Being without extended family for Christmas was a first for us (as in first in my 36 years of life!) I admit, I felt a bit of pressure to throw a fabulous Christmas so that we (as in me and the kids) wouldn't be all mopey and weepy (Bill, being the more stable one in the family had nothing to worry about). (Whew, that's a lot of asides. Sorry. I like parenthesis.) Anyway, I come from a large family and Christmas has always been 3 things if nothing at all- packed, busy, and LOUD.
What will Christmas be like, I thought, without all the traditional Christmas chaos? Without all the cousins swirling around the house with a mad fury of new toys in their wake? What will it be like not to play "Remember When" with my brothers and sisters . . . Will I be sad if I don't hear, "You don't remember THAT?! Christine, you don't remember anything!"
Who will sit next to me like Grandpa always does and scold me about what I am eating or not eating? Who will call me "Hollow Leg"*? And worse than almost anything, you mean I have to make Christmas dinner!?! I mean, I like to cook, but let's be honest, there's nothing better than just showing up at Mom's house to a fabulously prepared meal for which I didn't have to do any prep work!
I heard some great advice from several people (thank you, you know who you are!). They said, "Christine, you just have to find some new traditions that you build into your Christmas season and make it special in a new way." Genius, right?! Well, it worked. We had a fabulous, Christ-centered day and really enjoyed our first Chicago Christmas. We mixed old traditions and new and found the perfect blend for a non-mopey, non-weepy holiday. Whew!!!
OLD tradition: Bill . . . errr . . . I mean SANTA always writes a letter to the kids and leaves it on their empty plate of cookies. Santa is so good; he always writes so cleverly and has such great things to say to the kids about keeping Jesus as the central focus of Christmas. I love this sequence of pics. Cade is reading the part of the letter where Santa thanks the kids for sprinkling the glittery-oatmeal on the porch as a special treat for the reindeer. Love that "L's" facial expressions!!!
OLD tradition: Eggnog for Bill, Starbucks Venti Nonfat Extra-Hot With Whip White Mocha for me. Yes, I like lots of adjectives and am not ashamed of my detailed order.
NEW tradition: Sledding!!!! Thank you, Chicago, for coming through with all the fresh snow!! It did not disappoint.
Sledding is always good for a little roadkill. Being the good mama that I am, I make it a point to take pictures before I help them up. Yep. It's called commitment. To the shot. And I'm not ashamed of that either.
1. I cook on Christmas.
2. Slow-roasted Foolproof Standing Rib Roast(Thank you, Paula Deen!) w/red wine au jus. This is a keeper! Oh my gosh, it was so good. So so so so so good. So good in fact, that I helped myself to 3 thick ol' pieces before I finally called it quits. *Oh so . . . ya, it might be a good time to explain the whole Hollow Leg thing. When I was a kid, my grandpa dubbed me "Hollow Leg" because of my impressive talent of eating large quantities of food and not gaining weight. And on holidays, I absolutely do still eat this way, even though my thirties have started to catch up to my metabolism. Impressively I'm sure, even after those 3 pieces, I was dreaming of the next time I could eat it. I'm a red meat girl. Hear me roar! (Also pictured and likely traditions-Herb Roasted New Potatoes, Pear and Pomegranate Salad, and Emeril Legasse's Key Lime Pie.)
Had to share this. Can you believe this house? Look closely. Hint: Did you catch the title of my post?
Haha! The leg-lamp from Christmas story, just down the street! Makes me laugh every time I pass by!
Here's to wishing all of you a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May this year bring each of you much JOY. I hope you enjoy reading my blog. I appreciate each of my readers and love your comments! Thanks all!! Cheers!