09 December 2012

Festive Cheer

Friends, relatives and colleagues will attest that I'm not the most Christmassy person in the world. I don't exactly hate Christmas, but I don't really get that excited about it either. So, of course I said yes when a pair of Noelophile friends invited me to spend a day with them drinking festive drinks, watching Christmas movies and baking and decorating seasonal cookies. My contributions were some borderline-Christmassy white chocolate and cranberry cookies and the ingredients for some hazelnut hot chocolate.

Eggnog, cranberry cookies, and other festive goodies

Despite having two North Americans with me, the eggnog ended up with a slightly clumpier texture than the recipe, which we found on the Nigella Lawson website, suggested. It still tasted good, though, if a little alcoholic for barely 1 pm on a Saturday. We settled down with this, some of my cookies and some popcorn to watch Christmas movie number one, National Lampoon's Winter Holiday, which was entertaining enough.

My cookie decorating efforts

Then it was time to ice the gingerbread cookies one of my friends had baked, while movie number two, A Christmas Story played in the background. As with most things art-and-design, I always feel like I have good ideas, but don't have the technical abilities to carry them off very well. I still remember the one negative comment on my year two (age seven) school report: "She colours neatly but needs to experiment with bolder strokes." This is evidenced perfectly in my contribution to the decorated cookies.

Everyone's decorated gingerbread cookies

When we put on Home Alone (the only film on the list that I'd seen before), the others moved on to mulled wine and I whipped up a batch of hazelnut hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows. By the time it got to 7 pm, we realised we were finally sick of eating cookies and sweet drinks, and ran out to get a kebab, before sitting down to watch movie number four, Nativity!, which I actually quite enjoyed. I hadn't heard of it until Mark Kermode recently reviewed the (less impressive) sequel. By 11 pm, I had had nearly twelve hours of non-stop Christmas and it was finally time to go home.

I do now have a very tiny (but real) Christmas tree in my living room and a festive candle in my kitchen, so something must have stuck. It's probably a good thing I have two more weeks before the festive overdose that will be Christmas in New York.

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