It’s the day before Christmas and I am madly dashing here and there around my house to ensure everyone’s gifts are purchased and sorted (I’ve resigned myself to the fact that gift-wrapping is just not going to happen till after 8pm), my holiday meals are planned, and my *final* holiday grocery list has been purchased… only I forgot carrots and celery. ::DOH!::
The Holiday Season is a hectic one around here, as I’m sure it is for you. Stinker Bell’s birthday hits mid-October and we’re running from there. There’s no such thing as “normal” from mid-October to mid-January. And then it’s time to start thinking about Valentine’s…
I really must stop there.
It’s been a particularly draining Season this year…
It’s our first year without my beloved Grandmother Garcia. I was going through my mailing list spreadsheet and there she was. I highlighted her row and touched my finger to the “delete” button and lost it. I sat at my desk and cried for something, like, 2 hours. And then I was sullen for days.
Our sweet friend passed away and, while we aren’t right up in the family’s day-to-day life, we are hurting and are hurting for them. And the service was the Saturday before Christmas. There’s never a good time for these things, but right now. Sigh.
And Thanksgiving and Christmas are right up on each other this year! GAH!!
We didn’t get our Christmas cards till the FRIDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS! Now, they were ordered almost 3 weeks before we got them and we were promised a 2-day turnaround. Yeah. So that’s waiting till after Christmas and I’m just fine with that.
There’s some family stuff. Isn’t there always family stuff?
Now, I have a lot for which I can truly give thanks.
Our finances are improving! Even though the hubs made LESS money this year, we’ve paid off debt and still have a little breathing room that we haven’t had … well … ever. We’ve always determined that the gifting at Christmas will stay small. We want to be intentional to instill the tradition of celebrating Christ’s birth. For us, that absolutely *must* be more important than stuff. So we only spend cash we have; no debt for Christmas. And we don’t really spend a lot and I shopped some major sales with a focused list. In past Christmases, Michael has been bummed that he and I couldn’t really give each other much. But with the breathing room blessing (and my Christmas cash stash in my “sock drawer”). It’s been fun to buy him stuff I know he really wants and great to see him feel good about giving to me too.
This is the first year that Stinker Bell is truly aware of the magic of Christmas. Being in Christian pre-school, she’s getting the Christmas story in stereo and it’s sticking as much as it can in a little 3-yr-old’s brain. She’s walking around singing “Santa Baby” constantly (to Daddy’s disdain; hehehe). This is also the first year that the StinkerRelly has actually come up with items he’d like to have for Christmas: Angry Birds for wii. Nothing else, really. Like, if he doesn’t get that, his hope in the season will be dashed. Sooooooo, we’re taking this opportunity to talk A LOT about recognizing and being thankful for the blessings he *does* have. I’m not really sure if that’s sinking in just yet, but we’re saying it a whole lot!
And then there’s my Christmas Dinner plans. I am truly thankful and excited about that!
My Christmas Dinner Menu
With my picky eater issues, I’ve been asked how I tackle that this time of year. Well, it’s simple. Meals like this, I cook for my foodie self (and the foodie hubs, of course). Granted, one of my dishes is something the picky boy loves to eat (and requested).
Now, before I run down my menu, please note that most of these things are way more easy to prepare than most folks think they are. Also note that Michael and I regularly cook a lot of our food from scratch, so this meal isn’t as huge an undertaking to us as it seems to some. And he will be my sous chef. 🙂
So here we go…
Rack of Lamb with Herb Crust (which the girl loves)
Brown Sugar-Glazed Spiral-Cut Ham (the one you buy in the store that you don’t have to do anything but heat up. Easy peasy.)
Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus (another easy peasy crowd pleaser that the girl will devour)
I drizzle with coarse salt, cracked pepper, EVOO, honey, & a VERY LITTLE balsamic vinegar, roast in the oven at around 500˚, then plate & add some lemon zest. DEELISH!
Corn Casserole (the boy’s fave)
Note: this will need to “set up” once it’s out of the oven and it’ll still be gooey. It’s easy and delicious. If you’d like it to have a more bread-like consistency and/or less of a sweet flavor, substitute buttermilk for sour cream. Totally different flavor & texture. Equally awesome.
New York-Style Cheesecake topped with Candied Bacon & Raspberry Citrus Compote
For the compote (which I learned how to do from the chef who created magic for our own wedding reception)…
• 8 oz. frozen raspberries
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tsp. cornstarch
• 1 tsp. fresh orange juice
Combine all of the ingredients in a 1-quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
I’m REALLY looking forward to this meal! Like, this is getting me more excited than the gifts. Really.
I’m starting today on the dessert and corn casserole and I’ll do some other prep work (like slicing and dicing and wrapping the asparagus with bacon) while my Christmas Eve soup (Chicken & Wild Rice) is simmering.
My Christmas wish for you
Finally, in this season, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the stuff we have to do; especially we moms. We desire nothing more than to make this time magical for our families and we put enormous pressure on ourselves, thus our families, to make the magic happen. I wrote all of this stuff to encourage you to do what I’m learning (the hard way) to do… plan, work hard for family, and then recognize what you just can’t do and don’t do it. It will really be ok. Our children, no matter our chosen belief systems, will always benefit from more of us. So take the time this Season to sit down with your families; no matter what’s swirling around you; and count your blessings together. Out loud.
Let’s look at our mile-long lists and just forgo one or two things.
Let’s do less and engage more.
We’ll all be glad we did.
God bless us; everyone!