Raise a Glass!
Its true, I just wasted an entire package of Oreos. Well, not really ‘wasted’. We’ll get back to them. But it is one of my Holiday Traditions.
We are nearing that time of year when we prepare our holiday Christmas traditions; traditions we all cherish over the years. I know every one has their own traditions. I wanted to share some of our favorites.
First is our holiday Warm Spiced Wine. Hot spiced wine is an easy and festive way to celebrate the season. It can be made ahead of time and served by the glass to visiting family and friends. I actually got this recipe from the Flemming’s Steakhouse a few years back. The wine is great if it is cold outside. Plus, it fills your rooms with a very aromatic holiday scent for the evening. This recipe is Flemming’s Vin Brule.
You will need: 1 orange, sliced and seeded
½ cup of sugar
1 cup of tea or water
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 bottle of red wine – they recommend a light fruity wine like a Pinot Noir
Simply combine the orange, sugar, water or tea, and spices in a stainless steel pot. Slowly bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the wine and slowly reheat but do NOT boil. Strain and serve.
In Italy they say wine enhances any meal or mood. Our tradition is to enjoy the spiced wine Christmas eve; after church, after the kids go to bed. Plus the warm cinnamon fills the house with a traditional smell. I pour a coupla glasses, make a fire, and watch “A Christmas Story”.
Another tradition we have enjoyed is a train under the tree. We still get a real tree. I love the smell of one! The train we use has been passed down from my father, a 1963 Lionel. It is one of the fond memories from my childhood, hoping to pass it on to our kids.
Although Dylan asks me tonight, “Why do you get the train out Daddy if you never run it”. OK, so I try to protect the train. It may run a total of 10 minutes the whole month of December. I told her “Well I got the other pieces out (Dickens village) and how many got broke this year? (we always have some casualties with the youngungs roaming around) She thought that did make sense.
It has evolved into a nice Dept. 56 Dickens Village beneath the tree. We picked up a piece or two each year when we were first married, including the 12 Days Of Christmas pieces. My hope is the girls cherish this as much, when they get older, as I did when I was a kid. Take a look at our living room: transformation
After opening the gifts Christmas morning I always make a French Toast brunch. The thing that makes this breakfast special is the batter we use is actually egg nog (think about it). The egg nog makes a great, thick coating and we can drink the balance with our meal. Mmmmmm! Add in some bacon and some warm buttery blueberry syrup and you might just skip the opening of presents and head right to Brunch.
Christmas dinner has usually consisted of the baked ham. My family travels a great distance for the dessert though for my homemade Oreo Mint ice cream. I make it from a Ben & Jerry’s recipe. The broken up Oreos and mint ice cream could be the most perfect after dinner dessert! This is the best stuff!
An alternate dessert, if you are simply too full after Christmas dinner, is my Raspberry Alexander. I actually made this favorite way back when I was a bartender in my 20’s. It’s a shot of Chambord, plus a shot of milk and 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream swirled together in a blender. Pour in an up glass and top with a sprinkle of nutmeg. If you don’t want to wait that long, simply pour some Chambord over a heap of vanilla ice cream in a bowl.
I grew up with leaving our opened Christmas gifts beneath the tree for a few days. It still seems festive that way to me. My wife likes to put the gifts away right away, clearing the mess and making some room. We dispute who is correct each year.
So, I want to ask you,
which do you do on Christmas?
Do you put your gifts away that day or leave them out a few days longer?
Please settle this for us.
And I invite you to share some of your treasured Christmas traditions in the comments! Especially if they are vastly different from ours. No one’s is right or wrong.
Because Christmas, perhaps, doesn’t come from a store. Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.