Our First Christmas.

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Well, my holiday sure was wonderful.  How was everyone else’s?  Dad’s lasagna as prepared by Max Malanga and the Compost Cookies were both big successes.  I love the feeling of those successes because that means I was able to make my family happy and, really, nothing means more.

On Christmas Eve, we generally have a more formal dinner.  I had just picked Max up and we stopped home quickly to see the cat and then went directly to the Malanga house.

A Coane family tradition is to have champagne, blinis and caviar on Christmas Eve.  How very formal of you, Coanes.  Also, we are forever stealing this.  Champagne is always flowing at the Malanga house, but this caviar thing is a VERY nice tradiion, Honey.

This year, Hubby varied the tradition slightly by preparing latkes instead of blinis-couple reasons for this: (1) Max worked all through Hannukah this year and hasn’t gotten to celebrate it at all with his own family, (2) it incorporates a nice Jewish tradition into Christmas, which is rad, and (3) blinis have to be prepared right on the spot and are a bit of an art while latkes can be thrown on a serving platter after frying and everyone can help.
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Max Malanga and Allison.

Max Malanga and Allison.

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I’m ever-so-slightly bummed there aren’t more pictures of me from Christmas Eve, because you guys! I did full-on make-up and hair.  It was a rare, but lovely sight to behold.

I always like the contrast of doing a formal sit-down Christmas Eve and a low-key, pajama-loungey Christmas.  You get the best of both worlds.

The next morning I woke up next to my husband.  I consider that my first gift.  We exchanged some small personal gifts, and obviously spoiled Smudge rotten.

photo 4 (7)Then we went to the Malanga house to open presents with the others.  It gave me no small amount of glee when I was wrapping all the presents to write “From The Coanes” on them.  Then watching my family open gifts and thank and hug Max, too?! Love love love.  The only thing that will make it better ONE DAY is to have some little ones running around.  Everyone knows that little kids amplify Christmas preciousness by a million fold, and the Christmas preciousness level of my family is already a little absurdly high, I’d say.

Anyway, we had a lot of gifts to work through, and I always find that the best part is watching everyone else open their gifts.  You know the old “giving is better than receiving” adage.  It makes the gift opening process lengthy.  I’d argue-worth it.  Plus, you get to eat and drink fancy champagne the whole morning.  Hard to complain.

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After gifts were opened and tummy’s filled for the first time that day, we all headed off for naps.  Hubby took on the task of preparing the antipasta.  I felt bad for him because that was a Dad thing, and now he has to sort of step into my dad’s role on this one. I’m wondering if you, internet world, have any family traditions from loved ones passed that you’ve passed on.  How do you make it ok for the new person to be autonomous while keeping the tradition intact?  It is a delicate balance, I think.

In the end, Max made a different dish than Dad.  Dad always made the very traditional plate, but what Max made was something else-something more gourmet (and can I just say?), f-ing gorgeous.  There is just no comparing the two.

When guests began arriving Max and I opened a very special bottle of champagne.  We purchased it at the vineyard in France when on our engagement trip.  It is rare and a good vintage.  To put it his way, “It isn’t going to get any better than this,” and he would know.  So we decided to share it with family and toast to my dad.  It was the only time all day I had trouble keeping it together.  I am so lucky.

The work of art that was the antipasta plate.

The work of art that was the antipasta plate.

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and cherished your loved ones.  Though this has been a very tough year for my family, both old and new, I’m optimistic about what the future holds for the coming year.  I know Dad would have loved Christmas this year.  It was his holiday and we did him totally proud.

Every Christmas with my family around me is a complete blessing.

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