think warm thoughts

It’s the 10th day of Christmas.  Did your true love remember your leaping lords?  Mine did not, unfortunately, but I’ve made up for it by listening to Led Zeppelin and David Bowie.  That kind of counts.*  I asked my true love to get me a bubble tea on his way home from work.

Dia de los Reyes is just around the corner!  I celebrated that with my friend Lauren’s family for a few years before I began celebrating Christmas proper again with Michael.  Now that I do Christmas, I make sure we really do it.  I can’t say we do it right – we’re not incredibly religious, and we tend to celebrate the Christmas season during Advent rather than using that time to prepare and anticipate – but we certainly get all twelve days of Christmas, we enjoy every second, and our tree stays up until Epiphany.  I’ve made it a point to look at our Christmas tree a lot this afternoon since I’ll take it down on Monday or Tuesday.  It’s so pretty.

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Scotch Egbert has enjoyed our thrifted tree skirt this year.  To his credit, he’s only knocked five or six ornaments out of the tree since we put it up!  That’s pretty impressive considering the damage he wrought last year.  Michael’s poor LEON train lost a couple of wheels thanks to Scotch’s grinchy disdain for the holiday, so we had to rethink its placement this year.  It rests securely on the living room bookshelves.

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Anyway.  I will miss our decorations.  They brighten winter just enough to make it seem bearable.  It’s gotten rather cold here in the past day or so, and while I know better than to complain – especially since we don’t have the blizzard that’s snowbound so many of our friends to the north – I will admit it drains my spirit.

And so, I leave you with spirits!

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More precisely, I leave you with mulled wine, to which you can add spirits if you wish.  I wish we had some of this around tonight.  It’s quite warming.

4 bottles red wine (cheap stuff will do just fine)
3 tangerines
3 oranges
cinnamon sticks (a handful)
star anise (to taste)
nutmeg (two or three, whole please)
cloves (also whole, to taste)

Slice the citrus and squeeze them gently before placing them in a generously sized stock pot.  Add the wine and other ingredients, and allow the mixture to simmer over low-medium heat.  It’s best to be conservative at first.  If the wine becomes too spiced for your liking, you can always add more citrus, but it’s better to add spices bit by bit.  Once the flavors have mixed to your liking, reduce the heat.  To serve, strain into mugs, and allow guests to add brandy or whiskey as you deem appropriate.  Serves between 12 and 20 guests, depending on personal taste and what else is available.

*It especially counts since many early versions of the song reserve the 10th day for piping pipers.

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