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24 December 2005


What a great post, Shuna. It's good to hear that there are other card-carrying members of the Grinch Club out there. I also like to give gifts and celebrate life all year long, not just when Hallmark tells me to. You listed some of my favorites, like Marshall's honeys and COR olive oil (have you tried their olio nuovo?). I wish you peace during this season and in the new year. Can't wait to read your blog in the coming year!

Great post, Shuna.

We have ceased giving presents to grown-ups, believing that Christmas is for children. Instead, we have told our grown-up family members that we hav given flocks of chickens in their names to families in Cambodia, via It feels so good to be free of compulsory gift-giving, as I, too, am someone who gives all year long. I hate that "what'd ya get me, what'd ya get me" vibe. Ugh.

But I do love my 8-foot tall Noble Fir, and the blown glass ornaments I've been collecting for fifteen years, and the little grandson who raises his arms and says, "Oh, Nana's big tree!"

Happy holidays to you and your readers.

Nice list there!

I am in your club. I really hate the crassness of American Christmas with a passion and admire your bravery for admitting it. I even hate being wished a "Merry Christmas" as if it's just a universal greeting like "hello". I usually flee the country this time of year. Oddly enough, Christmas doesn't bug me the least in Catholic countries such as Mexico and Italy where I have enjoyed it thoroughly.

Despite everything said, I still came here to wish you a Merry Christmas. As always, I loved reading your post. And I thank you for helping to make Farmgirl Fare one of the most enjoyable thins I have ever done. May you always have love, joy, peace, and laughter! : )

Hello friends.

I really thought I would get no comments on this post. Too grumpy. Thanks for proving me wrong and also for letting me in on some of your alternative ideas for this day and tomorrow.

People have been asking me, "what do you do?" and I've been replying with a big smile, "I have a food blog."

The community here is beyond what I could have ever dreamed or asked for.

The sharing gifts. These are my favorite.

Christmas is the reason that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is Christmas without the less lovely part. Family, traditions, friends and food, but no shopping.

I too like to pick out and give gifts, but they are so much more fun when they are not received with expectation of exchange.

Still, I am very happy this year to have my daughter and son in law visiting, and the opportunity to cook for and spend time with a bunch of family and friends who wouldn't scorn me if I gave them a bunch of bologna sandwiches.

Did I mention that I can't stand the forced party atmosphere of New Year's Eve? Yeech.

Love the letterpress stuff. there's just something about it.

All the best, shuna.


I believe, fervently, that when we share ourselves, openly, people come running into our open arms. And you keep doing that, on this blog. I just adore coming here.

While I agree with you about the crassness of commercialism, I still put up a tree this year. And put a photographs of two laughing Buddhist monks on the top, instead of an angel. And spending the day with my nephew reminded me that it is about being with people we love.

I just have to comment that your gifts lists was fabulous. Your design sense is impeccable, of course. And thanks for the buyolympia link. It let me buy some of Nikki McClure's work, and I haven't been able to find it anywhere.

Warmth and laughter to you, dear shuna.

Like you - I love giving gifts, I just don't like to have to do it to a certain date. I did get some great gifts, unexpectedly, this year, many from food bloggers, but i didn't feel guilty about not returning the compliment immediately, because I know it doesnt have to work that way. I have already given them something in the past or will give them something in the future, when the time is right.

Thank you for introducing me to the adorable Lotta.
And Where exactly do you get the hydrasols. I got a rose one but it is a different make. (I use it to flavour drinking water)

I just made my first recipe from the chocolate obsession book - you would be proud of me for choosing the custard-based dish - caramel pot de creme of course.

Lucky me also - unexpectedly my mum sent me a $200 Sur La Table voucher and I think this time I might have to buy a copper pan for making caramel. We'll see...

Other than that, keep up with the bah-humbugging, it is a healthy hobby

sam x

I am so very glad to have found a community as sappy as me! Corniness, sentimentality and romantic nature abound here.

Sam-- I get the hydrosols under the archway on the Blue Bottle side of the Ferry Building. Yes, very proud of you on the pot de creme! (But I don't think copper is necessary, a good stainless steel sauce pan will do.)

Amy-- yes! DOWN with the universal greeting of MC! Sometimes I like to counteract this with the ebullient "happy New Year"s during the Jewish New Year, just to keep the peoples on their toes.

Shauna--- I'm so glad you mentioned Nicki Mc Clure. I have given many of her calendars away. Her work is breathtaking.

Tana--- I love the smell of pine trees. One day I'll have a tree just for the scent. maybe bare or with some cranberry & popcorn strings...

Brett-- thanks for the thoughts. I look forward to reading your blog in 2006 too.

