Christmas with the Stay-At-Home-Chef

I have a confession to make: I’m a Capricorn. A perfectionist Capricorn to boot. This personality trait combined with my love for the holidays results in a significant amount of stress that stems from me having too many (impossibly high) expectations. This desire to have everything absolutely flawless goes beyond Christmas Day…it includes all of December! I want every day in the entire month to be this perfect holiday utopia where my house and family are full of Christmas cheer, peace, love, and happiness. In a nutshell? I want to have the epitome of the holiday spirit coming out of our every pore.

So when my fellow mommy friends and I started planning the month’s festivities waaaaay back in the month of September, I thought this would be the year everything on my list would be achieved in the most stress-free way imaginable. As busy parents with kids all under the age of twelve, experience has taught us that in order to keep our sanity we must be organized in order to be prepared in order to achieve our lofty goals in order to prevent melt-downs, fights with our husbands, last minute trips to grocery stores whose shelves have been previously raped and pillaged by mobs of stressed out shoppers.

We had a plan. I was excited.

But when the emails started circulating and we began booking our calendars with specific times for weekly advent sing-alongs, neighbourhood and work parties, a girls appetizer evening, rides on the Christmas train, carol ship nights, photos with Santa, Christmas cookie sessions with the kids, Christmas shopping and wrapping, u-cut Christmas tree expeditions, gingerbread house decorating, holiday movie nights with popcorn and homemade marshmallows, wreath making sessions…we all began to think we might have bitten off more than any human other than Martha Stewart could possibly chew. (Now believe me when I say that I could have gone on and on with my wish list for the holidays, but I figured by this point Mr. Spock would have garnered enough sympathetic supporters!)

Needless to say, my friends and I didn’t achieve half of what we initially planned. We realized that the biggest mistake we made was forgetting to schedule ‘life’ into the mix. So when the reality of time constraints, bills, back-to-back winter colds, work, and other mundane yet unavoidable responsibilities reared their heads we had to relinquish our lists.

As for Christmas dinner – my big piece de resistance for the holiday season – Mr. Spock will be the first to tell you that historically I have a tendency to get a little stressed over this event. My love of so many different holiday dishes usually means I end up with a menu that is a mile long, and as a result I find myself stuck in the kitchen for the entire day. Although the food turns out delicious, somehow the hour and a half that we sit and overindulge our taste buds doesn’t seem to satisfy all of my efforts. That is why traditionally by the end of the day you will find me dejectedly slouched at the table with the top button of my pants undone and a stack of seemingly never ending dishes, my kitchen completely destroyed. Every year I swear I’ll do things differently the next time around; be more organized, prepare as much as possible ahead of time, delegate more, and ensure there’s room in my day to enjoy the festivities of the 25th instead of slaving away for hours in the kitchen.

As far as this year’s dinner was concerned, I am pleased to report that all went well! I was not stuck all day in the kitchen, I had lots of help from Mr. Spock and my Mom, as much prep as possible was all done beforehand, and the most important part…it tasted delicious!

Here’s what was served at my table on Christmas Day:

Christmas Morning Wife Saver (click here for the recipe)

Light Lunch
Assortment of appys…including Wrapped Brie with Caramelized Onions (click here for the recipe)

Belfast Ham (click here for the recipe)
Smoked Turkey Breast Roll (click here for the recipe)
Mr. Spock’s Sinful Scalloped Potatoes (click here for the recipe)
Nana’s Famous Cranberry Sauce (click here for the recipe)
Stay-At-Home-Chef’s Holiday Cornbread Stuffing (click here for the recipe)
Brussels Sprout Slaw…this is the greatest Brussels Sprouts recipe for people who hate Brussels Sprouts! (click here for the recipe)

Mini Mincemeat Pies
Vanilla Ice Cream