12 Days of Christmas

Thursday, December 11, 2008 | 12:00 p.m. CST; updated 1:30 p.m. CST, Thursday, December 11, 2008

You've all heard the song about the 12 days of Christmas that run from Christmas to the beginning of Epiphany on Jan. 6. But forget the turtledoves and the French hens. There's more to do in Columbia during the holidays than watch maids a-milking. And rather than focusing on the traditional 12 days, Missourian reporters set out to find some more practical holiday events and gift possibilities for the days leading up to Christmas.

1 theatrical production

1. "Little Women," a musical based on Louisa May Alcott's beloved book, "stresses the importance of family in our lives," says director Jana Robbins, a Broadway producer and Stephens College alumna. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13; Macklanburg Playhouse, 100 Willis Ave.; $14 general, $7 students/seniors; 876-7199.

2 Christmas concerts

1. "Whether you’re a purist or just a casual listener, there will be something for you,” says conductor Stefan Freund about the Columbia Civic Orchestra's performance with the Columbia Chorale and Mid-Missouri Dance Theatre. 7 p.m. Dec. 13; Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, 203 S. Ninth St.; $5 students, $10 advance purchase, $20 at the door.

2. Handel’s "Messiah" (Christmas section), 9th Street Philharmonic Orchestra with the Columbia Chorale. 4 p.m. Dec. 14, First Presbyterian Church, 400 Lakeview Road, Mexico, Mo.; free.

3 holiday events

1. A free gift-making workshop with crafts made from recycled or low-cost, environmentally friendly materials. Noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 13-14; Peace Nook, 804-C E. Broadway.

2. Columbia Art League Creative Fun Days for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 22; Columbia Art League, 207 S. Ninth St.; $60 for league members, $75 for nonmembers. Enroll online at, by mail, in person or by phone at 443-2131. “We’re hoping they can work on artworks that can be given as Christmas presents,” education director Amy Meyer says.

3. First Night Columbia. Entertainment begins at 7 p.m. Dec. 31; features more than 60 performances, dancing, activities and art at 14 locations downtown and a fireworks finale at Courthouse Square; outdoor venues are free; indoor entertainment requires an admission button; early button sales $8, ages 7 and younger free; information at

4 greeting card purveyors

1. Handmade, one-of-a-kind cards. Poppy, 920 E. Broadway.

2. Cards crafted by Missouri artists. Bluestem Missouri Crafts, 13 S. Ninth St.

3. Fancy writing or funny noises. Pen Point Paperie, 913 E. Broadway. "It's a gift," says Veronica Cramer, owner of Pen Point Paperie. "It's just the thought that makes it so special."

4. Humorous quips or glitter embellishments. The Butterfly Tattoo, 36 N. Ninth St.

5 dips and dishes

"Always make plenty of meatballs and Little Smokies," says Anita Jany of Columbia Catering Company. "You can make the fanciest things, and they're always going to eat the meatballs." She suggests keeping pre-made dips on hand for unexpected visitors.

Spinach dip
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese soft
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
16 ounces chopped and dried spinach (frozen is fine)
Mix and serve

Sun-dried tomato dip
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese soft
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Rosemary and sun-dried tomatoes
Mix and serve

Crab dip
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese soft
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Crab meat
Mix and serve

Burgundy sauce for meatballs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 cups mushrooms medium in size, wiped with damp cloth to clean, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
1 cup diced onion
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Burgundy wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all above ingredients in a skillet and sauté about 5 minutes.
Pour Burgundy sauce over 2 pounds meatballs in crockpot. 

Classic chocolate chip cookies
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup good quality chocolate chips or chunks

Bake for 14 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

6 local charitable causes

1. Columbia Second Chance, 205 E. Ash St., 445-5598. Needs cat or dog toys; more information at Award Pet Supply, 1610 I-70 Drive S.W., and Treats Unleashed in the Forum Shopping Center.

2. Voluntary Action Center, 874-2273. Needs toys and gifts for teenagers; drop-off from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 15 -16; Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1600 W. Rollins Road.

3. Rainbow House, 1611 Towne Drive, 474-6600. Need twin-size blankets and new or gently used winter clothing for children; drop off from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at Rainbow House.

4. The Intersection, 7 E. Sexton Road, 817-0089. Needs monetary donations for children’s winter ice-skating field trip on Dec. 19; drop-off at The Intersection. "The kids love going ice skating in Jefferson City and going to pizza after," executive director Dana Battison says. "They need about $200 more for the trip to happen."

5. Parks and Recreation and the Neighborhood Resource Center. Needs toys for Columbia’s youth; drop-off until Dec. 17 at Armory Sports Center, 701 E. Ash St.; Parks and Recreation office, 1 S. Seventh St.; and any Jimmy John's sandwich shop.

