We’ve never been the “typical” American family in any respect. My upbringing was hybrid to say the least, as I was raised with a somewhat contradictory set of viewpoints that were, nonetheless, extremely open-minded.
By the time I was 15, I was growing accustomed to traveling abroad on my own – first living with two French families, and a year later, trekking across Eastern Europe with a rag-tag crew of students, as we camped our way through the Soviet Union.
It’s only in adulthood that I came to understand how exceptional these experiences were.
As for my higher education, it also included adventures overseas, a mix of perspectives, and a happy jumble of languages. I have raised my sons in a similar fashion when it comes to travel, exposure to other cultures, and embracing their own diversity, as they’re half European. There’s been a bit of this, a bit of that – a mélange of Europe and America, North and South, and two religious traditions.
So why not a hybrid home for the holidays? After all, it’s “normal” to us.
Holiday Decorating vs Work, Work, Work
As I studied my rather lengthy “to do” list for the day, after a very long (but colorful) Saturday… another story entirely… I was daunted by what amounted to the following decision: Tend to holiday decorating and related activities or work, work, work – as usual.
The fact is – I couldn’t neglect the naked tree in my den another minute – despite the Sunday New York Times (I’ve yet to open), the items on my list (including bills), and a desire to organize for the week – which will also have to keep until later.
Thus, my day has been dedicated to a traditional task – decorating the tree – in a fashion I haven’t undertaken in years. By that I mean that my younger son was happy to lend a hand, which in itself was a real treat.
Adding to the fun? I came across a small bag of ornaments I haven’t seen in close to ten years, including a few toys that made my kiddo grin when he saw them – space shuttles, bi-planes, and a small mountain of dinosaurs!
So rather than turn to the “norm” I’ve adopted since my sons went off to college – a variation on simple vintage balls, cones, and stars – I mixed some old favorites with my favorite footwear.
Exactly. A shoe tree!
Tree, Glee, and Me
My house is still messy. My baking isn’t done. I’ve got emails to deal with and a newspaper to (eventually) read, but I’m glad I gave the tree my time. It was fun! And if you look closely… very closely… you’ll see little shoes, the occasional stegosaurus, teradactyl, a T-Rex or two and some very flirty footwear.
It’s a hybrid, hapless, happy, slightly leaning tree. I think it suits us perfectly.
I might add that for several years, I adopted the European habit of decorating the tree extremely sparsely. A few red or gold ribbons, some hand-sewn wreath and star ornaments, a little baby’s breath – and that was it. (I loved the simplicity, and undressing the tree ten days later was so incredibly quick.)
Homemade Eggnog Recipe!
What do you need for homemade eggnog? Here are the basic ingredients:
- whole milk
- egg yolks, egg whites
- rum, bourbon, or other alcohol
- nutmeg and/or cinnamon
For an excellent homemade eggnog recipe, you might peek here on Food Network. This, no doubt, is what I ought to have followed precisely, but I had no cream (and no patience) so I tweaked, I managed just fine, I used 2% milk (and it still turned out scrumptiously), and I found spiced rum behind my bottles of wine.
My experimental eggnog is surprisingly tasty, and like everything else around ye olde homestead, “hybrid.”
And may I add that I poured it into a pretty little vintage apéritif glass, and dressed it up with a stick of cinnamon? I felt very girly – and I enjoyed every moment of it.
But someone, please… Tell me you’re still behind with everything you’re trying to get done – even if you’ve simplified! (Surely I’m not alone in this…)
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