The Christmas of Our Dreams

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D and I have spent more than 30 Christmases together.  For many reasons this Christmas was the one that we have always dreamed of spending together.  December 25ths were fun when our brood were growing-up but they were hectic with trying to be everywhere that we were expected to be and melt-downs would occur as a result of naps missed and too many sweets consumed. D in particular, has worked very hard to ensure that we have a time just for our immediately family in spite of the fact that we both come from very large extended families.  This year, for the very first time in many decades, we had five glorious hours together on Christmas day.

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In spite of the pile that you see here, we were reminded again this year that it is not all about the gifts. In fact, we try to give our family experiences rather than things, but sometimes “things” provide the way to great experiences. Case in point, we gave the Wee One a mini version of an upholstered easy chair with tiny plaid cushions and a fuzzy throw so that she could enjoy hours of reading her books until she outgrows it.

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J1’s special gift was a pot, not just any old pot but a specially designed one so that he can carefully hone his beer making passion. Well, you get the picture. In truth, the Wee One grew frustrated with the process of opening gifts and reminded us anew that it is hugging a familiar teddy, or reading a well-loved book that brings real joy.

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We have rarely been able to fit around our small dining table and I loved being able to fancy it up with second hand china, D’s Grandma’s napkins, some pops of colour from the dollar store and Christmas crackers, a must-do since Sister #3 introduced them to us, years ago.

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The table was laden with a conglomeration of traditions and favourite foods:

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The Frenchman contacted his mom for her tortiere recipe, a French Canadian tradition that is now a part of our dinner repertoire. I knew that I had to make “Green Bean Casserole” that is an old family favourite but I have invented a modification that no longer calls for a can of cream of mushroom soup.

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Sister #3 who joined us when we called everyone to the dinner table, contributed her Duchess Potatoes-a heavenly concoction of potatoes, egg yolks and nutmeg.

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There were plenty of fresh green veggies and a kale salad because we understand the art of a balanced diet.

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The piece de resistance was D’s roast crown of pork. It is called a crown because it is a rib rack that is bent into a circle and then tied together with kitchen twine. If you tie two racks together there is enough room in the centre of the circle to pack it with your favourite fruit stuffing. Inside this single rack were the meatiest portions of the loin with no room for stuffing. You typically have to special order one from a butcher shop but I was in luck, when just before Christmas, I walked into my neighbourhood Sobey’s and sought out the butcher to place an order. He replied saying that he had one already made up and it was exactly the size that we required for our gang. In the morning, D had made a variety of deep slits into the meat where he inserted plenty of shards of garlic. He then pressed fresh rosemary into the crown and allowed it to be permeated by the flavours while we headed out for Christmas brunch. It slow roasted while we were opening gifts and filled our home with the most amazing and festive aroma.

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He allowed the crown to “rest” while we put the finishing touches on the rest of the dishes and then “frenched” the roast by cutting it into single pork-chop looking slices-exactly what they are!

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I was able to talk a chef into sharing his restaurant’s recipe of real ginger bread with a salted toffee sauce. Made with pureed ginger and lots of cloves, I can’t say more, except that it return on next year’s table.

What made this particular Christmas so special? we are healthy (physically, mentally and spiritually), we are happy and we are prosperous, that is if you consider “prosperity” to mean “flourishing” with time to spend showing each other how much they are loved.

Kath’s quote: “Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!” (from ‘O Holy Night’)

Hearing this each Christmas gives me the shivers (more so if Josh Groban is singing it)-the idea that a moment is so divinely profound that it literally sends us spiralling to the ground! The phrase describes a pulse-racing moment, and creates the same reaction in me.

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Love, came down from heaven.

 

 


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One Comment to

“The Christmas of Our Dreams”

  1. Avatar January 3rd, 2015 at 12:42 am Pat Says:

    Once again beautifully written Kath and you captured the moments!


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