Shuna -- Popcorn and cranberries are fine, but light is better. My favorite Christmas tree happened to me in one of the worst times of my life, when I was feeling especially downcast. Then I came home from a weekend away to find out that during a violent storm the top of one of my redwoods had snapped and fallen off in a strong wind. I went down the hillside, found it and pulled it back up to my house. It was about seven feet tall and the perfect shape of a fine Christmas tree. I kept it in a bucket of water for a month until I set it up in my livingroom and decorated it with -- only -- round ivory-white bulbs. Nothing else. It smelled divine, it still had tiny cones on it and it was unforgettable. It felt healing and meaningful in a dark time.

Although I completely understand your perspective Shuna I have been blessed with
another. I grew up in a Jewish home that
celebrated both Chanukah and Christmas.
Not the Christianity aspect of Christmas but
the spirit of hearts overflowing with the blessings
of love and kindness. The "Christmas spirit"
enters my soul with its own force and as much
as I try to resist it, it has a life of its own.
It's not about the obligation to buy gifts for
friends and loved ones, it's about the thoughtful
ways one can express that love and appreciation
(I also do these things throughout the year).

This year we decided not to buy gifts for adults
and bought a car load of toys for children of
the National Guard families in the area.

So count me among those crass Hallmark type people who glows with the spirit of the season
and hope to for many years to come.

Shuna - you might have just written the best gift guide I've come across this year. All of these links are so endlessly useful! And just the kind of things I would love to give. I'm sad I already did my x-mas shopping in early December (the one year I'm organized enough!). Anyway, lots of good thoughts to you around this time. I like your thoughts on the X-mas subject. Happy New Year.

Like you, we give year 'round, not because of some overhyped holiday that's turned a tad commercial. Like Valetine's Day. We show the love every day, not because a page on the calendar tells us to. That said, I loved your post highlighting local sources and offbeat ideas ... I'm a big fan of supporting local talent.

That was political! I think you can say, without qualification, that was political!

Also, I have a lot to say about testosterone that I didn't get to at dinner. another time perhaps.

fiona at riseup dot net

Great post Shuna! I don't wear my Episcopal priest label on my sleeve (collar?) in the food blog world but I agree with much of what you wrote. I hate the commercialism/consumerism of Christmas too--dare I say that I find much of it offensive to the point of the day. We know, Jesus wasn't born that day but have to figure out how to celebrate Christmas with simplicity in the midst of what this holiday (holy-day) has become over the centuries--particulary in this country. Sigh.

So, the church I serve gave a herd of goats to neighoring villages in Africa--again, through Heifer Project International.

I'd rather have a quiet day and celebration of peace on December 25 and have the national attention paid to the poor, to giving to others, and to doing good to all every day of the year.

So here's hoping for such in 2006. Happy New Year to all!

Wishing abundant happiness and health in 2006 to you, Shuna, and to everyone who revels in the wonderful gift you give us: the incomparable Eggbeater!

I grew up lusting after Christmas in my virtually 100% Jewish Long Island hometown (West Egg, to any Gatsby fans out there). Christmas trappings, I should say; pine garlands and tiny rainbow lights, all forbidden fruit. Let alone those trees. I remember visiting the home of a colleague of my dad's, which had a tree covered with perfectly decorated homemade sugar cookies. It was something out of that red-covered Betty Crocker cookie cook. I was five years old and obsessed with the tree. Or the cookies. Or the combo itself...

Every year as a small child I made my mother buy the Better Homes and Gardens Xmas Issue. I still remember that Jimmy Carter prefers his Xmas grits with cheese.

I spent last weekend with my partner's extended family. They do a big Xmas complete with the confections (I was the Jewish girl asking for the nonexistent divinity -- the fudge rocked, though). We were up at 4:30AM Xmas morning to open gifts and drink coffee, and it was a delight.

Sorry to have rambled, but like most good things in my life, eggbeater gets me thinking and makes me want to write...

New Year's Eve? I hate it. The best NYEs I've spent took place at the White Castle in Whitestone, Queens (1983) and over the phone with my college roommate (1986).

That said, have a safe evening, everyone, if you're venturing out.


Can I be your friend? LOL


I’m struck by the fact that you are obviously privileged. not many people can afford, for the number of people they would love to buy Christmas gifs (despite your diatribe against it), to buy gifts for their loved ones from the sites you recommend. these are small boutique type stores that are essentially patronized by the rich (Medici’s...anyone!?). I find it to be hypocritical of you to rail against a children’s holiday during which parents struggle to put together an experience in which their children feel privileged and then suggest than people who want to help the truly downtrodden (yet not the CHILDREN) shop in the online stores of people who likely come from privileged backgrounds themselves, instead of, say, donating the money to charities that buy toys from underprivileged children.

for shame, gentlemen,


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