“Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused— in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened— by the recurrence of

Merry Christmas!

I woke up to a dark, rainy day yet again, but I remembered right away it was Christmas, and the day got brighter. Both trees are lit and both look beautiful. The one in the living room, the real tree, is still surrounded by presents I haven’t yet opened. That will come next, when I finish here. I find my restraint remarkable.

Christmas Eve was great fun. We drank egg nog and ate appetizers but mostly we worked on our gingerbread houses. We each had a kit with house parts and some candies for decoration. Clare added different candies and off we went. The frosting was sticky and my fingers were covered. Some bits fell on the floor as the frosting hardened quickly. This year, while the walls of the houses were drying, we decorated. We laughed when colored round candies hit the floor, bounced and then rolled, and there were several. Gum drops, we found out, needed lots of frosting. We landscaped. The last step was for us to attach the roof parts. We each had two pieces. Mine caused the walls to collapse, a construction set back, but I added icing and reconnected the house. It dried, and I gingerly added the roof, and it stuck. The three of us created masterpieces. They are the best houses yet.

When I was a kid, the first look at the tree on Christmas morning was jaw dropping. It was lit and surrounded by presents. It always looked brighter and taller on Christmas morning. I had to stand just a second on the stairs to marvel then I went to my spot, my special present spot under the tree. We each had one, and it never changed over all the years.

We’d take turns opening up a gift so could watch each other open. The stockings were the only exception. There we were on our own though neat stuff was held up for everybody to see. Stockings always had neat stuff. My mother was a stocking maven.

We’d play a while then go to church for Christmas mass. Because my parents went at midnight, my brother and I walked and went together. Mostly we went to early masses which were quick and had no sermon. It was just the old ladies and us.

Dinner was always a roast of some kind, usually roast beef, which we didn’t have often. Mashed potatoes and gravy were a necessity. Only the vegetables could change from year to year. After dinner we did whatever. Mostly we played near the tree. Sometimes I’d start a new book. For supper we had hot roast beef sandwiches covered in gravy. My mother always toasted the bread first.

We went to bed early on Christmas, exhausted by the festivities of the day. It was always a special day filled with surprises.

I love Christmas still and take joy out of finding neat stuff, the kind you hold up to show, for bags and stockings. Speaking of bags and stockings, I’m done here. Merry Christmas!

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20 Comments on ““Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused— in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened— by the recurrence of”

  1. Hedley Says:

    I’m busy, Mull of Kintyre is blasting out, the Prince has hit the house and in more ways than one it is time to rock

    God bless you all at this Christmas Time

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      My house is still quiet. Some of the dinner is cooking and the table is set for the late afternoon feast.

      Enjoy Christmas!

      Blessings to you and or family.

  2. flyboybob Says:

    This morning my spouse had a yen for blueberry pancakes so we headed out to the only place open Denny’s. The place was packed with people and the breakfast was great. Sunny skies and breezy with a high in the 50s.

    Have a very wonderful Christmas day.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      The sun has arrived framed by blue skies. It is 61˚. That is so not Christmas here.

      My diner was open for breakfast. I like going out for breakfast on Christmas.

      Thank you, Bob.

  3. olof1 Says:

    Our presents were always covered in spruce needels since we brought in the tree early in December 🙂 Most were opened at home but some were brought with us to my grandparents where the whole family met for dinner. We seems to always have the same food on all holidays but ham only on Christmas. It’s like a smorgasbord but with holiday food so everyone can take just as much of each thing as he or she wants.

    One year we had a big turkey that we were going to have as main dish at christmas. My mother, not the best cook in the world had however not checked how big the turkey was and how small our oven was. I can still remeber her cursing both the turkey and anything she didn’t like when she tried to chop it down to smaller pieces 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I have made done one gingerbread house in my entire life, unfortunately together with my mother 🙂 🙂 She really doesn’t have any patience to do tings like that and instead of using icing sugar she melted normal sugar 🙂 The sugar did of course burn in the pan and it dried way to fast so the walls got stuck in the positioin they first attached in 🙂 It was the most ugly gingerbread house I’ve ever seen 🙂 I have to mention that she had made all parts herself too so they really didn’t fit either 🙂 My ant, who is a master of making gingerbread houses asked how ours turned out but I think I mostly mumbled as an answer 🙂 Burnt sugar smells bad so the house didn’t even do that right 🙂 🙂 🙂

    10F here right now with a clear sky and lots of stars. They say there’s a comet we all can see now, with greenish light but so far I haven’t. The fire is burning in the stove and will continue to do so until I go to bed.

    Have a Merry Christmas!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Good Jul, Christer

      We always had a special dinner, and I am making one today. Shortly I out the pork roast in the oven. It has been marinating since yesterday. Most things are half cooked. I only have the apple salad to make.

      The day is finally beautiful with sun and blue skies. It will be around 60˚ or 61˚.

      I am well-prepared for my friends. The table is set. Now I have some crackers and cheeses to put out.

      Have a wonderful evening by the fire.

