My kids are all grown...even my "baby" is taller than I. Yet every year on Christmas Eve, we all join together and go out for a nice dinner on the town to celebrate all that we have. And every year, Santa magically leaves a new book for us to read together by the fireside (ironically, every year I also "forget" something and have to quickly run back into the house before we leave! shhh, don't tell the kids!). To this day, we still sit together with full bellies and take turns reading from the book.
More often than not, the book has a deeper message than Santa coming down the chimney tree. One of our family favorites happens to be The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado. It's a sweet story that has inspired many, I hope, as it tells the tale of a little lamb who has a crippled leg and therefore couldn't do what the other lamb's could do. But in the end, Joshua the lamb realizes that God has a very special plan for him. And despite his disability, he feels his true worth when he is called upon to help keep the baby Jesus warm. It's touching and reminds me and my family that there is always hope.
Of course, sometimes Santa needs to infuse a little laughter into the evening and has been know to leave such books as The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton. It's such a cute story about Jack Skellington (aka the Pumpkin King), who presides over Halloweenland, yet is bored with his job and feels that life in Halloweenland lacks meaning. Then he stumbles upon Christmastown and promptly decides to make the Yuletide his own. A really fun story for the whole family!
If you want to add another "sweet" surprise for your family, here's one of my all time favorite recipes! I will take any excuse to make chocolate souffle, so the addition of peppermint allows this one to pop in for Christmas, although one never needs an excuse for a souffle :)
This is my favorite from the Moustache Café:
|MOUSTACHE CAFE'S CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE|
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. sugar
6 oz. dark sweet chocolate
1 c. sugar, divided
3 oz. milk
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites
Whipped cream for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 6 individual souffle dishes and sprinkle with sugar.In a saucepan combine chocolate, 2/3 cup sugar and milk. Cook until chocolate is melted. Pour into a mixing bowl and add egg yolks. Mix well and set aside.In another mixing bowl beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff. Fold half of meringue into chocolate mixture until well blended. Repeat with remaining half.Pour into souffle dishes and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve by itself or with whipped cream on the side. 6 servings.
Just sprinkle crushed peppermint candy canes on the top and a drop of peppermint into the whipped cream.
Cue the angels!
As you gather together with friends and family, I hope you celebrate many traditions. Take the time to enjoy the loved ones around you.
I will be enjoying having my family all together under one roof, and taking a break from the long list of "to-do's" in my everyday life. But don't fret! 2015 holds lots of excitement.
Warm wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!