Christmas vacation feels official and commenced this morning. I'm writing this in bed, with hot coffee and a stack of unread books on my bedside table, and two quiet cats curled into ringlets at my feet. Manley is home from work (still asleep) and there is so much and yet nothing to do: tidy the house, wrap a few straggling gifts, pick up our quarterly order of wine from the vineyard we're members of. My parents are coming here for Christmas, and tomorrow we go pick up one of my oldest and most beloved friends from the airport. She's spending Christmas with us! Almost too good to be true. It's supposed to be frigid but fair on Christmas day, and I'm cooking dinner (the roast lamb with lavender cream fraiche and spicy peach chutney preserves from the infusions workshop we did in November). And, hopefully I'll bake a cake, which has become a once-a-year kinda thing for me, maybe twice. Which is to say, I'm thinking something terribly decadent. Something chocolate.
This is the tea I mixed and packaged for gifts this year, and it's my favorite herbal blend. We drink it a lot around here, hot with honey or iced in big pitchers all day long. It has a mildly sedative effect, so it's really nice at bedtime, but also works to combat jitters and holiday anxiety! I buy the bulk herbs and flowers at Whole Foods (or Whole Body, if you have it), and it's really inexpensive (I filled five or six pint-sized Le Parfait canning jars for under ten dollars). It's just equal parts peppermint leaf and lemon balm (one cup of each is a good starting place), and then a quarter cup each of lavender flowers, rose petals, and chamomile. Or thereabouts. You know!
Wishing you the best and brightest of holiday seasons this week and this year!