samedi, décembre 24

'twas the night before

so it's christmas eve and once again i feel as though i've rushed up to this day (which is one of my favourite days of the year) and have missed a whole bunch of stuff that should have been done. now it's too late and it won't get done until at least next year.

i guess, though, if it didn't *get* done it probably didn't really need to.

i've made:
  • nanaimo bars
  • fudge
  • oreo cheesecake squares
  • raspberry white chocolate shortbread
  • hazelnut cappucino cookies
  • pecan sandies
  • chewy nut squares
  • milk chocolate almond bark
  • two different kinds of nuts - one sweet & one savoury
  • chocolate macaroon shortbread

i think that's all. i was going to make more but ran out of time/energy.

the kiddo is getting pretty much *every*thing on his list. it's quite sick, really - but he's the only child/grandchild and so i guess that is the way things should work.

christmas at my house starts late in the afternoon christmas eve. neighbours and/or my parents' work colleagues come by for tea and sweets and my mom gets kind of stressed out 'cause she is happy they've come to visit, but worried about being kept away from feast-type preparations. once they've all gone home, we sit down to supper. my mama grew up in northern ontario, and lived in a town with a high population of french canadians, so christmas was as much about the parties and gatherings and festivities of the eve as it was about the day. we have tourtiere, which is traditionally served on Reveillon (christmas eve) in quebec. this is one of the big deals i remember from being a kid, which kind of slipped away when my sister and i left home, but which i reinstated a few years ago. except now, i make it instead of my mom. it's a meat pie of ground beef and pork simmered with spices and broth, then cooked with grated potato and carrot and baked in the oven till it's golden brown. i can't eat it, of course, so i'm always on a quest to find myself an appropriate replacement, but it's still super important to me for it to be there.

when supper's through we clear up and bring out the games and the cocktails. we play board games and just basically laugh for hours. friends come in and join for a while, then head off to spend time with their own families, or friends who are away from their families come and spend the night. once the kiddo and my brother (who's the youngest sibling so adopts the role of the baby again on this night) have gone to bed, the 'santa' gifts come out and the stockings are filled. my parents wait till i've gone to bed to do mine, but i always sneak back up to flip on the tree lights and just look at it for a few moments in peace. then i go to bed and wait for the kiddo or my brother to wake me up at six or some other equally sick hour of the morning. once the presents are done, we start eating and basically eat all day. eventually, if it's not raining, i'll start to go stir crazy and have to get out for a walk or something, but everyone else will nap or watch movies or talk to family in ireland and do all of that good stuff, until it's time for dinner.

i guess most people's holiday traditions are the same - an amalgamation of whatever cultural or family backgrounds have combined, then evolved into something new. for example, when my sister was away, we always put a lit candle in the front window to guide her home for christmas eve (my dad comes from generation upon generation of sailors). i imagine tonight we'll do it for her boyfriend, who's off at sea again this year. we have french canadian tourtiere for christmas eve dinner, cause that's how my mom grew up. i am curious to see which traditions the kiddo will take with him when he leaves home and starts his own family, and which traditions his future wife will bring with her. i'm also always curious about the traditions of other people - what are yours?

anyway... i guess it's probably time for me to get up and start my day. i'm off for brunch with mike b - tomorrow he's flying to thailand for five weeks and so we are going to spend a little time together today. then i have to come home and start preparations for dinner tonight. if i don't speak with you again, have a merry merry christmas full of love and food and kindness and sharing. i wish you all the best of the day and of the season, and hope that all of your christmas dreams come true.

love, raspberry