Sharing my curious Christmas wish list – do you have one?

When the leaves of trees in front of my home turned yellow, I started to think of Christmas, even before Thanksgiving! In fact, I got so inspired to put up the pre-lit Christmas tree in the living room and wreath on the front door. My nine-year-old grandson’s reaction when he stopped by during Thanksgiving likely echoed everyone else’s – why so early, Lola?

I don’t know … perhaps because I just felt like living up the joyful spirit of Christmas. Or maybe, the lavish autumnal scene outside urged celebration of the lively holidays. Why start celebrating early? I blame that on the magnificent and vibrant colors outside my door. There’s a holiday magic about them.

With the holiday spirit comes a wish list. Do you have one? Doesn’t everyone? I know what I want for Christmas, and it’s not my “two front teeth” as the song goes, because I’ve got them on. There’s a short simple list I carry in my head. More of a “to do” list, definitely, fun-filled and entertaining, and sweet.

So, what’s your Christmas list? I’ll share mine with you.

I would like a chess match with my nine-year-old grandson. I watched him play with an engineer during Thanksgiving party. My grandson was good! Not to put anyone down, but while the adult concentrated on his moves, the boy switched his attention between the board and the football game on TV. How he executed his strategic moves with slight focus (or so I thought) behooves me. I’m considering that when I play with him, I’ll do a furtive check – will he devote equal attention to the chess match and TV? I can imagine myself intensely concentrating on the characters on the board, while he, perhaps, will make quick smart moves despite distracted attention. I’m really proud of my grandson. I would love to play chess with him. Well, this is on my list for this holiday. We’re getting together before he and his parents travel to Minneapolis for Christmas and New Year.

Important on my wish list – host a Christmas party at home, which I haven’t done since my late husband got sick and started dialysis nearly nine years ago. I have a date in mind, the afternoon and evening of Dec. 24th. There’ll be music in the background, and lots of food on the table, with a large chunk of honeybaked ham as the center piece. Wafts of hot apple cider with cinnamon or ginger ale will fill the air. Colorfully wrapped gifts will be displayed on my square living room table, all so teasingly enticing for a robust lottery gift game, with each gift good for up to three steals. But wait a minute – I’ve told family members about this party, but not friends. I better get going with my calls. After all, a party is always merrier when there are more.

Funny that on my Christmas list is cooking certain food. I would like to make my fantastic chicken and macaroni salad for the holidays. Haven’t made this since summer a year ago. Nothing original about the recipe, but definitely with my own added flair and style. I am partial to lots of cooked and cubed carrots along with pieces of fruit cocktail and pineapple mixed in with short noodles. A twist of sweet and sour for a zingy savor, thus the need for a pouring of pineapple juice into the palatable medley. Of course, there has to be an abundance of chicken shreds in the mixture blended with mayonnaise. A dish quite familiar to many, I’m sure – but somehow, my concoction presents an extra and special oomph. Or, am I just biased?

Another on my unusual wish list – make guinataan, a dessert that I have never made but whose recipe and procedure I know by heart. Why and how? I have watched family members make it. Important ingredients: cutlets of taro root, ripe sliced saba bananas, strips of ripe jackfruit, small rounded dough dumplings, and some purple ube (sweetened and mashed taro) – all these cooked in rich and sugared coconut milk. My preference is a thick and heavily saucy guinataan seeping the mild fragrance of ripe jackfruit.

In a nutshell (no need for a nutcracker), my unusual Christmas wish list can be simply summed up to — fun time with family and friends, and food. And I’ll keep it that way.

Linda P. Jacob

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