A Birthday Cake for Jesus: A Story

Many parents wonder how to instill their children with the true meaning of Christmas, how to compete with the excitement of Santa, the jingle bell rocks, the "stuff" that Christmas has become. This is the story of how my sister sidestepped all the hustle and bustle of Christmas when her boys were young. Merry Christmas, All. May your season be filled with traditions that light up the faces you love!

Breakfast Casserole with
Sausage, Apples & Caramelized Onions

Serving a holiday brunch? Planning a special breakfast for Christmas morning? Consider adding the recipe for this unusual sausage, apple and onion (oh! the onions! all dark and slightly sweet) dish to the menu, either as a side dish or the main course. Make it ahead of time, then pop it in the oven for serving hot or slightly warm. Your family or guests will say, "What smells so good?" This one's a keeper! My family shrinks geography by shifting time. When my sister’s boys were young, many years we celebrated our family Christmas a day or two before or a day or two after December 25. “What day is Christmas?” we’d decide, thereby setting the night before as ‘Christmas Eve’ when Santa would visit, planning our ‘Christmas Day’ dinner with all its trimmings. One year we shifted New Year’s Eve’s stroke of midnight too, setting the clocks ahead by two hours. We started the festivities early, too early as it turned out. When the party began to lag well before our ‘

Mexican Fruit Salad with
Winter Fruit or Summer Fruit

Just in time for a holiday brunch or family breakfast, a savory fruit salad that pairs well with egg dishes, muffins or sweet breads. There's one spice mix for winter fruits, another for summer fruits. Some times, yes, I stir in a few fruity-textured vegetables, too, just to mix it up at little. THAT WAS THEN When my sister and I were girls, our mother went to great trouble to get pomegranates for the toes of our Christmas stockings, continuing the tradition from her own girlhood. There was no 'cooking' with pomegranates then, we'd break off rough sections and pick off the seeds for sucking, one by one. A whole pomegranate, it lasted for days. Nowadays, fresh pomegranates are so common during the weeks surrounding Christmas, it's easy to forget what a treat they once were. THIS IS NOW In Oaxaca, Mexico, pomegranate juice is a natural pigment for hand-woven wool rugs. Surprisingly, the pomegranate-dyed skeins of yarn aren’t the pretty red that makes pome