I fell down on the job blogging during the Christmas season despite my pledge to blog thirty one times out of thirty one days in December for NaBloPoMo. Bad blogger. BAD.

But despite lapses, it’s not too late for a quick wrap up of some of the highlights of Christmas 2008 in our small corner of San Francisco. I’d have to say, this Christmas counts as one of the best ever. In the past several years, we’ve settled into having the same group around for what one friend calls “The High Holy Holidays” and another calls “The Trifecta”. That includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, where our traditions have coalesced around way too much rich food, lots of merriment in our basement recreation of a British pub and a special movie for the entertainment portion of our evening.

 

This is NOT the Old Spice Man. Or Kenny Rogers. Or Sean Connery. This is my friend Rob wearing what he insists is proper Christmas gear: a beard and a British paratroopers sweater.

This is NOT the Old Spice Man. Or Kenny Rogers. Or Sean Connery. This is my friend Rob wearing what he insists is proper Christmas gear: a beard and a British paratrooper's sweater.

 

The fun starts in the planning as there is always a fight between the British contingent of our group and the American contingent. First battle: the Brits never want to concede that an American meal, especially a celebratory meal, is never complete without an orange vegetable. Since the British refuse to recognize any orange vegetable but the carrot, the appearance of squash, pumpkin and sweet potato is always a shock. My eccentric friend Julian has taken to calling this “The Obligatory Orange Vegetable” and every event, he pushes it to the side of his plate. This Christmas, I made sweet potato rounds roasted with olive oil and garlic. Even Julian ate a few and pronounced them “almost good for an orange vegetable.” Then he asked my mother why it was required that there always be an orange vegetable at celebratory dinners. My mother told him: “Because Lisa says so.”

Why are carrots the only orange vegetable Brits will eat? Its the least interesting of the many wonderful Orangey Vegetables of Goodness.

Why are carrots the only orange vegetable Brits will eat? It's the least interesting of the many wonderful Orangey Vegetables of Goodness.

 

The force feeding of orange vegetables was somewhat mitigated by the centerpiece of grass-fed, organically grown standing rib roast of prime rib provided by the incomparable Sonoma market. Add to that, the fact that my husband drained off the fat and used it to cook the Yorkshire Puddings and roast potatoes to perfection. Everyone was astounded at the flavor and flakiness. And nobody spoiled it for the vegetarians by telling them the secret.

We blew it on the appetizers as everything was on the Pregnant Lady, Eat This and Your Child Will Die List. Luckily, we palmed the pregnant lady off with jam and bread which is very Sound of Music-y so very seasonally appropriate.

We blew it on the appetizers as everything was on the "Pregnant Lady, Eat This and Your Child Will Die List". Luckily, we palmed the pregnant lady off with jam and bread which is very Sound of Music-y so very seasonally appropriate.

 

Next up was the Secret Santa give-away which this year was dubbed “Recession Santa”. All gifts were mandated to be under $20 and be in the category of 1) food 2) CDs or 3) DVDs. The winning entry was the CD of “Heavy Metal Christmas” which some Secret Santa bought for me knowing that it was the one hole in my extensive, eclectic and profoundly embarrassing Christmas music collection. It was surprisingly good. Alice Cooper does a very enthusiastic version of “Bring Us a Figgy Pudding (We Wish You a Merry Christmas)”. 

There was a very discreet show and tell of various other Christmas presents, but, as usual, no one could match Julian who each year buys his wife, Vicky, the most extravagant, expensive and fashionable presents possible. This year it was Christian Laboutin shoes. She could just about walk in them and had to be carried into the dining room. But she looked fabulous.

Totally FAB-U-LOS Christian Laboutin shoes which blew away anyone elses Christmas present. As per usual for our expansive friend Julian.

Totally FAB-U-LOS Christian Laboutin shoes which blew away anyone else's Christmas present. As per usual for our expansive friend Julian.

So not really a point to this story except that you can gather good friends, string together a few traditions that you all either agree upon or have fun fighting over and do it year after year and it gets better every time.

Yes, we have the Hula Santa. And we arent too proud to take him out and let him rock every Christmas!

Yes, we have the Hula Santa. And we aren't too proud to take him out and let him rock every Christmas!

 

Hope everyone else’s Christmas and holiday was just as wonderful!

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