Our Christmas faves

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2018

By Biff and Susan Andrews

Call us traditionalists. After more than a few Christmases, we have a few favorites we think others might enjoy as well. Some of the following are classics; some you will never have heard of. They are all in the spirit of Christmas with an accent on the outdoors; peace, love, joy and baby Jesus. Here we go:


Christmas Readings:

  • The original version of the Nativity: Luke 2:1-20 from the King James Version
  • Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”
  • “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” by Clement Clarke Moore
  • “Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus,” by Francis P. Church
  • “A Christmas Memory,” by Truman Capote (A reading by the fire, requested by Susan as an annual Christmas gift from Biff … makes us cry in our hot toddy every year.)
  • “Song of the Rabbits Outside the Tavern,” by Elizabeth Coatsworth


Christmas Music

  • “To Wish You a Merry Christmas,” by Harry Belafonte
  • “A Christmas Together,” by John Denver and the Muppets
  • “My Christmas CD” by Andrea Boccelli
  • “The Dean Martin Christmas Album”
  • “Profound Joy” by Tim Seamans (local artist from Williamsburg)
  • Vivaldi’s “Winter” section from “The Four Seasons”… every time it snows


Christmas Films

  • “A Christmas Memory,” 1966
  • “Miracle on 34th Street,” Original version
  • “Holiday Inn,” with Bing
  • “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
  • “Home Alone”


Christmas Sights

  • A male cardinal in snow
  • Snow on water, bare branches, or evergreens
  • Any walk through the woods in snow or sleet
  • Kids sledding on a hill anywhere, but especially between our yard and our neighbor’s

Christmas Objects

  • Handcrafted stockings
  • Heirloom ornaments, ornaments from memorable trips, ornaments made from nature
  • Kid made ornaments from school — the cotton ball, Popsicle stick and glitter kind



  • The younger the better — especially the ones on Christmas morning with wild, wide eyes and bedhead. Sticky candy cane fingers are optional.
  • Kids in or at a live nativity, watching baby Jesus and the animals, especially if there is a real camel


Food and Drinks

  • Try a striper. Give the bird a break
  • Sausage and apple stuffing or oyster stuffing
  • Grandma’s recipe for fruit cake
  • Irma Rombauer’s, “Joy of Cooking” Eggnog in quantity. Don’t drive or operate heavy equipment

Susan’s Striper recipe:


1 large striper cleaned and scaled (whole or filleted)


fresh cracked pepper

1 onion, thinly sliced

4 strips of bacon

white potatoes cut in wedges




Line a large roasting pan with foil

Place the fish in the pan, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper

Spread the onions on the fish

Place strips of bacon on the fish

Fill the remaining space around the fish with potato wedges

Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper and dots of butter

Fold foil around the fish and potatoes

Place in 400-degree oven for 1 hour or until fish is firm

Open the foil the last 10 minutes if you’d like the bacon crispy


Whatever your Christmas traditions, we hope you enjoy them in the warmth and love of family and friends.


Susan and Bradford “Biff” Andrews are retired teachers and master naturalists who have been outdoor people all their lives, exploring and enjoying the woods, swamps, rivers and beaches throughout the region for many years. Email them at b.andrews22@live.com.