Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Happy Christmas from the Jungle Reds

DEBORAH CROMBIE: No matter what or how you celebrate, we want to take a moment to wish you joy today, and to say how much we appreciate all of our wonderful readers, and the time we are privileged to spend with you, every day of the year.

I'll be spending today (after a big family Christmas Eve get together with Rick’s side of the family) at home with Rick and the kids and granddaughter Wren, and our dear friend Gigi Norwood. We enjoyed our quiet Christmas so much last year that we decided to do it again. We’re making a pork roast that a friend ensures me is fabulous (fingers crossed), roasted Yukon Gold potatoes in duck fat, Jamie Oliver’s creamed spinach and another Jamie recipe for braised red cabbage with apples. We’re cheating on the desserts and going for sticky toffee pudding and a Chantilly Cream cake from Whole Foods. I suspect there will be a bottle or two of Proseco drunk, and some traditional Christmas crackers pulled.

But mostly we will be enjoying friends, family, and the delight of the almost four-year-old’s Christmas.

Now, we would love to know how you’re spending the day!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: We are home, and will make rack of lamb and have champagne and I hope we will be able to take a walk and look at the world and relax a bit. The baby children are in California and Brooklyn, and we have plans with them for later.  I am trying to convince Jonathan to watch The Man Who Invented Christmas-- a wonderful wonderful writers’ movie, highly recommended, but mostly we will just soak up the niceness. Love you all, so much, and all of you are my gifts.
Happy happy holidays!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Home, and hosting the traditional Hugo-Vidal Christmas dinner, this year with 28 guests, one dog, two fires, three tables and four instruments for the after-feasting music.  As a gift to the Smithie (aka The Maine Millennial) we’re having an alcohol-free party this year - she’s celebrating 18 months of sobriety, and we all want to support her.

So grateful to have all three of my children home safe and sound, to have family and friends to share the day with, and to have this wonderful community today and every day! Welcome Yule!

LUCY BURDETTE: Oh all your days sound fabulous! We did most of our big events before Christmas (trip to California, dinner with friends and family, Christmas Eve service (beautiful!), so will have a quiet day on Christmas. It won’t hurt us a bit to have that time to be grateful for all the family and friends in our lives (including you Reds and red readers!) Luckily, we have leftovers of the yellow cake with caramel frosting and some Key West pink shrimp, so we may have that for dinner!

HALLIE EPHRON: Our gala dinner is Christmas eve… and since Christmas and Hanukah overlap we’ll be celebrating both. Lamb chops, as my kids requested. With potato latkes, of course. And mandelbrot cookies and iced gingerbread cookies for desert. We’ll play some holiday music and play games so the kids are truly tired out by the time they get in bed. Christmas day we have the morning together, the disperse--my daughter and her family to her husband’s family, my other daughter and us to have Christmas dinner with friends. Happy holidays, everyone!!

JENN McKINLAY: I’m attempting raspberry macarons, a nod to Paris, this year. I used to host the holiday meal but the past few years I’ve always been on deadline so I’ve been relegated to chief dessert baker. Peppermint bark, macarons, and apple pie. The eve is spent at church  and then we head home to watch A Christmas Carol with Alistair Simm (tradition!). Our mornings are usually quiet and then we’ll go to family for a meal with me bringing dessert. It’s not the chaos it was when the hooligans were little but it’s a joy just the same. Happy Holidays to all who celebrate whatever you celebrate. Peace.

RHYS BOWEN: just returned from carols by candlelight with the family. On Christmas Day it’s a big brunch, hopefully a walk if the weather allows, an English tea then a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I wish you all the merriest Christmas ever!


  1. Merry Christmas!

    We’ve just gotten home from the Christmas Eve Candlelight service. Later, we’ll be celebrating with family. Like Jenn, I’ve been relegated to dessert maker so we’ll have dark chocolate Bundt cake with chocolate ganache . . . .

  2. We will have a quiet morning, just the three of us plus dog. Late afternoon we’ll be offering food and drink to family and neighbors who stop by. Frank will be putting a brisket on to smoke in the morning and it will be added to the canapes and desserts. Once we’re all done I’ll probably crawl off to bed!

  3. Merry Christmas, everyone. We're going to my niece's home where the entire clan will converge for a big, loud, joyous day full of laughter, memories, and FOOD.

  4. Christmas Eve service at the Cathedral and home for ham and sweet potato casserole. Two-casserole brunch today, active afternoon with the dogs, including our puppy Louie, while beef bourguignon cooks in a low oven.

  5. Merry Christmas! I am so blessed to have both my sons home and my daughter-in-law. We had the traditional party with friends last night followed by lighting Hanukkah candles when we got home. This morning will be opening gifts, then breakfast with mimosas, bacon, scrambled eggs, and fresh turnovers (am off in one minute to make the pastry dough). The kids will go off to my ex's, and this afternoon we'll feast on ham and scalloped potatoes with our favorite local family. Grateful!

  6. Merry Christmas, Reds and readers! I'm off for festivities with my grandkids at my son's house. I'm sure it will be wonderful. I'm taking them more lemons from my trees so if there is time my granddaughter might make a lemon meringue pie!
    Edith, I would dearly love to have some of your ham and scalloped potatoes!

  7. We've got both our sons here with us, and our DIL and grandkids. It's been a fun and exhausting few days! We'll be having a spiral ham with various sides, including younger son's famous
    sweet-potato casserole. Y'all have brought me and my wife such pleasure over the years. You're definitely one (several?) of the things for which I'm very grateful.

