12 Easy Ways to Make Christmas Gatherings More Enjoyable

Christmas time is here and its coming up in a few days. I am sure by now you have finished your shopping and figuring out what to do. Here are ways to make your Christmas gatherings a fun and enjoyable one where you do not have to spend a lot of your time in the kitchen. Spend more time with your loved ones instead of being on your feet the whole time. You need to enjoy it too and not just do all the work. A helping hand does go a long way. When others ask to help you or takes the initiative, let them.

Here are the 12 Easy ways:

1. When you know you are having a big gathering at your home and invited people over, the most important thing is to do the baking and dessert’s a day or 2 before. Nothing will go wrong with it. If it needs to go in the fridge or freezer nothing will happen to it. Don’t leave to the day of.

2. The day before, set the table, cutlery, napkins, plates and add centrepieces to your table, but not too big so your food dishes can fit on the table.

3. Don’t go over crazy to cook so many different things. 4-5 different things for dinner is good enough. If you serve chicken, turkey, roast, pork chops, ham. Go with one or 2 of them from the meat list, and then choose salad and rice or whatever you want to make or whatever is part of your Christmas tradition. Plus if you want to make gravy. Cook all of this stuff except if you are making salad or rice. That can be cooked and prepared before the guests start arriving and then have all the other food cooked from the morning. It can be heated up after for 10 to 15 minutes, then you take to your table and voila. — Don’t go over the top. Chances are you will eat left overs for the next week or so. Don’t want that.

4. Putting chips, assortment of nuts(If no one is allergic), salsa, nachos, guacamole, dips, veggie platters, finger foods in the beginning will get your guests full. People will over indulge, so its not a good idea to put so many things out in the beginning. Don’t spend too much time with putting these before the hard work you went through cooking all that food for dinner. Take them out after dinner along with dessert.

5. When others bring something when it comes to food, dessert, a bottle of wine or something like a gift, It is customary and proper etiquette to open and serve them too. Unless, they advise you otherwise, then its ok to keep it for yourself to open privately, but again open whatever is brought to you and in front of the people who brought them. It makes them feel good to see your reaction.

6. have coffee/tea ready — before just add the water to the machines and measure extra water and coffee grinds on the side in case you need to make more and then just go back and press the button and then continue on entertaining your guests and spend time with them until it is done.

7. Clearing plates and everything for dinner is great, but end it there. Don’t start washing and sorting, drying and all that. It takes a lot of quality time away from your loved ones. If they want to help, that is fine. I am sure they won’t let you clear away the table all on your own. They will help with everything and bring it to the kitchen and everything else will be dealt with after.

8. When you have a lot of people, disposable cutlery and plates are the way to go. If you have more than 10 to 15 people or more, its a good idea. You don’t have to spend time washing dishes.

9. Plan the Christmas week.. Plan a day to do your grocery shopping, and then make sure you have all the ingredients needed to make it. Sometimes getting extra ingredients are better in case something goes wrong which it can in some cases. Never leave anything to the last day.

10. Be efficient and organized as well as making sure the house is clean, the kitchen and all that.

11. ***Always monitor how many drinks your guests have. Don’t let them drink and then drive later. Make sure to call taxis if need be or allow your guests that are impaired to sleep over and go home the next day or if they come with another person who has not had anything to drink, they should be the designated driver. It is your responsibility if they drink and drive because they are driving from your home. Be the elephant in the room and don’t permit them to go. Police have RIDE Spot checks out more during the holidays and don’t put yourself or others lives in danger on the roads because of a careless wrong doing***

12. breathe and don’t be stressed out. Christmas gatherings should be fun and enjoyable as it can be. Don’t panic if some things go wrong. It will be a memory you will laugh about as the years go by.

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a blessed, happy and healthy New year of 2018!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

Dear All,

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas to all my family, friends, friends I met online/in person, my fans, my readers and everyone who celebrates Christmas. Although The Armenian Christmas is on January 6th, it is also great to celebrate on December 24/25th. Wishing everyone all the best. ❤ ❤ Hugs and Kisses to all.

I also celebrate on January 6th where its my Armenian Christmas too. This is an exciting time of the year.

Happy Holidays with great health, happiness, and great things. Best wishes always.

Cheers to you and your loved ones. 🙂

Love,

Talin Orfali

A Highlight,

This Christmas, It was my first time marinating and cooking my very first turkey…. The end result — SUCCESS!! 🙂
I usually cook chicken, and other meats, but it was my first for turkey. I am so proud of myself and I did it all on my own. 🙂 – I also cooked the whole Christmas dinner..

