Though December is only half over, I’m already starting to feel that dread, that familiar letdown that can only mean one thing: Christmas is over. My husband, Brian, and I (both of us are long time lovers of Christmas) always say we’d be just fine if our home was permanently swathed in garland and Christmas lights—if our nutcrackers, nativity scenes, and village pieces were always on display. But, in truth, I know that, despite the best efforts of every retailer, the Christmas season is special because it lasts just a few short weeks.
Now, before you rush to reprimand me, I’m fully aware that Christmas is not all about decorations, Lifetime Channel movie marathons, and totally awesome Mariah Carey tunes. I know that I can keep the true spirit and meaning of Christmas in my heart all year ‘round. After all, this is the theme of the greatest holiday novel ever written: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
My love for this short book began well before my obsession for all things Dickens. When I was a little girl, I’d spend hours, curled up on our couch, with—if I was lucky— an ice cold glass of eggnog from Senn’s diary, listening to a dramatic reading of A Christmas Carol on my parent’s record player.
While I’m not usually a fan of adaptations of literary texts, or audiobooks for that matter, this prejudice does not extend to A Christmas Carol. Perhaps this is because the versions and parodies of this work are so well ingrained in our culture—let’s face it, our holiday cannon just wouldn’t be complete without these classics of film: A Klingon Christmas Carol (2006), An All Dogs Christmas Carol (1998), and It’s Christmas, Carol! (2012). All kidding aside, I thank Dickens every holiday season for inspiring the genius that is Scrooged (1988).
So, before Christmas officially comes to an end, I plan to celebrate by recreating one of my favorite holiday memories (with a little twist, of course). I’ve prepped and chilled a batch of eggnog. A Christmas Carol has been downloaded as an audio book to my i-pod. And, while I’ll be missing the familiar scratch of the record player, and Brian and I will, no doubt, be adding a shot of rum to our glasses of eggnog, I’m looking forward to sharing this holiday tradition with our own boys.
4 cups whole milk
5 tsp cloves
2 ½ tsp vanilla extract (divided)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
12 egg yolks
1 ½ cups sugar
4 cups light cream
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 ½ cups rum (optional)
1. Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.
2. In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain and let cool for about an hour.
3. Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.