Christopher Ranch

  (Gilroy, California)
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'Tis the Season to be Merry - Clark Griswold Style

“Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the happ’, happ’ happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny (explicative) Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat, white (explicative) down that chimney tonight, he’s going to find the jolliest bunch of (explicative) this side of the nut house….”

Ahh, yes…one of Clark Griswold’s most classic lines from Christmas Vacation, which is always a must see this time of year, and a movie that touches a dysfunctional sentimental chord in my heart.

I finally got around to watching Christmas Vacation last night, and my annual viewing consistently marks the official beginning to my holiday season. Sure, the lights and tree have been up for a while, and I’ve been listening to Christmas tunes since June, but until I see Cousin Eddy depositing his mobile toilet waste into the sewer (see above), I can’t fully embrace the Christmas spirit.

Why, exactly, does Christmas Vacation wage such a tremendous influence over me? Not sure. Maybe I can relate…I’m a fan of the turkey neck, too, Eddy.

Therefore, since my holiday fever has finally been ignited, it’s now time to squeeze my remaining Christmas activities into the next four days.

To do:
1.) Christmas shopping – thank goodness for eBay.
2.) Ice skating – preferably with Bailey’s & hot chocolate.
3.) Caroling – does singing Nat King Cole karaoke count?
4.) Cooking – yikes. We’re hosting both Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners this year, and we’ve yet to begin executing meals that begin in 72 hours.

Now, when I say “we’re” hosting these meals, by “we,” I really mean my parents – they’re doing the bulk of the labor. However, this year, I’ve been tapped with planning the meals because, and I quote, my mom “is sick of her ungrateful family complaining that we eat the same thing every year on Christmas.” Now, I love a good challenge and do feel guilty that mom has to annually slave in the kitchen, so I rose to the occasion.

Therefore, while I chuckled throughout Christmas Vacation last night (“is the house on fire, Clark?”), I also began coordinating my menu. Since we’re doing it my way this year, and I’m a fan of appetizers, small plates and fresh garlic, the traditional sit-down dinner is turning into more of a cocktail party. Sorry, mom.

Note – if your mom also has challenged your menu-planning skills, feel free to use.

Drum roll, please (albeit, my lineup is not nearly as exciting as Clark Griswold’s exquisite display of exterior illumination)…

Bombay Sliders With Garlic Curry Sauce

Asian Lettuce Cups

Garlic-Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

Fig-And-Prosciutto Flatbread

Tapas-Style Garlic Prawns & Chorizo

Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta With Roasted Garlic

Creamed Mushrooms On Chive Butter Toast

Maine Lobster Cappuccino

Garlicky Spinach Balls

Lamb With Black Olives

So, “if all of this food tastes half as good as it looks, we’re in for a treat.” Thanks, Clark.

Happy Holidays and a very Merry New Year from Christopher Ranch!

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