Christmas plans

This year is a rough one… Christmas will be no exception.

In a previous post, I did write about the loss of my grandpa. I cannot express in words how much of an impact this has had on my life. I feel like my heart has been ripped to shreds and then trampled on by a herd of elephants.

My grandpa and I were always close. Every year for Christmas, my chair was seated right next to his at the table. He would sneak the food I didn’t want onto his plate so I wouldn’t get in trouble for not eating it.

After dinner, we would all clean up together and wait for it to get dark out before we could open presents… That was a rule at the grandparents’ house. It had to get dark before we could open our gifts. Being a kid, abiding by this rule was always hard. Grandpa used to help time speed along by bringing us to the player piano and putting in the scrolls for Christmas songs like Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer.

When we ran out of scrolls and songs, he’d break out the squeezebox and play us a few polkas.

So while I could go on for a book’s worth of pages about how Grandpa changed my life and how much I miss him, this isn’t a post about that.

Not being able to go back to America to say goodbye to him was bad enough, but because of the pandemic, I can’t go back for Christmas either.

(I mean, I COULD, but I wouldn’t be able to make it back into Japan.)

Because I can’t go back to see my family (during this time that I really need to most), I decided I am going to hold Christmas at my place for some close friends. I am planning on making a wonderful Christmas dinner. I’m pretty darn proud of my menu, actually.

Appetizers and side dishes will include smashed (yes, smashed) potatoes, deviled eggs, thyme roasted vegetables, brown butter carrots, stuffed mushrooms, kugelis, dinner rolls, French onion soup, and bourbon dogs. The main course will be coffee-crusted beef tenderloin.

For dessert and snacks while opening gifts and playing games, we will enjoy egg nog (of course), caramel gingerbread cookie bars, sugar cookies, butterfly eclairs, and cranberry tarts.

Everything will have to be made from scratch to enjoy it as much as Gramma’s Christmas dinner, and even then it won’t be enough. I say that, but I also think that being busy cooking for about three days straight will help me to keep my mind off of the situation. My dad offered to at least Skype with me so I could see everyone on Christmas eve. That’s when the whole family gets together at Gramma and Grampa’s house.

I have some ideas for games while my friends are there – I just hope I can enjoy them as much as I did all those years with my family. The absence will truly be felt – especially on Christmas morning. Where it used to be my dad, his girlfriend, my two sisters, their significant others, my nephew, my husband, and my dad’s girlfriend’s kids, it’ll be a much smaller get-together of my husband and me. I still plan on trying to make cinnamon rolls from scratch for Christmas morning. Mom always had a roll ready to pop open, but they don’t exist in Japan.

I know it may seem like I’m going over-the-top, but that’s how my family always did it and I am trying to fill this void in my heart with food and traditions, I guess.

I am excited, nonetheless, and will be recording a bit of it, I think.

I hope it all turns out well. It’ll be a mostly baking video, that’s for sure.

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