I will never forget the dinner we had with good friends one December several years back. Our children were young, and the magic of Christmas was palpable as they ran around the house so excited they could hardly wait for the days to pass and Santa to pop down the chimney on Christmas Eve. There was another group in that house counting down, only we were counting down the few days we had left to get it all done! We were in the kitchen consoling one another that somehow the important tasks would get crossed off the list and we would make that magical morning happen for all our families. My husband walked in to refill our wine glasses and asked how we were all holding up. He had told me earlier he thought that the holidays were to moms like tax season was to a CPA. And though in some ways he was right, it is without a doubt still my busiest time of year, CPAs don’t have the reward of those smiles on Christmas morning.
The best part of the holiday season is of course the time we have together as a family. And all the traditions from opening the Advent calendar each night after dinner, to getting the tree, to hiding that blasted pickle ornament all around the house (would you believe we still can’t find it from last year?!) are what truly make the season bright. But a big shiny gift under the tree does not hurt. And if you find yourself like I do today, with a long NICE list to shop for, then you might appreciate these suggestions.
For the newlyweds, and anyone else who likes to spend time in the kitchen and hasn’t yet made the investment, there is nothing that can beat a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. It is a true power house in the kitchen, and you can get a huge array of attachments for it. Make your own spaghetti with this Pasta Roller, then use this Meat Grinder and make your own sausage to top it with. And though it will come with a regular paddle and whisk, I love my Flex Edge Paddle. It scrapes the sides of the bowl as you mix! As long as whoever you’re shopping for truly enjoys spending time in the kitchen, any high end appliance from Cuisinart to Vitamix is going to be a hit because they are toys. Which is why even though we need a new washing machine, I had better not receive one on Christmas unless my husband plans on taking over the laundry duties as well.
You also can’t go wrong with some holiday themed accessories, like a festive Apron and Oven Mitt. I have a few now, from over the years, and I look forward to wearing them throughout my holiday baking. You can find some great sets for moms (and kids) at Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma is well stocked for the whole family as well.
Like I did that December long ago, this past weekend I made some time for my own holiday cheer. We had a great day Saturday picking out our tree and taking in the Lighted Boat Parade here in Petaluma with friends. The tree is trimmed, the outside lights are up, and though I am a long way from done the shopping is underway! The key for the rest of this time between now and Christmas Eve will be to balance the rest of my tasks as Chief Elf with my own appreciation for this time of year. I’m pretty sure my Granny didn’t have everything crossed off her to do list on Christmas morning, but she knew when it was time to hang up her apron and enjoy the moment.