What hit and missed on our Christmas season to do and to eat list this year?
- Chanticleer a cappella Christmas Concert, Nov 24. Strong A. Not as flawless as last year, but definitely a beautiful and spiritual way for the adults to start off what can easily become a very childish season.
- Washington Ballet Nutcracker, Nov 30, A. Not the finest Nutcracker dancing I’ve ever seen, but family fun was off the hook.
- Tree lighting at Mosaic District, Dec 1. C. Underwhelming.
- Alto soloist for Messiah performances, Dec 2 in Annandale and Dec 9 in Ashburn. Annandale gets an A because I got rave reviews and the orchestra was agile and delightful, Ashburn gets an A- because my friend who took the time out of her incredibly busy schedule drive out with me and play flute got screwed over.
- Meadowlark Gardens Walk of Lights, Dec 6. A+ Better than I’d expected. We had such a wonderful time.
- Tacky Christmas sweater party, Dec 7. A- I just wish Kent had been there and I’d worked a couple of little kinks out of the program.
- Santa at Merrifield Garden Center, Dec 9. C-.
- Botanic Gardens train exhibit and carousel at National Mall, Dec 10. A+ Everyone had a terrific time.
- Mount Vernon, Dec 13? A. I really enjoyed the thematic trees, and the turkeys. Fluffy loved the gingerbread houses and made a pal on the mansion tour.
- Bull Run carnival and light show, Dec 14. A
- Preschool Christmas party, Dec 15. B+. The boys are just too young for this, plus we tried to cram the day with 3 activities. It was just okay.
- Drive around to see Christmas lights, various times. B+ I wanted this to be more fun than it was. The boys were up and down about it, and Fluffy half the time wanted a show turned on. Not great.
- Preschool class party, Dec 19. A-. Again, difficult for the boys and Fluffy dropped and broke her gingerbread house. Good time, but not great.
- Temple lights and Creche exhibit, Dec 21. A+ despite Peppers bloody lip from a fall. This exceeded moderately high expectations by bringing the Christmas spirit even through the rain and the difficulty of manning 3 with no stroller.
- Life-size Gingerbread House at Ritz Carlton, C. It smelled good, but really it was a little room with gingerbread bricks on the walls filled with Ritz Carlton shampoo and the like for sale. It did not capture the imagination of children.
- Georgetown Cupcake holiday flavors, A+. Chocolate peppermint, will you marry me? Even the gingerbread was really yummy.
- Hello Cupcake holiday flavors, A.
- Cupcakes Actually holiday flavors, B+.
- Brunch before Christmas, Dec 24. A+. Best food, best company. Is it okay to give an A+ to an event you host? I’m just being honest. I loved it.
As for the food, the clear winner this year was the candycane cake! I made the apple and tart cherry filling, and Jenni braided it into the sourdough cakes. I think it turned out so fabulous because I used the champagne that a client had given Kent for the white wine in the filling recipe. I also used it for the turkey gravy which I’m sure is a great shock and travesty to champagne drinkers everywhere. Sorry. But it made AWESOME pie filling.