I received a few emails from readers wanting to know how I celebrate the holidays. It always shocks me to think anyone cares what the hell I'm doing.
And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
I forget many of you are reading from other states and/or countries and are naturally curious about how my lifestyle here in Orange County might differ from yours.
My family celebrates Christmas. We do, however, have people in our extended family who celebrate every holiday under the sun this time of year. We are an eclectic group and I love that about my family.
Although I grew up here, we no longer have family close by. Briefcase grew up on the east coast and came west for me. (Someday I'll write a post about that.) Holidays in recent years are usually spent with just our nuclear family: Briefcase, myself, and our three kids. Usually our extended family comes to visit either right before, or a week or two after the actual holidays.
This year we spent Christmas Eve Day just hanging out at our house. A lot of our time was spent by the pool because it was a beautiful day. This photo of our pool is one I took several months ago:
We didn't go swimming this Christmas (although we have in years past) because I hadn't bothered to heat the pool and the water was too chilly. Instead, some of us napped in the sun, some of us read, and I was in and out of the kitchen preparing a nice dinner for Christmas Eve.
I was also pretty drugged up due to the after effects of my fender-bender last week.
We always go to church on Christmas Eve. This year was the first year we've ever not gone. To be honest, I was hurting pretty badly (in addition to being in a drugged up haze.) I knew I couldn't sit through the service this year.
With help from everyone in my family, we did manage to pull off a more formal Christmas Eve dinner. We usually have our nicest meal on Christmas Eve rather than on Christmas day. First, we had a few appetizers to choose from. I fixed a prime rib for our main course. It was served with au jus, a sour cream/horseradish mixture, a potato casserole and a spinach/artichoke heart casserole. Dessert consisted of a delicious cheesecake.
Lots of calories all in one meal!
(I've been living in sweats ever since – I don't dare try on my jeans until I've exercised for a week straight.)
We ate in our dining room vs. our usual meals in our kitchen nook. The table was set with a nice tablecloth, candles, etc. We had some very nice wines to accompany the meal. I couldn't drink because I was on pain meds, but I hear the wine was great.
After dinner we simply enjoyed family time together. Now that my two oldest kids are in college, it's a celebration whenever we are all home together. My eldest son acted as DJ and kept the tunes coming all night. There was a lot of talking, reminiscing, and laughter. It was a nice, cozy, low-key evening.
My youngest son is 14, but he still gets very excited about Christmas. He woke the rest of the family up on Christmas morning to "come open gifts." We spent our morning exchanging gifts and oohing and ahhing over them. Even our dogs found a gift left behind from Santa.
We talked about spending the afternoon at the beach, but we were feeling too lazy to go anywhere. Instead, we spent more time on Christmas day hanging out by our pool and enjoying family time. My sons spent a portion of the day trying to "beat" an X-box game they received as a gift.
Pretty boring – but blissful at the same time.
After having prepared two big Christmas meals already, I usually go "easy" on the cooking for Christmas night. Briefcase threw some steaks on the grill, I made a homemade Caesar dressing for salad, and I also assembled one of my family's favorite potato dishes for dinner. Homemade Christmas cookies and peppermint ice cream, topped with hot fudge, finished off the meal.
There were one or two gifts we exchanged which you might be interested in. I'll tell you about one of them in tomorrow's post. Overall, I have to say it was a quiet, mellow, Christmas this year. It was also a very nice one.
How about you? Did you have a nice holiday, regardless of what holiday you celebrate? Was it hectic and chaotic? Or slow-paced and casual?
© Twenty Four At Heart