"It’s Christmas eve again, in the drunk tank."

The after work parties, nothing like it, standing on tables singing, everyone with a big drunken festive grin on their face. Tinsel around the shoulders, kissing strange girls who 2 hours ago wouldn't have give you the time of day. Magic.

This is what I miss about Brum and New York, Christmas when its 90 degrees just isn't the same. Down here now Christmas doesn't exist, it's all happy holidays or seasons’ greetings.

You can't help but associate the place and surroundings you grew up in with what Christmas means to you. To a lot of people, Christmas means nothing, but to others it's a pretty important time. I think that missing family and friends are the main issue, but the place and atmosphere and sense of belonging comes into it as well.

Here, I shall be working over the holidays {see they've even got me saying it} but having a little son and daughter, I have spent most of my off time talking about Santa and Christmas trees, So this week when you are standing on the table or the bar with a lager in your hand singing "feed the world" have a toast to the ex-pat Brummie, I am there in spirit. {So I don't have to buy a round!}


Wondering how to tempt Jolly old Saint Nick down the chimney? Hint: Appeal to his sweet tooth.
It’s no secret that the trick to keeping Santa happy is to set out a plate of warm, homemade cookies for him. But what is the best cookie for the job? Always looking for a good excuse to eat, we at Home & Away have made some selections for you  So, whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, try one (or all) of these recipes, and you’ll be sure to get everything on your list.



¾ cup butter
1½ cups brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
2 eggs
2½ cups flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
3 or 4 packages of Andes mints


Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter and brown sugar in saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate chips and stir to melt; put mixture into a bowl and let cool. Add eggs, and then mix in flour and baking soda. Chill dough for 1 hour. Roll into balls and place on baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and place an Andes mint on each one. As the candy melts, spread it across the top of the cookie with a butter knife. Makes 3 dozen.



1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup sugar
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2½ cups quick-cooking oatmeal
1 ten-ounce package Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips
1 cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and both sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine soda with flour, and mix into the butter mixture. Stir in the oatmeal, and then add the chips, raisins, and nuts. Batter will be thick. Drop onto parchment-lined baking sheet by heaping teaspoonfuls and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 4 dozen.



Melt and cool:

⅜ cup shortening
⅜ cup margarine
1 cup sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg

Sift together and add:

2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 375°. Mix ingredients well by hand and chill for 30 minutes. Form into 1-inch balls, roll in granulated sugar, and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The cookies will crinkle while baking. Makes 3 dozen.


One particular Christmas season a long time ago, Santa was getting ready for is annual trip, but there were problems everywhere. Four of his elves got sick, and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones so Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule. Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more.

Original Bad Santa with AxeWhen he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out, heaven knows where. More stress.

Then when he began to load the sleigh one of the boards cracked, and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys. So, frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum.

When he went to the cupboard, he discovered that the elves had hidden the liquor, and there was nothing to drink. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider pot, and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritable Santa trudged to the door. He opened the door, and there was a little angel with a great Christmas tree.

The angel said, very cheerfully, "Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't it a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?"

Thus began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Originally published in 2010.

Ho, ho, ho and yum, yum, yum - some Christmas cookie recipes, perfect for Santa and his elvesGoogle Images