Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ruminations on Christmas

So, lets talk about Christmas shall we?

*Yes, it’s almost February.* *Yes, I am just getting around to writing about Christmas*

But let’s just roll with it.

So here’s the deal. When I said I was apprehensive about spending Christmas “alone” this year…that was an understatement. It kind of freaked me out. But certainly not because I didn’t want to spend alone time with my darling little family. (obviously!) Just imagine for a minute my first 30 Christmases. They were spent in a little Wyoming town, surrounded by both sides of my entire extended family. Christmases were a big deal. On Christmas eve we went to Aunt’s and Uncles houses, and sometimes everyone came to our house. On Christmas morning after presents, Grandma and Grandpa Barnard would stop by to see our loot. THEN…we would all head down to Grandma Hirst’s house with the entire Atkinson clan for our Christmas brunch/lunch/dinner. If that wasn’t enough family time, on the 26th, the entire Barnard clan would arrive on our doorstep to celebrate my Grandpa’s Birthday. We’re talking days and days full of fun, food, and family.

For 30 years. So to even consider the possibility that Christmas would feel like Christmas with only THREE PEOPLE…well, that’s just crazy talk.

So I kind of freaked. And when that happens, there is only one thing to do.

To prevent myself from becoming completely unhinged, I go into hyper drive. Planning and planning and planning until every.single.last.detail. is in place. Because if there is something I can’t control…I spend an exorbitant amount of energy trying to control everything else. (Thank you college Psychology.)

But I did it. And now it’s over.

Now then…let’s all breathe a sigh of relief. Ahhhhhhhhhh……

112710_0085122410_0010 122410_0012

Mike was a good sport. He helped put up the Christmas tree, and lasted through about the first 4 boxes of tree ornaments. My general rule for decorating my Christmas tree is to keep throwing up ornaments until Mike says “WOAHHHHH…you are going way overboard here.” And then I hang about 200 more.


But oh….in’t it purty???

But a purty tree…you KNOW I couldn’t stop there. Because, I secretly consider myself a Martha Stewart wannabe. And so I asked myself, Martha? ummm, I mean Sarah, what would Martha do?

Set the table. Definitely set the table.

So I headed to my favorite stores, Home Goods and Target (TarJAY…if you are Oprah) and picked up a few chargers, napkins, napkin rings, and a table runner. And at my least favorite store (Wal-Mart, blech.) I bought some salad plates. But they WERE adorable. And they DID match with everything I had already bought. And they were only 2 dollars. 2 DOLLARS!!! An essential investment I say. (At least that is how I justified it to the hubs.)

So I set the table. Nearly a week before Christmas.

You might be thinking “Oh no she din’t”…

And to you I say “OH YES I DID!”


The fact that we ate on TV trays on the couch in front of the TV for a week didn’t bother me at all when I looked across the room into my dining area and saw this.


It was enough to make me feel all warm and happy and Christmasey inside.

And Confuscious says: “If mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.”

at least that’s what I’ve heard.

You can’t have a set table and not think about food. No you can not. So my next endeavor was the menu. Something festive, something special, something we could build a tradition out of. And most importantly, something that wouldn’t force me to be in the kitchen the entire Christmas eve day cooking, and the entire Christmas eve cleaning up.

Thank goodness for the Sister’s Cafe.

so I “borrowed” their Chicken a la King (Chicken for the King). It was wonderful, and I love what it represents for a Christmas meal.

DSC06176 Photo from www.sisterscafe.blogspot.com

I combined that with my own recipe for Spinach and pomegranate salad with raspberry vinagrette dressing, and some fresh pineapple spears.

And for desert, Mud Pie.


(photo from www.sisterscafe.blogspot.com)

*Sidebar: Just in case you have been living under a rock, I love the Sisters Cafe. And feel it necessary to thank them for minimizing my holiday unhingement. So thanks.*

end sidebar

Christmas dinner is important, but my favorite meal is Christmas breakfast. So I combined my most favorite things.

Eggs Benedict, oven crisped bacon, freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit, and scones…glorious scones. Not those fancy schmancy English cakey variety scones. No way. I’m talking about all American, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, deep fried to perfection scones. With raspberry honey butter. NOT good for me…but OHHH so good. And besides, Christmas only comes once a year. (That’s how I justified it to my thighs, and derriere.)

A few more Christmas essentials…

122410_0029122410_0019 122410_0014

And back to the food.

Every year I plan elaborate neighbor gifts. And ever year after I have washed my mixer for the eleventh time, I swear I will never do it again.


And the vicious cycle begins again. So this year I made my (secret recipe) chocolate chip cookies, Oreo truffles, homemade turtles, and caramels. All wrapped up in festive little tins.

122410_0044 122410_0040122410_0049

*Note to self – next year, when you get the urge to spend forever in the kitchen baking treats…JUST SAY NO!*

Now HERE is where I would show you all the pictures I took of Christmas morning. But there are none. I didn’t take a single one. (GASP!)

But lest you despair, I’ll tell you we recorded the whole thing. Because I knew I would much rather watch Miles’ excitement opening his presents again and again. So I decided not to bust out the camera and just enjoy the morning.

I could go on and on.

In my defense, I told you I had a lot to say.

But frankly…I’m spent.

(don’t deny it. you are too.)

I’ll spare you any more. (tonight.) But rest assured, our Christmas morning video is currently being edited to share with the world wide web a la “Ruminations on Christmas part deux” (woohoo!) (rhyming intentional.)

Get excited. That’s all I’m gonna say.

1 comment:

  1. oh my gosh sooooooo beautiful!!! i love how you set the table and then ate on the couch! i would TOTALLY do that! your photos are totally gorgeous!!! wow... you need to be my tutorial photographer... {i was gonna say outfit photographer but i am already embarassed taking pictures all by my self!} LOVE YOU!