Posted by: Hannah | 11/18/2013

the buttery holiday

I was thinking of picking apart Gywneth Paltrow’s goop gift guide, because have you seen this thing? It’s certifiably insane. It makes Oprah’s gift guide look like a haven of sensible gift-giving options.

My personal favourite is the LL Bean monogrammed canvas tote. I actually love those totes. “Huh,” I thought, “that’s surprisingly down-market.” Then I realized that the recommendation is to buy one so you can fill it with other gifts. She doesn’t recommend a size but I’ll bet she’s thinking the extra-large one, which can hold up to 500 pounds and is nearly a foot high and a foot wide, and costs $40 not including monogramming or shipping.

Yeah, she doesn’t inhabit the same air space as the rest of us, honestly.

Anyway, then I realized a) how long the list is, and b) how many blogs and online sources are mocking it, and decided I just didn’t have it in me. Besides…



I just can’t mock today! I took the boys to this wee parade last night and we had a festively-delightful time. George was completely overwhelmed by it all and just kept yelling “heah comes ANUDDER ONE!” every time a new float went by. All of the parade participants were smiling, high-fiving kids along the route, yelling “Merry Christmas!” – it warmed my heart, and even the slightly-bizarre church float featuring a lighthouse, a palm tree, a nativity, AND a giant cross seemed charming rather than unsettling.

My favourite moment came early on – the parade hadn’t even started yet. We were sitting on the curb and I was wearing a bright red toque. A family walked by, with a little boy – he looked maybe three – in a stroller. He glanced my way, his little face lit up, and he waved frantically while screaming “HI SANTA! HI SANTA!”

I have never been mistaken for Santa before. It was The. Best. I would totally be a mall Santa if I could.

I asked the kids what activities make the holiday season and it’s a pretty reasonable list, as long as we stick to our “one a week” schedule. They want to:

  • make a gingerbread house
  • decorate gingerbread men
  • have me make The Best Sugar Cookies, Ever (or as Harry has started calling them, “tea cookies”)
  • get the tree and have their aunt come to help decorate it (Santa hats for all have been requested)
  • make Nicole’s grandmother’s ginger cookies (I’m noticing a theme here with cookies)
  • decorate the house inside and out

That list is totally doable.

Michael has requested a grasshopper pie, which I find absolutely reprehensible but he loves and can only indulge in once a year. (They taste like boozy toothpaste. Ugh.) I don’t love sweets at Christmas so much as I love savouries, so I’m going to make my favourite cheese ball and get some nice crackers so I don’t just eat the damn thing off a festive cheese knife like I did once.

So far it looks like I’ll only have two extra kids here for Christmas Eve morning instead of four – Pixie and Louis are both staying home that day, which is lovely – and I’m closing at noon, so BOOYAH, I say.

On Saturday I bought five pounds of butter. It’s ON, people.




  1. boozy toothpaste …ummm
    I love getting the kids to make a list of things they want to do! I’m going to do that too.

    • I find it’s helpful to see what the kids look forward to every year, because it means you can maybe drop stuff that’s making you crazy.

  2. My first reaction to this post was something like “OMG! We’re talking about Christmas already! Thanksgiving isn’t even . . . oh yeah . . . ” In America I’ve got 10 more days before I start thinking about Christmas (the time frame is constitutionally mandated – ok not really)

    • Sorry. (not sorry)

  3. I am trying hard not to think about all the delicious things that I will not be able to eat this year, for the first time ever, thanks to my veganism and recently-discovered lactose intolerance 😦 At least I can still have gingerbread!

    • I’ll bet there are lots of lactose-free vegan options on Pinterest, or you can check out Nicole’s food blog at – she’s vegan and dairy-free and I’ll bet as the holidays near she’ll be posting lots of fun options.

      • Ooh! Thanks for the link, I collect vegan recipe blogs 🙂 I’m sure I’ll adjust to this new way of eating but I’m currently in my period of mourning for Terry’s chocolate oranges and excellent brie.

        • I could give up chocolate if I had to, but not cheese. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t eat cheese. Weep, probably.

          • I have to admit, sometimes I nearly do.

  4. Ginger cookies? I love ginger cookies. Mom used to have a recipe for *chewy* ginger cookies (as opposed to ginger snaps) with sugar on top (“Ginger Sparklers”). They were so good, but no one seems to have the recipe, so every Christmas I lament about a lack of ginger sparklers. Sigh!

    Anyway, it sounds like a great list of Christmasy things to do.

    • But these are like that! They are chewy and covered in sugar, and are so so so good. I’ll email you.

      • Really?!? That would be really awesome. I miss those cookies! Thank you! And, thanks to Nicole’s grandmother!

  5. Confession: my family has ZERO customs revolving around Christmastime food. I didn’t realize this until I read your list. And now I’m wondering if we suck at Christmas?!?! Most of my Christmas indulgences come in the form of watching seasonal movies! I AM DOING CHRISTMAS WRONG AND SETTING MYSELF UP FOR SERIOUS TEENAGE REBELLION IN VERY SHORT ORDER!!!

    • We watch seasonal movies and stuff too, but Christmas is My Eating Holiday. In fact for the whole month of December we indulge ourselves mightily. I know for me it stems from my childhood, when Christmas was the one time of year we had an over-abundance of food – the rest of the year was pretty ascetic, partly for financial reasons and partly by design. I’ve just carried that forward. 🙂

  6. Nicole’s grandmother’s cookies are going to be up at the YMC site tomorrow! Whee! Love Grandma’s cookies.

    My FIL has a big white beard and he’s pretty round. My MIL decorates for Xmas like Clark Griswold (and me, I guess…) Anyway, friends of theirs stopped by with their 3yo granddaughter. MIL had on a red sweater and an apron and was baking cookies. Little girl sat silently the whole time, not saying a word, just silently staring and eating cookies. When it was time to leave, she said “Grandma, thank you for bringing me to Santa’s house.”

    • Grandma’s cookies are The. Best. Now I kind of want to bake some this evening just so I can eat them.

      The story about your MIL is super-cute. I want to be *that* grandma, you know?

  7. OMG, I LOVE that you were Santa. I found the Lindt Advent calendars and bought them before they were all sold out this year. I’m about to start putting together calendars for the grandparents. A cookie list would be a good idea too. And I’m not freaking out. It’s November. It’s a good time to start planning. Everything will be fine. Okay, I’m hyperventilating a little. HOLD ME, HANNAH.

    • Right?? So far it’s been the high point of my holiday. Michael actually brought home the Lindt Advent calendars on his own initiative one day which was delightful. There is gingerbread dough in the freezer. My sister is coming on December 8th to help trim the tree. WE CAN DO THIS, ALLISON. Even though I ordered the Christmas cards WEEKS ago and they still aren’t here.

  8. […] This is a hard one for me. I have a pretty short list of festive activities I like to do, and the list doesn’t vary much from year to year. I really do work hard to make sure everything on it happens. I know that various […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: