We stayed put this year for Christmas, meaning we did not go back to New England to spend the holiday with family. We kept things very low key with just the two of us. This kind of Christmas is always lovely in its own way, but staying here and not spending the holiday with family always leaves me feeling restless and longing for new traditions. I think it's also part of getting older and realizing that Christmas will never have the same kind of magic as when we were kids - until you have your own kids and can live it vicariously. So for those of us too old to feel the magic and who do not have kids, I guess you have to create your own kind of Christmas magic.
This year I had lots of time on my hands and decided to plan a bunch of new recipes to try for Christmas day. Meal planning is one of the things I do for fun - nerd alert! I also really enjoy all the Christmas programming on NPR, so I had myself a grand old time, spending hours in the kitchen, listening to the programs and working on the new recipes (double nerd alert!).
This was the first Christmas away from family that I felt very content and fulfilled (despite missing everyone back in New England tremendously). I think I finally found a new Christmas tradition worth holding onto.
Some of the fruits of my labor - from top to bottom: Aperol and Prosecco cocktails; beautiful brine for the chicken (from here); quick preserved lemons (from here); cheddar and canadian bacon strata (not my favorite, but satisfying - from here); sticky toffee pudding (from here - fantastically good!); preparing for Christmas dinner; seasonings for pan-fried butterflied whole chicken (for instructions, see here); roasted carrots with lavender honey; Voila - Christmas dinner.
Also consumed, but not pictured: Lindemans Frambois Lambic; Rose Cava cocktails; hot mulled cranberry cider with rum; Mom's egg nog cookies and Chex Mix; Evan's Mom's sweet pickles; Jen's toffee candy; fingerling potatoes with shallot butter (again, not my favorite, but was really good once I turned it into smashed potatoes by adding lots of cream and butter! - from here).
And yet, still no need for Tums (though definitely a need for a trip to the gym). :)
Merry Christmas, and happy feasting to you!