wassail: a salutation wishing health to a person, used in medieval England, when presenting a cup of drink or when toasting someone; a festivity or revel with drink; liquor for drinking and wishing health on others on festive occasions, i.e. Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night.
And wassail we did. Merrily, on many occasions. Still are.
The weeks leading up to this most festive of seasons seemed doubly hectic this year, with no shortage of long lines, too many lists and some of the worst last-minute shopping I've ever done. (TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS? Egads.) I burned myself out trying to Martha-ize the house and then shrugged it off. Whoever came to visit would have to accept me as is, messy house and all. I have KIDS. 'Nuff said.
Mom and Dad came up for "early" Christmas the week before, bringing dinner with them (gotta love that!) When it came to buying their gift, they were easy to shop for: a case of McPherson shiraz. Maybe it's the allure of getting it out of the back of someone's van that adds to the thrill, but it really is my pleasure to get them set up with something that can't be found at the LCBO. Ya gotta know people. I relished their joyous reaction when they peeled back the wrapping; even more so when I suggested they open a bottle to go with the evening's roast beef dinner. (Have to do quality control, after all ...)
Christmas Eve we introduced The Fool to another branch of the family tree, where it was well paired with more tourtiere. The wassailing continued after dinner with last year's Christmas gift from Hubby, a Domaine Chandon Brut Classique, which led to a rather amusing evening of bubble-induced giggles and the telling of outrageous family lore.
The Big Day dawned bright and early (read: dark, some time around stupid o'clock) to a BIKE! And LITTLEST PET SHOPS! And CANDY CANES! And EVEN MORE PRESENTS FOR ME! While the eldest laid waste to any wrapping paper in her way and the youngest sat back and munched on it, Hubby and I exchanged gifts. I must say, between Santa and Hubby, our cellar is well stocked. Eight bottles in total, including a Santa Margherita Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore and a rare South African pinotage highly rated across the board by the likes of Rod, Vic and Natalie.
But wait for it ... there's MORE!
The third instalment of Christmas was generously hosted by Grammy on Boxing Day. Definitely needed a glass of wine (more like a whole bottle, fed through an IV directly into my jugular) after the drive to TO, which involved a bad bout of motion sickness 20 minutes in, and a baby who had just about enough of her car seat with another hour to go. Thankfully, a kegger of Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio and a few bottles of Jackson Triggs Grand Reserve Chardonnay, along with plenty of beer, awaited us. Cut to three hours later, after the tryptophan coma has set in, and you've got a houseful of happy campers.
Isn't that really what the holidays are all about? Eat, drink, be merry. Lather, rinse, repeat. Share in a bottle of wine, whether as the giver or the receiver, and everyone shares in the spirit. Literally, and figuratively.
Wishing everyone a safe and merry wassailing season.