health insurance.

Books by Lisa Thomson:

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UKFollow Lisa: Goodreads – Website: Lisa Thomson LiveTwitter: @Lisalisathom

Time for a carol and one of the favourites of mine as a child….and sung by another great artist – Nat King Cole

You cannot leave the party without enjoying a festive drink… or two

Mulled wine is not the invention of early Christmas revellers as the Romans were heating red wine a long time before and no doubt other pagan cultures too. After all it is a delightful drink. They even spiced it up and it was the invading Roman soldiers who took it through Europe and into Britain and like their long straight roads that still exist today, they left behind their recipes for us to enjoy.

It has various levels of sobriety from non-alcoholic through to lethal. Concoctions abound with port and spirits being added liberally. Apart from Christmas it is also drunk extensively in ski resorts and there is usually a mobile aid station at the bottom of the slopes at the end of the day. I do not trust two short planks down a mountainside at 60 miles an hour but would of course force myself to await my husband after his black runs for an hour or so fortified with a couple of mugs of warmed wine.

In the Scandinavian countries and the Alps it is usually referred to as Glögg, or Gløgg the accent differing from place to place and dependent on inebriation.

Here is a lovely recipe that should be delightful on cold nights leading up to Christmas:Hot Mulled Wine

Thank you for dropping in today and please let us know about your most memorable Christmas gift in the comments… and if you could share that would be amazing.. thanks Sally.

My guests tomorrow are, Norah Colvin, and Amy Reade.. I hope you will join us.


50 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Christmas Celebrations Rewind – The Third Day of Christmas with guests – Jennie Fitzkee, Lisa Thomson #Food Carol Taylor, Camembert Puffs and Mulled Wine

  1. We try and have mulled wine at the beach hut and sometimes it can be very mild. In 2017 my baby cousin came over from Australia with her family we had never met and our daughter and family also came to stay. The Aussies had Xmas Day and night with us on their manic tour of Europe. Naturally we pictured mulled wine at the beach hut on one of those sunny winter days, but sadly the sky was threatening and there was a bitterly cold wind. We managed only to walk to the cliff top, where the view of the Isle of Wight was obliterated, before we beat a hasty retreat home. We did have a great pre .Covid Xmas.
    I would have liked the cowboy outfit, I did actually have a cowboy revolver cap gun!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Jennie’s story is so heart touching. A admired gift will never come too late. I also remember this cowboy equipment, as i had found such an holster, in our attic. I also remember girls were not allowed wearing such things. Lol You were a bad girl. 😉 Thanks for the reminder on these Camembert Puffs. I think this will be realized very soon. xx Michael

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Last year, as it was a non event, thanks to Covid restrictions, we had mulled wine at New Year. Just the two of us in the garden around our firepit, with home-made sausage rolls and mince pies. Lovely.
    Wonderful stories about best presents. I sympathise with the pram story. I was a tomboy, too, and would have preferred the cowboy hat and holster.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Lol Sal, you were a little devil. I could just see you with the red hat and holster. Loved Jennie’s Mermatrons and the touching story about the G.I. Joe. Love the puffs, copied the recipe because gratefully, I noticed there is finally flaky crust available in gluten-free. Great to see my friend Lisa here too. Loved the ski story. As for the mulled wine, would you mind making me a marg instead please? LOL ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Sally! What a delightful surprise to be here today. Thank you! Oh, that Christmas gift was the best, ever. Of course you know music and dancing are in my blood, and the Mermatrons are always there. On a side note, the last of the unmarried children of the Mermatrons has found her true love. Of course we all ‘warned’ her of a Mermatron wedding performance. If I go to the Mama Mia flash mob (thank you for the lovely gift), I can be ready for another wedding. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ouch…note to self… be kind…” got stuck on the ice on the ski lift for a very long time by her tongue”……A delightful post, Sally …Jenny’s post and special Christmas gift is so lovely and the
    ski pants…karma…I hope everyone enjoys the cranberry puffs… thank you for the share, Sally …Lucky for me I got the revolver and the caps who didn’t love a cap gun? far better than a dolls pram although I did have to make the appropriate noises of pleasure when mine was gifted to me lol…xx

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Reblogged this on A Teacher's Reflections and commented:
    Sally posted her Christmas memory as a child (oh, I would have loved that cowboy suit), the two best Christmas songs ever, Christmas foods from Carol, and favorite Christmas gifts from fellow bloggers. She remembered my GI Joe Aircraft Carrier story…oh, it was good. I still cry. And then there are the Mermatrons and wedding dancers…yes, I was a wedding dancer. Please read on, the memories and stories and food are the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This was such a fun read today. I’m a huge Jennie fan. Great party. I’ll thank Jennie for the invitation. My best Christmas was the year I got 8 Donna Parker books. I had 4 read before mom got them wrapped by sitting on top of the refrigerator while she was away. They were stored in the cupboard above it. Books were always a favorite for me. Mulled wine? Not a fan. Not a good German I guess. Thanks for having me.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Hi Sally, it must be difficult when your child desperately wants a specific gift and you can’t afford it. My parents were in that position, but luckily I was always happy with quite odd gifts. One of my favourite gifts was a set to make dolls out of mielie sheaf’s and another was a set to make Disney figurines out of plaster of Paris. They were not expensive gifts but I loved them. My parents bought my youngest sister a doll for Christmas when she was 8. She was also not a dolly girl and she never played with it. I have it now in my doll collection. I have always been the biggest doll and stuffed bear person in the world.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. A great post. I loved Jennie’s story. How delighted her son must have been. It is never too late! Our grandparents gave my brother and me each a teddy bear. I preferred teddies over dolls. My brother only played with his for one day and got it dirty. Then I took it over as I knew he wouldn’t look after it as I would. I still have it!! So I understand about the cowboy hat, gun and holster set.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I loved Jennie’s GI Joe tale and you have some classic Christmas music in here that always stops me in my tracks. I have puff pastry and cranberries coming on my next grocery order and this might be the start of a new Christmas tradition for me. Your envy of your brother’s cowboy outfit and your ability to remove it from his clutches made me smile. Then I watched the flash mob and I was properly grinning – it was the way the other shoppers were made part of it that was so wonderful; not a polished performance for an audience to admire but a joyful bit of inclusive fun. Many thanks, Sally! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Round Up – 11th – 18th December 2021 – Chart Hits, Christmas Book Fair, Book Reviews, 12 Days of Christmas and Funnies. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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