twinkle twinkle happiness.
My sisters-in-law threw me a baby shower a few days ago. It was small and intimate, and very lovely. There was light vegetarian fare: quiches, vegetables and hummus, a cheese platter, fresh fruit, iced tea, sparkling wine, fruit nectars, plenty of ice (it is HOT in NYC), a huge bowl of sweet cherries. There were beautiful flower bouquets. I got some really nice gifts, including great classic children’s books, and some really sweet onsies and soft blankets and swaddling cloths etc.
There were macaroons and balloons. We got to take about half (30?) of the helium balloons home. I let them float to our high ceiling and watched them float down one by one the next morning, like lazy snowflakes. Now they’re scattered all over the floor, and we pretend we live in a weird art installation.
When I’m in Switzerland, food is important. Here are some of my must-haves.
Migros yogurt. The best ever. Other brands do not compare. Pictured here: apple-pear, pêche melba, raspberry, redcurrant, rhubarb-vanilla, yogos (Greek style).
Rivella (red and green only!), and Pepita. Delicious soft drinks. I was especially obsessed because of the pregnancy, I think. Both are bubbly with just the right amount of tang.
Other essentials include raclette and fondue, of course. Several times if possible. And everything in my mother’s well stocked fridge (she goes to the greenmarket twice a week) and most everything she makes. I really miss her homemade jams and jellies on fresh bread in the morning. There’s more, but the muffin and I are hungry now, so I can’t think… but I know there’s some leftover take-out Thai in my little NYC fridge. Not bad either.
I took this from Swistle.
Eggnog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate. I haven’t had eggnog in years, I was never a big fan.
Does Santa wrap the presents or leave them open under the tree? The presents are wrapped by us. (Or by the store, if we’re lucky.) Does this mean some people don’t wrap presents? I’ve never heard of naked presents under the tree. Unless they’re huge or unshapely or alive perhaps?
Colored lights on a tree or white? Candles! Seriously, real candles are the only way to go. So Very Beautiful. You need a fresh tree for this, but this is why most people here get their trees only a couple of days before Christmas. I understand real candles are illegal in the States?
Do you hang mistletoe? My parents usually get some mistletoe in the forest, but there doesn’t seem to be any hanging around the house this year.
When do you put your decorations up? Some things are out a few weeks before, but most decorations get put up just a few days before Christmas, like the tree. It’s all in the same box, that’s why.
What is your favorite holiday dish? I have had both fondue and raclette in the past few days, of course. Mmmhh. Our traditional Christmas Eve menu is champagne, shrimp cocktail (with avocados, on a bed of fresh endives), red wine, fondue chinoise (beef cubes cooked at the table in vegetable bouillon, not oil; my mother cooks fish, not beef), with different homemade sauces, and freshly backed rolls, then fancy ice cream, yummy frozen cakes, and homemade Christmas cookies for dessert.
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We open all gifts on Christmas Eve, it’s the European way. When we were kids there were a few small gifts in the stockings from ‘American Santa’ on the 25th.
How do you decorate your Christmas tree? We do not have a match-y catalogue tree. Real candles. Many ornaments collected over the years, some that we have had since we were kids, some of them handmade, some of them falling apart a bit. Real candles. Our tree is messy, soulful, and uncoordinated, that’s how we like it. Oh, and it’s real, not plastic.
Snow: love it or hate it? Love it. Especially from inside looking out the window.
Can you ice skate? I can, but I don’t.
What is your favorite holiday dessert? I like all desserts, especially my mother’s traditional holiday cookies, they are all just divine.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Making a batch of cookies, sitting around with the family.
Candy canes: yum or yuck? I like the idea of candy canes, and I like them on trees, however, I don’t like the taste.
Favorite Christmas show? What’s the one with Jimmy Stewart that always makes me cry? It’s a Wonderful Life. I love sentimental Christmas movies that make me cry.
These answers are mostly based on my parents’ house where I am right now. My husband and I will forge our own traditions when we have children. That will be fun. When we are in NYC we don’t have a tree, just a few decorations. We are not religious, nor do we like participating in the shopping frenzy. We do celebrate when we go to one of my husband’s siblings’ homes (they have the kids and the traditions) but we just don’t go to the trouble ourselves. The idea of schlepping a tree up to our small studio just is not appealing to me right now.