Black Friday Ridiculousness

There are several reasons why I do not encourage and support Black Friday, Boxing Day, and whatever shopping days there are and I think it is absolutely ridiculous. What I don’t understand is that after Thanksgiving or any other occasions like after Christmas as well some people go out the next day forgetting everything and take advantage of Black Friday sales. I think it is hypocritical because just the day before everyone sits around the table being thankful for family, friends, food, and everything around us and you see people writing twitter tweets and Facebook status messages saying that the important thing is family and friends to get together and they also say, it is not the things that matter in life and how we should be thankful every day, then you see the same people out the next day doing the complete opposite.

Are people so dependent on materialism? I think so and I know so. When it is evident that some people in the world do not have anything, that they are in absolute desperation, but still manage and continue to survive and when there are people that are just barely getting by.

Another part of all this Black Friday ridiculousness is that, people line up for hours and days in front of retail stores just so that they can get their hands on a stinking product first and so that they can brag on their social media news feeds and to their family and friends on saying “Hey I got this awesome big screen TV”, or this awesome new cell phone or whatever else. They will stand and freeze and do anything they can to get their hands on anything regardless of weather conditions and whatever else. I think that is absolutely absurd and sad on many levels.

I would rather go shopping when I absolutely need something. I don’t go shopping for the sake of going shopping and blow all my money on unnecessary things.

Some people’s actions are selfish and acting like children starting unnecessary fights in retail stores just for the sole purpose of buying something where you can get it another day. Some people will get injured, have cuts, and get arrested and thrown out of stores. People get tackled, pushed, shoved, bud in line, swear at people, throw punches at each other just so that they can have materialistic satisfaction no matter what cost. It is not only immature behavior but disgusting as well.

People have to stop this utter stupidity. All people are doing is making corporations richer and these corporations are attracting sales so people dig into their pockets further. These are business tactics so that people can rush to the stores and cause all this attention and ruckus. So ridiculous. Some people have become so spoiled, that they don’t even care. Be content and satisfied with what you have.

What is your opinion on all of this?
Have you witnessed it?

My Ultimate Christmas Movies List – What is yours?

The Christmas Holiday’s are coming up. Almost a month until Christmas.
My top Favourite Christmas Movies List.
Old and New — Not in Any Particular order.
Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Elf, Miracle on 34th St, Four Christmases, Santa Clause, Santa Clause 2, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Griswolds), A Christmas Story, Bad Santa, Jingle All the way, Dr Suess How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Scrooged, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Jack Frost, Christmas with the Kranks, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Fred Claus, Arthur Christmas, Santa Clause 3, Surviving Christmas, Christmas Consultant, Prancer, The Family Stone, All I want For Christmas, The Perfect Holiday, The Nativity Story, and the Holiday.
What are your favourite Christmas movies?
Is it part of your tradition to watch Christmas movies every year getting toward the Holiday’s?

Society Has Officially Ran Out Of Things to Talk About

Talking about a Starbucks cup that’s for Christmas. All this time with the Starbucks logo, nothing was said. All of a sudden now?
There are far more important issues to discuss and to bring up rather than a ridiculous cup. It is unbelievable on what great lengths people will go to for something so derogatory and so-called news which should not even be made news.
Some people have way too much time on their hands the way they think of the most bizarre things just so that they can be noticed. People can and will just do anything to get attention for the sake of getting attention. It is disgusting. In all honesty, people really should go find better things to do and think about doing and post on social media or whatever the case maybe with their time. All these useless things on social media and outside of social media do not have to be posted. I cannot stress that enough. Some people will just never learn and will not understand no matter how much some people tell others to stop posting ridiculous things.

Is 2015 Really Almost Over? Can’t Believe it.

Yesterday, when I woke up, It was a brand new month in 2015. I can’t believe October is here already. To me, when October comes it means that the year is almost over. 3 Months to go until 2016. Where did this year go? It was an absolute busy year for me and so much more until December 31st. I already see Christmas merchandise in the stores, Halloween, Thanksgiving things. The only thing about these months until April is that it is the Fall, its cold, freezing and Winter that I absolutely despise.
What are your plans for Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas?
I am excited to go on my 13th trip to Cuba soon. I absolutely love Cuba a lot. I go all over the place. I don’t just go to one destination.
Was 2015 good to you? Mine was, and I ended up doing quite a bit of traveling to Los Angeles, California, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, and among many other places, but there were some unfortunate things that did happen in my year, but everything turned out well in the end. Well, lets see what the next 3 months of 2015 has in store for me.
I wish you all the best for the rest of 2015 and beyond.

