Christmas is basically here. Sure, with 3 days to go we have time to hit Costco, Safeway, or Amazon another time or two, and we could probably do some more cleaning, baking and decorating. But why?
There is a lot being said lately about “risk vs reward." “Risk?" you may ask. What risk is there is making sure we have enough bacon, or stocking stuffers or sparkling cider? Why not go out again and just make sure we didn’t forget anything?
Well, “risk” might be too strong a word. How about “trade-off”? Sure, knowing your refrigerator is stuffed with tasty treats is a great feeling, but it's a fleeting feeling because those treats are disposable. And have to be replaced. And don’t take the place of us.
What about money spent? Do we really not have everything we need to make Christmas merry and bright? Are a few more presents or gift cards or candy canes going to make any difference? Or is this last-minute rush to fill some perceived void just us searching for validation?
For many of our Christmas celebrations we’ve had all the kids with us. There was the occasional child missing (church missions or in-law sharing) but mostly it’s been all of us. And that’s a lot. Eight kids, four sons and daughters in law and 3 granddaughters.
All year long we set money aside every month in anticipation of November and December gifts and groceries. And towels, toothpaste, air mattresses, pillows, pack ‘n plays and whatever else might be needed with the influx of family.
Some might chuckle at what we consider bountiful, but we take pride in the fact that our kids consider Christmas at our home an event worth attending. That doesn’t mean everyone gets everything they ask for, but it does mean there is a lot of laughter, rejoicing and renewed belief in Santa.
Too often I’ve been guilty of getting caught in the trap of “it’s never enough until it’s Christmas Eve.” I’ve found myself breathing a sigh of relief when Christmas is on a Monday because (since we don’t shop on Sunday) it all has to be done by Saturday. And this is crazy. Even when I’m running behind, “it” really is done way before then. The problem is me thinking one more knickknack in the stocking or gift under the tree will create the joy. And I’m wrong.
No one (after age 12, or at least in our presence) has counted the number of presents compared with a sibling. No one is complaining that their stocking wasn’t stuffed full or that there weren’t enough cinnamon rolls. Nope. They are joking around, excited for what someone else received and grateful for their gifts.
So I’ve taken my own advice and stepped back a little. Yes, sometimes we do need more brown sugar, and why not bake some cookies? But not because we have to please anyone, but rather because it’s fun to let the kids decorate the cookies. And instead of rushing out for more stuff, I'll occasionally join the game going on at the table, take a nap or just sit by the tree and feel thankful for the season that brings us all together (and possibly calculate if I have enough bacon for breakfast).
Bacon and Egg Bake (free printable under "Recipes")
1 lb bacon for every 12 eggs (we usually make 2-3 dozen).
Concentrated orange juice (use the frozen kind but don’t add water)
Pre-heat oven to 350.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.
Arrange bacon on cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. (Bacon will not be done.)
Spray muffin pan with non-stick if you have it. Take each piece of bacon and place it around the interior of the muffin cups. Crack one egg into each muffin cup. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Now you have a raw egg surrounded by a piece of half-cooked bacon in each muffin cup.
Bake for 30 minutes or until egg is as done as you like. Serve with a little concentrated orange juice or ketchup. Always a hit.