Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tweaking those traditions

As a family putting down roots, and with a small child, we're still establishing our traditions. My childhood Christmases were unwaveringly consistent, and I loved that, and want that for P. So there's a lot of talk of 'this'll be our family tradition'. whenever we find ourselves doing something festive we like. I guess it remains to be seen how many of those will prevail.

Our first Christmas in Hermosa we went to the Christmas Eve service at the Epsicopalean church (nice as I know all the tunes), and these last couple of years we've added the Christmas pageant there too: local children acting out the nativity, including a dog dressed as a camel. Perfect, and I think it's a keeper.

Watching the angels walk by, enraptured

This year we didn't make it to Terranea for those sunset cocktails - #traditiongoals - because P was sick. Let's hope in 2017 we'll switch the vomiting episode back out in favor of the drinks in the nice hotel.

Other traditions go from strength to strength. She is much more interested in the Elf this year, which is fun. The gingerbread house, we think, is better than ever (see these attempts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 for proof) . And this year P got more involved in making it, which I loved. We sledged on the sand pile again, in lieu of snow.
'Sledding', SoCal style

We added in The Nutcracker, an LA Ballet production near us, which was lovely. And seeing Santa as he travelled Hermosa under police escort, which is both neighbourhoodsy, near to us, and short on queues. Another solid tradition addition.
In Hermosa Beach Santa arrives in a convertible with a surfboard in it

A healthy fish dinner on Christmas eve could become a festive tradition. Miso glazed black cod and sashimi this time, but it could as easily have been kippers and scrambled eggs. I think it makes more sense than ham, given the meat and carb fest that is to follow. On Christmas day itself, I'm still serving up pancakes for breakfast, and turkey for lunch. No cranberry, because no-one likes it. Stuffing, sprouts and roast potatoes because England. No Xmas pudding because no-one loves it, and in fact no pudding at all because no-one can get as excited for pudding - except P but she'll eat gingerbread instead -  as they can for cheese.

I think we're still refining some things. US festive flavors involve a lot of peppermint and chocolate - all that chocolate bark - which is all well and good but I'm am feeling a serious spiced fruit deficit - not a mince pie or christmas cake or pudding in sight. Next year I think I'll fix that with a little whole foods Xmas cake to add to the festive cheese platter.

On balance I think we are almost set. Just need to cut the vomiting, add some Christmas cake, and we'll have a model which will serve us well for many years.

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