the hyphens that define my life

Peppermint, Fudge, Caroling and Giving December 2, 2013

Day two of our countdown to Christmas was filled with holiday fun.  Peppermint, Fudge, Caroling and Giving and it’s only Day 2!!

First on our list was to make a test batch of peppermint fudge.  Test batch is the new phrase my kids have discovered as their means to getting me to bake something just for them instead of waiting for our baking extravaganza in the coming weeks.  “We need a ‘test batch’ mom, to make sure we like them.” They are currently over-the-top obsessed with Torani’s Peppermint Syrup in their hot chocolate which, thanks to the dropping temperatures, is our new morning and after school ritual.  In one of my magazines we found a recipe for Peppermint Fudge using Torani syrup and begged to make up a batch.  I gathered the ingredients and we planned to make fudge tonight while dinner was in the oven.  Opening candy canes was a fun “ooh aah” festive moment.  Candy canes are so simple yet bring so much joy.  And yet, nothing says Christmas in this house like taking a mallet and making candy cane dust.  The fudge was made then covered with candy cane bits and powder and put into the fridge to enjoy after dinner.

After dinner, but before fudge, we started stringing lights onto our Christmas tree.  For the first time, ever in my life, we will have white lights on our tree.  My kids want a rainbow tree like normal, but since I’m the official light stringer, I say white lights this year.  Rainbow Christmas outside, white Christmas inside.  We’re in a new city, new house, new living room, why not? The tree is still a work in progress.  1400 lights and I’m not halfway done.  The tree is nearly 10 feet tall and really wide and I’m a tedious light stringer, every branch gets lights.  I think we may have 3500 lights by the time we’re done.  My husband, Mr. Fix-It/Build-It read the box and ok’d the amps (as if I’ve ever checked that out before) and provided the power strip for my many light strands.

At some point, I was abandoned to hang lights alone, as the football boys went to the basement to watch the Seahawk/Saints game.  Left with my egg nog light, I stayed on task until someone surprisingly knocked on our front door.  When I answered the door, a group, a young man, four women and an infant, stood on my front porch with guitar and tambourines in hand and told me they were caroling to raise money for the Philippines.   They told me they were Filipino and wanted to help their families and friends in the Philippines.  My husband just happened to hand me some cash earlier tonight, because I never have cash on hand. He’s like my personal ATM.  Convenient.  It’s really his way of saying, stop making $3.35 debits at Starbucks. At least he isn’t saying stop going to Starbucks.   I had tucked the money away in my sweatshirt pocket and was happy to make a donation to their cause.  As soon as the money exchanged hands, tambourines jangled and they broke into song, Feliz Navidad. They sang three verses, Spanish, then in English, then the third verse gave thanks for the donation, said they would pray for me, and asked that I pray for the Philippines.  They sang loud and strong and proud and my family came running to see the excitement.

After the carolers left, we played a couple of hands of Uno, talked about the Philippines, the importance of giving and tried our peppermint fudge.  Though still slightly disgruntled over white lights instead of rainbow lights, the boys, especially (and shockingly) our youngest talked about the importance of giving, always, but especially during the holidays.   I can’t think of a better way to countdown to Christmas than to impart this message of giving to those in need to our children. And to do so with rocking carolers, family time and fudge too?  A Christmas 2013 memory we won’t soon forget.


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