Tonight is our traditional Christmas Eve, five-course meal here at my house.
A little of our "true spirit of Christmas Dinner".
A way to give thanks for our abundances and blessings.
This all started way back when...
When my Dad was still here and he really didn't have a place to go on the Eve of Christmas. Also, a few Aunts, Uncles, a couple of single neighbors, just whomever was around with nothing to do the Eve night...all were invited. Sometimes quite a bunch, sometimes only a few. Then, after we were stuffed, and I mean STUFFED, we'd waddle out to a midnight service if the weather cooperated.
I love to cook (I know, like that's a surprise), and since we don't always know when people would come and go, I always start with appetizers.
Appetizers like: stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktail, meatballs, rumaki (aka - bacon wrapped water chestnuts) vegetable pizza, veggies and dip, lettuce wraps, cheese and crackers. Sometimes there are a couple of new ones tested out, sometimes not. Always a lot of appetizers to hold you over until meal time when most of the people would arrive.
Follow with a homemade soup - this year it is Italian Wedding soup
with a fresh batch of mashed-potato dinner rolls just out of the oven.
Then a great family style green garden salad.
There are usually two entrees: some type of beef - usually steak, a nice fish - usually salmon or tilapia grilled, and some grilled chicken.
A couple of hot vegetables; this year green beans and, I think, a dish of winter squash from my brothers garden.
I think this year the potato will be twice-baked potatoes.
Then to finish it all off, I have all those beautiful cookies that my helpers and I just made yesterday, and I have a really nice chocolate cake with tart cherries in it and iced with chocolate ganache. Yum!!!
Now most of the older folks and singles are gone. People we miss, but think of with smiles. Now, it's mostly just immediate family; much smaller, but still a lot of food!
We always welcome whomever:
And, on one of these Christmas Eve Dinner nights we met our future Son-in-law!
He had a flight from somewhere to somewhere and was diverted to somewhere even further from his destination of Tennessee, had none of his luggage, and ended up grounded in an ice storm in Cleveland airport with 10,ooo of his closest friends. No rental cars or hotels available, stuck in the airport with only his carry-on (which we found out was his gifts for his parents). We have a friend close to the Cleveland airport who would bring this then-friend/now S-I-L part way south as we drove part way north. We got online and checked road closings and openings and met somewhere inbetween Columbus and Cleveland and brought then-friend/now S-I-L back here to eat and spend the night. Gave him sweats to sleep in, a new toothbrush, washed his clothes and called his parents to let them know he had a place to sleep on Christmas Eve that wasn't the airport. To make it more exciting, it got colder all night, the electric went out, and our septic froze up to most of the house.
At this point, we only had one toilet in the whole house working, no electric, and had to shower at a neighbors' down the street that still had power! So, Christmas Day Dinner was grilled outdoors on the gas grill, outside in the frozen tundra, and left-overs from the night before that were warmed up in the wood stove!
Then-friend/now S-I-L's parents drove up from Tennessee mid-afternoon on Christmas day and had make-do Christmas dinner with us. Little did we know that was "meet the parents" time.
Even after all that, he and Daughter started dating and he proposed the year after!
Although there were only maybe five or six of us that Christmas eve, it was wonderful. It was freezing inside the house and out, most of the state of Ohio was under some degree of major storm warning/closing level, we huddled around the wood stove and talked and laughed and made a new friend/now S-I-L.
Amazing Grace! The true spirit of Christmas.
So every year, we will have our traditional Christmas Eve, five-course meal here at my house. We will count our blessings and thank the good Lord above for everyone and everything that He put into our lives. You never know who might show up for dinner, right?
Happy one day before Christmas!!!