Sunday, January 9, 2011

better late then never: christmas post 2010


At my house, Christmas always starts by having to wake up too early. It is the only time of the year that we eat breakfast together as a family, because many of us are not early risers and most of the time we're not all at home. Some of us (uh, me) have eschewed the world wide custom of fellowship during meal times and like to eat alone. At any rate, we've always stayed up too late the night before and since we're all adults now, the thrill of presents sometimes has competition in the form of snuggly warm duvets.


Stocking are magically filled overnight by Mom Santa and can be opened right away when you get up. This year I had the best stocking presents ever. Because they're a part of the presents that I don't pick out, they're usually a pair of socks, chocolates and a little notepad that Mom's found in a bin at Target, but this year I got very pretty grey-hued wool socks from Gap (OK, I picked these out) and a tiny lacquered Russian box from the giftshop here. I LOVE LOVE LOVE things from giftshops, partially because they tend to have a certain depth to them (ordinary, useful objects endowed with the artistic/significant edge of whatever museum/gallery/castle you've got them from) and partially because I was completely deprived of any pocket money as a child when I got to travel around Europe and see a lot of giftshops, sadly unable to buy anything. Anyways, good job Mom!


Breakfast (wherein I learn that my twin doesn't wash eggs before she uses them; yet another reason not to eat someone else's cooking) is next, usually hamlink sausages, lefse, scrambled eggs, berries and some sort of baked item. This year it was danish kringle from a bakery the parents had stopped at on the way home from Chicago. If I got up earlier I would make muffins or something but anything before 1PM is too early. This is Steph's plate, hence the (horrifying) brie and bad picture.


We begin tackling the excess under the tree after this nourishing breakfast. It does rather take a long time, so perhaps we'll scale down next year? There was a rather depressing moment on the 23rd when Banana-- my older, married, PhD candidate sister--had a pout fest because we took too long to wrap her presents. Now, this isn't really indicative of the rest of us (it is ridiculous), probably just her, but maybe should be taken into account? They were all suffering terribly under the burden of wrapping eachother's presents as I hadn't had time to do it this year before they came home.


Dad finally got a holder for the state quarters he's been collecting. After putting them in he realized that he'd lost Arizona, only to find it later that night.


Mom got rather a lot of presents (and deservedly so) this year. Both parents had many to open, which is why the present pile was a little more excessive this year.


Staz will glitter ANYTHING. She glittered our dog once. I am more of a sewing/baking person while she likes to glitter/glue-gun, cook and generally stay on the tackier side of things.


My haul was absolutely brilliant, so I felt bad about the whinging I'd been doing on this blog and in real life. The thing is, though, I'd been ordering and wrapping my own presents for years and it really did take some complaining to change things. Of course this doesn't make me exactly unfortunate in any sense, but opening presents is much more fun when you haven't picked out and wrapped everything yourself.


Everything left of the Dalek alarm clock is mine! (I swear I'm not this much of a brat all the time.)


After present opening-- around...noon-- we begin to make Christmas dinner. When I say "we" I mean my mother and sisters because my father and brother are lazy (and a little sexist).



The windows steam up from the heat in the kitchen. My camera couldn't catch it, but it is snowing outside as well.


(The "after" scene in the living room-- completely deserted.)


Our porch becomes a walk-in freezer during the winter, which is actually quite useful when preparing food. Things that are easier to make during the winter: pie crusts and sugar cookies. Things that are harder to make during the winter: yeast breads-- our house is usually about 60-something degrees, if not colder, and they just don't rise.


I make the best snowflakes, yes? Paper decorations are the easiest, cheapest way decorate a space.


This cake was my contribution to the dinner time festivities. Unfortunately by the time everyone was done with their dinner no one had room for dessert. The recipe is from here and, although I like her blog, I wouldn't make this recipe again. It just wasn't delicious. The chocolate part wasn't very chocolately and, though I don't have a problem with corn syrup, I felt like I could taste it in that part and it turned me off. It wasn't a rich chocolate flavor at all but rather cheap, like the barely-chocolate cupcakes you'd find with four inches of inedible icing on top at a bad bakery.


It gets dark very fast.


An erstwhile brother appears in the kitchen...


...and pretends to help.


It may be busy, but there is always time for a little snuggle with HB.




This year we had a luxurious roast beef instead of our usual ham. My sisters added several ~sophisticated~ side dishes, such as creamed pearl onions and beets with goat cheese, that ultimately no one ate but themselves-- though they made much of a to-do about having toiled to prepare them for everyone. We all just wanted our cheesy broccoli with velveta!



There are never any good pictures of us eating Christmas dinner because we sit in the dining room and, as it is always dark by 5PM, the lighting there is horrible for photos.


Our little bun-bun with her Christmas present from Grammy and new Christmas pajamas-- complete with artificial butt flap:


Snookered out after having to run away from the oven door opening one-to-many times.


Well, that is pretty does it for our Christmas day. There is always a feeling, after opening presents, that Christmas is over. Every christian religion tries to battle this feeling but I don't think you could get rid of it without getting rid of the presents and no one would stand for that. Christmas eve always goes by in a blur because we wake up and pack off for the grandparent's house and then get back at 10-11PM, talk and fall asleep. Here is a surprising not bad picture of me sitting on the floor there:


My lovely grandmother gave Steph and I hideous matching, pink lepoard print fleece pajama sets from JCPenny this year. She also taped the gift receipt to the front of them, so all was not lost.

I hope your Christmas was as happy as mine was! Tell me about your family traditions.

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