So, we did a thing. A thing that I swore I would never do. We bought an artificial Christmas tree. Even as I’m typing this I still can’t believe that we have a fake tree sitting in a box ready to be assembled this holiday season. It just doesn’t seem right! Andrew has wanted to get an artificial tree for years because it’s more eco-friendly. Not me though, and we’ve gone and picked out our $50 tree year after year, but I couldn’t imagine doing that this year.
Bailey, my little soulmate kitty, passed away last Christmas. Literally, on Christmas Day, he held on for some special treats but didn’t make it through the night. Bailey loved when we brought home a Christmas tree. He would sit and stare at the tree, sleep underneath it, he just loved Christmas trees. I couldn’t bear to have a real tree in our home without our Christmas loving kitty. So it’s artificial from here on out!
I did my research though and the tree that we ended up with looks SO real! The needles even feel real, it’s quite impressive. And a benefit to not getting a real tree is that we can put it up whenever I want. (notice I said when I want)
Since going to the Christmas Markets in Zurich a couple of years ago I’ve discovered a new found appreciation for mulled wine. It was all over the markets since it’s such a festive way to stay warm in the chilly outdoor spaces. I tried to find the most authentic recipe that I could and I ended up just creating my own with some Zurich inspiration. It’s quite tasty, warms you up and can be made with the cheapest dry red you can find.
- 2 bottles of dry red wine (Nothing expensive or fancy)
- 1.5 cups of water
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 6 whole cloves
- 3 cardamom pods
- 2 stars anise
- 3 whole cinnamon sticks
- Peels from 2 oranges, or orange slices
- 1 cup fresh cranberries (optional)
- Optional: orange slices for garnish
1.Boil the water with the sugar until the sugar is dissolved
2. Reduce the heat until no longer boiling, add all spices and orange peel (cranberries if using)
3. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the wine. Simmer for a minimum of thirty minutes, or up to a couple of hours. Don’t let it boil- it will boil off the alcohol.
4. Strain and serve. Garnish with an orange slice if you’re feeling fancy.
I hope that this recipe helps bring you some warming cheer during the holiday season. Pour a glass or a mug, sit in a cozy spot and enjoy. It goes great with some nice warm brie on crostini or some spicy gingerbread cookies (I’ll share my favorite recipe for those soon!)