It’s that time of year when the chill in the frosty air brings us indoors to hunker down with thick comforters and mugs of steaming hot chocolate overflowing with fluffy marshmallows. When holiday music and movies become the soundtrack to our everyday home lives. When we gather ‘round the fire for company, drink, food and love. When we are celebrating and remembering those we treasure and hold near and dear. When the real meaning of the season is family – by our DNA or by our heart. When we reflect and give thanks for all we have. In a nutshell, unconditional love.
I’d like to welcome Deb Caletti to share the beauty of the season with us.
Favorite Holiday tradition?
Decorating the tree with my kids. They like to find the goofiest ornaments to give me (a GIANT acorn, a creepy Sasquatch-ish figure, a rubber doll whose gender is undetermined), and they also like to hang all the ones I hate (usually some misguided craft I tried long ago) way up high, where I can’t reach them. We have the best time, but, no, this isn’t the kind of tree you’d see in a department store.
Favorite childhood toy?
My bug catcher. Also, my bike with the banana seat and handlebar streamers.
Favorite childhood game?
Operation. I still kind of like it.
Snowball fight or making snow families?
Sleigh rides, sledding or skiing?
Favorite Holiday song?
“Mele Kalikimaka,” for its retro-ridiculousness. We know all the words.
Favorite holiday movie?
Remember that cartoon with the elves and the land of the forgotten toys and that hairy snow monster? That one. (See: retro ridiculousness, above.)
Favorite holiday story to read?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! I love that one! I was such an idiot, though — I didn’t understand it had religious undertones until I was an adult. I loved it so much, that I would read it to my kids every year at Christmastime, until they practically begged me to stop. Whenever people ask me to name my favorite book of all time, that’s the one!
Snow on holiday eve or just a chill in the air?
Just a chill. Although I love snow, it messes things up terribly around Seattle, with all of our hills. I worry about my loved ones driving.
Most memorable holiday memory?
All of the years when my kids were little, wearing those sweet kiddie p.j.’s on Christmas morning.
Did you eat popcorn balls as a kid? If you did, do you still?
Yes! I’ve never met a popcorn ball I didn’t like.
Real tree or artificial? Green or white?
Real tree. Green. I had an artificial one for a few of my single-mother years, but my daughter almost disowned me for it.
What do you do holiday eve?
Now, my husband and I celebrate it alone together. It’s the time for a quiet, romantic dinner, a glass of wine, and gifts in front of the fire.
What are your holiday plans this year?
Like all kids with divorced parents, I have an abundance of holidays. We have a big Italian dinner at my dad’s one night, I have the romantic Christmas Eve with my husband, I have Christmas morning with my kids, and then we all head over to my mother’s house, for more celebrating with Grandma, auntie, uncle, and cousins.
What’s the one holiday dish your family can’t go without?
We have a lot of Italian food. At Dad’s, I’d say, raviolis. At Mom’s, lasagna.
Please share a Holiday recipe.
Our Favorite Stuffed Mushrooms:
Get a bunch of mushrooms. Pop out the stems, and gouge out the black stuff with the tip of a spoon. Mix together ½ cup of breadcrumbs, ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup of melted butter, a clove or two of minced garlic, and a splash of white wine. Stir together and stuff this into the mushrooms. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake in a 375 degree oven (or so) until nice and brown. Yum! How can you go wrong with mushrooms, butter, wine, and garlic!
Holiday party tip?
Eat, drink, and be merry. Try not to eat so much that you have to unbutton the top button of your pants.
Favorite holiday decoration?
The paper nativity my son made when he was small, the three paper “wise people” my daughter made when she was small, and the angel made out of a toilet paper roll that always goes on the top of the tree, which my son made in preschool.
Please share some magical holiday memories?
I remember not being able to sleep the night before Christmas because I was so excited… But this was when I was an ADULT, waiting for my kids to wake up and see what Santa brought. Of course, I always made a bit of an ashy mess by the fireplace, and chewed off big bites of carrots that I threw out into the yard as evidence of his visit. I still do that. My kids expect it, even now at 23 and 21.
Wrap, gift bag or bow & go?
I am notorious for my bad wrapping. I am actually known for this in my family. Aaargh! It’s such a frustrating endeavor, and my packages always look like a preschooler wrapped them. Bags, bags, bags!
Gifts or gift cards?
Gifts, usually, but sometimes a gift card is just the thing.
Do you eat fruitcake?
I would eat fruitcake if there’d been a nuclear war and I’d run out of canned goods.
Do you head to the movies on the 25th?
Nope – it’s a family day.
What’s in your stocking? *wink*
That shall remain a secret.
What do you want in your stocking? *saucy wink aka swink*
A little something sweet.
Do you head out on the 26th into the madness to exchange or shop for anything?
I stay in my pajamas on the 26th.
Thank you so much.
Happy Holidays from my house to yours!
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