2015 is here! Welcome!

Hello everyone, now that 2014 is behind us, hope everyone had a pleasant, fun and great night when ringing in 2015. Here are to new beginnings this year. I can’t believe it is the second day already. Time is already flying by. before you know it, we will be putting up our Christmas/Holiday decorations once again. I remember the days when I always wanted to go out for new years and celebrate outdoors or at a banquet hall full of people, but nowadays, I just want to spend a quiet, fun and relaxing time at home with my loved ones with good food, snacks, a few drinks, and unwinding during the holidays is all that is important. I know its fun to get dressed up and to go to parties and everything, but I just don’t feel it anymore. I’d rather be at home all cozy and warm and just relaxing.

I don’t know if you feel the same way as well. To me, new years is just another day with another year added. We should be grateful for the days we have, for the years we are on the planet, and we should be grateful for all the blessings and everything we have. That is the most important thing that people really should focus on. Some people are so into vanity, materialism, and all that stuff, however the true meaning of the holidays and as well as everyday is to count our blessings and be thankful. There are so many unfortunate things happening in our world today, and we should always look at the bigger picture as things can be worse.

Always think positive, look at life in an optimistic way, be happy, live your life. Health, happiness, and positivity is the most important things in life. everything else is secondary. As 2015 is now here, I wish everyone a blessed year ahead and beyond. Lets create more memories, good times, motivate each other, encourage each other, have each others back, and share our stories with one another.

Many blessings and good times to everyone. Best wishes to all!

Cheers to 2015!

The Last Blog of 2014 – The Year Flew By

Hello everyone, this is going to be my last blog of 2014. I cannot believe how quickly the year flew by. It felt just like yesterday we were celebrating the beginning of 2014 and now, here we are again ready to welcome a new year which is about 24 hours from now. There is so much I want to accomplish and achieve in 2015, and I have created a personal bucket list of goals to attain and so much more. In the blogs coming, everyone will eventually find out what they are. For now, it is something personal to me until I post my journey and stories of it all in the coming 12 months of 2015. So keep checking back to see it all unfold.

I know a lot of people are setting up and getting ready to ring in the new year and some are already celebrated 2015 in the world already, so I am going to keep this short and wishing everyone a safe, happy, healthy, positive, optimistic and great year ahead, and may it be everything you wish for it to be. Keep smiling, keep shining, keep your head up high and always be who you are, and know that whatever you do, and want to do, when you put your mind to it, you can do anything. Everything and Anything is possible in life. You just need to work hard at it and never give up.

Thank you to my readers, fans, family, friends, and all my supporters.

I am excited for another year filled with blogging, writing, and pursuing my dreams in social media, writing and so much more.

Here is to New Beginnings.
Cheers!

Love,
Talin Orfali — WordPress

Highlights of 2014 – More Great times – Been a great year

2014 was a mix of the good times and the bad times, but mostly good times. This year I got to do many things, travel to different places with my boyfriend, friends, and family, and so much more that I will be sharing. Here are the highlights of my year in no particular order:

– My lovely friend/sister surprised me with Boston Red Sox Baseball tickets for my birthday 🙂
– Got into my first relationship with a lovely man and still going strong.
– Went to a couple of Basketball Games – Toronto Raptors,
– Went to a Soccer game Toronto FC With my boyfriend and good friends in New Jersey/New York

– Traveled to New York City / New Jersey
– Traveled to Boston, Massachusetts
– Traveled to Varadero, Cuba and Cayo Coco, Cuba
– Traveled to Ottawa, Canada
– Traveled to Niagara Falls

– Went aircraft Spotting at Toronto Pearson Airport Several Times
– Created beautiful memories with my loved ones throughout the year
– Went to an Airport Street Festival where I got up close and Personal with Toronto Pearson YYZ
– Went Mini Putting with great friends.

That is about it for now… I can’t think of anything else. There was so much that happened.

—- Have a happy New Year and great 2015. Wishing you all the best.

Merry Christmas 2014! Best Wishes to You and Yours

Hello everyone, I would like to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous prosperous new year, 2015.
Christmas is a time for togetherness and being with our loved ones which one of the most important aspects during Christmas and it should not stop there. It should be everyday.

It is not about the presents, the food, the decorations, but its about Jesus and his birth.

Wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year 2015.
May 2015 create new beginnings, spread around goodness, being kind to one another and raising awareness on important issues of the world that we all have the power to make positive and happy changes if we all work together to empower, enrich our souls, minds and hearts with goodness all the time, everything will fall into place. God bless everyone.

