Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Night Before Christmas

And the presents are wrapped, the house is decorated and reasonably clean, and tomorrow's menu changed three times but was finally settled at the last minute. God Bless Costco. My original thought was a brunch menu - quiches, fruit salad, etc., with emergency backup pancakes for the small person whose palate might not be ready for quiche. I bought the ingredients for same before sharing my brilliant idea. It met with little enthusiasm. Miss D feels about eggs the way she does Santa, and would probably have a fit about leaving her new Christmas Morning Toys to go to Grandma's even with the promise of pancakes and more presents awaiting. She is TWO, and this was a Grandma FAIL. So, the menu made a last minute change to a later in the day, finger foods spread concept.

My daughter had seen a seafood tray at the supermarket the other day, and suggested one of those, plus raw veggies and dip (Miss D will eat damn near everything if it involves dipping). Of course, this was suggested at 7 last night, far too late to order a tray, and no ready-made trays were to be found today. Had we thought of this a week ago...we wouldn't be us.

I had opted to take today off (I'll be at the office Thursday and Friday) and thus had the opportunity to hit Costco before 10 a.m. It actually was not bad at all when I got there! I found a parking space right away, wasn't mauled while navigating the aisles, and was checked out very quickly. This is remarkable because I know from personal experience that Costco on Christmas Eve is Armageddon. By noon there are NO parking places, many cars circling like sharks, and three cars waiting for each hapless soul to load the car, return the cart, and back out without hitting any of the challengers vying for the spot. I wouldn't have been able to do this if I'd worked today, so good call on taking the day off. For the uninitiated, Costco has some of the BEST ready-made party entrees evar, though none are plant-based. They do have great produce, but it is not pre-assembled into a meal, and I'm feeding devout carnivores and a two-year old who loves pasta and any veggie she can dip into something.

After some staring at the options and texting my daughter, we are doing Chicken Alfredo Penne Pasta and green beans, with a veggie platter and shrimp ring for noshing while the pasta bakes. I'll keep the salads (fruit and green) and any leftovers from the veggie platter for myself, and send the rest of the pasta and shrimp and any other things that are not on my plant-based menu home with the guests. Pasta casserole, green beans, a pie for dessert, done. Problem solved, and I will be enjoying one of the laziest holidays ever! Everybody wins! Yay, Costco!

Tonight they are doing dinner at Nana's, up in Lake County. It's really nice that it works out this way - my son-in-law's family has always done dinner/gifts on Christmas Eve while we've done Christmas Day, so there is no tug-of-war over Christmas. Miss D is getting an embarrassment of riches - presents at Nana's tonight, then the presents Santa will bring tomorrow morning, and then more presents at Grandma's tomorrow afternoon.

Nana said she was getting her some doll furniture (stroller, bed, etc.) so I got her a baby doll, and holy price increase, Batman! I certainly didn't pay over $40 for her! She was about half that price right after Thanksgiving. Miss D is also getting Legos, play food, a play feeding set for the new baby, another puzzle, and of course practical grandma gifts like Minnie Mouse and Dora socks, Disney Princess underpants, pajamas and books. Oh, and some nice bling-y sunglasses. Actual kid-sized Foster Grant sunglasses with excellent UV protection, because this IS Florida.

And because this IS Florida, we never know what the weather will be. We've had record-breaking heat for the last few days and I've been running the AC, but today the heat wave broke, and tomorrow it may actually be cool enough in the morning for a fire in the fireplace to accompany my morning coffee, the ritualistic distribution of dog treats, and the endless loop of A Christmas Story on TNT. It's one of Sophie's favorites, so I have to let her watch it at least once every year.

The weather has cooled off, Costco's doing the heavy lifting for cooking, and all's right with the world. I loves me a Low Stress Christmas.


Anonymous said...

We have always done Christmas Eve in this household as a nod to Ernst's German origins. The kids went to bed all worn out and happy, and we avoided over excited kids bouncing on our stomachs on Christmas morning - so peaceful.
And, as you say, it helped avoid the tug-o-war over who spends what day with which family, and subsequent heart-burnings.

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to you and all you love,

Gae, in Callala Bay

Catherine said...

And the same to you, Gae!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Catherine!