Tag Archives: Christmas

White Christmas

The snow came just in time this year and has been progressively more beautiful every day since Christmas. The whole countryside is frosted in lovely blue-white powder and the sky is regularly filled with snowflakes.

My daughter discovered the joys of sledding with her older cousins. She was pulled around in a sled last year, but going down a hill is so much more fun. We were on an every-other-day cocoa schedule (or else there would have been non-stop cocoa and premature diabetes) and I’m pretty sure I went through 30 lbs of flour (not counting bread flour) in the last few weeks. There were cookies and cakes and pies, breakfasts and lunches and dinners, 16 houseguests, 6 visitors, 5 dogs, 20 stockings hung with care or thumbtacks, 9 christmas trees, and way too many store-runs.

It was a busy, interesting, memorable, and happy Christmas.

And we all loved that it was a white one.

Guess who’s back? Pretzels with sprinkles, that’s who!

Hi there! Do you remember me? I’m the girl who convinced Shannon to start this awesome blog – just the two of us, being awesome online, I promised, it’ll be so fun to share our funny writings with each other, I reasoned – oh and then I totally bailed. Yay for me being awful and quitt-y!

Listen, people, I’m not here to make excuses. I am here to buy into the whole New Years Resolutions thing. The thing where we can all start fresh and new and become better people and work on our issues and that all of it has a totally great chance of working out if we make these commitments to ourselves in January. Don’t quit on me now, Early January Optimism!!!

So let’s talk about traditions. Holiday traditions. Traditions I do not understand. My mother-in-law who is a very nice person and completely the opposite of a stereotypical ‘bad’ mother-in-law I’ve heard about gave me some Christmas cookie/candy recipes. Because I decided that I was going to make Christmas cookies for my husband. Because Christmas eve fell right around Hanukkah and I felt bad that my husband was going to be subjected to all of this insane Jewish Russianness. So I decided to do a sweet (get it? ’cause they are cookies. Gawd, I KILL!) gesture.

Did you get all that? I asked for dessert recipes that my mother-in-law traditionally made for my husband when he was growing up. What I got was…unexpected…

What in the living hell is almond bark??? It’s chocolate colored, yet contains no chocolate. Why someone would take an afternoon of their time to dip ready-made pretzels from a supermarket bag into this almond bark mess when there are perfectly delicious chocolate-dipped pretzels at Trader Joe’s is beyond me. Rice Crispies cereal is now an ingredient? In a traditional Christmas thing you make every year?? What happened in America that instead of using quality ingredients in an old recipe, people use corn syrup?

This is the part of the post where I concede the point that I am a horrible stuck-up snob who should probably be immediately deported. Point conceded.

I plugged my little horrible snob nose and made the stuff. Then I went to the store, bought some good chocolate and made truffles and a Queen of Sheeba almond chocolate cake. You are free to guess which got eaten first.

Although, the caramels using my MIL’s recipes turned out pretty awesome. Even though they contain a can of sweetened condensed milk. SHAME!!!

Husbands and Holidays

You didn't have to carry it 7 miles uphill. Stop complaining.

What is it about holidays that make all the normally well-adjusted husbands I know get completely stubborn and totally useless? If you’re a husband, why are you being like this?

My husband likes to turn Christmas every year into a whine-fest about how he hates the holiday. I get it. He’s an atheist and doesn’t want any thing to do with crazy Christians and their crazy holiday. He isn’t a particularly celebratory person in general. He’d rather watch a movie and eat cheese than do just about anything else.

How I see it is that you can watch movies and eat cheese for Christmas, along with some other stuff. Like decorations, presents, and cookies. I’m not trying to create some “magical” experience. I am just giving my daughter a tradition. She can decide for herself when she’s older what she wants to believe about it. I just want her to have great holiday memories. With cookies.

Last year it was tree drama and present drama. This year I’m expecting 100% good behavior since I think I made my point perfectly clear last year about punching faces if I have to relive that. But I know many husbands out there who aren’t being so aptly threatened and even if they were, would still drag their heels and refuse to get with the program of festive cheer.