2015 is about a week away, and I wish you all happiness, health, love, success and all the great things of life with a positive and optimistic attitude.

What are your expectations and what are you planning to accomplish?
Will you be attaining and achieving the goals you set out?
In what ways will you approach it?
How will you achieve them?

First Day of Winter – Days Are Going to get Longer

It is the First day of Winter. I know some complain of the snow, freezing temperatures and all the chaos from winter like me, and trust me when I say this, I despise winter a lot and have my very own Facebook page called “The I hate Winter Club”, however looking at the bigger picture in a different perspective, things can be worse. Look at it this way, It is just temporary until we see green grass, beautiful flowers blossoming, the warmth in the air, the sun and more brightness again. count our blessings, be grateful for the people in our lives and the things we have. As long as we are with the people we love, we have health, and were doing well, it is all that matters.

After today, the days start getting longer, the daylight increases by a couple of minutes per day and before we know it, it will be back to springtime. I know we have to deal with the freezing and the craziness of winter, but I am looking things into a new light.

I am blessed for all the people I have in my life. I love you all very much. I am excited to create more incredible memories with them all, no matter what season, no matter what day and time it is. Each moment we have with our loved ones is something that is important more than anything else in this world. Not material growth.

I believe that materialism is not something that I value. To me, togetherness with my loved ones is all that counts in life. Some people are just so materialistic that they get so angry if they do not receive a gift or they do not get what they want from other people. Should not work that way. It is the thought that counts. Time and energy was put in to buy that gift and people should learn to appreciate what they receive, and what they have. People in this world do not have anything. We must count our blessings and appreciate all we have. Some people have a hard time to make ends meet and can barely keep up, while some others are so materialistic and want want want, but they do not give back and they don’t acknowledge anything else.

It is not about the food, the decorations, and everything, It is about people coming together to enjoy each other and keep that bond going strong as it should be year-round.

What are your traditions? What is it about Winter you like?

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. May 2015 be a year filled with love, health, happiness, new beginnings, and all the great things of life.

It is Almost Time Again For Christmas Movies on TV

I know you are probably thinking, why I am bringing up Christmas 2 months before and it is early to even think about it, but with the time going by so quickly, it will be here before you know it, However It is that time again where Halloween is almost here, and the day after Halloween, is when all the Christmas Commercials, and Movies that are shown on Television right until New Years. 2014 has just zoomed on by. it was just like yesterday we were celebrating the New Year and Christmas, and now it is almost here again. Christmas movies have been a tradition for me annually.

There are many Christmas movies out there, however some just stand out more than others, and I really enjoy Watching Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, Griswold’s National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Four Christmas’s, Miracle on 34th St, Santa Clause, Santa Clause 2, Jingle All the way, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Jack Frost.

The most I watch though is Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

I love watching these movies, I make myself a hot beverage, cover up with a warm blanket in the cold winter months, and I just enjoy myself. No matter how many times I watch them, it feels like I am watching them for the first time. I just do not like the commercials that interrupt the movie.

Some movies you can watch over and over again, but some movies once is more than enough, however these classic movies will never go out of style and will certainly never get old. I cannot wait until they appear on television once again and where I can continue my tradition as always. I sometimes watch it by myself, with family and friends as well. I am quite excited for it all. I have fun either way.

The only thing I do not like is the Cold Winter months and the snow, but everything else is great. 🙂 Do you watch Christmas movies? Do you have traditions that you follow or at least try to follow annually? Would love to hear from you. 🙂 Well, have a great time and fabulous upcoming Holiday Season.

 

Merry Armenian Christmas — Orthodox Christmas

Armenia

Armenians celebrate Christmas (surb tsnunt, Սուրբ Ծնունդ, meaning “saint birth”) on January 6 as a public holiday in Armenia. It also coincides with the Epiphany. Traditionally, Armenians fast during the week leading up to Christmas. Devout Armenians may even refrain from food for the three days leading up to the Christmas Eve, in order to receive the Eucharist on a “pure” stomach. Christmas Eve is particularly rich in traditions. Families gather for the Christmas Eve dinner (khetum, Խթում), which generally consists of: rice, fish, nevik (նուիկ, a vegetable dish of green chard and chick peas), and yogurt/wheat soup (tanabur, թանապուր). Dessert includes dried fruits and nuts, including rojik, which consists of whole shelled walnuts threaded on a string and encased in grape jelly, bastukh (a paper-like confection of grape jelly, cornstarch, and flour), etc. This lighter menu is designed to ease the stomach off the week-long fast and prepare it for the rather more substantial Christmas Day dinner. Children take presents of fruits, nuts, and other candies to older relatives.

