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....
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.
In my wife's family, the weekend after Thanksgiving is dedicated to the much-anticipated Annual Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza. It is one of my favorite holiday traditions. I married into it, so you know I'm not just being sentimental. My wife's family takes Christmas cookies very, very seriously. It's one of the reasons I married her.
This might sound to you like a fun, informal way to usher in the most wonderful time of the year. If that is what you think, than you are very mistaken. There is nothing "informal" about this Christmas Cookie Baking Extravaganza. Every year we approach this event like a well-oiled machine. We are balls-deep in cookie baking strategy and we are not messing around. Each year we get a little closer to perfecting the Christmas cookie baking production. Interestingly, each year we also get a little closer to not actually doing any baking when we are with each other at the event. Let me give you a little history.