The house waits; spruced up in the finery of the season. Christmas lights twinkle and admire their reflections in window panes and shining floor.
Fragrant candles scent the air with cinnamon, allspice, apples and vanilla; blending with the delicious aroma of turkey, and sage and onion dressing.
The Christmas cake's aroma is deep and rich with fruity goodness. Baked into it is the love with which it was made by a dear friend who insisted on making it in England in July, so that we could bring it home with us and she could keep her tradition of baking our cake.
The turkey; dressing; potato casserole and coffee; my contributions to tonight's feast are made; the food ready in the warming oven.
At 6pm the first friends arrive; Magda and Debbie; with cold drinks, and casseroles filled with squash and plump, green beans.
Magda hands me a bag containing mysterious frozen lumps. "These are for you, to go in the freezer, but first you must open it," she says. Inside I find 12 frozen cabbage rolls! Is this the start of a new Christmas carol? :)
"So that you can have a night when you won't have to cook. Just thaw, add tomato sauce and bake!"she says. Such a thoughtful and appreciated gift!
A little later Vena and Brenda arrive bearing tender shortbread; coconut loaf and a decadent dessert made of ice cream sandwiches, cool whip, chocolate sauce and peanuts. All of my favourite things in one dessert. Come to think of it the DQ Peanut Buster Parfait matches the flavour combination perfectly. Brenda also brought chocolate--lots of chocolate!
Susan Starrett (not to be confused with Susan Stewart) arrives, with a generous quantity of tarts filled with mincemeat that she had made from the fruits of her garden, including green tomatoes! They are the most delicious mince tarts I have ever tasted.
Two more friends arrive a little later: Susan Stewart with wine and Tracy with buns; eight of us in all, enjoyed a feast of fine food and friendship. Others couldn't make it due to the busyness of the season or illness, but we, the representative writers of Writers Nest, fill the room with laughter and conversation and later, reading out loud.
Susan (Stewart, this time) hands me a mysterious envelope with a cherubic angel on the front. Within are several slips of paper and another golden envelope. The slips of paper contain notes from the writers present (a plot hatched by Susan,) and which I am to read out loud. Each contains words carefully chosen by word lovers. I will cherish them always, I think to myself. In the golden envelope is a gift of money to spend on something of my choice. Each dollar so lovingly given will go towards the precious new laptop on which I am typing this blog post and which I am gathering resources to pay for!
To Nesters and other writers near and far, may Christ be glorified in all that you write, and may God bless your pens and keyboards in the year ahead