It is frequently asked as to why Armenians do not celebrate Christmas on December 25 with the rest of the world. Obviously, the exact date of Christ’s birth has not been historically established—it is not recorded in the Gospels. However, historically, all Christian churches celebrated Christ’s birth on January 6 until the fourth century. According to Roman Catholic sources, the date was changed from January 6 to December 25 in order to override a pagan feast dedicated to the birth of the Sun which was celebrated on December 25. At the time Christians used to continue their observance of these pagan festivities. In order to undermine and subdue this pagan practice, the church hierarchy designated December 25 as the official date of Christmas and January 6 as the feast of Epiphany. However, Armenia was not affected by this change for the simple fact that there were no such pagan practices in Armenia, on that date, and the fact that the Armenian Church was not a satellite of the Roman Church. Thus, remaining faithful to the traditions of their forefathers, Armenians have continued to celebrate Christmas on January 6 until today.[42]

In addition to the Christmas tree (tonatsar, Տօնածառ), Armenians (particularly in the Middle East) also erect the Nativity scene. Christmas in the Armenian tradition is a purely religious affair. Santa Claus does not visit the nice Armenian children on Christmas, but rather on New Year’s Eve. The idea of Santa Claus existed before the Soviet Union and he was named kaghand papik (Կաղանդ Պապիկ), but the Soviet Union had a great impact even on Santa Claus. Now he goes by the more secular name of Grandfather Winter (dzmerr papik, Ձմեռ Պապիկ).

CREDITS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_worldwide

The Boxing Day Rush – No Thank You

Well, it is that time again where Christmas is behind us, and today is boxing day. Many people will go or have already gone out for Boxing day shopping to get their hands on great sales and deals in the retail world, where people get discounted products and everything. I am one of those people who has never gone out to shopping centers, malls, and plazas to go shopping on a crazy day like today, and it just gets me stressed out. I really do not feel like getting trampled on, and attacked by other people. I would rather go shopping at a later time and not battle through big and long line ups, and I would rather shop being sane, then insane. It’s winter time, its cold, snow on the ground, what am I going to do? I would rather stay warm at home and relax, then having to venture out. The time I do go to Malls is Mid January, where things have calmed down, and where I can shop in peace.

Do you like to go shopping on Boxing day, or are you like me and stay home or stay far away from anywhere that requires shopping? If I really do not need something, I do not purchase it. Even if its on sale. When I do need something stores will always have something, so I am not in that rush to get something if I am not going to be using it. How about you?

Well, new years is a few days away. Cannot believe 2013 will be over and gone in less than a week. This year went by so quickly. It is unbelievable. How was 2013 for you? Did you do anything exciting? what were some of your highlights? Have a blessed new year, all the best to 2014.

How Electricity Plays a Huge Role In Our Lives

As you may or may not have heard in the news in last few days, Toronto, Canada and areas outside of Toronto was hit with a crazy  Ice Storm, that left the city and a lot of areas without power, knocking down tree branches on wires that connect transformers for power. As much as over 360,000 customers or more were without electricity and it can take anywhere around 72 hours and as much as a week to restore power in some areas. This Ice storm is known to be one of the worst weather disasters in history for the city of Toronto and areas. For the past 24-48 and even more hours have been left without power and all the food in peoples freezers and refrigerators have become spoiled and whoever started with their Christmas Dinner preparations, I am so sorry that they are going through all that and I surely hope that those peoples dinner plans will not spoil and that they will be able to salvage the food for their Christmas Gatherings in their homes.

It is times like this where people really think about how essential, important and how valuable electricity is to all of us.

I am so Thankful to the Hydro Electrical workers of Toronto and areas for working around the clock, and taking time out of their Christmas vacations that they had planned with their families to ensure that everyone gets power back into their homes as quickly as possible, so that others can have a Christmas, so that others can have electricity back. Whatever the cost of a hydro maybe every month, I can say it is well worth it, because some people do not realize that electricity is one of the most important things and which make life easy for us all with basic things like doing Laundry, cooking, listening to music, which keep our phones charged, which keeps our computers turned on, that heat up our water supply, which keeps our lights on, heats the house and so much more.

Let us take this time to really appreciate, and keep with the Christmas spirit and always be grateful for what we have and lets be thankful to the Hydro workers who are working extra hard to get everything going again. Reach out to those and lets help each other get back up on our feet. God bless and I hope everyone gets power soon. My prayers, thoughts are with those effected by this Ice Storm.