Holiday preparation and Waldorf salad

The thing that I love about Christmas is the opportunity it gives to stop the everyday rush and enjoy time as a family. It’s nice to have a little time in a stage in life that is so scheduled that does not include specific bedtimes or the beep of the alarm clock in the morning. It is fairly dark in the mornings and the perfect way to start the day is by lighting the candles before making breakfast.

The thing that sometimes stresses me out is the month before Christmas. There are many Christmas parties or “pikkujoulu” functions to attend, shopping to do, gifts to wrap, holiday cards and Christmas cleaning. And yes I fall into the pithole of “trying to be a Super-Mom that makes everything from scratch”. I have realized though that this isn’t quite necessary. If I just give my husband the chance he is really much more efficient at some things than I am. For example, he pretty much takes care of our whole Christmas card project. I just take care of the photo and order the cards and he takes care of the rest. But it has taken me quite a few years to learn how to let loose on some things.

This year we did decide to prioritize. We didn’t try to be at two places at once, but rather enjoy the moment we are in to the fullest. Priotization can be done with Christmas cleaning as well. We will clean the house before Christmas but if the Tupperware drawer is not organized or the top shelf is not dusted by the time Santa comes, I’ll just dim the lights and light the candles. No one will know if I don’t tell them. And there is life after Christmas as well. A whole new year to clean my Tupperware drawer.


Our family of seven has celebrated Christmas on our own for the past couple of years. We have been including sometimes traditions from both families. As the years pass I’m sure that there are some traditions that are to stay and some that may change. It quite interesting to follow the development of our family holiday and watch as our children truly enjoy carrying out the traditions that come from the Finnish and American culture.

On Christmas Eve we will have a traditional Finnish Christmas dinner that includes a salted ham baked on the stone hearth of the wood oven, carrot and rutabega casserole. This year I was thinking to make a casserole out of beetroot and blue cheese. But not everything is traditionally Finnish on Christmas Eve. Amongst a few other things we will have Waldorf Salad, which is from my childhood and belonged to Christmas day. It compliments the Finnish Christmas ham well.

Waldorf Salad
1.5 kg/3.3 lb apples
225 g/8 oz dates
3 stalks of celery
100 g/3.5 oz walnuts
175 g/6 oz mayonnaise
2 tbsp lemon juice

Peel and chop the apples (If preferred you may leave the peels on) and place in a large bowl. Next chop the celery, dates and walnuts. Add the lemon juice and mayonnaise and stir. Waldorf Salad is best served on the same day.

waldorf salad

christmas star

amaryllis 1

And remember if everything does not get done, just light the candles and dim the lights and relax. No one will notice.


  1. Gorgeous photos! Candles and dimming the lights works great. I tell my kids just not to touch the tables and then it just leaves an even layer of dust and you even wont notice… LOL Take Care, BAM

  2. I feel everything you are saying about being super woman or super mom. And I like your idea for this year. I am not rushing this year to many Christmas parties; only a few. I am hosting one on Christmas Eve. Love the sound of your baked ham in the wood oven. Your waldorf salad sounds and looks absolutely delicious. Perfect salad for salted ham and casserole. Your setting looks elegant! Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

  3. Your candle lit photos are lovely. And lighting the candles in the morning is a great idea. I wish you a blessed Christmas. And sometimes I would be interested to know your recipe for carrot and rutabega casserole.

  4. I will give this a try one day. I tried it once when I was first married but did not get to make any again because my husband is not fond of fruits in salad. Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  5. This is a beautiful post and your advice regarding prioritizing is sound. We should enjoy this time and not get stressed by trying to do it all. For me a Waldorf salad means a holiday dinner, be that Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s. and your recipe sounds delicious, especially with those dates.

  6. I am completely with you on the tupperware drawer concept — I always put pressure on myself to get all of these little things cleaned and done, when in reality it doesn’t matter in the greater picture. What matters is the time spent with those we love!
    Cheers and Merry Christmas! 🙂

  7. I love your idea of lighting the candles and dimming the lights. Your intro really resonated with me…it really is all about spending time with the family and enjoying the lack of schedule. Merry Christmas to you and your family! I love the perspective that you bring to things–glad to have connected.

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