Santa Sara and the Christmas that almost wasn’t.

When we last left Our Hero (And I have no qualms about calling myself that, so there.),  she was about to go through Christmas dinner shopping. And as of Saturday morning (Mom 2.0’s birthday left no time for doing it the night before), that’s what she did.

I was up at eight o’ clock thanks to a rude and cruel awakening from Mom 2.0 in the form of a lamp being flicked on in a dimly lit room. The flash of brightness and woe cut me like a knife, and I’m not ashamed to say that I hid under my blanket from its evil.

“It’s eight o’ clock, good morning!” Some people.

Anyway, after N and I dragged ourselves out of bed (or couch, in my case), and then redeposited ourselves back on the couch like zombies for about an hour to stare blankly at the TV, we piled into the car and took off for the grocery store. What followed was a mad dash on my part back and forth across the store, my brain falling into a hyperdrive of Enterprise-esque quality (I continue to geek it up in here, don’t I?), sending Mom 2.0 and N off for items on the list whenever we regrouped.

I managed to make it out with everything on the list (For those who didn’t catch the previous episode; pizza, breadsticks, tomato and rosemary chicken on a spring mix salad), plus a few other things (Apple cider, egg nog, christmas cookies, and extra dressing). So there was a festive flair on the whole thing, even if a huge ham wasn’t involved and there weren’t my exceptional whipped Cheesy Bacony Potatoes.

After that, it was mad dash back to the house to spend the next five hours cooking two small pumpkin pies, and a return of my apple cinnamon cake. Apparently pie making is a lot more of a hellish process than all those who’ve lied terribly to me claim. Especially when your father has that allergy, meaning the pies in question must be gluten free.

By the way, gluten free flour was sent from hell to kill the spirits of all amateurs who dare think they can use it without repercussions. Mom 2.0 was kind enough to impart the how to on making that crust, and in the beginning it seemed like all was well. Right up until somehow far too brown dough had to be flattened out for the pie tin. Everything went downhill from there.

If it wasn’t the chunks sticking to the rolling pin in spite of flouring the crap out of it, it was the sticking to the mat we had also floured to the hilt on the table. Then it was the falling apart upon rising, the falling apart halfway to the tin just when we thought it was safe, and everything else you could possibly think of. Finally, the only answer was to piece and press every last inch into the pan, and after checking for holes we dumped the gooey glop that was the filling in and hoped for the best.

The cake was a repeat of the usual, except the apples were put through the food processor this time to create apple mush. And since I’d never played with a food processor before, that was worth a giggle or twelve. Not to mention instead of putting all pieces in at once, I just had to feed them in one, by one, by one…

It was fun.

Apple Cinnamon Cake, the frosted finished product.

One of the pies, all kinds of pretty. Save for the knife marks. Wah.

After it was all over, I got to cart it all home and rest for an hour. Then it was time to shower the stinky away and head to my grandmother’s in Malden. We don’t get to see her too often these days, but on Christmas Eve we’re always the last ones there, and the last ones to leave. My aunt, Nana, and my cousin D are always there, and recently my cousin A has started showing up on a regular basis. Which turns R into a little crackhead that looks and acts like she’s been injecting the stuff into her eyeballs. I don’t know what it is, but they’re the perfect catalyst for each other’s insanity, without fail.

But hey, it’s really funny to watch.

My sister E and her girlfriend had arrived there before us. Girlfriend, by the way, is a fine upstanding individual, and I can give her all kinds of hell and it just rolls right off her back. (This last part is one of the primary reasons why I approve.) E dropped the bomb by showing us her hand within the first thirty seconds we were there by showing us her hand. Girlfriend had gotten her a promise ring. (Okay, that’s more of a cherry bomb, but since she’s the first to head in that direction, not to mention that they’ll be living there soon…) It was a cute little thing, and E was beaming. At least until I asked where my Save the Date card was. Then she got a little annoyed. Can’t imagine why…

I spent the night floating between the kitchen and the living room, catching up with family and anyone else who showed up. My uncle had put on enough pounds that he’s starting to resemble Tim Curry, which I found to be awesome. He’s the ‘witty’ one on that side of the family, so we spent the night being wise asses and exchanging barbs at will. I love that guy. D and I have known each other essentially since I was born, and though we don’t see each other nearly as much anymore, we tend to fall back into old brother/sister rhythms for the most part whenever we do get together.

A while later, we were off to home. Mom, Dad, and I had the unfortunate task of wrapping all left over gifts (Not many under the circumstances, but still.) and setting up the stockings (The originals had disappeared, so stockings were actually Santa hats this year.). Since we couldn’t get a tree, we pulled a small gold decorative one from storage that my aunt had given my mother. As far as I’m concerned, with a bit of garland wrapped around the bottom, it worked.

O Christmas Tree, O Really Tiny Christmas Tree...

The three of us were more than happy to pass out by the time it was all over, since Yuletide Zombieism is hardly attractive. So it almost turned out to be a grace that there wasn’t that much to wrap in the first place. Christmas magic at work once again!

We got eight hours before my sisters came around to unceremoniously wake us. (Another instance of “Sara! Time to wake up!”. Does the cruelty ever cease?) After I got up, I helped drag my parents out of bed, and presents were passed around and opened. I was more than happy to pass on this torch to E, since I was too tired to do much more than to sit next to my father and reach for things that were handed to me. It worked.

I won’t go over my haul, it’s not important. But everyone else loved what they got, which made me feel considerably better over not being able to do more. There’s all sorts of sugary life lesson things I could say about that, but I’ll leave that one out too. That’s for the Christmas specials. And maybe some Lifetime movies.

A few hours later, I got started on dinner. Or, given that we ate around two, the exotic beast known only as lupper. Balancing the pizzas, cheesey bread, and rosemary chicken for the salad turned out to be joy that’s a universal thread running through any holiday, I think. But I’m happy to say it went off without a hitch. Everyone loved the food, no one seemed disappointed the dinner wasn’t bigger or Paula Dean-yer. If they were, they were hiding it really well.

After dinner/dessert, there was Mom 3.0’s house for even more food, and even more presents. Originally I wasn’t slated to be at the dinner table, but as S (Mom 3.0’s charming daughter) pointed out “Sara, if you don’t think you’re family by now, then you’re just messed up.” and so it wasn’t a problem.

Of course, their dinner was huge, and a thousand times better than mine. I don’t hold it against them though. Really.

… Sniffle.

Overall, it was a Christmas, and it was a hell of a lot better than I was expecting. My family was happy, my other family was happy to see me, and I didn’t throw myself out the window halfway through cooking the meal.

Am I proud of me? You bet your sweet ass. And am I doing it again anytime soon? You can bet your sweet ass twice that it’s a big, shrieking “NO.”.

But it worked out, and I’m happy. Thus ends the Christmas saga.

How’d it work out for you?

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~ by Sara on December 26, 2011.

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