Despite all the craziness of 2020 — the pandemic (of course!), earthquakes, floods, wild fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and who could forget the “killer wasp”? — or perhaps because of it, Christmas seems to have arrived far more quickly this year. I feel as though I’m in one of those old cartoons where I’m watching the pages fly off the wall calendar while the hands on the clock face spin dizzyingly round and round. Tempus sure does fugit, doesn’t it?
I think every family likely does Christmas/the holidays a little differently, celebrating the traditions of their family and their heritage. Growing up in the suburbs of, and then living in Philadelphia, we always attended a Christmas Eve church service. It was usually a candlelight service with a short Christmas message, oftentimes a Christmas pageant put on by the children, and many wonderful Christmas carols celebrating the birth of Christ, our savior. As a child Christmas Day usually started just after my parents had fallen, completely exhausted, into their bed after assembling all the toys and wrapping all the gifts (I was the oldest of six children); usually in the “wee small hours of the morning” when excited children were waking their exhausted parents with far too much noise.
As adults, my hubby and I decided that we needed food on Christmas Day that could be prepared, at least partially, in advance so that it could be baked off while gifts were being unwrapped so that we could sit down for a brunch after the morning’s excitement. And so the decision was made to have quiche, a fruit salad, and biscuits. A couple years ago, after figuring out that my sticky buns were pretty amazing, they were added to the celebratory brunch. And so, with no Christmas Eve church services where we now live, Christmas Eve became a day of serious preparation for our family Christmas Day with our children and grandchildren.
Today I will prep all the ingredients for the smoked salmon and three-cheese quiche, make the fruit salad and tuck it away in the fridge, and make the biscuits through cutting them out, place them on sheet pans to freeze, and then bag them to have them ready to bake off in the morning. Tonight hubby and I will make the sticky buns and cover them and place them in the fridge to rise slowly in the fridge overnight. (I may do the work, but it’s definitely a King Arthur recipe.) Before the kids and grandkids arrive in the morning, I will assemble the quiche, place the frozen biscuits onto sheet pans to defrost a bit, and remove the sticky buns from the fridge as well. All will bake while we open presents, with the biscuits going in last since they are the fastest and baked at the highest temperature.
While brunch bakes, with only occasional attention needed, we sip our coffee and watch while gifts are opened. Contrary to the pandemonium of six children ripping open carefully wrapped gifts all at once when I was a child, we start with the youngest (presumably the one with the least patience who can then play contentedly while others open their gifts) and open gifts with time to truly appreciate the joy and excitement.
However and whatever you celebrate, I wish you a joyous holiday filled with family, friends, love, and tradition. May ALL your days be merry and bright.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6