Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dear Santa, how did you been?

I am both orderly and disorderly, in every sense of the word. To keep myself on the straight and narrow, I keep a Christmas file, a folder that goes back to 1984, the year I moved to Montreal to begin my life with Dr. Doug.

This year I decided was going to be one of the orderly years. I will send out my Christmas cards early, I decided. Sometimes I miss the deadline altogether, and one year, when I was a student, I sent out my Christmas cards in July (either very late, or very early, depending on your point of view.) Unfortunately, I often misplace this file and can't find it when I want it. Today is one of those days. I found part of the file, but the reason I need it right now - for the list of addresses I keep for cards - is nowhere to be found. Obviously, I had the brilliant idea to keep the card file in a better, separate, new and improved location, but now I forget where that is. I sometimes hide jewelry too, which is why my good pearls are temporarily misplaced. They're probably with the other half of my Christmas file.

It is kind of fun to rifle through the old papers on a nostalgic ride into the past. I'm a master list maker; recipients of cards and their addresses sent and received, Christmas gifts to be considered or purchased or carried over to the next year, grocery lists for Christmas dinner, background music, baking projects and recipes - it's all in the master file. It's amazing to see how the gift list and number of recipients has whittled down over the years. Nieces and nephews grow, friends move on or pass on. Addresses change, we lose touch, or friendships wither because of misunderstandings or simply because we outgrow one another.

But my recipes are constants. And even if I wanted to change them up, I am cautioned by my family not to deviate from the traditional menu - roast turkey, although now my daughters insist on an organic turkey, raised under a rainbow and massaged daily by its caregiver until it is led gently into the good night and into our oven, stuffing made from chunks of baguette, green apples, mushrooms and walnuts, mashed potatoes and gravy, mashed turnip with maple syrup and cinnamon, steamed broccoli, and my mother-in-law's steamed carrot pudding and hard sauce for dessert.

And the baked goods, oh, the baked goods: my grandmother's shortbread, chocolate balls, truffles, my mother's buttertarts, nut shorties, Fat Alberts (a recent introduction, these toffee squares are seriously addictive), amongst others. I can introduce a few new baked goods as long as they join the favourites, not replace them.

For Christmas breakfast there is always a giant Italian panettone, and no, I do not bake my own (haha, you're funny.) It's always a gift from one of my husband's assistants, arriving in a big hat-shaped box with a ribbon handle. The fun is shaking up the cake inside a plastic bag along with the powdered sugar. We serve it in big slabs along with bacon and eggs, a bowl of fresh fruit, OJ, jam and strong coffee.

I always get sentimental when I go through this file, remembering Christmases past when the kids were young. I found this today, and I hope you get as much of a kick from it as I did. My daughter was four and attended French school at the time. It's a bit of a polite meander, then right to the point.

In case you have trouble reading it, it says:

Dear Santa Claws!

How did you been?
Did you had a nice summer?
How's your life?
Give us all presents.

(heart) Sarah, age 4

Ah, yes.

Now I'm off to look for that damn list.


nightsmusic said...

What a sweet letter! They're so cute when they're that age. Then they turn into teenagers...

I'm like you. Sometimes, I'm so organized I can't find anything at all. :) Wonderful club, yes? :P

BB said...

Blogger just ate my comment. *sigh*

Something about being a great list maker too. Something about losing them regularly. And something about you making me tear up with that letter. (Got me back - doesn't take a whole lot to get me welling!)

A Novel Woman said...

Yes, NM, it is an odd club indeed!

And BB, I can't watch the old videos of my kids when they were little. It KILLS me, like a knife to the gut, to think of how much time has passed and how quickly.

Anne S. said...

"Give us all presents" had me snorting into my tea! Very cute!

Debby said...

While you're looking, if you happen to find my mind too, send it back, 'k?

A Novel Woman said...

Anne, at least she included all of us!

Deb, if I find yours, I might just keep it.

Linda G. said...

LOL! Love this post. Also, can I come eat at your house?

A Novel Woman said...

Yes you can Linda, and I won't even make you wash dishes. You're a celebrity.

Linda G. said...

Ha! That's a laugh. But you better be careful -- if you invite me in, feed me, and don't even make me wash dishes, I might never leave. Because that's a way better gig than I have at home. ;)

Debby said...

Er...NW? Is that offer open to all of us? Because I'm with Linda...I don't get that kind of deal at home.

EVERYONE? Let us make haste to NW house! I'll bring a bottle of wine. Having been educated by my recent house guest, I'll make sure that it has a cork.

A Novel Woman said...

Of course you're all welcome. Bring wine, bring venison, bring chocolate and good cheer...mostly chocolate.

Debby, tell your house guest wine with screw tops is the new cool. Corks are old school, and not "green" because it's too hard to harvest. If he doesn't believe you, tell him where he can put the cork.