  4. Birgit Says:

    A joyful egg liqueur inspired “Merry Christmas!” to you and all other (according to wordpress) 1001 Kat-followers. May your day be great and the cookies delicious and sweet.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I am looking forward to some joyful egg liqueur as soon as my friends come. They are very late but they did call. Well, maybe I won’t wait.

      I wish you joy and wonder!

  5. greg washington Says:

    this is my first Christmas away from retail for 35 yrs or so. quite a different experience! what remains the same is the great joy I find at
    Coffee. merry Christmas, Ms Kat. thank you.

  6. Morpfy Says:

    Salty and Sweet Egg in a Hole
    Serves 1 or 2

    2 slices thick-cut Brioche
    1 tbsp unsalted butter
    2 eggs
    2 tbsp brown sugar
    Fleur de sel for sprinkling

    Preheat your oven to 475°F/245°C. Make a 1-in/2.5-cm hole in the center of each slice of bread.

    In a large ovenproof sauté pan, melt the butter and add the bread; cook until brown. Flip the bread and carefully crack an egg into each hole. Quickly sprinkle each slice of bread, not the egg, with 1 tbsp brown sugar.

    Immediately transfer to the oven to bake. Don’t try to brown the second side on the stove, that will happen all by itself in the oven. Bake until the egg white sets, but the yolk is quite runny, 6 to 8 minutes. But check your egg at 5 minutes, as a firm yolk ruins the pleasure of this simple dish.

    Sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.

    This is best the moment it emerges from the oven. Does not keep well.

    • katry Says:

      Thanks for this one, Mortify. I love breakfast and many times eat eggs and toast for dinner. The brioche is a great choice.

  7. Morpfy Says:

    Golden Cashew-Curry Brittle

    Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    1 cup cashews
    ⅓ cup sugar
    ¼ cup light corn syrup
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    ¾ teaspoon curry powder
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    ¾ teaspoon baking soda
    Special equipment: A candy ther­mom­eter; latex or other food-grade disposable gloves

    Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a silicone baking mat or parchment paper with nonstick spray. Toast cashews on an unlined rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until just beginning to brown, 5–8 minutes. Let cool.
    Meanwhile, bring sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan fitted with a thermometer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally (at this point, you do not want to stir; doing so could encourage the sugar to crystallize), until thermometer registers 230°.

    Add salt, curry powder, and cashews and stir, making sure cashews are completely coated and spices are evenly combined. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thermometer registers 300° (caramel will be a deep golden brown and cashews will be completely toasted).
    Remove from heat and carefully stir in butter and baking soda; caramel will bubble and foam.

    Immediately pour mixture onto prepared baking mat and let cool slightly. Wearing gloves (maybe even two pairs—mixture will be extremely hot), lift up an edge of baking mat and use it to fold mixture onto itself as if you were going to knead it; continue working in this fashion 1 minute. This will distribute the heat and incorporate air, resulting in a thin, crackly consistency.

    As soon as mixture begins to firm up, stretch out, making it thin in places, but keeping it in one piece. (If today is not your day to sculpt molten sugar, simply pour mixture onto prepared sheet and use a spatula to spread it as thin as you can.) Let cool, then break brittle into uneven pieces, whatever size you like.

    Do Ahead: Brittle will keep airtight at room temperature up to 1 week.

    • katry Says:

      Morpfy,
      I have made peanut brittle before but never used cashews. I am intrigued by the curry, a favorite of mine.

      I like this one a lot.

      Thanks

  8. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I was away from home most of Christmas Day celebrating with my brother, sister-in-law, nephew and all the cats. I hope your Christmas was just as merry as mine.

    Our Christmas socks had many nifty gifts in them but the things that remained constant were the big candy cane, the bag of chocolate coins and the tangerine in the toe of the sock. 🙂

    Merry Christmas, Kat.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I think it was very merry. It is so much fun for me to plan and cook a holiday dinner.

      We always got coins too and usually the crook of a candy cane could be seen poking out of the stocking. My mother told us she always got an orange in her stocking.

      Have a very Merry Christmas season!!

  9. David Eddy Says:

    T’was the night before Christmas and all through the night; all the children were praying for another day’s light.
    Where there are no wars, hate and terrible fright; love one another and do unto others as you would have done unto you rings true making people’s world right.
    No one goes hungry and workers are paid right. Children shall sleep through the night and by dawns early light ma and dad will not be so uptight.
    On the roof top there was such a clatter, I jumped from my bed to see what was the matter. I threw open the drapes and up with the sash and there in the sky to my much surprise was a heavenly light. Christ had returned to make everything right.

    We need to love one another and work together to do what is right and good for everyone.
    Hope is an essential element of human perception; without it we parish.
    When Christ returns; it will be with all of the authority of Heaven and Earth and every knee shall bend before Him.
    May your New Year be filled with love and hope. 🙂

  10. Jay Bird Says:

    And a belated Merry Christmas to you, Coffee Lady! I’ve been on the road for a week to spend the holiday with my wonderful daughter, now a bit closer in Washington, DC. Blessings on your house, as my Irish ancestors would say!

    • katry Says:

      Thank you, Jay Bird. It sounds as if you had a most merry Christmas. I’m glad!

      “May the most you wish for
      Be the least you get.”

      An Irish blessing for you!


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