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Hi, <<First Name>>

It's Christmas Eve and I'm at my mom-in-law's here in upstate New York, where there's actually SNOW, and so it feels appropriately Christmassy. We just finished our Merry Snackmas, which means we make a bunch of snacky things (Mexican layer dip with chips, buffalo chicken dip with crackers, and dill dip with rye bread) and eat a little tonight, so we can graze on the rest all day tomorrow (after the big meal, anyway). 

But in my family, Christmas Eve meant not only Scandinavian holiday treats, but also opening ALL our presents on Christmas Eve. Only Santa presents and stockings got opened on Christmas morning. 

Regardless of how you celebrate the holidays (if you celebrate at all), the passing of the winter solstice earlier this week means that the 4 pm sunsets will slowly move further and further back as we approach spring. The cold and the dark of the coming months can feel daunting, but good food and cozy spaces can make things so much nicer. 

If you're a Patreon patron, you'll be getting another email to accompany the holiday cards I sent earlier this week, so keep your eyes peeled! It will be all about the Scandinavian traditions I grew up with (with recipes, of course!). If you're not a Patron, join and you'll get instant access to that, plus other posts! 

Last weekend, we had a very tiny Bramble House Christmas - normally I make a big spread and we host nearly 30 people - this year we had just six people. And instead of making lentils Wellington with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots and wild rice salad and brussels sprouts slaw with homemade buns and other delights, I made one batch of cookies, some savory pastries, lentilwurst, dill dip, deviled eggs, and a few other snacky things. See the full spread below!

If you're not already watching holiday movies like I am here are some fun food history articles to keep you busy: And if you missed my individual eggnog recipe on Instagram earlier this year, here's an easy way to make eggnog without making a 30-serving bowl. If you like your eggnog a little less alcoholic, feel free to use just an ounce of rum, instead of a whole jigger (1.5 oz).
Recipes from Many Lands (1927)
My last present to you this year is the 1927 cookbooklet, Recipes from Many Lands, written by the North Dakota Homemakers' Clubs and compiled by Dorothy Ayers Loudon. It was published as the July, 1927 circular from the Agricultural Extension Division of the North Dakota Agricultural College (today, North Dakota State University) in my hometown of Fargo, ND.

It's chock full of immigrant foodways from North Dakota, and so while there are loads of recipes for Scandinavian and German foods, there are also sections for Chinese, Mexican, and Southern recipes. If you're interested in Scandinavian Christmas foods, there are dozens of recipes for cookies and everything in between.

It makes me nostalgic for MY "old country," - the Fargo, North Dakota of my youth. 

I featured recipes from this cookbooklet in my Christmas Cookies talk, and for research for a piece I wrote for the High Plains Reader (not posted online yet, but keep an eye on Facebook for when it is!). 

I'll be spending the rest of the holiday with family, and I have all next week off from work! So I'm trying to take much internet advice and actually REST, even though my brain keeps telling me I should work on my book, and blog posts, and new talks, and everything else food history-related I never have enough time to do. 

You will probably get another blog post or two before the New Year, but in case you don't, enjoy whatever time you have off with family and friends, and we'll see you in the New Year! 
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