Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter Vacation Traditions

We had a wonderful Christmas with family and are now enjoying some time off from work and school. We're all kicking back and reading, playing games, eating too much and, since we're having unseasonably warm weather, have been on a few long walks with Rocket the Dog.

Today we plan to do some work in the hangar finishing up our shop and I hope to finish a photo book that I started ages ago. But more than anything I'd like to curl up with a good book (Rose got me The Last Wife of Henry VII for Christmas from Northfield Middle School's wonderful Tattered Pages shop) or take a nap. It is vacation, after all, so reading and naps are a must!

Another must during our winter vacation is our annual (usually post-Christmas) trip to downtown Minneapolis via the light-rail train. In the last few years we've made it a tradition to eat at Brit's Pub - a British Pub & Eating Establishment that features, you guessed it, British fare like Bangers and Mash, Cornish Pasty, Cock-a-Leekie Soup and Sausage Rolls. We love Brit's. In the summer months you can even sit outside up on the roof next to the Lawn Bowling green.
Owen and his Cornish Pasty with peas and Ryan with his Brit's Kings Wings
We take great care to order something fun when we go to Brit's. We started with an order of Scotch Eggs. Rose ended up with a mini-pizza from the kids' menu (very non-British but one of my kids always gets the pizza). Ryan ordered Brit's Kings Wings and Owen the Cornish Pasty. I ordered the Sausage Rolls. Brit's Sausage Rolls used to be my favorite but Brit's changed up the recipe to a breaded and deep fried roll instead of a little sausages rolled up in a flaky pastry. I don't think I'll order them again. The breaded rolls just aren't good enough to suit me. That said, we still enjoyed our meals and the Brit's experience. And, as usual, I ordered a side of Branston Pickle with my meal - a pickle relish that looks rather strange but, I think, tastes great! A trip to Brit's, in my mind, isn't complete without a pot of tea and a side of Branston Pickle.
Rose and her mini-pizza. Me and my Sausage Rolls with HP Sauce, Branston Pickle & Honey Mustard
Our trips downtown used to include a trip to Macy's to see their 8th floor auditorium Christmas display. The animated display has been a tradition at Macy's (then Dayton's) since 1963. I remember going to the display when I was a little girl. We didn't go every year but the memories I have of the times I went to Dayton's with my Mom and big brother are some of my favorites.  When Owen and I had kids we decided to make the 8th floor Christmas display an annual tradition for our family. And, other than the year the display was Harry Potter and the lines were too long, we've made a trip downtown to see the display since 1999 when Rose was a baby.
Rose & Ryan in 2007 at the 8th Floor Christmas Display - The Nutcracker was the theme that year.
That is, a trip to Macy's used to be our annual tradition. Macy's has done the same display the last four years - A Day in the Life of an Elf. We saw the Elf display in 2008. It was delightful. The kids loved it. But when we went in 2009 the display was once again A Day in the Life of An Elf. Granted, if my kids were tiny they wouldn't have remembered that they were seeing the same thing as the year before. But even at ages 7 and 10, they knew the display was the same.  And, even though it was still a treat to see the characters and fun to walk past each scene, we were all a little disappointed to see the same display.
Rose and Ryan checking out The Day in the Life of an An Elf in 2008
Guess what Macy's had for a display in 2010? Yep. Same thing. The Day in the Life of An Elf. And the same Elf display in 2011 (Read an interesting blog entry - "DeBlog: Macy's is Doing The Same Xmas Display AGAIN?"). So we skipped the display this year and last year. Hmmm, we skipped the display which also means we didn't spend any money shopping at Macy's...seems like a poor move on Macy's part. Having a new display each year keeps people coming year after year. Not having a new display sure kept us away and it sounds like we're not the only ones skipping Macy's this Christmas. There's even a Boycott Macy's Facebook page.

Come on Macy's - if you won't do a new display every year at least rotate in another display or two. We'd love to make the 8th Floor Auditorium Christmas Display part of our family tradition again.

Well then...In the time we could have been shopping at Macy's we visited a lot of other shops instead. We made two trips to Barnes & Noble and had a blast looking at books and Rose did some Nook research. We went to Target to look at TVs and Electronics. We visited shops in the IDS Building and Gaviidea Commons. We even found a lovely little shop that sold French Macarons - Cocoa & Fig - so we HAD to stop for a treat. I had a Salted Caramel French Macaron. Rose had a peanut butter cake pop and Ryan had a peanut butter cookie sandwich. They were all yummy!

Speaking of treats - I'm going to share a great appetizer recipe with you in the next day or two.

As for right now? Working in the hangar has slipped to the bottom of my to do list. I think it's time to read a book. Or take that nap. I wonder if I can manage to do both...

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