I read once where a man from Mexico said he was intending to take his family back there to experience a true Christmas celebration. I've never forgotten his remark: "You Americans don't have Christmas. You just have presents." How true, and how sad!
Turn off your television sets! Find some Christmas music. If you don't have any on hand, I suggest turning to KBPS or 89.9FM. They have Christmas music playing all day, online, free, at this site: http://www.allclassical.org
When the kids were young, we had a myriad of active traditions to fill the Christmas holidays with fun and continuity from year to year. I think it's very important. I know it's important. We had a treasure hunt every Christmas Eve so they could open their one early gift. My daughter got all her dolls together for an annual Christmas Eve tea party. We danced--well, after our fashion! We played sardines on Christmas day. We always took a walk in the woods late in the afternoon (where somehow, mysteriously, Santa was always spotted in the distance) and when we returned home, there were the presents, waiting to be opened! And before the kids went to bed, replete with play and the satisfaction of wonderful new toys and books, we had a lighted plum pudding. Wyatt was very little when he excitedly recalled the fun of "glow-in-the-dark cake" so I knew the extra effort had made its impression and was worth the effort, even if none of us had the appetite to eat it afterward!
The games and the treasure hunt have more or less gone the way of the dodo in recent years; our fun is of a much more tame sort. Music and singing, yes, we have kept up. A few silly rounds of Mad Libs (sometimes we write our own--much more fun that way!), and we relax and read our new books during the afternoon before we open our gifts at twilight.
But we still make eggnog on Christmas morning, and I'll share the recipe with you here. Yes, it has raw eggs in it. Nobody's had salmonella from it yet. Just use fresh eggs and examine them for cracks before using. Drink it up the same morning you make it, and you should be fine.
I've had my recipe since 1982. I altered it from a colonial recipe, which required massive amounts of liquor and an aging period of 5 days. (Actually, scientific tests have shown that if you're going to age it, it's better to do so for 2-3 weeks rather than the 5 days in this recipe. The liquor eventually kills any harmful bacteria that way. Ours never has a chance to age and it never lasts that long, so it's a moot point, as far as I'm concerned.)
Here's a photo of my recipe, much stained and with many penciled-in notes over the years:
Don't worry, I don't expect you to be able to read that. Here's the recipe as I make it---mine is a half batch:
3/4 cup sugar
1 pint heavy cream
1 pint milk
1 cup brandy
1 tbsp. vanilla
You will need a number of large bowls. Into one put the separated egg whites, into another the separated egg yolks, and into one put the cream. You'll also want a punch bowl or large mixing bowl for the final result.
First, whip your egg whites until stiff, adding 1/4 cup sugar at the end.
Next, mix your egg whites with 1 cup of sugar until very thick and lemon-colored.
Now whip your cream.
Okay, that's the bulk of the work. Now for the fun of combining!
You'll want a whisk for this, if you have one. Gently fold (don't stir) all the ingredients you've whipped up, adding 1 pint (2 cups) milk, 1 cup brandy (or liquor of your choice--rum, bourbon, Southern Comfort, or ...) and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Yes, mine is a tame version compared to a traditional recipe, but 1 cup of brandy is quite enough for us, thank you! If you prefer, you can use brandy or rum flavoring to taste.
Now pour it all into your punch or serving bowl, sprinkle well with ground nutmeg, and let it sit for a while until lovely rich layers begin to separate.
Waiting for your eggnog to separate is a great time to take a relaxing bath with that new cologne your husband got you for Christmas, or with that lovely new scented bar of soap you received!
And now, enjoy!
Who needs breakfast when there's rich, creamy homemade eggnog to enjoy?
I read an excellent Christmas devotion this morning and I wanted to share it with you. It was written by David McCasland and it's from the devotional booklet Our Daily Bread.