Christmas Past

26 Dec

Christmas was unseasonably mild this year. No snow. No wild wrapper paper flung about the room. Just three teens, lazily stepping downward from their rooms, in stepped-down order.

Perhaps, it was because they had been told–repeatedly–not to expect any presents under the tree this year. Asked if any stockings would be filled, the response was unclear, though intentionally.

This year marked a new Christmas tradition; which, unplanned, served to remind our family that no kid in America would truly die if they didn’t have gobfuls of presents to greet them on Christ’s birthday.

They were working teens, now (the last of the three had learned of his new job on Christmas morning) and they were happy to earn their own gifts. Of course, we couldn’t shirk on our parental obligations to surprise them with a little somethingin their stockings, and what kid ever refuses cold, hard cash?

Especially when a third of it makes its way from Cleveland–thanks, Kaukab!

This Christmas was the most relaxed and least costly one, yet. Kaukab’s daughter had been slowly stepping away from the idea of gift exchanges and “out-doing” games; instead, concentrating on nourishing relationships throughout the year. Sure, gift cards and cash are still given to those who have worked hard to instruct the kids, namely music teachers (since we homeschool, by default), but no more do I choose to buy into the notion that Christmas means impressing others with presents and festive, Pier1-decorated parties–cute as they are (I’m a sucker for tableware).

Yep, Christmas (and Christmas Eve) consisted of simplified menus and restorative gatherings. Rather than steaks and filet of last year, Christmas Eve dinner greeted us home from church with the smells of pot roast/vegetables, cooked perfectly with red wine and thyme sprigs to bring that holiday flavor to the dish.

Christmas morning gave us a lovely chocolate chip brioche (one I was going to use to make bread pudding–are you listening, Agnes?). After a quiet few hours, some went to the coffeehouse at which they work, for free drinks, while Kaukab’s daughter prepped for dinner. (Les Miserables was the Christmas movie of choice, afterwards, but there was food to be cooked, and a stomach upset, so no movie for her.)

Once again, perfect cookery timing. The potatoes just buttered and mashed, in came everyone, along with friends, one of whom (violin girl’s bandmate) stayed to eat with us. Simple food: spiral ham (courtesy of hubby’s work), roasted broccoli w/lemon, cranberry and apple chutney, and canned cresent rolls.

We have canned rolls twice, maybe, three times a year–holidays, generally. And, yet, they always seem to please. The bandmate couldn’t believe they were canned. And, she’s an appreciator of good eats. (Don’t bother to correct; it’s just my lame–some might say, “lazy”–attempt at being clever.)

Christmas night was topped off by our holiday tradition of popping in the modern classic, “A Christmas Story.” And even though there was no figgy pudding, Dickens would have been satisfied.

‘Tis the Season for Peace and Goodwill

And, if you’d like to take a listen to the classic-turned-bluegrass rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” you can turn to Youtube and watch December Alleys (violin girl and her bandmate) perform. Or, just go to the my sidebar blogroll and click on “December Alleys” link. (Make sure to click on “Videos,” once there.) Enjoy!

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