This year, as with most years, we travel to Portland to celebrate the holidays with my family. Christmas Eve is filled with all the cheer a holiday can handle and we, being the impatient kind of family, at least on my side of the family tree, open our presents after dinner. Most of the presents, the Santa presents come on Christmas morning along with stockings.
Christmas Eve dinner was posole, a pot with pork for some and a meatless version for Kathleen and me. This is a tradition in my family brought with us since we lived in New Mexico. I look forward to it all year. It isn't as though I couldn't make a pot of vegetarian posole any time of year, but I never do and when Christmas Eve rolls around I can't wait to get a big steamy bowl of the stuff. Delicious.
After dinner we exchange the family gifts. This year it felt even more frenzied than past years since both boys now fully understand the excitement around giving and receiving gifts. Big Dog threw himself into the unwrapping with complete abandon, Little Dog took on his first gift with some trepidation, looking at his big brother for cues. Once he understood the wrapping paper was mean to be torn, there was no turning back! One highlight of the evening was Little Dog's frustration as he unwrapped his gifts and declared "It's a box! I got another box!" for each gift. I had to remind him to open the box and look inside, a step he forgot each time in the frenzy of the night. It was hard not to giggle.
This morning, the boys slept later than I'd expected, but when they got up, Big Dog made a beeline to the tree to check out the loot. They were allowed to open their stockings while we waited for all of the family members to wake up and join us. The final unwrapping of Santa gifts took just minutes. Big Dog tore through his packages exclaiming excitedly "It's just what I wanted!" before setting it aside to open the next one. In contrast, Little Dog, who didn't even bother to wait for everyone to get into the living room before he started attacking his largest box, got stuck on the first gift and wanted to open, assemble and play with it before moving on to the next one.
Later we moved on to breakfast, which ended up being more like brunch. Not unusual for us as we are not morning people. One year breakfast ran so late, we ended up dubbing it "brinner" (brunch/dinner) and since it was a Christmas meal, we called it Yule Brinner. Aren't we hilarious? As always we made aebleskivers, a Scandinavian pancake type thing that looks a little like a golf ball and tastes a lot like heaven. Cardamom, sour cream, butter...yum. Today Mr. Dog decided to start a new tradition and hid a little tomato in the middle of one asserting that the person who found it would get a prize. When asked what the prize was he said we'd have to decide. I suggested the prize could be that the person who found the tomato got to hit him with a stick for ruining their perfectly good aebleskiver, but he didn't think that sounded like a good idea. Since no one found it I guess we'll never know.
We are lucky. We are able to exchange gifts with our family. We have family we love and enjoy celebrating with. We are able to congregate at my mom and dad's house for the holiday and spend time catching up and relaxing. Christmas has always been a big deal for my family growing up, not only for the "stuff" but the traditions. I love the tree, the food, the decorations, the gifts, but mostly I love the family spending time together. It nourishes my spirit for the new year ahead.
Merry Christmas! I hope your celebration was every bit as soul satisfying as ours.
Pasta ala Fridge
5 years ago