On Christmas Eve, Michael and I waited until the kids were sound asleep (or so we thought) to bring up all the gifts that had been wrapped and hidden in the garage.
Let me just stop right there and ponder this whole Santa thing for a minute. It seems that every family does Santa differently – and I only realized this after we had been long stuck in our own tradition, which I basically took from my own childhood (Michael is Jewish and, although his family apparently celebrated both Hanukkah and Christmas – at least the presents part – to some degree, he doesn’t seem to have more than vague recollections of it), and that is, Santa wraps all his presents and leaves them under the tree Christmas Even night after the kids are asleep. Come to find out later that in some families, Santa does not wrap his gifts, only the gifts from Mom and Dad are wrapped; and in some families, Santa only fills the stockings. I could have saved myself a lot of work all these years! Here I am, wrapping every damn thing every year, setting aside special Santa paper so the kids won’t say “Hey, Santa uses the same paper you use, Mommy!”, using special gift tags that are from Santa, and trying to disguise my writing! And to think, all this time, I could have just been throwing a few unwrapped gifts under the tree from Santa!
There needs to be a manual about this sort of thing.
Anyhoo, so Michael and I are bringing the Christmas haul upstairs from the garage, tiptoeing and being as stealthy as we can, and suddenly the girls’ bedroom door pops open and there’s Annabelle. “Presents?” she says. “PRESENTS?!” Thinking quickly, I say, “Um, we’re just helping Santa out, rearranging some things. You’re dreaming. Go back to bed now.”
They got us up at the crack of dawn yesterday morning.
Annabelle came into our room and said, “Mommy, did you leave cookies out for Santa?” Shit. Fail. “No, honey, I guess I forgot. But I’m sure Santa had plenty of cookies from other families.” “WHO CARES?!?!” She shouted. “LET’S OPEN PRESENTS! CAN WE OPEN PRESENTS NOW?!?!”
And so began Christmas Day, 2012.
Everyone was happy with their bounty.
Our traditional Christmas dinner is filet mignon and cheese fondue, and then a chocolate fondue for dessert.
This year I made The Melting Pot’s Wisconsin Trio cheese fondue (substituting provolone for butterkase, as the latter was impossible to find anywhere); it was delicious.
And Chocolate Cream Pie fondue* for dessert –
Every year, the pictures look the same; the kids just keep getting bigger.
Chocolate Cream Pie Fondue
8 oz. milk chocolate, finely chopped (you can use milk chocolate chips)
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring constantly. Add the milk, cream cheese and vanilla, and continue to stir until completely dissolved and blended. Transfer to a warm fondue pot over low heat. For dipping, sliced bananas, large marshmallows, cubed pound cake, and graham crackers are all good!