Kaitie and Sara will be spending Christmas at home this year. Two of my kittens tucked in their beds, in my house, for me to fuss over. The only thing better would be to have Meggie too! No guilt Meg – I’m just sayin’…
Knowing that I’ll have the girls on Christmas morning is heaven to me but here’s the kicker – NO GIFTS this year. We’ve never done ‘no gifts’. We’re a ‘Santa got stuck here” kinda house. However, after just having spent a week in Mexico celebrating Meggie and Theo’s nuptials, as a family, we decided to forgo gifts this year to ease the stress and pressure of having to spend money that we don’t have.
So what will we do on Christmas morning?
We’ll get up – that’s a given. Then we’ll make our special coffees. Mom bought us really tall Christmas hot chocolate mugs that we fill with coffee and Bailey’s. Ralph will put on the Christmas music and light the fire. This is where we sit in front of our tree and exchange our much anticipated gifts.
When the girls were little, Ralph and I were not parents who constantly bought gifts for their children. Birthdays, Christmas, Easter and grading brought gifts. New clothes were bought at the end of every summer before school started. Gifts celebrated the day. As the girls got older and started buying their own gifts to give away, it became even more special. I have every plastic brooch, homemade tree ornament, cookbook, vase, over-sized sweater, kitchen gadget and hand made card from my girls. Their excitement over giving gifts was ten fold over receiving them. Don’t get me wrong, they LOVED seeing the parcels under the tree Christmas morning with their names on them but they were busting for Ralph and I to see their packages to us!
Hmmm… since that’s not going to happen; fast forward. We’ll start making breakfast. The girls will set the table. Ralph and I will putter in the kitchen, cooking bacon, poaching eggs and toasting bread. The phone will start to ring. Mom and Dad, my uncle Joe, Ralph’s brother Chris then his mom and dad will all call to wish us a Merry Christmas. Just about then my doorbell will ring and my brother Paul will arrive for his Christmas kisses. The phone will ring again. We’re three hours ahead of Meg so she’ll just be waking up.
We’ll have a beautiful breakfast. I’ll tell the girls stories about when they were little at Christmas time. It never gets tired! By then Mom and Dad will have made their way to our house. If there’s ice on the Lily Lake, we’ll go skating. Or maybe just a walk with Fynn down on the waterfront. Something out doors before we sit down to our Christmas dinner. This year, I’m doing a prime rib roast of beef. Turkey doesn’t agree with me anymore – too rich. So we’re having beef and Yorkshire pudding with all the fixings.
My anxiety over NO GIFTS is silly. Being together is THE GIFT. The day will be perfect!
I made this applesauce to use in muffins to serve over the holidays. I’ll freeze it until then.
Applesauce with Maple Syrup and Fresh Nutmeg
Makes 3 cups
3 quarts of apples – I used a mixture of Cortland, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Russet, Honey Crisp and McIntosh
2 tablespoons Maple syrup
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated
Peel apples and slice thinly
Place apples in a heavy bottomed pot over medium low heat
Cover pot and leave for 5 minutes
Stir apples every 5 minutes until desired texture is reached. I like my sauce chunky.
Remove pot from heat and stir in maple syrup and ground nutmeg.
Serve warm or cold.
THE LOVE: You have to taste the apple sauce after you add the syrup and nutmeg. I want the flavour of the apples to dominate so I go very light. You might like the maple or the nutmeg to be more pronounced. Add a little more at a time until you find the flavour that you love. Remember you can’t take it out once it’s been stirred in!
two years ago: chocolate mousse
Thanks for reading.