So, here’s how Thanksgiving actually went down: shortly after I published my somewhat pathetic blog post about our (virtually nonexistent) plans for Thanksgiving, we received an invitation to Thanksgiving at the home of our friends, the Larsons. They are also the first people who invited us over for dinner when we moved to Florida almost three years ago, and the family who invited me over when I went to Church alone while Tony and the children were in California last year (and the year before). So, good people. And good cooks too.
Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, and followed by an impressive selection of pies, AND a gorgeous Brazilian flan contributed by another guest. (We contributed the somewhat more prosaic Not Your Mother’s Green Beans.) It was my first time trying butterscotch pie, and it was delicious, as were the flan, the brigadieros (Brazilian chocolate fudge balls), the berry pie, and the cherry cheesecake, all of which I also sampled.
To round off a lovely afternoon, after we’d let the pie settle a bit we adjourned to the sitting room, where Andrew Larson and his über-talented family, along with the guest who had contributed the Brazilian flan (who, it turns out, not only makes amazing desserts, but is also an accomplished vocalist) entertained us with vocal performances. And later that week we did make our traditional pineapple bacon wraps, and ate them for dinner with broccoli and quinoa, where they actually tasted even better than they normally do paired with a bunch of other rich foods. All in all, it was a delightful, stress-free Thanksgiving.
Which brings me to Christmas. We have a tradition of visiting a Christmas tree farm and cutting our own tree. In past years, this has involved a relatively quiet trip to a nearby farm where we chose our tree in the peaceful silence of an early December afternoon and then brought it home with relatively little fanfare. However, last year the tree farm was incredibly crowded, and they’d added a ton of carnival-type activities like a maze and a huge jumping pillow and pony rides and the whole shebang, which of course, being the great parents that we are, we couldn’t pass up. AND there were huge lines of people for every activity from measuring and netting the tree to getting in the petting zoo. It was like Disney World, but without the rides. So, yeah. When Axa said out of the blue, “we don’t really need to get a Christmas tree this year, because we’re going out to California for Christmas,” I opened my mouth to protest, and then closed it again. This was an unexpected parenting windfall, and I should take advantage of it.
So, we’re not getting a tree this year. I feel a little guilty, and a little wistful, but mostly pretty relieved. And lest Andrew Larson or another charitable soul think that this is a veiled plea for someone to drop a Christmas tree on my front porch, it totally isn’t. Also, full disclosure: I kept last year’s tree up until, oh, I don’t know, sometime in September. It was kind of a complex, emotional thing. I just couldn’t bring myself to take it down until I was ready. So I think my longing for a Christmas tree has not quite reset itself yet. No doubt next year I’ll be dying to put it up the moment Thanksgiving is over.
We HAVE done one pretty awesome thing for Christmas already though: made handcrafted consumable artisan Christmas presents for everyone in our families. I can’t be more specific, since they are meant to be a surprise, but I am absolutely dying to post a photo right now of how absolutely charming and vintage and–I don’t know–just completely Pinterest-worthy they are. It’s seriously one of the most domestic, and simultaneously the most chic things I’ve ever done (which, admittedly, may not be saying all that much, but I’m pretty pleased about it).
And since I can’t post a photo of either my domestic exploits or our nonexistent tree, here’s a photo of our very first Christmas tree.
Yes, that is my seven-months-pregnant belly literally overshadowing the tree. At the time, awash in nesting hormones, I thought this was the most artistic, profound photographic composition ever. So much so that I made an artsy faux-tile piece out of it, which still hangs on our family photo wall. Now I think it’s a little strange.
Anyway. I’ll leave you with the perfect vocal accompaniment to this blog post, appropriately illustrated by some random person’s schmaltzy Christmas photos (some of which actually include a dry Christmas tree being disposed of). Right at minute 3:21 is the melodramatic line Tony would start belting all last year whenever the subject of taking the tree down came up and I refused to entertain the idea. Merry Christmas, and you’re welcome.