Favourite childhood holiday memory?
When I was nine years old, I wanted a telescope for Christmas. This was an expensive gift to ask for — not on par with a bike (we got those every 4 – 5 years as we outgrew them) but a lot more than was usually spent at Christmas. Little did I know that my parents saw this as me asking for an educational present and felt they had to get it. I didn't believe in Santa at this point and really didn't expect to get one, it was more a wish than a request as far as I was concerned.
But when we got back from midnight mass, when Santa traditionally came in our house (though I didn't believe, my six year old sister was another matter), there it was, all shiny black and white, already set up next to the tree with a red bow around it. I remember standing in my robe and pajamas looking at the suddenly nearby moon, my dad next to me trying to see if we could see Venus (I'm not sure we ever did).
That wonderful present should have an amazing story about how I grew up with an understanding of astronomy or physics, but it doesn't. I was a bookish child and my love would always be literature. But I still remember the beauty of the moon on that bright cold Christmas night. It was a perfect moment.
Do you hang mistletoe?
I have in the past, but like so many things, I have mixed feelings about it. I love the way it looks, very festive bit of green with a little red ribbon. However, I've got some negative memories of being embarrassed as a teen by being caught standing (trying not to catch anyone's attention) only to have it pointed out publicly I was "under the mistletoe" and clearly wanted to be kissed. Since everyone in the room was either related to me (ugh!) or the son of parents' friends (who was now clearly embarrassed too and maybe even thought I'd set this up (cringe and double ugh!), this was not a happy experience.
So much as I love the way mistletoe looks, I've generally refrained from hanging any.
Which do you pick Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Such a question! My answer is that it depends. I love them both in the right circumstances and associate both with Christmas.
Egg Nog if it isn’t homemade. I like the dairy pasteurized stuff, especially from Broguiere’s Dairy (Oh My God so good!). I also like the egg nog latte they serve at coffee places this time of year, especially if they do half milk, half nog. Homemade egg nog (with or without booze) is a no go for me. I wish it were otherwise because I’d love to be able to make some sugar free, but such is life.
The only hot chocolate I’d have over a well-made latte is homemade Mexican hot chocolate. For those of you that haven’t tried it, Mexican chocolate comes in cake and is flavored with almonds, cinnamon. I make hot chocolate by breaking off the right amount of cake, grating it, and then heating the grated chocolate in whole milk over a medium heat burner. Once the chocolate is mostly dissolved and the milk is hot (not boiling), I pour it into the blender with a little pinch of chile powder and blend for 10 seconds or so until foamy. Fit for an Aztec king!