This is the first Christmas I’m spending away from my family.
I’m feeling very weird right now. There is a bit of melancholy as I feel somewhat detached from all the festivities. The only thing reminding me that it is Christmas is my neighbor’s flamboyant decorations…
At the same time, I feel peace— I’m not in a “ho ho ho” jovial mood, but there is no major conflict inside of me. I just feel…at rest. And I kind of love that.
My family has never really been one to celebrate Christmas (or any festivities) in grand forms. We never once had a Christmas tree. We don’t really do Christmas presents. We don’t go out caroling or roast a fat ham or even wear hideous Christmas sweaters (oh, Hallelujah).
But each Christmas, my dad would ask each of us to retreat to our own rooms…and pray. To privately reflect on the spiritual meaning of this day, and to connect with God in a personal, intimate manner. And to thank God for all the gifts He’s presented me.
Obviously Christmas is a holiday saturated with religious meanings. But I see no reason why anybody cannot take a few moments to recollect all the previous months in the year, to count their blessings, and brace oneself for the upcoming new year.
A lot of people lament the fact that Christmas has become materialistic, and just a channel for more greed and selfish desires. That may be true. But ultimately, Christmas is a day about gifts.
Obviously, I say this as a Christian. Christmas symbolizes the day God gave me the most wonderful, complete gift of all: Jesus Christ, my eternal savior.
But I also love Christmas because for me, it’s such a perfect prelude to New Year Day. It’s a day of great joy and celebration—and be it a celebration for the birth of Christ or not, it’s a perfect day to relish all the gifts we’ve received within the year, and give thanks for them.
So in honor of this special day…whether you are a Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, etc…let’s just be joyful, and give thanks for the gift of life, and all the good (and bad) stuff that comes along with it.
I’ll see you all after this weekend. But meanwhile, let me leave you with a Christmas-themed brunch…
(Artwork by Alda Leung)
- 4 slices day-old white bread
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- 1/2 cup milk (more or less depending on thickness of bread)
- 2 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp green tea powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- handful of dried coconut
For the cranberry sauce:
- 1/2 bag fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1/4 cup sugar
Mix together eggs, milk, white sugar, vanilla, and salt. Sieve green tea powder over (so as to avoid unsightly clumps):
Beat together the mixture until combined.
Then add in the coconut:
Soak the bread in the egg mixture:
Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook together cranberries, orange juice, marmalade, and sugar.
Bring to a boil, let cook for a minute or so:
Then simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
Finally, butter up a pan. Cook the soaked bread, browning up each side.
Serve on a dish with the sauce over it. Sprinkle with coconut or powdered sugar.
Didn’t it turn out so pretty! I wasn’t sure if the green would show through, but it did. Yay!
Right now, I’m giving thanks for colors. God is such an awesome artist…I’m always amazed by the deep brilliance of the colors of cranberries.
I’m also giving thanks to my great artist friend Alda, who did the artwork. She was going to send these in to a recipe artwork contest, but ran out of time while working on her senior thesis as well. I thought it was shame to just toss these away, even if they have not had the final touches yet.
And now, less talk and more action, please. Let’s dig in!
I’d think this would make a fine Christmas brunch, especially after a night of gorging. It’s light, yet indulgent; familiar, yet special.
Mimi always calls this the money shot, in which I take a close-up shot during mid-bite. I think it’s aptly named.And now, I shall retreat to my private space. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, or at least a Joyful Day of Gifts!
Question of the Day: What is one gift you are grateful for? And on a superficial note, what gift would you like from Santa?