Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Our "New" Tradition

Remember when I rambled about starting new traditions? Well, I was actually going to include within that post a quip about our "new" tradition... then I realized if I made that post any longer, people might stop reading my blog.

SO here we are, a few days later, and me still thinking about the changes we've made over the years to our holiday customs. I suspect that we're not the only family that gets sucked up into the whirlwind of company, travel plans, shopping, and parties, and I also suspect we're not the only family that is left wishing for a softer landing when everything is all said and done.

That's kinda where our inspiration came from when we created the cap to the marathon that wraps up the night of the 25th. The hustle and bustle had become so busy and hectic that we'd end up back home on Christmas night feeling like the rug had been pulled out from under us.

Our solution? One more dinner, one more night. That's right. We added to the bustle. We extended the celebration. We brought it all home to our place, and invited it to stay just a little longer.

You know what? It's exactly what we needed.

Our holiday goes a little something like this: Christmas Eve-Eve we pack up and head down to my parents' place. We get cozy, we have a drink, we dig in to our stockings, and we chill. We wake up on Christmas Eve and tear in to the offerings around the tree, we have breakfast, we nap, and then we move on to phase two: the hubs' family's place. There we dress up and go to church to see the hubs' grandmother play in the bell choir, we come back to his grandmother's place for a late-ish dinner, and we ceremoniously hang our stockings. In the morning, with everyone under one roof, we have a second flurry of gift-giving and gift-demolishing. We eat biscuits and gravy. We lounge. Then in the afternoon we head home where we unpack our gear, our new prizes, and our usually very sleepy kiddos, and we nap. In the chill of early evening, phase three comes around: our immediate family migrates up to our place, and we have a themed Christmas dinner, a roaring fire in the fire place, way way too many desserts, and one last night together. One last big breakfast in the morning. One last slow start with pjs long into the afternoon. A ramping-down of the 3-day frenzy, together.

And you know what? It's not too much. It's just right.

Wait, did I say themed Christmas dinner? Oh, yeah, I sure did. Here's where it becomes painfully apparent that I'm a total nerd.

Christmas dinners at our place have been themed based on the Christmas celebrations of different cultures around the world  for going on five years now.

Don't judge, you know deep down that this sounds like fun, and you wanna play along. Here's what we've done so far:

2009: Old England "Victorian" Christmas
Consumme or Mushroom Soup
Christmas Goose
Onion and Sage Dressing
Roasted Root Veggies
Mina Mae's Gingerbread with Rum Sauce

2010: Chinese
Udon Noodle Soup
Jasmine Rice 
Teriyaki-Glazed Pork Chops
Orange Sherbet

2011: Italian
Stuffed Mushrooms
Lentil Soup
Focaccia Bread
Shrimp Scampi or Alfredo
Raw Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Carrot Salad
Mulled Wine and Rum Punch with Orange
Panettone (saved for breakfast, made in to french toast)

2012: German
Pork Chops with Spaetzel
(Kraut Broca would have been good too)
 Warm Red-Skinned Potato Salad
Sour Kraut
Fresh Applesauce
Roasted Red and Golden Beets
Gingerbread with Whipped Cream

2013: Yet to be Determined!

Right about now you're either wondering how to make one of these menus happen for your next holiday gathering, or you're wondering if you should keep visiting me here in this space because clearly, I'm crazy. It's a lot of fun, though, I'm telling you! ...but it is a lot of work, and there may be a potluck in our near future to ease up on the cooking and the dishes. We'll see. 

There's no doubt about it, though- it's sinking in and becoming a part of what we look forward to all year. It's also helping us take another step away from focusing solely on buyingshoppingconsuming- after all, for me the most important thing about the holidays is not the gifts, it's the gift of the people around you and the time you get to spend with them.

1 comment:

  1. LOL!!! i loved that idea of thematic christmas! if you're thinking about a spanish or belgian menu, you can ask me ;)