24 December 2011

Holiday Feasts

So much of our holiday celebrations center around food that it is hard to separate the day from what we eat.  When we learn about other holidays, one of the facts that we learn is what they eat.  For Christmas, a lot of the food we look forward to is sweet -- cookies, cakes, pies.  The turkey and mashed potatoes are nice too, but it is the treats that we really want.


When Isaac learned about other holidays in school, he came home talking about latkes.  So I thought it may be nice to try to make some of the foods that are mentioned in books about the Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.  I got up this morning to chop apples for apple sauce and grate potatoes for latkes.  I sliced chicken breasts for coconut chicken chews and everything was ready to cook at lunch time.  We followed the recipes in A Hanukkah Holiday Cookbook and A Kwanzaa Holiday Cookbook.  Our lunch was multicultural . . . and pretty good.  But, of course, Isaac ate none of it.  I should have expected as much, but I tried.  We will have leftover latkes and coconut chicken chews at some pint in the next couple of days.


The Christmas Eve service at church is one of my favorite services of the entire year.  Each year we have communion.  Again, food is central to our celebration, but this time the food reminds us of the sacrifice that is to come.  We are focused on the surprising gift that we receive, but the ultimate gift is yet to be given.  Tonight, as we lit our candles and sang "Joy to the World," I watched Isaac hold up his candle on the last verse and had to stop singing.  I was too choked up to get the words out.  


It has become a tradition for us to go out to dinner after church on Christmas Eve.  This year we chose "The Melting Pot."  We thought Isaac would like cooking his own food, though we weren't sure how much of it he would eat.  He refused the cheese, liked the steak, and loved the chocolate.  He was funny and talkative throughout dinner and it was one of the most fun experiences that we have had this season.  We may have to go back next year.


We will be going to church tomorrow morning, so in the interest of time, Matt and I decided we would open family gifts tonight and leave Christmas morning for Santa.  I thought Isaac would love this idea.  What six year-old wouldn't?  His response was that he wanted to wait until the morning so he could be surprised.  His father and I are flabbergasted . . . and a little proud of his restraint.  So, we will leave the milk and cookies out for Santa, with some carrots for the reindeer.  Then we will head to bed after checking NORAD one last time.


Tomorrow we will wake up and see Isaac's excitement, explore the presents that Santa left, then go to church.  I like that Christmas is on Sunday and we can celebrate the birth of Jesus with our church family.  Afterwards, we will come home and have a smaller version of the traditional Christmas dinner.  We will cap off our holiday with some of our favorite foods.  And lots of sweets.  It's been a pretty good Christmas already.  I think Isaac would agree.

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