December 28, 2012
I hope you all had a great Christmas and a lovely holiday season. For me, this year was actually a pretty unique one, with lots of surprisingly crafty and cooking-y bursts of activity. Thanks to a bout of a sinus infection earlier in December I really hadn’t been feeling in the Christmas spirit, which made me all the more pleasantly surprised by how nicely things turned out.
After the initial rush of helping pick out presents and wrapping ‘em all up, my real Christmas-y activities began a few days before Christmas with my cousin’s graduation. Getting to drive all over Houston and see the pretty decorations out and about really helped make the season feel special again.
After recuperating a bit from that (it was great to see all those relatives, but the ceremony was huge), we spent Christmas Eve with one set of grandparents and that whole side of the family. Like I mentioned earlier, I hadn’t been planning on getting too involved with any holiday projects this year but inevitably I got bit by the Yuletide bug the day before and ended up making two really simple, but seriously yummy dishes, the first one being a ranch dressing cheese ball topped with toasted pecans…
…and the second being some quick little gingerbread cookies topped with white chocolate Hershey kisses (a.k.a. “Hugs”). They were both big hits—my own immediate family and I liked the cheese ball the best while my dad’s family devoured the cookies.
Christmas Day itself was nice and quiet, thanks to some early planning on my mom’s part as well as our family consensus to not worry about wrapping presents. For the former, my mom introduced the fantastic new tradition of Japanese food for Christmas. While the traditional Texan fare for the holidays tends to be either the regular turkey route or the tastier tamale route, Japanese food really piqued our interest and sounded like just what we were in the mood to eat. So, we grabbed a big spread of takeout goodies from our favorite Japanese restaurant on Christmas Eve and simply reheated it all for Christmas Day—best idea ever.
The latter part of what made Christmas Day so delightful—not worrying about wrapping presents—really took the stress off of everyone after what had already been a busy month leading up to Christmas. It was actually a nice mixture of wrapped and unwrapped gifts, though, since everyone still had a present or two that they were really excited to give to someone else, thus necessitating the most festive presentation possible. For instance, I was hilariously excited to give my mom this set of bling-ed out insulated tumblers, since she loves her un-blingy versions of them and uses them all the time. Not to mention that she has quite the affinity for all things that sparkle.
They’re actually kind of hypnotizing.
As for me, I can definitely tell you my favorite gift I got this year. After using my Dad’s old Nikon 50 mm lens (which to its credit has endured beautifully over the years) for over a year now, I got my own new lens this year. Thanks to it’s autofocus and light metering capabilities, it’ll be a lot easier to pass my camera off to someone else so I can actually be in a photo or two without having to teach manual focus on the spot, as well as spend a lot less time trying to guess and check my shutter speed/aperture combination. Not to mention that it came with a lens hood, which I always see attached to the cameras of my favorite food bloggers. Having one of my own makes me feel all fancy.
Just revisiting the events of the past week in this blog post has helped me to appreciate once again all the unexpected, lovely things that seem to come about especially at Christmastime. Even if there were a few rocky moments getting there, I find myself feeling very pleased with how things turned out. Especially when it comes to the joy of finding a new cheese ball recipe.
I know you thought I was going to say something about love and family and all that jazz, but you underestimate how much I love cheese.
What did you love about your Christmas?