Russian Tea


Yesterday was the old Russian New Years celebration, so in honor of that, I figure Russian Tea would be a good post for today. Russian Tea is a spiced orange flavored drink that is good warm or cold. Old recipes call for instant tea, but since it is very hard to find, I have adjusted this recipe for a Tea Mix. This tea would also be a lot more sugary than the original recipes would have called, but over all, it is a great tea mix. Warming and comforting when warmed, and flavorful and refreshing when served chilled. This recipe makes about 11 cups of mix, or about 5-6 large glasses.


What You Will Need

  • 2 Cups Tang, Orange Drink Mix
  • 2 Cups Lemon Tea Mix
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Cloves
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Nutmeg


1. Mix together Tang, tea mix, cloves, and cinnamon, in a mason jar and store at room temperature. To make one cup of tea, add 3 Tbsp mix. To make a large glass, use 6 Tbsp mix to taste. Serve Hot or Cold.


Handmade Christmas Swags


Hello again. This is my first year making swags by myself, but for several years my family has been making them just for ourselves for Christmas. This can be a great option for a gift, or for a DIY home decoration. It is helpful if you have some evergreens on your property, but if that’s not the case, most neighbors won’t mind your trimming their bushes, assuming you ask first. Our property has several yew bushes, so that is the evergreen I used for my base. I also have a monstrous holly in the front yard that is easily 15 feet tall, so I trimmed it quite severely. Beyond that, you could get some holiday decorations from a craft store to stick into your swags, but that is your choice. I have a few bows from previous years, and some ribbon to make more as I want. I also added a third step to show you can also make grave blankets using this technique, and what I did with my excess cut holly. Please comment if you have any questions, and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!



1. Cut a variety of different branches. Cut different colored branches, different sizes, and your favorite types of branches. Once you have your variety, lay down a large tarps to collect debris. Begin separating your branches into piles starting with the biggest branches on the bottom and stacking smaller on top. Once you have a stack, add an accent branch on top.

2. Once your satisfied with the way your stack looks, use some floral wire, beading wire, or quality twine to tie together the end. Try to weave around some of the branches to keep them from falling out, and wrap around several times. Tie it off once done. Finally, add another piece of wire, but leave some space during one of your wraps, so you can use that loop to hang your swag. Add any bows or decorations you desire, trim any unsightly branches, and hang.

3. If you’d like, you can also make a grave blanket using this same pattern, just alternating directions. You can see I made one. I also had lots of holly left over, so I used it to decorate my mantle for the season.


The Bayberry Candle, A Christmas Tradition

One of the most prevalent traditions every Christmas was the burning of a bayberry candle. Every year we would light our taper at about 5 pm on Christmas eve, and it would burn until it extinguished at about 3 am on Christmas morning. Though it seems weird, but our tradition was that it needed to burn into the next day, and that it needed to burn completely. By lighting the candle at 5 pm, it was usually well burnt down by the time we were going to bed, at about 10-11 pm. If the candle wasn’t burnt enough, or the candle wasn’t firm in the holder, we would simply place the candle in our empty sink for the night.

Origin & Old Saying

The story I have seen from several websites was that bayberry candles were made by the colonists for a special occasion, because their normal candles had a foul odor as they rot, and it took many bayberries, 15 lbs, to make one candle (2019; Bowen, 2016; SallyeAnder, 2017). Now, Bayberry candles are burnt as a tradition for luck and blessing for the coming year, and bayberry candles are burnt either Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve ( 2019; Bayberry Candles:Beeman-candles, n.d.; Bowen, 2016; SallyeAnder, 2017).

There are also a few versions of the old saying including:

  • “This bayberry candle comes from a friend for on Christmas eve I do send.For a bayberry candle burned to the socket, will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.” (2019)
  • “A Bayberry candle burned to the socket brings food to the larder and gold to the pocket.” (Bayberry Candles:Beeman-candles, n.d.)
  • “This Bayberry candle comes from a friend, so on Christmas Eve burn it down to the end – for a Bayberry candle burned to the socket will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.” (Bowen, 2016)
  • “For a bayberry candle burned to the socket brings joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.” (SallyeAnder, 2017)

(2019, October 16). Retrieved from
BAYBERRY CANDLES: beeman-candles. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Bowen, E. (2016, October 11). The Bayberry Candle Christmas Tradition. Retrieved from
SallyeAnder. (2017, January 26). Bayberry Candles: An American Tradition. Retrieved from

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