Are you looking for a quirky theme for your Christmas dinner? Perhaps a last-minute effort to spice up your holiday? Have you run through the fun decade-themed holiday menus (Victorian, mid-century, Star Wars)? Do you want a very good excuse to wear your fuzzy Santa slipper socks to a formal dinner? Then you should think about hosting Christmas in the North Pole!
The idea for this Christmas dinner came from the desire to have a party that was a little goofy and required less research and costumes than the typical dinner party [at our house]. The vision for the party was more or less "Santa's elves on their night off throw a dinner party and trash talk their office culture." We thought a Christmas in the North Pole menu would be part Scandinavian, part sugar plums dancing in your head. What we ended up serving is this:
First course: Candy Cane Salad
This was a goat cheese and beet salad. We sliced the beets and cheese into same-sized rounds and arranged them in the form of a candy cane a...
I realized as I left my house this morning that my Christmas decorations say a lot about me. Then I thought that Christmas decorations, in general, must be a pretty accurate reflection of the decorator. They represent your tastes - good and bad, your creativity and resourcefulness, your willingness to pay for something fleeting and superfluous, and your spatial reasoning skills. Christmastime gives us so much, including, as of today, the opportunity for a foolproof personality assessment. Keep reading to find out what these totally-normal-and-not-ridiculous holiday trimmings say about the people who have them decking their halls (that would be me).
An over-the-top wreath that is too large for your door and also hung on the door with a bent wire clothes hanger:
To top it off you tried to hide the fact that you made your own wreath infrastructure but just bending a wire clothes hanger by tying a golden bow around it. No one will ever notice. Some people would call the wire clothes ha...
On the Sunday after Christmas, I decided it was high time to make a gingerbread house.
I know what you are thinking. "The Sunday AFTER Christmas?" Yes, the Sunday after Christmas. I know gingerbread houses are primarily used as gaudy holiday decor, but the fact of the matter is that gingerbread houses are delicious all year long. I say that with a lot of certainty, but the truth of the matter is that I never made a gingerbread house before this week.
Sure, growing up we made semi-edible houses using graham crackers and a pint-sized milk carton, but even as a little Baby Gay Martha, I knew that wasn't the real deal. I would not be satisfied until I was the architect of my own tiny, delicious house.
Somehow the opportunity for gingerbread construction never showed up in my life. All of high school and college passed by without the slightest suggestion of the presence of spiced building materials. I guess you can say I made bad life decisions. But I turned my life around and decide...
The holidays are not always easy. Even when you love Christmas as freaking much as I do, there are times when the holidays are hard. Holidays bring up a lot of shit - family expectations of you, your expectations of family, financial fears, future fears, nostalgia, and longing. This has been a hard holiday season for a few reasons (including but not limited to the weird weather), and I wanted to reflect on a few things that help me feel the cheer.
First, a guy on the street in the Gayborhood said he liked my shoes, and I think he really meant it. Then he said, "Merry Christmas," and I think he really meant that, too.
Second, lovely friends. Yesterday, our friend Amanda came over, brough cheese, and literally wrapped all of our presents. What?! Amazing. On Monday, we went to the inimitable Emily Teel's house for her annual Carnitas y Christmas get together at which she makes carnitas and we wrap gifts. In addition to carnitas, she made peppermint marshmallows and graham cracker smore...
In this post we will also address family-friendly ways to celebrate Christmas together such as gambling and playing with fire.
Since I was a wee queer Martha living in Allentown, Pennsylvania, my family's major holiday tradition was to have a big Christmas dinner with our family friends. The weekend before Christmas we always celebrated with our neighborhood family. The blood family we spent Christmas with would change every year, but you could always count on getting together with the Wendahls, Newcombs, and Dubovs.
I've checked with other people from Allentown, and it seems like this is a thing. Allentown is a hotspot for people moving from New York and Philly, so my hypothesis is that a critical mass of uprooted families fostered the development of friend-traditions. In any case, the neighborhood-family Christmas dinner is something I look forward to every year.
The party itself changes from year to year. Sometimes we sit around the table together, sometimes it's a buffet....
If you have read previous posts on Queer Martha, you are most likely very aware of how much I love Christmas. I start to get excited about Christmas around the beginning of July - right when the humidity in Philadelphia suddenly pulls you into a giant, suffocating bear hug that lasts through mid-September. Now, I am a woman of the Northeast. I don't really mind the humidity. As soon as it picks up in the summer, however, it reminds me of how much I long for a blizzard to blow through town and shut shit down. Some of my happiest memories involve me losing feeling in my face as I wait in the cold for someone to arrive. Rachel and I spend Valentine's Day in Chicago one year, and, let me tell you, I cannot imagine a place with nicer weather. The cold makes me feel alive.
Part of what makes Christmas so special for me is the cold weather. The cold makes eating a ton, drinking a ton, and hanging out with a ton of family so enjoyable because it satisfies a deep need to keep warm....
Not sure if you have all heard, but there is a new movie that was just released about robots and heros with laser swords that is rumored to be doing well in the box offices. Actually, the movie was released yesterday in France, and Air France had a promomotion going to take advantage of France's one-day lead on the US: buy a New York - Paris direct flight on December 16, Air France throws in a ticket to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens for free! So ingenious, those Frenchers.
We recently posted an idea for a low-key Star Wars themed party, but maybe, like Queer Martha, you really like things that are high-key. Maybe you want to go hard with your Star Wars party. Let me ask you something. Have you recently said to yourself, "Star Wars is being released around the holidays... is this a coincidence? Or is this a galactic conspiracy to inspire me to throw a Star Wars themed Christmas dinner?" If you have asked yourself that, well, friend, you are not alone.
Chestnuts! Not just something to sing about roasting over an open fire. Not just something to buy off a city street vendor! Not just the names of two body parts made into one word that creates an awkward image when you think about it. Go ahead. Think about it. Chestnuts.
Chestnuts are so much more. They are nutty and sweet and hearty and they taste like winter and they are excellent, excellent vehicles for butter. And you know what we always say here at Queer Martha? Never be afraid of butter.
Chestnuts are amazing when roasted, they are amazing pureed, they are amazing in mousse form, they are amazing when candied. They are just the perfect little carbohydrate bomb.
The first time I had chestnuts was for dinner when I lived in Nevoy, this little village in the middle of France. The family I lived with got their chestnuts from a tree in the neighbors' yard. We roasted the chestnuts, then they were put into a big bowl. We were each given a p...
We all know that the tree is the pièce de résistance of the Christmas decorations, but let us not forget the ever-important second in command: the Christmas Wreath. The wreath is the first thing people see when they come to your home. It represents your Christmas spirit. Really, it represents your very soul.
Ok, Christmas is totally a time for traditions, yes. I am the biggest tradition stickler out there. Growing up, my brother and I had this ornament on our Christmas Tree that we called Seek Secret. Seek Secret was a little pompom creature (maybe a bear?) that lived inside a plastic canvas yarn box. It looked more or less exactly like this. Seek Secret was the shit. He lived inside his little box all season long, and on Christmas morning we would open the box and let Seek Secret out. I would FREAK OUT when we finally got to open Seek Secret. God, that was such a freaking good tradition. Seek Secret lives on. He found a new home on my brother's tree where I am sure he is delighting my nieces with his seek secrecy.
That is all to say that I love holiday traditions. However, there is one part of my holiday fervor that I like to mix up from year to year. Every year Rachel and I choose a different theme to inspire our Christmas decorating. There are somethings that are consta...