Happy Christmas Eve!

Nativity scene at Sacred Heart Catholic Church...

Nativity scene. The reason for the season!  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Woke up at 3. Read the final chapters of a book I needed to finish. Got up at 4 and decided to finally bake my Christmas cookies and bars. My 21 year old son who has odd sleeping habits was awake, so he helped me, making the chore much more jolly. I put on a  little Christmas music and we measured and mixed and dotted the thumbprint cookies with seedless raspberry jam, added the chocolate chips to my never fail Toffee Bars, and put a frozen pizza in for my son’s breakfast.

By my very nature, I do not like to be in the kitchen for more than 30 minutes at a time–but at this time of year I make a little more of an effort. I still have some chocolate caramel fudge to make, and am having a ham for Christmas Eve and prime rib for Christmas Day, and…… a brunch for my other son and his girlfriend tomorrow morning (something I just found out about–but my husband has volunteered to make pancakes–so that with some bacon and fried ham {leftover from tonight} and a little fruit should cover it). I think I spend more time in the kitchen at Christmas then I do for the whole rest of the year. I am trying to look upon this as not a chore, but as making memories ~ it makes the tasks so much easier.

I still have all my presents to wrap, but I think most of them will get the wrapped in tissue and bag treatment, with a few officially wrapped just so people can tear a little wrapping paper off for good measure. I may even throw on a bow or two.

Yesterday, I cleaned up the office, which is also my dining room and found the top of the table. I cannot believe how nice it is in this room now. It was well worth the effort. Now we can have our Christmas feasts at a table rather than on our laps.

I am busy–but who isn’t? My food will be simple, my gifts will be wrapped (somehow in some way), the stockings will be stuffed, and I will relax with my favourite glass of rose (my newfound favourite drink–silky on the tongue with plummy overtones and like heaven with dark chocolate.)

Reprise album The Soupy Sales Show (1961).

Reprise album The Soupy Sales Show (1961). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A random Christmas Eve memory or two:

1.I remember when I was a kid there was a local program called the Soupy Sales Show and on Christmas Eve Soupy kept us updated on where Santa’s sleigh was in relation to where we lived, so we could get to bed and not catch the big Elf putting presents under our tree. I still remember watching the program with great concentration–I did not want to do anything that might deter the big guy from coming to my house.

2. Another Christmas Eve, when I was about eight, I heard footsteps on the roof over my bedroom and then jingle bells, and my sister and I were sure Santa was at our house. We squeezed our eyes shut and held our breath–we did not want Santa to know we were still awake. Why we did not venture out to find him in our living room I will never know–I think we were indoctrinated to believe that Santa would not leave us anything if we caught him. Found out later that our big brothers had climbed on the roof over our bedroom to keep the magic alive for us. And they did. I still believe in Santa Claus.

Do  you still believe in Santa?

Make A Plan

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! (Photo credit: Kelvin Servigon)

I have received a lot of advice in my life. Some I ignore. Some I am delighted to receive. And some I have to digest before I use it.

The following four short pieces of advice {which really meld into one} are from one of my favourite foodies, Rachael Ray, and they will stand me in good stead this holiday season if I take the time to heed them.

So (drum roll please), here are her pithy words of advice:

Rachael Ray Mag

Rachael Ray Mag (Photo credit: Bekit)

Less is more

Keep it simple

Invite People

Make a plan.

She was referring to entertaining, but I think these words can be used in so many facets of our lives. The only change I would make is to “Make a plan” then “invite people” but that is just the way I roll.

This holiday season I have to keep in mind what is important. As the days wind down towards the big day I have a plan–I know that making my thumbprint cookies with seedless raspberry jam is more important than making sure every room in my house is spick and span; I know that making some good and  simple food will make my family happy and that creating fancy unfamiliar dishes would only cause stress; I know that wrapping the presents in whatever fashion I can, is more important than making sure everything is perfectly bowed and all corners sharp; I know that  family and friends are more important than my to do lists.

So, as I pare down my expectations, I do not pare down what makes this season merry and bright–good food, good friends, and family as well as something to open, something to drink, something to eat, and something to laugh at. And, oh yeah, better not forget to make the fudge.

What is the one important thing you must do to make your holiday merry?