December 20, 2011

Holiday Favourites (Day 5)

Well, this could end up being the last HolidaFavourites as time is rapidly running out (I'm not a fan of prolonging Christmas once Christmas day has already come and gone), but you never know. I cannot believe that Christmas is later this week. Where the heck did December go??? 
Today's HolidaFavourites I've decided to call 'Tartan Tuesday'. Why, you might ask? Well, I love anything Scottish, particularly kilts with men in them, and I can't get enough of the bagpipes. Seriously, one of the greatest things I've ever heard was a group of well over a hundred pipers playing together, surrounded by mountains on all sides in Canmore, Alberta (right near Banff). In a word: Amazing. In my mind the two greatest sounds in the world are: 1) the Scottish accent (especially if it's Glaswegian), and 2) the bagpipes. Feel free to disagree, this is just my opinion. Now on to the favourites...

The Christmas Stories of George MacDonald by George MacDonald. Many or all of the short stories in this book are abridged as George MacDonald wrote most of his works (all?) in Scotch dialect. It's really neat reading his stuff in the old Scots for a while, but you start to get a headache if you keep at it for too long. This is a small sampling of what I'm talking about. This little segment below is not by MacDonald but gives you the same idea (and is just full of Scottish goodness):

"Noo thair war, in the same launs, shepherds bidin in the fields an keepin gaird ower thair flocks by nicht. An see! an Angel o the Lord cam til them, an the glorie o the Lord glintit roon aboot* them. They war sair feart, but the Angel said tae them, 'Be-na frichtit, for I bring ye guid tidins o muckle joy tae the hale warld. For thair is born tae ye this day in Dauvid's toun, a Saviour wha is the anointit Lord." (from A Scots Gospel by Jamie Stuart).

Anyway, this book is full of great stories and poetry by a man who influenced C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Madeleine L'Engle, and many others (not too shabby!) with his writing. My favourite is the poem, 'The Angel's Song' but the others are just as delightful.

It's a Wonderful Life
This movie is not Scottish but the lead actor is James Stewart - a totally Scottish name - so I'm saying it works. Plus, it's my all-time favourite Christmas movie. If you haven't seen it you definitely should because it has a great message and because it has Jimmy Stewart (need I say more?). It's kind of like A Christmas Carol in that we get to see what George Bailey's life has been like (similar to seeing Ebeneezer Scrooge's past, only a lot more positive). Unlike Scrooge, George gets to see how things would have turned out for those he knows and loves had he never been born in the first place. His life may not be what he had hoped for, but it is nevertheless rich and full of love, family, and friendship. As Clarence writes in the copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer he leaves George: 'Remember no man is a failure who has friends' - a great message to take from this holiday classic. Oh, and even though I have this in both colour and B&W, I always watch it in B&W.

Oddly enough, this is the first year ever that I've baked shortbread cookies. We've always had them in the house at Christmas, but my mom always baked them. I was pleasantly surprised at just how easy these things are. This recipe actually comes from the side of the corn starch box and it makes the best melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies. Yum!

I Christmas and I bagpipes, so I can think of few things better than combining the two. One of my favourite Christmas albums is Highland Christmas by The McCallans. It has many of the familiar old Christmas carols, but includes others that are a little less familiar but also great. And of course the whole thing wraps up with Auld Lang Syne, written by one of the greatest Scots ever, Robbie Burns (incidentally, this is also how It's a Wonderful Life wraps up).

' 'Twas Christmas broach'd the mightiest ale;
'Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man's heart through half the year.'

~%~ Sir Walter Scott~%~

* Ha! Apparently, 'aboot' is an old Scots thing and not a Canadian thing. Take that, mockers!


  1. At our church, we have a guy who plays bagpipes, and he plays for half an hour outside the church before our Christmas Eve service. Naturally, he's in a kilt. You'd love it. :)

    I watched It's a Wonderful Life this past weekend. It was the first time I'd seen it all the way through. It deserves the "classic" accolade. A truly wonderful movie.

    And I know the "aboot" thing is an old Scots thing... but on this side of the Atlantic, our Canadian friends have pretty much taken ownership of it. Sorry, Jaime--not much I can do aboot that. :D

  2. I absolutely love Christmas and bagpipes, too! I'm going to have to check that out. It sounds fabulous!

  3. Once again, I'm commenting on the treat. :) Those shortbreads look incredibly easy and INCREDIBLY delicious. I'm just about baked out, but I might just have to give these a go!

  4. Colin: Glad you enjoyed It's a Wonderful Life so much. Would love to see/hear the piper! And as for the 'aboot' thing, I still maintain that the words 'oot and aboot' have never come from my mouth. Ever. =)

    Peggy: You should definitely check out Christmas bagpipes. They're awesome!

    Katy: I should just keep hooking you up with recipes =)


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