The holidays weren't complete without the whole family fighting over the tree decorating. The first problem was that my mom insisted on a HUGE tree, one that was over 15 feet tall, since our living room had a towering cathedral ceiling. Of course, trees always look smaller out in the field. Inside, however, they barely fit.
My dad would struggle with getting the tree home in our pea green station wagon (think Christmas Vacation). Once, the tree flew off the top of the car on the highway. My dad ended up laying in the wayback with the tree, holding on to it so it wouldn't fly out of the car. Then, he'd struggle with getting the tree inside. We always had to bring it in the back sliding glass door. We usually had to tie it up so it would stay straight. One year, he busted the ceiling fan with the ladder. Eventually, we'd begin decorating with multi-colored lights (the kind with the big bulbs), bubble lights, family ornaments, silver tinsel (strand by strand, as mom insisted), and candy canes.
Even though there was always drama, I miss that time so much. My dad hasn't put up a tree since my mom died almost 14 years ago.
Unfortunately, my ex-husband wasn't too keen on getting real trees. He (and his family) always put up a pre-lit, artificial tree. It made me sad. Luckily, Jerad's family always got a real tree...one they even cut down themselves! A couple years ago, I was supposed to go out to the tree farm with Jerad and his mom. It was a cold, rainy day--and I wasn't feeling well--so I told them I'd just meet at Jerad's parents' house to help decorate later that day. About an hour later, they showed up at my house with a gorgeous 12-foot Douglas Fir, lights, and ornaments.
I can't really explain how much that meant to me. It made me realize that I'd found my "home."
Today, after searching around two different fields, we cut down the biggest Christmas tree I've ever seen! Seriously, it takes up almost the entire room. It's crazy big! I'm still waiting for a squirrel to jump out.
Of course, every tree trimming party needs a cocktail. This is the one I made tonight, after we'd finished decorating and were enjoying the lights & strong fragrance of pine.
Homemade Egg Nog
from Kitchen Conservatory
from Kitchen Conservatory
Makes 1 gallon
12 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups bourbon (or brandy)
4 cups heavy cream
nutmeg, to taste
- In a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together with a pinch of salt until pale yellow and fluffy.
- Continue whipping and, very slowly, pour in the bourbon.
- In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they hold peaks.
- In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it holds peaks.
- Fold together the egg yolks, egg whites, and whipped cream. Garnish with lots of freshly-grated nutmeg.