In defense of Christmas, all I can say is that it’s really nice to have this one point in the year where you can assemble sweets, cookies, twinkly lights, the smell of pine, the colors red and green, presents, and hopefully get them together with the family and friends you still like.

My Christmas traditions are not that high-maintenance: cookie-baking, tree-decorating, present-buying (and not even that many), stocking-hanging, food-eating, and the annual watching of Dr. Seuss’s “The Grinch.” I know people who enjoy going all-out and I admire their pluck but I’m fine with my list. My daughter won’t remember all of this specifically, but she’s learning and laying down a foundation of holiday-ness in her psyche. Just because she won’t remember this precise Christmas doesn’t mean we should skip it. She’ll still enjoy it and that enjoyment is what will stick with her. When the culture she is growing up in celebrates this time of year, I think it’s appropriate and necessary to give her some way to participate in that. I almost don’t care what the holiday is, just that she has one.

I like many aspects of Christmas just for myself, but more often than that, I’m usually working ahead of time to make it a nice time for the people I’m close to, ergo the presents, cookies, ambience. Isn’t that what it’s about? Making a nice day out of it? My husband would rather the whole holiday didn’t exist. Perhaps his heart is two sizes too small?

To all the husbands out there who are in his club, maybe you should just stop whining about it and accept and enjoy that the holiday is happening. Without packages, boxes, bags. It’s coming all the same.

Ho ho ho, bitches.

We went out with friends for dim sum today. It was really good. And much cheaper than NYC. I was digging out cash for the bill when my friend said “it’s $25.” I only had $10, which I handed over and told her I would run over to the ATM. She looked confused and said “I meant $25 total.” Wow.

Anyway, I had some very tasty things that I don’t know the names of. My daughter had noodles, which are her carbohydrate BFF. She figured out how to climb out of the highchair. Meal over.

We dragged ourselves and the assembly of kids with us down to the Complex Desjardins (mostly like a mall, with a really big atrium), which had a Christmas Village set up inside the lower level. It’s pretty nice. It has a play area with squishy shapes for toddlers, a reading circle area with books, a maze with slides at the end, and HUGE inflated slide for bigger kids. Everything is arranged to look like “North Pole-Elf Village” buildings. My daughter played in the reading area quite a bit with some older girls who pretty much thought she was there to be their little doll. And there was Santa Claus, of course. When we got there, he was still on his “lunch break.” I’m assuming this Santa was actually eating lunch, because hey, this is a classy joint. They hire sober Santas.

We played for awhile and then got in line to see the Big Man. Of course, this is when my kid gets cranky and sleepy. After about 7 years of bouncing and singing, she falls asleep (may have actually only been 10 minutes). I held her sleeping while the line sllllooowwwllyyy trudged along. After 45 minutes, it was our turn. Still sleeping.

So I told Santa, “I’m going to hand her over, if she wakes up, oh well.” He was understanding. I guess it’s in his job description. I put her in his arm and she wakes up, looks at me, smiles, looks around, stretches a little, and then looks up and who’s holding her.

This is the photo I got 1 second before she made the face of total shock and started crying.

To be fair, she literally woke up on his lap, which my sister said must be like some horrible morning in Vegas. I am pretty sure she would have been fine with the whole Santa’s-lap thing otherwise. Kids can have pretty unpredictable reactions to Santa, but I had faith she’d be okay.

It was not to be. She looked at him like he was a grotesque monster, cried, reached for me, and as soon as I took her back, she was fine. My timing was lousy.

I had one more errand to run before we went home, and that went much worse. Let’s just say that I’ve had a lot of health insurance paperwork catch-22′s in my life, but this was the clear winner. I have never had a doctor’s office tell me I had to PAY out-of-pocket for them to LOOK UP A CODE NUMBER for my last visit (a diagnosis code) so that I can get reimbursed from my insurance. The receptionist was stone cold. She did not care at all that this was unfair. She did not care that I had actually asked for this code AT my last visit, and was told at that time that no such code existed. She did not acknowledge my cute, awake baby who was trying very hard to get her attention. Festive spirit, lady, after an hour in line to make my kid cry, I needed that.