Christmas was a great success at Apartment Farm this past year. I didn’t do everything I set out to do (the Wild West gingerbread façade, for example) but we had a great holiday and enjoyed the time with family. I put a lot of thought into gifts this year; giving things that were handmade, hand-assembled and purchased responsibly. I made a few sets of crocheted potholders that were well-received and the preserve gift baskets I assembled were a great success—I picked out a selection of jams and preserves from Stovers Farm, threw in some Wisconsin-produced mustard and maple syrup and packaged it all in a raffia-lined shallow red peck basket. To contain it all and get a nice finished look, I used shrink wrap plastic and tied a bow with red chenille ribbon with a handmade tag and a wire ornament. For gift wrapping this year, I used brown kraft paper and red chenille ribbon or red and white baker’s twine to tie up the packages. I recycled candy cane Christmas cards into gift tags with my 3-inch circle hole punch. The look was quite fetching under the tree.
Cooking and baking pretty much came out as planned. The weekend before Christmas, I baked hundreds of cookies—green spritz trees, plain spritz stars, snickerdoodles and Russian teacakes. I didn’t get to do the rosettes or springerle this year, but that will give us something to look forward to next Christmas. For Christmas dinner, we did roasted duck, Norwegian meatballs, mashed potatoes with truffle oil, dark rye stuffing, wilted kale with bacon and cranberries. Everything turned out except for the duck—it looked gorgeous, but wasn’t nearly as done as it should’ve been on the inside, and when trying to correct the error, we overcooked it to an inedible degree… so learning how to cook duck properly will be the task at hand for the coming year. Maybe we’ll get our technique perfected in time for Christmas dinner this year. But dinner was salvaged anyway with the always-delicious meatballs and plenty of sides. I also made home made glogg (with Aquavit and red wine) but it came out only so-so, but only because I forgot to add the sugar! Sugar and spice are certainly what makes a great glogg! But it smelled fantastic while it was simmering on the back of the stove before dinner, and was drinkable.
The weekend prior to Christmas was spent at my sister’s house, and that was a great time as always. She made roasted Cornish hens and cranberry stuffing for our holiday meal, and it was a joy to experience our first Christmas gift opening with my niece. Christmas Eve with spent with my husband’s family and then we had a quiet Christmas Day at home, as is our tradition for the past several years. We woke up at a leisurely hour, had brunch together, opened gifts (he got me the book “The New Farmer’s Market”, among other things!) and had a nice, relaxing afternoon spending time and cooking our Christmas dinner together.
So all in all, Christmas was a great success. I always enjoy this magical time of the year where we can slow down and spend time with those we love. I hope your holidays were just as memorable and wonderful as mine.