I wake up around 7:15 in my childhood bed. We have plans to start Christmas, just like we did when I was a little girl, at about 8AM. I am visiting my parents for Christmas, leaving my fiance home alone in Southern California.
I come upstairs and see no one's awake yet - not even my mom! My mom always is up at the crack of dawn.
My brother sends a text, which gets my mom up too. Dad follows shortly after. My brother lives about 10 minutes away and needs to be picked up to come over. He lives with his girlfriend, but they have pretty separate Christmas routines.
I had driven up to San Francisco on Saturday (what a long drive!) so I have my car with me. I drive down Geary Blvd. and go to my brother's house.
He brings his dog Ory with him. We get back to my parents' and Ory needs to take a pit stop before we head inside.
When we get inside I find mom has lit the Christmas tree and turned the Yule Log station on the TV. Basically, the TV has an image of a fireplace with a fire in it with Christmas music playing. We each get a cup of coffee and start our Christmas present exchange.
My dad goes first. We open presents one at a time, taking turns. Oldest goes first, then in order to youngest - so my brother's last. My dad got sawdust or something to do smoking of meat, a smoker, a hot sauce challenge book, homemade sausage, socks, tshirts, and a guidebook for Thailand since he's going in January.
Mom got a purse, a Ring doorbell, 2 pairs of boots, soap, a jacket, an ultrasonic measurer, and some other stuff that I'm blanking out on.
I got this ornament on one of my presents. And I got decorative pillows, a keto dessert cookbook, a dog training book, a blouse, a jacket, a Nest thermostat, a purse, and a bracelet.
Ben got an adjustable pasta cutter, 2 shirts, wine glasses, a watch, a decanter, goofy socks, and other things I am blanking on. We all had substantially similar amount of presents.
Ory even got presents. He proceeded to tear it apart in one sitting even.
Santa left us stockings too. Generally there's a lot of candy in the stockings. Since I'm doing the keto diet (except not today because it's Christmas,) Santa gave me a lot of almonds.
Ben and my mom start making breakfast. I cuddle the dog.
The most important element of our Christmas morning is the sausage bread. Mom and I made these on the 23rd.
Breakfast is served, along with champagne.
After breakfast it's time to get myself presentable for the day.
I get dressed and put on the new top my mom gave me for Christmas. I always wear whatever new item she gave me on Christmas.
I'm in charge of Christmas dessert making, so I figure it's a good time as ever to grind the hazelnuts. Dessert tonight is Hazelnut Chocolate Pear Tart.
At 2, Ben's girlfriend comes over. I'm not sure what's going on in this picture, but there were more presents exchanged.
After Tracey leaves, I roll out the crust for the tart.
And then the filling.
Mom pounds the veal out. So our tradition is essentially all around food. Every major holiday we cook a pretty involved meal. We always try new things and have fun in the kitchen.
It didn't turn out to be the prettiest tart, but it sure was delicious.
Ben makes the dough for the ravioli we're going to make.
But it wouldn't be a story without some kitchen disaster! The entree is veal stuffed with more veal and with crabmeat. Weird combo, right? We found this recipe in a gourmet cookbook from old Cincinnati, OH establishments from a French restaurant my parents used to go to when they were young. But either the recipe just sucks or it was poorly written. The filling is watery and goops out the sides. I laugh my butt off. Mom eventually makes it work. (Fast forward: I didn't like the entree. The flavors were weird to me.)
It's beer time. I open the beer and it goes everywhere.
My brother sets my mom's new doorbell up.
I go sit downstairs in what was once called "the teen suite" by my mom and video chat with Justin. He was at his parents' house today but just got home.
I come upstairs and set the dining room table. While I was video chatting my dad's cousin Keith arrives.
Beer time has passed. It's now whiskey sour time.
And then the biggest kitchen disaster hits during homemade ravioli making time. We roll one of the sheets out. And then my pasta maker decides to backfire. It starts smooshing the dough out of the top of the roller. (I need to figure out if I can fix it or if it's trash.) My brother walks away. I grab a rolling pin and roll out all the ravioli dough by hand.
That took some work.
But it was oh so worth it.
Along with the pasta and the meat, we had spinach souflee and an arugula salad with a fig balsamic dressing.
Followed by the tart.
We sit around the table; I send a selfie to Justin.
Ben wins the game of Settlers of Catan.
It's time for bed. I set my alarm clock for early, because I'm driving home the next morning. I call Justin to say goodnight, and then I'm out.