Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Busy but fun Christmas

Merry (belated) Christmas, dear readers!

We're coming off two days of celebration, bracketed by three (three!) church services. It started the morning of Christmas Eve which, since it was Sunday, started with the regular church service.

Then we came home and indulged in a modified "junk food feast." (For a history of this silly tradition, read this post.) As adults, we don't have quite the lavish spread we did when the kids were younger, but we each got a few treats.

We follow the tradition of opening gifts on Christmas Eve. For years and years – since we arrived in Idaho in 2003 – we always had our neighbors Dallas and Susie over for this part. Now that we live so far away, we missed them terribly. So we called them before we opened our gifts and we all had a chance to chat with them and wish them Merry Christmas.

Then Don read the second chapter of Luke out loud (as he does each year), and Older Daughter recorded it on her phone so she could send the recording to Younger Daughter, currently stationed in Europe. Then we opened our presents.

In the evening we all went to our church's Christmas Eve "Lessons and Carols," which consisted of relevant Bible readings interspersed with singing appropriate Christmas carols. The church was packed, and the volume of hearty singing from the combined voices was enough to send chills down my arms.

Christmas morning, Don and I got to church very early, at least 90 minutes before the service started, to start the heat in the building. (The morning was 17F, and 45F inside the church.) Don was recently elected a church elder, so this was one of his duties. Normally the heating system is on an automatic timer, but holiday services are outside the timer's capabilities.

The congregation had gone in together for a new alb (vestment) for our pastor. Apparently his alb was something like 14 years old. We think he hasn't gotten a new one since he was ordained as a pastor.

We got home around noon and had a light lunch, and then Older Daughter shooed us out of the kitchen to prepare a culinary surprise. Here's what she did.

We had plans to watch "A Christmas Carol" with George C. Scott, which is the best (in our opinion) rendition of that classic tale ever made.

We watch this every year as a family. But this year Older Daughter planned a surprise. She set up a screen on a table (we have no television) to stream the movie. She set a smaller coffee table in front of three chairs. We all settled in to watch the move.

Then, at intervals, she served food to correlate with what was taking place in the movie! She got the idea from this article.

She started with an appetizer of potato soup as a stand-in for the gruel Scrooge was eating by himself in his lonely room near the beginning of the book. She choose potato soup as a hat-tip to Scrooge doubting his senses because Marley's ghost might be "a bit of under-done potato."

Then we watched the movie until Old Fezziwig's party, at which point she served meat pies and mulled wine in lieu of mince pies and hot negus.

The next course came when the Ghost of Christmas Present made his dramatic appearance. Older Daughter served a charcuterie board to represent the abundance of what's at the feet of the Ghost. It was beautiful!

Besides meats and cheese, she included nuts and fruits, since those were Christmas treats being sold in the market as Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present walked through.

Then came the highlight of the meal. In the scene where Scrooge is watching the Cratchit family enjoying their Christmas dinner, he snarks about how small the goose is. The Ghost of Christmas Present snaps, "It's all Bob Cratchit can afford."

To honor this famous put-down, she presented us with ... a single roasted game hen!

She choose a game hen because (a) it was small, and we were having a multi-course meal; and (b) because it was funny. It was. We howled. (It was also delicious.) Baked with the game hen were onions, potatoes, and carrots, since those would have been inexpensive and filling vegetables the Cratchit family might have enjoyed.

The next course was a small baked potato each to represent the potatoes the poor and homeless family was roasting over a fire. (No photo, sorry.)

After that, when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed up, Older Daughter served angel food cake with black icing (a little darkness over the angel).

The final treat was a chocolate "gold coin" ("half a crown") to represent the pay Scrooge gave the boy at the end of the story for fetching the poulterer on the next street over.

Well I'll tell you, Don and I thought this was just a wonderful gift. We smiled for hours over it! It was clever and creative and delicious, and made you think about how fortunate we are to have abundant food.

And remember:

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, Counselor,
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

How was everyone's Christmas?


  1. Well, that was very clever of her, and I'm sure very entertaining! Not to mention delicious. What a treasure she is. :)
    And that part of the "Messiah" just ran through my head. Praise God for Jesus!

  2. Your daughter is amazing! As my youngest son always says about the effort I out into our special meals...."There is 'Love' in it." Your daughter put an amazing amount of 'LOVE' in your celebration!

  3. Older Daughter is a jewel!

  4. Sounds like OD has another skill she could use if need be. Personal Chef. That was some imagination she employed for such a special treat !

  5. I am so impressed and inspired! You are so lucky and what a treasure she is!


  7. I have several versions of A Christmas Carol.
    The Muppets
    Jim Carrey
    George C Scott
    and Patrick Stewart,
    I watch all of them every year.

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