6. Citizens Assisting Seniors and Handicapped, or CASH, and Heat Energy and Light Program, or HELP. Need monetary donations to help customers who have difficulty paying their utility bill;

7 terrific trees

"We grow a lot of Scotch pines in Missouri," says Bob Daly, who owned and operated Hill Top Christmas Tree Farm for more than 25 years. But that's not the only option available.

1. Pine

2. Spruce

3. Fir

4. Artificial

5. Pre-lit fiber optic

6. Spiral light tree

7. Partridge in a pear tree

8 intriguing tales

"I tried to pick more alternative titles that have a valuable message that goes beyond the Christmas consumerism fluff," says Meghan Gilliss, owner of Get Lost Bookshop, 8 S. Ninth St. "A lot of them have to do with the spirit of giving in spite of poverty ... and a lot of families might not have as much money this year."

For adults:

1. "The Battle for Christmas" by Stephen Nissenbaum

2. "Silent Night: The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce" by Stanley Weintraub

3. "Beasley's Christmas Party" by Booth Tarkington

4. "Holidays on Ice" by David Sedaris

For young readers:

5. "A Christmas Memory" by Truman Capote

6. "An Orange for Frankie" by Patricia Polacco

7. "Happiest Man in the World" by Mij Kelly

8. "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg

9 seasonal scents

"Everyone's sense of Christmas is different," says Christina Kelly, president of Makes Scents, 19 S. Ninth St. Scents stir seasonal nostalgia: "If you always had a real tree, then your scent is Pinon Pine; if your grandmother always baked, then it might be cinnamon. ... Those traditions resonate with you the rest of your life."

1. Cinnamon

2. Pinon Pine

3. Clove

4. Fig

5. Frankincense

6. Myrrh

7. Peppermint

8. Pear

9. Pomegranate

10 delightful drinks

Lakota Coffee

1. Pumpkin latte

2. Gingerbread latte

3. Pumpkin spice coffee

4. Holiday spice coffee


5. Falalala latte

6. Hot apple cider

Cherry Street Artisan

7. Eggnog latte

8. Peppermint mocha


9. Espresso truffle

Flat Branch

10. Winter spice ale.

11 merry music selections

Nostalgia drives Christmas music purchases, says Stephen Krebs, music manager at Barnes & Noble in the Columbia Mall. "I'm not really sure if it's because you like the music or it reminds you of being a kid at Christmas — maybe both."

Best-selling holiday albums at Barnes & Noble:

1. "And Winter Came," Enya

2. "A Winter Symphony," Sarah Brightman

3. "A Swingin’ Christmas," Tony Bennett

4. "Joy to the World," Faith Hill

5. "What a Night! A Christmas Album," Harry Connick Jr.

6. "Songs of Joy & Peace," Yo-Yo Ma

7. "Christmas Duets," Elvis Presley

8. "Holiday Spirits," Straight No Chaser

9. "Come Darkness, Come Light: Twelve Songs of Christmas," Mary Chapin Carpenter

10. "A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas," Kristin Chenoweth 

11. "Classic Christmas," George Strait

12 festive films

Sally Beattie at 9th St. Video on Hitt Street says, "'It's a Wonderful Life' is the classic. That and 'Miracle on 34th Street' are enduring and hopeful; it's why people still rent them every year." In no particular order:

1. "It's a Wonderful Life"

2. "Miracle on 34th Street"

3."A Christmas Story"

4. "Irving Berlin's White Christmas"

5. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"

6. "Noel"

7. "Christmas with the Kranks" 

8. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

9. "Santa Clause 2"

10. "Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause"

11. "Santa vs. the Snowman"

12. "Deck the Halls"

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Ray Shapiro December 21, 2008 | 3:29 p.m.

I think it was wonderful that the Missourian gave children, and some adults, a wonderfully cute "interactive" display, history and overview of Christmas traditions immediately to the left of the Kwanzaa heading on your web-page set up.
My family and I enjoyed readng about each item presented. However I found 2 very related traditional family Christmas decorations/activities missing. This would be !. Placing a display of the Nativity beneath our tree and 2, the good old family Christmas tradition of going to church. (I guess displaying Angels also has no traditional presence in American homes, during Christmas.)
You guys at the Missourian could have at least have had the decency to mention "acknowledging the birth of Christ," or, did you conveniently forget that Christmas could be a religous holiday. Maybe you just took Christ for granted. (Nothing like playing up culture and playing down Christianity.)
This Christmas, I think I'll get a tattoo of Santa Claus and his reindeer on my chest.
Kudos to the liberal secular progressives.
Merry Kwanzaa!

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 21, 2008 | 4:12 p.m.

Ya know all of these holy days of man are quite troubling to me as they are so centered around the spending of money mainly.

Why is all of this as it is you might ask yourselves?

If you want to know the real origins of these holy days of man check out this book here:

Excellent reading if you are curious just how all of these modern day traditions of men came into being and quite an eye opener as well.

Happy reading.

(Report Comment)

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