Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Santa's Booty

This year's Christmas day plans were an incredible success. Historically, we would wake up for Santa's Booty at the homestead, frolic a whole street away to the other homestead, than spend the afternoon with my Mom's side of the family at a relative's house. In the evening we will have the heartfelt goal of gorging on Chinese food and going to see a new movie in the theatre. The odds of the latter actually happening are usually about 1 in 3. We made it to the theatre during the Lord of the Rings years, but oftentimes end up watching something at home, though the Chinese is generally a staple.

This year we had our normal morning ritual. Tons of presents under the tree while we threw wrapping paper at each other. Almost every single year, my mother announces that "this year we really shouldn't expect very much." Consequently, every single year this statement is blown to smithereens by the cascading mountain of gifts found beneath the tree. This year was of course no exception. Baby Nephew was his adorable self as usual, handing gifts to others, opening his own, and pouting insincerely in his Charlie Brown way when he felt there were "no presents for him." Another big crowd pleaser was the fact that my mother gave each and every one of us onesie pajamas. Mine was Hello Kitty, par for the course... But Nephew and one of my sisters were both gifted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And yes, we looked particularly amazing as we walked in broad daylight from my Mom's to my Dad's house in these loud but rather cuddly costumes. My Father's house is where we officially breakfast, feasting on coffee, bagels, and some amazing quiches my Stepmother always makes. Then it's down to work with even more presents from Santa, since he clearly has to stop at all of our homes.

The biggest difference this year, however, was that we stayed home at my Mom's house all day, her family event rescheduled to the weekend instead. We knew this in advance and had therefore prepped a menu weeks before. My sister made a turkey, I handled the brussels sprouts with bacon, Brother found an amazing 4-cheese mac n' cheese dish, Sister-in-law put together an awesome broccoli, cauliflower and walnuts concoction, and of course wine was ever a flowin'. It was a really beautiful way to spend the afternoon, cooking, listening to Christmas tunes, and general merrymaking. Because of the alternate setup, we spent much more time grazing and were therefore highly uninterested in Chinese food after evening approached. We were also completely overtaken with food coma, so the movie took a raincheck as well. In fact, our main bit of evening entertainment (or at least mine) was when my Dancer friend (currently living in Ireland) stopped by. As mentioned before, we have known each other our whole lives, partly because she grew up two streets away from me, where her mother still lives. Depending on the year, she often joins us for some food or a movie or just hanging out, so she made a quick stopover to wish us all a merry day. In the twenty minutes or so she was over, we found an amazing photo taken of us at a dance recital when we were circa 5 years old. To honor this moment in time, we scoured the basement in search of costumes and props we could use to recreate the image. Since all three of my siblings and I have participated in dance and theatre and performance over the years, there are ALWAYS impromptu things to be found. In this case, a couple of lamp shades and some old square dancing crinolines produced the profound results displayed below...

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