Thanksgiving has come and gone. The meal was a real feast, and it was delicious. I got to hang out with my mom for a week, cooking, watching Food Network, decorating for Christmas, and laughing at all the goofy things Clarissa and Veronica say and do. I survived yet another drive from Ohio to Wisconsin and back.
I left Green Bay filled with Christmas spirit and excitement over the Packers’ big win over the Patriots. Now I find myself back in Columbus, feeling a little blue. We can’t get a real Christmas tree this year, because of our travel plans. I’m struggling to get excited about an artificial tree, particularly because (due to time constraints) we must get one that is available locally, I can’t rely on the internet this time around. I’m having a hard time being motivated to decorate our house, because it seems like we’ll be leaving again so soon. I’m even feeling overwhelmed about not having any of my Christmas gifts ready or cards made, despite still having three weeks before the holiday. Not to mention that I never got around to making or buying an Advent calendar for the girls and I have nothing ready for St. Nick to come this weekend.
I don’t usually talk religion on Vegan Mother Hubbard, but I want to mention the homily the priest gave last Sunday. Father Don made three points about our approach to Christmas: Prepare Positively, Plan Purposefully, and Participate Powerfully. He emphasized doing only the things that bring us peace and joy, and to let go of those Christmasy activities that make us miserable, overwhelm us, or that we want to do, but end up resenting.
So here’s my plan: I’m going to skip the Christmas tree this year. I’m not excited about getting a ho-hum artificial tree, so I will order one I love and we’ll put it up next year. Instead we will hang stockings and put our Advent candles on the mantle. I’m going to let go of the idea of a fun, clever Advent calendar for this year, and instead I ordered the girls new Christmas pjs to put in their stockings, so they can wear Christmas pajamas leading up to the holiday. I will make more of this festive, Cranberry Candied Popcorn, some hot chocolate with candy cane garnishes, and we’ll watch lots of Christmas movies. We’ll add Christmas books to our evening story time. We will make our way to the zoo for their light displays, check out the lights in the German Village, and maybe we’ll even go see the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus Christmas show this weekend. And when we go back to Green Bay, we’ll soak up every bit of joy in my mom’s ultra-festive house. We will enjoy the tree all we can, and be glad that we get to be with family for the holiday.
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 2-3 tbsp cranberry simple syrup*
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- 2. Drizzle the syrup over the popcorn, tossing to coat.
- 3. Spread the popcorn on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with the salt.
- 4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp but not browned. Stir every 5 minutes.
- 5. When the popcorn is done baking, mix in the cranberries, then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the still-warm popcorn.
- 6. Allow to cool to room temperature, then eat or store in an airtight container.
- *You can find the recipe for cranberry simple syrup here: http://www.veganmotherhubbard.net/2014/11/cranberry-lime-margaritas-disjointed-friday-ramblings.html