It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

Before Thanksgiving, while we were still in France, we began noticing villages putting up Christmas decorations. At the time I wondered, without Thanksgiving, how do countries mark the beginning of the Christmas season. Soon after I began noticing signs for ‘Black Friday’. Apparently this is a BIG universal shopping day and the official start of the Christmas season. 

   
Sites from Lisbon in mid November.

 

The day before Thanksgiving we decided to make a traditional dinner. Luckily we found a turkey hindquarter and boneless, skinless hunk of breast at the butcher around the block from us.

The next morning we headed to the mercado to get the rest of supplies. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found bread cubes. 

In preparation for the dressing I sautéed my onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms then added the ‘bread cubes’ and slowly started to add broth. When the bread was not responding as expected I gave it a taste. Weird consistency and taste!  A closer look at the package told me I’d just used a soy meat substitute for bread cubes. That would not do! It all went in the trash and I headed back to the market for new ingredients. In the end Doug thought the dressing was the best item in the meal. 

  
Thanksgiving dinner in Portugal. The LOVE mug holds the Brussels sprouts. Sad to say, we didn’t have pie, pumpkin or otherwise. Instead we had a couple slices of chocolate cake from the bakery. Not great. Missed the pie.

The Christmas season is in full bloom now.

   
Faro is the town in which we’re living in the Algarve region of Portugal. It’s on the southern coast bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The weather is mild, mid 60’s-70’s and mostly sunny. Quite comfortable. We have had some cloudy, windy days but nothing like the NW. 

Many Brits spend time here in the winter. The snow birds are pretty obvious when they dress in warm weather clothes. We are feeling it’s closer to winter than summer so stick to jeans, sweaters, shoes.

 
Tree in the pedestrian commercial area a couple blocks from us.

  
These guys are seen hanging from many windows around town. Have they made it to your neck of the woods yet?

We’ve been seeing these vendors since France.

  
He’s roasting chestnuts on an open fire. This guy is quite dapper as compared to some vendors we saw in Paris. When I asked if I could take a picture he posed. I was looking for a more natural shot. Oh well.

  
This ‘tree’ was on the square around the block from us when we arrived in Faro. It took us a couple days to realize it was a Christmas tree.

Over the last couple days more trees have appeared in the pedestrian commercial area. Be sure to notice the walkway. All the sidewalks we’ve been on in Portugal are made of these 2″ cubes of cobblestone. In some areas, such as this commercial district, the cobbles are decorated with mosaic designs. Laying cobbled sidewalks keeps someone working.

   
    
    
 
When I walked toward this tree I thought it was covered with children’s pictures. Instead, you can see what it was, little nativities. Most of these trees are decorated with recycled items. I think they’re from schools or youth groups.

  
And lastly, our bit of holiday prep.

  
I know you are all deep into your plans. Remember to take time to exhale and focus on the reason for the season. God is good.