Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Holiday Preparations

Posted November 23, 2009

Have you got your game face on for the holidays yet? How do you plan for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Are you a list person? Do you always do certain things at certain times? Please share your holiday game plan.

I did something this weekend that I’ve never done before. And I probably wouldn’t have done it had it not been for some prodding by my wife. But now that the task is completed I am delighted.  Until this year I had never put up our Dickens Village collection before Thanksgiving. However, with so many different things on our family and business calendars between now and the end of the year we decided it was now or never.

It is almost a full day of work putting the village together. I’ve attached a couple of wide angle photos to show you my collection which is located in our great room on the built-in book shelves. My only problem is lugging three giant green Dickens containers down from the attic. There are lots of twists and turns on the way down and I always tend to strain my back. Where is my big strong son William when I need him?  

Well, the job is done and my back doesn’t hurt too badly. Next year I am going to do some stretching before I begin the task. Up next – getting new red bows for the window wreaths. And grabbing a fresh tree this coming weekend in the mountains.

What about you? Please share your holiday preparation stories.


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  • fishnett5977 Nov 23, 2009

    mdoodle and thefensk - yeah that crockpot thing will work with that turkey breast. Cant decide if I want to do that or just bake it on Wednesday nite -I do love brown turkey skin!!!lol :P
    I am HOPING I can slip away early from work but you know about the best laid plans of mice and men (and women who have to cook!)lol

  • thinknc Nov 23, 2009

    I miss the traditions of my childhood Thanksgivings--always at my favorite aunt's, watching the parade and raking huge oak leaf piles to jump in. Thanksgiving this year is at my in-laws--I'll make the sweet potatoes and corn pudding. We're undecided about whether we'll make the mountain trip to get a tree on Friday or wait until the next weekend. Can you recommend a tree farm? We've been to several different ones over the past eleven or so years since we started this tradition, but haven't decided where to go this year.
    I'll put up the Snow Village this weekend, splitting the pieces between the bay window in the den and the dining room. And while our season has been pretty discouraging, I plan to be at Carter Finley Saturday supporting the Pack While we can't control what happens in the game, we can make sure the tail-gating is great!

  • thefensk Nov 23, 2009

    comments for lseltmann and for fishnett

    On yeast rolls ... they are soooo darn good, but they always mess me up for time. Your idea is exactly what I was going to do this year, make the dough and the first batch of rolls ahead of time so all I have to do is let them rise. I always have dough left over and enjoy extra rolls on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and last year I thought, this dough keeps just fine!

    On the turkey breast, ditto the crockpot idea, or roast the breast the day/night before. Let it rest/cool and wrap it tightly before storing it, it should keep just fine.

  • mommymatters Nov 23, 2009

    One tradition that started a few years ago is my daughter spending the weekend with her grandparents to help Nana decorate and put up her Snow Village. Even though my daughter is now 13 she still enjoys this and the time spent with her grandparents. In talking with friends over the weekend I learned that although their families want the decorating done nobody wants to help. Not the case in our house. My kids would be really upset to come home from school and find I had done the decorating without them. I am sure the chocolate chip cookies baked during the decorating have nothing to do with their interest! ;)

  • lseltmann Nov 23, 2009

    Some years ago I bought an Amish cookbook and ever since I have followed a recipe from there to make Amish yeast rolls for Thanksgiving. They're a hit with the family but need to be made a day in advance because of all the rising time. I so enjoy coming together for a relaxing turkey day. I had planned to start decorating for Christmas this past weekend but my hubby insisted that I wait until after Thanksgiving. (sigh) I so enjoy this time of year!

  • LMRA Nov 23, 2009

    I'm headed to my parent's house in Pinehurst Thursday morning. I'll work Mon - Wed. This year, I found a recipe that I think everyone will like so I offered to make it and bring it with me. I just love the smell of the turkey as it cooks. My Mom sticks with the usual side dishes and she is Sara Lee's A#1 fan!

    Mom has invited her 'orphaned' friends to join us. They are her neighbors on either side of her house who have far away kids and relatives and have no travel plans.

    When I was a kid, we would start Thanksgiving off with something Italian like lasagna or manicotti! Meatballs and sausage too! THEN we'd get to the turkey and the sides. No more of that mess!!!

    Our family tradition is to have salad at the end of the meal (which is good because the table is WAY too small for all the food!) Then Italian pastries, fruit, nuts and Sara Lee!!!

  • kimwells Nov 23, 2009

    My husband is a FIRM believer in celebrating each Holiday in it's own entirety. So we have Thanksgiving around 12 on Thursday at my house - probably 15 people total there - I love all the cooking. Then late Thursday night, we will put up 1 of the trees we put up. We will finish up on Saturday. We start the weekend off on Friday by going to visit the American Music Jubilee in Selma for their annual Christmas show - it is a must see! Then Saturday we finish our decorating and after New Years we take everything down! The house will be a winter wonderland for Christmas by 3:00 PM on Saturday if it kills me! Glad there will be COOL weather for the decorating!

  • luvbailey Nov 23, 2009

    My wife makes me cook the turkey on the gas grill to save oven space for her stuff.

  • tennispro Nov 23, 2009

    love your christmas village. I usually put up my christmas tree the day after thanksgiving while everyone else is shopping. this year I will be doing it as I watch the unc state football game! go heels!also it's my mom's 82nd birthday on saturday so we will all be celebrating with her! have a wonderful thanksgiving and go see movie blind side.. it's a wonderful movie! :)

  • blytle Nov 23, 2009

    Hey, Fishnett5977, have you ever considered cooking your turkey breast in the crock pot? If you've got a large one, it'll cook very well in there, freeing up your oven for other food.




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Bill Leslie