Here in the Dana Treat household, we have big celebrations on both Christmas Eve and Christmas. I am Jewish, so that may seem strange. But friends of my parents starting including us in their Christmas dinner when I was just three years old and, aside from a few years when I was out of town, I have gone to their house ever since. There are many traditions that I look forward to – champagne cocktails, Marilyn’s cheeseball, and a wonderful dinner that is essentially the same as our Thanskgiving feast. I always sit next to Tom, Marilyn’s husband, because when I was a little girl, I thought he was the greatest (he is pretty great). After the dinner is over, Marilyn opens up the windows and the guys smoke cigars while the women try to escape the stench.
Over the years, we have started our own Christmas Eve tradition. It is my parents’ anniversary (42 years!) and I always cook a big meal for them since they have never really been able to go out to celebrate. Yes, hotel restaurants are usually open but they long ago decided they would rather eat a meal that I have cooked. Because that night is one of the only times we can all seem to get together in the month of December, that is when we open our presents for each other – regardless of when Hanukkah falls. We have taken to calling it Hanumass.
Our dinner was good – I made it a point to use some of the bounty from our CSA so we had dishes featuring beets, parsnips, and brussels sprouts. I made two desserts and ice cream because I am crazy that way. We ended up only eating one of the desserts (a Pecan Gingerbread tart that I thought wasn’t much good) and my mom took the Eggnog Poundcake for us to share tonight. I do all the cooking in our house but I have to say, Randy sets a mean table.
One of the things that Randy brings from his family tradition (in addition to requesting sauerkraut at both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner), is the spirit of hospitality. And for parties at our house, that means a well-stocked bar.
Most of our friends are beer and wine drinkers, but Randy always sets it up anyway. I tease him about it but the truth is, it makes me happy. We both love to entertain and nothing says party like a bar.
I hope you and your family are celebrating with one another and enjoying the season.