Christmas Magic 2011


Christmas Magic is just another way of saying, “Exhibiting the True Spirit of Christmas.” And again this year, Christmas Magic is all around us.

Last year at this time, in a post titled Christmas Magic, I shared the lovely story from the Philadelphia area about a chain reaction of giving that broke out in a local restaurant. In short, one couple paid for both their meal and for the meal of whoever came up to the register to pay their bill next.

This one act of kindness set off a five hour long orgy of giving, sharing, love, and magic. You can read the details here, Christmas Magic.


Well, I am happy to report that the Magic of Christmas is still alive and well even during this Never Ending Recession year of 2011.

In Omaha, NE last week, an anonymous Good Samaritan paid off a lay-away bill at a local K-Mart. Uponf hearing the news, the person who had her lay-away bill paid off took the paycheck she was going to use to pay off the bill and paid off another person’s lay away bill instead.

And as the news story recounts this also happened in Indianapolis; Joplin, MO; Chicago;  Missoula, Mont; Seattle; and Grand Rapids, MI as well.

You can read the entire story here: Good Samaritans

And in the state of Washington via Facebook:

Crystal DeCoursey hopes more people will hum “three plates of cookies, two sincere compliments and one overdue phone call” instead.

Earlier this month, she invited all of her Facebook friends to join her in an event she calls 12 Days of Christmas Random Acts of Kindness.


The acts don’t need to be big or grandiose. DeCoursey said they can be as simple as taking a moment to find out how someone is really doing, not pursuing a disagreement, bringing a neighbor’s garbage can in for them, apologizing for something that has been weighing heavily on your mind or letting someone merge.

“It really does not take that much time,” she said.

What a fantastic idea!!!!

You can read the entire story by clicking on this link: Richland woman spreads kindness.

And here in the Ohio-Pennsylvania area the Wayne Home Builders continues their “Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness,” Christmas program. This program turns every model home site into a drop off point for donations to select charities. You can get the full details here: Not So Random.

And near Cleveland, Ohio a Secret Santa paid off the lay-aways of dozens of Wal-Mart shoppers to the tune of $8,800.  According to the article, “The people the Secret Santa paid for were about to forfeit their 10% down and their layaway fee.” You can read the entire article here, Secret Santa, with video.

How do you make Christmas Magic? Leave your thoughts, ideas, and magic in the comments section below.

Now as I promised you last week………..…… another kind of Christmas and New Year’s Magic. I share my recipe for German Hot Cider or Glϋhwein.

Featured Recipe        Glϋhwein

Glϋhwein is a German variation of hot mulled wine, with spices and fruits, usually served warm. It is a tradition at Christmas time. It makes it own special version of Christmas magic.

It is also a great warm drink for a cold winter night.

The recipe I share with you today is also a Christmas and New Year’s Eve tradition of mine. I make it for any Christmas or New Year’s gathering at my place. It is always a big hit. People love this drink. I LOVE THIS DRINK!!!!!

I use a claret and beginning since I lived in California I use a Coppola claret.

Yes, THAT Coppola. Frances Ford Coppola makes great wines as well as great movies. It is so smooth. But any claret or Burgundy will do just fine.

I have doubled the recipe many times. And it is so quick and easy you can make more on party night too if people want more, and they usually do.

This recipe comes from a series of cookbooks put out by the now sadly defunct McCall’s magazine.  It was a set of 18 paperback cookbooks. This recipe came from book #15, Cocktail Time. I think they are out of print now. But every once in a while I see one or two and sometimes a whole set on ebay if you are interested.

These were my mother’s cookbooks. When I moved to my first apartment she gave me the set along with a James Beard cookbook, which I still have too. They are truly gifts that keep on giving.

This is what you will need to make 5 six-ounce servings:

4 orange slices cut crosswise

4 lemon slices cut crosswise

1 quart Burgundy or claret

6 whole cloves

3-inch cinnamon stick broken into 5 pieces

1 cup granulated sugar

I use more cloves because I like them, and a bit more cinnamon too.

Here is what you do:

Slice the oranges and lemons. Remove the fruit from fruit rinds. Try to keep the rinds round and intact. You can put them in the punch bowl if you use one. Makes everything look so elegant.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring wine to simmering; that is to the moment when you first see bubbles in the liquid. Watch carefully. Do not boil.

Add the fruit and the rest of the ingredients, stir to dissolve sugar. Over low heat let stand about 10 minutes.

Doesn’t that look beautiful!?

Serve warm.

You and your guests will never be the same. Seconds will be demanded.

View of punch bowl from the top. Very festive, isn’t it?  I also added half of a slice of orange studded with cloves just for prettiness.

A close up view of a glass. My friends love the fruit in this mulled wine, so I make sure every one has some fruit in their glass.

The rumor going round that I was tipsy when I took these photographs is NOT true. I was not!!!! I categorically deny this. That came much, much later in the evening.



4 orange slices cut crosswise          $0.79

4 lemon slices cut crosswise           $0.49

1 quart Burgundy or claret              $14.99

6 whole cloves                               $0.10                        

3-inch cinnamon sticks                    $0.10

1 cup granulated sugar                   $0.64

Total cost = $17.11
Cost per serving = $3.42

Quote of the Day

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. 

Norman Vincent Peale


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