Let’s set the scene.
I’m seven. My brother is ten. It’s Christmas Eve. We are beside ourselves with excitement. Even the Christmas dress with the puffy gold sleeves that is itching me like I’m being bitten by a hundreds polyester-loving flees cannot drag me down. Christmas had finally arrived! Hooray! There are a couple things standing in the way of our first taste of pure Christmas awesomeness:
1. Pictures. In front of the tree. In front of the fireplace. With Mom. With Dad. With Mom AND Dad. Sitting down. Standing up. My puffy gold sleeves (and matching puffy gold hair. True story.) shining in all their Christmas glory. I wish I had a picture of me in that dress to share because it is truly amazing. It would blow your mind. For realz. 😉
Edited to add: Thanks to my wonderful mother, who saw this post, and immediately e-mailed me a picture of said dress. She also informed me that I was, in fact, 8 years old at the time, not seven. I say, close enough….because I really don’t think there’s much difference (fashion-wise) between 1989 and 1990.
So here it is, in all it’s shiny, stunning, puffy glory….
The puffy sleeves are nice, but I think it’s that sad, wilted looking flower thing that really ties the whole look together. And, may I just say, the addition of the matching gold SLAP BRACELET – Um. Genius!
I’ll stand over here and let you laugh. Yeah, yeah. You rocked the same look once upon time – no denying it!
2. Christmas Eve Mass. I think it was probably during Mass I realized that the sleeves on that dress were going to be the death of me. Seriously. The itchiness was becoming an emergency situation. Ha.
3. And, finally…the last piece – Dinner. The rule remained rigid throughout my childhood: NO GIFTS UNTIL AFTER SUPPER.
We always celebrated on Christmas Eve with my mom’s side. It was the beginning of a marathon two-day Christmas celebration filled with family, laughter and tons of fun. It started with dinner, moved on to a gift exchange and ended with severe insomnia as we waited for unblinking in our beds for Christmas morning to arrive.
Christmas Eve was a long day. We couldn’t sit down to dinner until after all that picture-taking and church-going nonsense was over with. And we couldn’t get to the good stuff until after dinner! Oh, what kid-torture! LOL.
Now me, I’d be so excited I could hardly eat. A couple bites here, a nibble there and I’d be leaving the table in favor of my very important Gift Lookout job in the next room. I didn’t touch anything, because I knew I wasn’t supposed to, but the very least I could do was gaurd the goods from any wanna-be Grinch-y theives who may have been roaming the Chicago ‘burbs that night. 😉
Just when I thought dinner was about over, the plates cleared, the wine glasses emptied, out would come the trays of cookies, the boxes of candy, the after-dinner spirits and cordials. And the coffee.
The coffee. At seven, I didn’t really understand coffee. I knew it smelled a little funky. I knew it was hot. And I knew it was sipped. Slowly. Very slowly.
So we had accomplished the picture-taking, the church-going and the dinner-eating. The good stuff was mere minutes away, right?
My grandfather, who noticed the obvious ants in our pants when the coffee was being poured, lingered over his cup just as long as he could. He just loved to tease us that way. “Are you done with your coffee yet, Grandpa?” We’d ask, hopeful he’d be ready to relocate from the dining room to the living room. He’d glance down at us from his chair and say, “Well…I think I’ll have one more cup.”
Grrrooooaaannnnn. Oh no!
Of course, looking back, it was probably only an additional five minutes, but to a kid at Christmas, five minutes may as well be an hour. In the end, we’d make it to living room and have a wonderful Christmas together as a family. And, when it was all said and done, those gifts that we were so excited about turned out to be only a small, tiny part of what made those Christmas Eves so great. All the good times shared and the memories made are something I will cherish forever. I can’t wait to share these memories with my own family one day.
Oh, and what was being nibbled as the coffee was being sipped? Why, Chocolate Shot Cookies, of course! These light, crispy, buttery oatmeal cookies are snap to make and are delightful addition to any holiday treat tray. If you glance at the ingredients you might think, ho-hum, yawn, BORING, but I’m telling you these have such a wonderful flavor you will be so pleasently surprised! My mom has been making these as long as I remember. They take me right back to being a kid and will surely do the same for you.
CHOCOLATE SHOT COOKIES (Recipe Source: My mom, Nadine M.)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup uncooked oatmeal (I use Quick Oats)
- Chocolate sprinkles, for rolling
- With an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar, beating until fluffy. Add vanilla.
- Stir together flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture. Stir in oatmeal and mix well.
- Chill dough for at least 30 minutes
- Shape dough into a log and roll in chocolate sprinkles.
- Slice cookies into quarter-inch and place on an ungreased cookie sheet
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes (check after 15)
One year ago:
Citrus-Scented Mixed Berry Pie with Oatmeal Lattice Crust – I actually made this pie again for Thanksgiving this year. It is SO delicious!
Chipotle Chicken Empanadas – Fun and festive finger food!
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie – I’m not a huge pecan pie fan and I LOVED this. 🙂