Friday, December 28, 2012

My First Real Christmas Dinner

One thing I have never understood was why anyone would want to slave in the kitchen for a long period of time cooking away only to have the food consumed quickly and then everything be over. My mother always seemed to enjoy preparing the Thanksgiving feast and relished at the idea. My Aunt Betty to this day...and I swear it is true...gets giddy when she invites all the family to her house for any kind of holiday or dinner. I have pretty much chalked it up to their generational characteristics.

This year's desserts.
Over the years I have never really had to fix a real Christmas dinner. My daughter and I were content with going to eat Chinese and to a movie. Evidently the family who owns the Chinese restaurant here in town I like don't make Christmas dinner either...but then again they have a whole buffet. Hmm, maybe I need to ask them about that as I am always curious about people's rituals, traditions, beliefs, etc. But, again...I digress. One year I did fix a small dinner for my daughter, her father and myself. We got a bit of a blizzard that year and couldn't go anywhere for dinner but it was nothing big or fancy. I have always been good at fixing desserts. I use to do a lot of the baking when I was growing up.

This year I had told Shiane and Chuck "we can go eat Chinese" and they were okay with it but later my daughter says "I want a Christmas dinner".  I told her I would fix something if that is what she wanted. Then later she informs me "Oh I invited Alicia and Meech over to eat with us. They can't make it home to their families for dinner". My reply was something like "well crap! Now I can't sit around in my pajama's". In the meantime, and much to my relief, Aunt Betty had asked me on Facebook if we were coming up for dinner at her house. I informed her that I had picked up two orphans for Christmas and I know my Aunt Betty's policy is the more the merrier so I didn't think it would be a problem. The problem was the forecast kept calling for ice and snow...each day waning away at the relief I felt and putting a little feeling of panic in my head of "oh crap...I gotta cook a real full Christmas dinner".

Meech, Alicia, Chuck, Jamie and Shiane
As the hours ticked away closer to Christmas day and the forecast not changing I figured out what all to cook for the dinner and had a menu of Ham, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, broccoli rice and cheese and rolls. Getting everything cooked and ready was nearly as hard as I thought it would be and knew I would have enough food for us. My daughter asked several times if she could help and I told her I had it all under control. She came in later and said "Mom, Jamie is at home by herself today. Her parents are both working". While Shiane was growing up Jamie was a staple in this house since she only lives a block and a half from us. I told Shiane "OMG! Call her and tell her to come on over here".

I had also decided that if I was going to all that trouble to cook a big dinner then by golly we were going to sit at the table like civilized folks! The kids even sat around the table and visited after they finished their meal which was really nice. I thought they would take off to play video games or watch movies.

I made sure to have someone snap a picture of my daughter and I at the table as well so I could have something with myself in it to scrapbook. I always seem to leave myself out most of the time but then again I do the scrapbooks for my daughter to have and remember our lives so having it be more about her makes sense.

Some new recipes were tried, all the food was enjoyed and appreciated. I had to smile to myself as I looked at each person at the table and was thankful they were at my house where they could have a nice Christmas dinner. As I sat there visiting with the kids, listening to their stories and laughter I suddenly understood why my Momma and my Aunt Betty always seemed so thrilled about holiday dinners. It's not the work of the cooking or the cleaning up afterwards that gets remembered. Instead, it's the warm feeling of love and joy you have from knowing you have spent time with the ones you love.


  1. Oh, that just brings tears to my eyes. It's those little things that can bring us joy!

  2. What fun for you all. Now I want dessert!

  3. I agree ... it's the wonderful feeling of having family and friends all together, enjoying the delicious meal, chatting, laughing, and having fun!

    I must be from the same old school as your Mother & Aunt Betty, because I totally love preparing large holiday meals. I am a pretty good cook and it's my time to shine. I love the challenge of doing 10-15 dishes and have them all ready at the same time ... and there are times when it definitely is a challenge! It's usually a 2 or 3 day process for me.

    The clean up after is not my fav, but it comes with the package. Now that I have learned to clean as I go (often running the dish washer 2 or 3 times during the day), the end task is much easier.

    I am so happy for you that your first Christmas Dinner was such a success ... and by the looks of everyone, they all had a great time! BTW, the pic of you and Shiane is fabulous! LOVE IT!!!


  4. This is just so wonderful that you were able to make this memory for them all. (And for you too!!)

  5. That is exactly what it is all about! You just want your loved ones home for the holidays and the food is just a plus! Glad that you figured that out Shirley. Have a Happy New Year and God Bless you for opening your home to those who didn't have family home!

  6. OMG - we have soooo much in common. This was MY first time to fix Christmas dinner for my family this year - and I'm 52! My mom always did the cooking for the HUGE Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Over the years, I "helped" by chopping seasonings and taking direction from her - not knowing what in the heck I was doing. She was an EXCELLENT cook. I lost my mom this year - which was so hard - but was determined to keep up the tradition - so fingers crossed (and meds on standby in case I poisoned anyone) I "hunkered down" and made Christmas dinner, including my first ever time to cook a turkey - and it turned out great. Here's the other mom's name is/was Shirley Thompson!!!!

    Love your blog - so funny and entertaining!!! Your pics of your Christmas dinner are beautiful - so glad you were able to enjoy the day with your loved ones. That's what memories are made of.

    Happy New Year, Okie.

  7. OMG - we have so much in common! This was my first year to cook Christmas dinner - and I'm 52! My mom always prepared a huge feast for Thanksgiving and Christmas each year, so I never had to do anything except "assist" and help in the preparations...taking my cues from her - but not knowing a thing without being told "what goes where."

    Well, I lost my mom (my best friend and mentor) this year and was determined to keep her traditions alive, so I crossed my fingers and dove in - and also made sure to have a supply of meds in case my cooking made anyone ill! I surprised myself by actually enjoying myself as I prepared the meal - and it actually came out wonderful, including my first ever turkey! It never crossed my mind how long those suckers took to cook over the years as I watched my mom pull it out of the oven - until I had to cook one myself.....can we say anxiety??!!!

    We felt my mom's presence as we all sat down together to enjoy our meal...I think she would have been proud! One other coincidence: my mom's name is/was Shirley Thompson!

  8. Sounds like you received the ultimate of Christmas gifts as well as giving the same to your daughter and friends.

  9. How Lovely and Touching. Happened on your blog by accident,and am so glad I did. Your sweet story made me smile. Blessings for 2013!