Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bashing through the snow...


 'Tis the season.  Let the festivities begin. I can't believe it's December already. Time for my favourite holiday, Christmas. Although, Halloween is fun too. Oh and watching kids hunt for Easter eggs is a howl. Wait, gathering for Thanksgiving is all good too. Can't forget about the May Two Four either, they'd take away my Canuck card.

     As you may have guessed, I'm a big kid at heart. I love the holidays, all of them. This year is a bit of an exception. There is nothing twinkling, spinning or sparkling. No tree. The scent of gingerbread isn't wafting from my kitchen. No paper, ribbons or bows. Poor me, right?

     Not so much. I'm moving into a new house on the 14th, probably the best present ever. I'm pretty excited, my own place. The timing might be crushing my normal Christmas routine but certainly not my festive spirit. So... my first Coffee Chat mash up, a bit of a rant and a little bit of an over all update on life here in the kitchen. One stone, a whole flock of birds. Gotta get packing after all.

     First let's bring everyone up to speed on life here in the Kitchen.
Moving, you already know that. Does that mean I have to rename the blog?
My other half has had his diagnosis confirmed, much more on that later in other posts. We're coping.
A good friend is getting married.
In Tuscany
At a medieval fortress.
By a priest from the Vatican.
On Friday the 13th
Appropriate austerity measures translate into 19 days in Tuscany this coming September. I Know.
And that pretty much brings you right up to date with life around here.

     Coffee Chat mash up. Time has been pressing so rather than try and keep up, I'm late for this week's prompt, Traditions and early for next week's Festivities, a two-fer with a bit of a rant thrown in for good measure.

     There are three holiday traditions near and dear to me. I wait, cook and gather.

     That's right, I wait. You will see no twinkling lights in my house until December. (You may still see them twinkling in March but.....) In a world of instant gratification, we seem to have forgotten the thrill of anticipation. Waiting to open presents, decorate, listen to Christmas carols, bake those once a year treats keeps it special. You all know that old saying, "familiarity breeds contempt", I agree. If I have been inundated with Christmas music since the day after Halloween, by December I feel like my ears will bleed if I hear just one more bouncy, jingling beat. Even if it is listening to Eartha Kitt purr through Santa Baby.

     I cook. Nothing says the holidays like the smell of fresh gingerbread, my slightly scorched version of Grandma Fisher's Christmas cakes or Grandma Craig's mincemeat. The tradition of hospitality has been and is alive and well in my family. My biggest regret this year is that I may not have time to get the gingerbread houses done, the hot pepper jelly my grandmother likes so much jarred and ready to take home. The new place may have to be Santa's sweat shop this year.

     We gather. The best part of any holiday. We get together over a mountain of good food and share. Lots of laughing and good cheer. Catching up on the latest, fussing over the newest, re-connecting with each other. We always have and hopefully we always will. And that my friends is what the season is all about.

     So (this is the ranty part, there may be cussing) all of you complainers stop pissing on my parade. If you are offended by my good cheer and wishing you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, get over yourself. There is such a thing as being too politically correct and for whatever reason the holiday season brings it to absurd proportions. No I don't wish my Jewish friends Merry Christmas, I'm not an idiot and I actually know enough about my friends and colleagues to know what or if they practice a particular faith and when in doubt, Happy holidays covers my ignorance.

     I love being able to share different holiday traditions with my friends. I may never develop an appreciation for gefilte fish but I've had that silly dreidel song bouncing around in my brain for days.

     For all of you nay sayers, too commercial, we've lost the true meaning, news flash, any holiday is only what you make of it. Stores and media give us what we want. If we don't buy, they won't push.

    Too hectic, stressful? Again, only what you make of it. If you have to have the perfect meal, in the perfectly decorated house adorned with the perfect gifts, I have to wonder if it isn't more ego than effort. Relax, the best gift anyone can give is their time. That is a gift that keeps on giving.

    Take a moment, reach out to a loved one, recapture that child like wonder, believe in the magic of the season. The real gift is fellowship, religious or otherwise.

     Yes, I do think we need a day to commemorate the best in us. No, it doesn't mean it shouldn't last all year, shouldn't be every day but we're not that clever sometimes. We need the reminder.

     I think that's enough ranting.

     Here's a quick and easy recipe for some holiday cheer.

1 1/2 oz honey bourbon
1/2 oz Amaretto
4-6 oz white cranberry juice
Splash of ginger ale, so it sparkles
Over ice in an old fashioned glass ( or Mason jar)
Garnish with some fresh cranberries

Guaranteed to put the jingle in you bells.

     Now if you're still scowling all I can say is lock your doors and stay in well into January. There's Ukrainian Christmas to get through and you know I'll be celebrating.