Monday, December 26, 2011

Smith Avenue Annual Tree Lighting

Back in the 1990's when my husband and I were first married, we lived on a small dead end street, in an adorable Dutch Colonial. We became part of an ongoing neighborhood tradition where neighbors would gather at the end of our street, and decorate a Christmas tree for all to enjoy. It was a fun time shared by both the kids, and the adults in the neighborhood.

At some point, I took over the planning of the event, and added some small personal touches. Prior to home computers, here is a sample of a "crude" handmade invitation of mine. I recently found it filed under "Laura," and thought it would be fun to share. I was fortunate at the time, because my parents owned a typewriter that had the ability to store typed documents. After typing the invitation, I could feed in the paper of my choice, and print the number of invitations needed. Good old construction paper to the rescue. Things have certainly changed.

One year, my husband and I decided to purchase a permanent evergreen, to be planted at the end of the street. It seemed a bit wasteful to purchase a pre-cut tree every year that would then have to be thrown away. We were thinking "green" even back then. We asked for donations, and purchased a small evergreen from Mahoney's Garden Center in Winchester. I don't know if the tree still stands today, but I think I will plan a visit for curiosity sake.

One of the personal touches I added was to serve Hot Cider Glogg to kick things up a notch (literally), for the adults. Glogg is traditionally a mulled wine served in the Nordic countries, but this version using cider is called White Glogg. A compilation of Mom's suggestions, and a few additions/suggestions from my recipe books, and I was good to go. It was a great way to stay warm while the kids decorated the tree.

Hot Cider Glogg

2 quarts sweet cider
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
6 whole cloves
1 lemon sliced
1 cup applejack or apple brandy
raisins (soaked in brandy)

Combine all; cider, sugar, lemon, spices in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat , add brandy if desired. Strain into warmed mugs and add a dash of nutmeg to each.

Although it feels like eons ago, since we shared Glogg with our Smith Avenue neighbors, the memories remain fresh in our minds.

Until next time...L.

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