Chris and I were enjoying our Christmas morning coffee in front of the fire when he commented,
"It would really be nice to be doing this in front of the tree."
"Well, go ahead!" I say.
"But I don’t want to go outside. It's too cold." he whined.
I guess I have to blame this exchange on my fit of the Bah Humbugs! I just didn't feel like putting up the tree this year.
Part of the problem comes from the sheer unwieldiness of the 12 foot artificial tree with deluxe light package we purchased several years ago.
"Just join the two sections together and plug in to any standard wall outlet.
So easy a child could do it!" the box claimed.
Well, I'm here to tell you it's like wrestling with a sea monster. A creature with long prickly fingers that can hook the glasses off your face, poke sensitive spots - VERY sensitive spots - and consume a third of the floor area in the living room.
At one point, attempting to adjust the base so the tree wasn't leaning so precariously over to one side, Chris belly crawled under the lower branches and completely disappeared. Eventually the tree was standing straight, but next time I'm going to tie a rope on him to make sure I get him back.
Add to that, Chris needs a body harness and winch to place the angel on the top of the tree. It's an effort on a par with Mary Martin flying across the stage as Peter Pan, only without the green tights. A ladder does not work because even though we place it as close as possible to the base of the tree, you're 20 feet from the top branch once at the top of the ladder. And no matter how c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y he places the angel, she flops to one side like a drunken wench who's been at the spiked eggnog for too long.
Coupling the lights between sections is a Gordian knot with the added bonus of threatening to electrocute one of us. Two seconds after we unpacked the box the first time, the little color coded sticky things for matching which socket goes to which plug all fell off. So we grunt and huff as we reach into the bowels of the branches, I holding a socket, he holding a plug, trying to meet up, as it were, so to speak. "...little more left - no, no, YOUR left! Ow! Sweet mother of God, I think I've lost an eye! ABORT, ABORT, ABORT!"
All this before we even unpack the first ornament.
So, no tree this year. Deal with it. But I did scatter poinsettias all around and that brightened things up considerably.
Some of the family and friends joined us Christmas evening for dinner. We started by the fire in the living room with pate and camembert cheese topped with Cranberry Drizzle. I made prime rib this year - two roasts in fact since the end cut is so popular. That worked out well. Amy's cheesy potatoes was the perfect partner for the roast. Homemade ice cream, Pear Tarte Tatin and Nantucket Cranberry Cake finished up menu.
It was a great Christmas!
Combine 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 3 cups cranberry juice in a saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes until tmixture is reduced to 1 1/3 cupes.
In a bowl toss together 1/2 cup cranberries and 2 tablespoons sugar; add to juice mixture.
simmer 5 minutes more or until cranberries begin to pop. Remove from heat. Cool.
Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.