I slept on my sister’s couch this year for Christmas. My family celebrates holidays a few days late so that my siblings can spend time with their in-laws on the actual day. As the only spouse-less one in the family I usually spend the actual holiday with my sister and her family.

It works out well. In addition to spending quality time with my sister, I get a stocking, I get a few gifts from Santa, I get candy in my stocking, we have really good egg nog, share an awesome breakfast in the morning and, most importantly, they have cable (The Food Network.)

I arrived on Christmas Eve to a dinner of tomato soup (that my sister doctors up with tarragon and cream mmmm) and grilled cheese. In my honor they swaped their usual American Cheese (the ONLY cheese I’ll never eat) for cheddar. After dinner it was time to prepare for Santa’s arrival.

This is a much more intense process than I remember as a child. Here’s what had to be done:

1. Reindeer food had to be sprinkled outside. This was a mix of glitter and oats.
2. Blinking lights were to be posted on the door. It was like a homing device for Santa I suppose.
3. Rockets had to be fired into the air. These were plastic rockets that fired into the air with the help of an air pump. Again, this was to signal to Santa that this was the house to be.
4. Cookies were put on plates. I remembered this one.
5. Milk was poured into a glass. Standard.
6. Stockings were hung. Duh.
7. Letters were written to Santa. I would elaborate but they were top secret so I don’t know what they said.
8. Reindeer candy was put out. I asked my nephew if I could have some (it was a mix of mints and caramels) and he informed me that it’s reindeer food only and I could get sick.

After all of the preparations we read stories and tucked the kids into bed. My brother in law then announced that it was time to “get our jolly on.” So I cozied up on the couch with my sister and her husband and we started our own preparations for Santa.

1. We poured some egg nog. Every year we have Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Nog. It’s amazing how good it tastes, how bad it is for you and how drunk it gets you. The bottle reads: Blended whiskey, rum and brandy blended with fresh dairy cream make this a holiday favorite. Just add a little cinnamon and ground nutmeg to create a wonderful holiday cocktail!
2. Pour some egg nog. Oh wait… I already said that. I guess that was it then.

As our bodies warmed from the holiday buzz we stuffed stockings, swept up the reindeer glitter, took nibbles out of cookies, gulped down the milk and opened and disposed of secret letters. It was tough being Santa.

My sister and her husband soon went to bed and I happily watched The Food Network as I knit until I eventually got sleepy.

I awoke to the padding of feet running into the room. “Santa came! Did you hear him come in?”

“I didn’t hear a thing.” I told them, “But I’m a sound sleeper.”

I couldn’t tell them the truth… that I tune everyone out when I watch The Food Network. So if I large man dressed in red came in I would have easily missed him when the holiday celebrity episode was on.

As my nephew opened his gifts he almost got tears in his eyes and declared “All of my dreams came true! All of my dreams came true!”

I smiled to myself and agreed. “Mine did too Lukey… mine did too.”

The Final Dish: What more could a girl ask for at Christmas than a super cool sister with super cool kids, really good egg nog, my own stocking and my fav television personalities? I totally got my jolly on.