  8. Merry Christmas, all! I'm getting ready for family -- my siblings, their children and grandchildren will be arriving this afternoon for our family celebration. We eliminated the big dinner last year and will be feasting instead on appetizer and desserts. It's less fuss and we still manage to stuff ourselves!

  9. Happy Christmas 🎄, everyone! We’ll have a quiet day at home and begin to plan our trip to the cottage later this week. The temperatures are mild for the season, so it’s possible this year to make trip — and not spend two warming up the place! Love and peace to all in Jungle Red land.

  10. Merry Christmas to the wonderful Reds, with whom I start almost every day, and to the commenters, who are also so familiar and dear. I'm on a tight schedule this morning, so I can't stay here long, but I had to have you all in my Christmas Day. Husband and I will be going to our daughter's for Christmas lunch/dinner. I'm taking baked mashed potatoes (author Kristi Belcamino's recipe that my family loves), scalloped oysters (my mother's recipe), pecan pie (Shaker recipe), and the new Cherry Cheesecake Chocolate Bundt Cake (my new dessert I tried this year, see my FB page). So, I'm already one minute off schedule now. You all sound like you're going to have lovely days, and I love you all.

  11. Merry Christmas to all.

    As I get ready to face the day, I have the third (listened to the other two last night) Trans-Siberian Orchestra album ('The Lost Christmas Eve') playing as the soundtrack to my morning.

    I opened my cousin's gift to me (Bomber's Moon by Archer Mayor) and my friend Ann will be over in a couple of hours where I'll give her the gifts I got for her and we'll go see Jumanji: The Next Level.

    Later this evening, I'll head over to the family friend's home for dessert (I have no dinner plans other than to just eat something here at home) and to give them some gifts I picked up as tokens of appreciation.

    That's about it. Low-key is the modus operandi these days.

  12. Last night we had T&Vs marvelous cioppino with little mince pies for dessert. I made a vat of cioppino, half now in the freezer and the rest will be our dinner redux. In a bit we are off to church to ring and sing in the 12 Days of Christmas, and after we will see what we can find, so many good things available this time of year, and of course, tonight is Call the Midwives Christmas show!

    I am thankful that Toby is here for another Christmas, that Andy next door made it both into the shower and downstairs for a drink in the afternoon. Things are looking up.

    All my children are scattered but I will talk to this one and that throughout the day.

    Blessings on all my favorite Reds!

    1. Ann, thank for reminding me about Call the Midwives! And much love and a merry Christmas to you and Julie!

    2. Going to watch Where the Heart Calls on Hallmark (not sure of exact title) then Call the Midwives. Love Call the Midwives.

    3. Definitely Call the Midwives tonight!

  13. Merry Christmas Reds , commenters and readers, I keep you all in my heart.
    My daughter, son-in-law and I already celebrated last weekend. Last night, I had supper with one of my brother and one of my sister and an other one of my brothers invited me for lunch today.
    In our family , the big party is on New Year's Eve.

  14. We Wish You a Merry♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Christmas♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪We Wish You a Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♥ ♥ ♥We Wish You A Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...And A Happy New Year!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪..♥ ♥ ♥ Love and Joy, Peace to all!

  15. I am listening to Carol's from Kings and waiting for the kiddos to arrive bearing bread pudding. Love and a happy Christmas to you all!

  16. Merry Christmas! It's early this morning and I just woke up! Deborah, I am going to watch Carols from Kings on Britbox.

    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas ...

  17. Merry Christmas to all above and below the line. We will have a very quiet day. I will be cutting up the turkey. It then will roast in pieces, maybe will smoke part of it, not sure yet. Other wise I will be watching a multitude of Doctor Who Christmas specials. May everyone's day be peaceful and filled with joy.

  18. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, Reds! I listened to Lessons and Carols from King's (we had our own last weekend at church), sang in the choir for 2 Christmas Eve services and got home after 1am, and dragged myself to bed. Opened stockings this morning and will go to friends' house for dinner this afternoon. Call the Midwives later. Then, to all a good night! ♥

  19. Wishing you all, Reds and readers, a day of peace and joy. Youngest nephew remarked that this is the most Christmasy Christmas we've had in a long time--I'm just happy to have both nephews here, a special meal planned, and then they will be off to visit other friends and family. I will settle in for a quiet evening and watch another episode or two of Longmire, season 1.

  20. Yesterday morning was spent decorating our 150 year old redwood church. Last night - crucifer for last service and turned out the nights during the singing of Silent Night. Today, I'm on my own, just finished my leisurely breakfast of bacon and French toast using egg nog instead of milk for the custard. I have a nice pork chop for this evening and have decided that this is a perfect day for laundry since I think many will be with families, easy in and out without waiting for machines, I hope. Happy, quiet, peaceful, rambunctious, whatever you want it to be Christmas and may your fourth candle burn as brightly as your first.

  21. We're with family and had our celebration last night, eating & exchanging
    gifts. This morning has been spent sleeping late and very low-key, the way I
    like it. Since we're caregivers for my elderly parents I don't get
    time to comment often, but I try to read JRW every day to see what everyone's
    been up to! Best wishes to all in this nice little community. Peace,hope,
    love and joy to all the Reds & readers!

  22. Happy Holidays, Everyone in JungleRedlandia! I hope you all had a lovely day!