My First Christmas Morning

My dad’s side of the family is Catholic, but since I was raised Jewish I never experienced Christmas morning. We always go over my Aunt Cathy’s house on Christmas day, but my Christmas morning usually involves my mom asking me whether or not I saw last week’s Oprah while simultaneously telling my brother to wear nicer shoes.

This year I wanted to help my aunt out with Christmas dinner so my dad drove me to Brooklyn just shy of midnight on Christmas Eve. I ate some amazing black cherry jello at my aunt’s sister-in-law’s house and then we drove down a brightly lit 84th street and back to their home. My cousin Michael warned me that I was going to be woken up early so I went straight to bed knowing that I would have a busy day ahead of me.

In what seemed like 5 minutes later, Michael was shaking my legs to wake me up and telling me to go downstairs and see what Santa brought. Santa, as Michael would tell me, is a mind reader, so he knew to deliver a stocking filled with Larabars for me:

I spotted an American Girl Doll box wrapped under the tree and was very surprised when my cousin Mary handed it to me. I’ve always wanted an American Girl Doll but never got one. My grandparents thought that my first Christmas morning would be the perfect opportunity to give this 21-year-old the doll she always wanted:

Rebecca and I chatted it up the whole day; we had a lot of lost time to catch up on:

Once the presents were opened, we went into the kitchen for breakfast and to start prepping dinner. Mary and I went to work on the veal rollatini filling slices of veal with spinach and prosciutto and others with breadcrumbs and mozzarella. My Uncle Mike made the antipasto platter with different meats, cheeses, olives, chickpeas and marinated mushrooms and olives while my aunt salted and wrapped the beef that would later be seared and cooked in the oven.

In no time the rest of the family arrived and we were ready to eat. First up was the antipasto platter served alongside stuffed cherry peppers, bocconcini and olive bread:

Next the manicotti and pine nut and breadcrumb-stuffed mushrooms went into the oven:

After the manicotti was served for the second course, string beans went on the stove to be served with the mushrooms, veal rollatini and roast beef. Everything was delicious!

For dessert we had a slew of chocolates, pies and cookies, my favorite being the chocolate pudding pie hiding back there behind the fruit-covered cheesecake:

Thank you to my aunt, uncle and cousins (and Santa) for a great first Christmas morning! I hope that everyone had a fun holiday weekend with their families and I will be back tomorrow with some festive gift ideas for any remaining holiday parties or for some New Years cheer. For now I’ll be reading up on how to get your American girl doll’s hair done. I think Rebecca needs some lowlights for the winter.

-M

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