Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

Today is Christmas Eve Eve, which for me usually means pushing to get all the presents wrapped, get packed to go, and finish the cooking. This year will probably be no different, but I wanted to take a few minutes to blog and wish everyone happy holidays!

I read in the New York Times yesterday that sales of handmade gifts are up this year, both in terms of craft fairs and craft supplies, despite all the negative reporting on retail sales. This is happy news.

I can't say that every single thing I bought for gifts is handmade -- how do you make The Dangerous Book for Boys? But I did get myself into the kitchen to make most of my gifts, and instead of yet another bottle of scotch I'm assembling a photo album for my secret Santa giftee.

I've always liked making my Christmas presents. One of my earliest memories is watching my Mom sew and braid calico fabric into wreathes for everyone on her list. She often made fudge for gifts, and sometimes hard candy. As a child I learned about "hard crack" and the virtues of waxed paper at her side.

Yesterday my kitchen was practically Santa's Workshop. Jae and I made dark peanut brittle (used turbino sugar instead of white for molasses-y flavor), chocolate enrobed dried fruit and nut clusters, and two kinds of cranberry chutney (spicy and sweet). We sipped little burnt orange martinis while we cooked, which made things all the more fun (and as a sometimes stressed cook, easier). And we got all the cooking done!

In our family, Christmas Eve is the big night of the season. We gather together -- there will be 20+ of us this year -- to feast, drink, open presents (one at a time), and then sing karaoke late into the night. Having grown up in a much more sedate Yankee family, Christmas with the Kim/Lee clan is a blast!

This year we're celebrating at Jae's Mom's up in Westchester. My Dad is coming down from NH, and Jae's brother and (pregnant!) sister-in-law are arriving from Pittsburgh. We're all especially excited because this is cousin Suzy's 6-month-old William's first Christmas. He's the first born of the next generation and he's probably going to get a sleigh-full of presents. None of us can resist.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Solstice Greetings, Happy Kwanza, and Festivus for the Rest of Us!

Posted and images by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.


melania said...

yum!!!!!! your photos are making me hungry and very christmasy-happy. i'm waiting to open my little greenSantajeans box and it's really hard to wait! how does one make a burnt orange martini?!

Greenjeans said...

Burnt orange martini: Light a match and pinch a bit of orange peel in half, directing its spray into an empty martini glass. The spray sparks when it hits the match, leaving a nice burnt orange aroma in the glass. Add vodka. Imbibe!