Well, maybe not so Silent if you are Baby Noelle. Quick, somebody better check on Nate, he’s running around the table with her like she’s a football!
Not so silent if you have four kids in the house either. Christmas Eve is fun!
In true European fashion, we started our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. This makes a lot of sense when the sun is asleep by 5:00. Twinkling lights on houses, candles in the windows, and when is the Christmas tree any more beautiful than after the sun goes down? Silent Night. Holy Night. Even though we haven’t evolved into people who religiously attend church, today it felt like the perfect thing to do.
We had our choice of churches in town but settled on the one with the children’s service. All in French, but we didn’t need words to understand the universal language of Parenthood in Church. Babies crying, little boys restless, and little girls having tea parties under the communion table. Looking back over the congregation we saw parents’ faces strained with patience, although we weren’t sure if that was because of the kids or because of the choir director screeching “Hallelujah!”
We were offered coloring books and smiles, and after the service took a little walk through Ingwiller and found a bakery, the only one left open, where we bought baguettes for the next three days. Three days with no Super U! Everything will be closed in this part of France for the long holiday weekend. Fortunately we have already laid in a supply of cheese and champagne and remain hopeful that we’ll make it through without starving. Do we have enough ice cream? Mint chip, coffee, pistachio, and yes, an ice cream Buche de Noel will be just right.
Back home again the fire was blazing. Leila had set the table (Thank you Leila!), and it was time to start the first round of borrel notjes and Christmas margaritas. We are still pinching ourselves over the perfectness of this house! Could it be any more Christmasy here?
As drinks were passed and vegetables were roasted, rounds of Catch Phrase rang from the kitchen table while Noelle happily played with a monkey spatula. The rest of us hovered around wooden boards piled with sliced salami and a hot crock of melted cheese dip. Where is my Christmas margarita? Dad, your armagnac-grenadine-triple sec thing is great! Is the first bottle of champagne already empty? Hey, who opened the Duvel? Mike brought this Slijva all the way from Sarajevo, who needs a shot? Mike, hitting the Breneven again. Is that why you threw the game over The Pelican Brief? Wow, look in this cabinet, there is a lot of weird alcohol in this house.
Eventually we made our way to the dining room.
The beef tenderloin was perfect, the kind that goes in the oven at 500 degrees for 5 minutes per pound before turning the oven off and letting it sit until dinner’s ready. What brilliant person figured that out? We also had roasted brussel sprouts and butternut squash, mashed potatoes, baguettes from the bakery, salad with cranberries and almonds, and delicious red wine from Aldi. Yes, Aldi! Leila knows how to make everything fun!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.