For the first time in his life, The Boy did not give me a Christmas List. In years past he has written out his list by hand - sometimes pages and pages - and given it to me in July or August...not wanting me to have any excuse for not getting everything on his list. (He excelled in Christmas list making, if only it had been a class in school!) So this year, no list, so strange...and I thought to myself The Boy just needs some Christmas Spirit! He's been working a lot and has been kind of laid up with back issues but I had the perfect remedy for this situation, I told The Boy I had plans for his day off...we would have our annual Christmas lunch, go see a Christmasy movie, come home and string popcorn by the fire while watching a Hallmark movie and then we would play Monopoly...to which he replied, "Just shoot me now, as in now, unless you can tell me where we keep the poison or can I stand on a chair to hang myself or do I need the stool?"
Clever little minx...he thought he was SO funny...he said he didn't give me a list this year because he has everything he wants and needs and if he wanted or needed something he'd just go buy it himself because then he'd get it right! My heart began to race...did I detect traces of the mister in that remark?!?! This called for immediate and fast action...I tricked The Boy into getting in the car...then I had him - captive - Christmas Carols blasting, hot cocoa steaming, and to cure him of sassing his mom four days before Christmas, I drove straight to the antique shops!!!
Over the groaning and whining and fake stomach aching, he lumbered along behind me...holding up vintage Santa's and saying things like, "Here, buy this so we can go," or "We don't need any more Christmas crap, I'll go wait in the car," or "Mom, I'm seriously feeling sick, get the reindeer and let's get out of here!" But beneath all of his bravado, he was smiling...it was there, small and tight, but it was there. The Boy loves Christmas and all the trappings, he just needed to be reminded of it...after the antique shops we went to the Dutch Bakery, loaded him up with bearclaws and turnovers...his smile was a bit broader...then we hit a few more shops...his mood had definitely improved...we had our Christmas lunch at the Crab Pot...now his smile was a full-blown grin...and we hit a few more shops on the way home...and there was genuine laughter all around.
While I didn't get him to string popcorn and watch Hallmark movies I decided it was okay, I'll get over him growing up...one day. And I certainly didn't get him to help me make sugared cranberries but I highly suggest you do it...and soon! They are great as a snack - sweet and tart - and beautiful as decorations on cakes or cookies and they make great gifts! Please ignore how lumpy mine look...I used granulated sugar and forgot to process the sugar first, so it would be more fine and the cranberries would have a smoother coating of sugar...but it didn't matter as these were eaten within seconds!
Sugared Cranberries - Pots and Pins
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange extract
zest from one orange
To coat cranberries: 1 cup superfine sugar (if you don't have superfine sugar, process granulated sugar in food processor for a few seconds, or you can use granulated sugar)
Combine the 2 cups sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and it just comes to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in extracts, zest and add cranberries. Put a plate over the cranberries so they are all submerged in the pan. Put in refrigerator for two hours or over night. Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl so you can reserve the syrupy liquid to use in mocktails. Pour superfine sugar into a baking dish and add the cranberries, rolling to coat with sugar. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and allow to dry for an hour. Store in airtight containers for up to a week. These are great to give as gifts! If you can bring yourself to part with them!