Our first gift of the day came in the form of sleep. Annabelle awoke very early but wisely decided to go back to bed. She woke again two hours later, refreshed and eager to make up for lost time.
Annabelle’s first stop was the kitchen window, where her stocking had been hung with care. On the floor, a plate scattered with cookie crumbs and a drained glass of French milk… Pere Noel (Father Christmas) had come at last!
Ever the strategist, Annabelle neatly arranged her dolls in advance, before joining them on the sofa to survey the contents of her stocking. She soon moved on to bigger presents tucked beneath the tree. This was the year of dolls and their ensembles. Annabelle’s sheer delight was contagious and spent most of the day ambling about with big dopey grins on our faces.
We may have eaten our weight in chocolate, this Christmas. We didn’t have much time to shop for gifts for one another. Naud has been busy working and Annabelle has been sick; then there’s that little detail about us moving our family across the ocean. Suffice it to say, we skimped on grown-up presents. Neither of us minded. We at least managed to get our hands on some good chocolate, so there was that.
At lunchtime, we nibbled hors d’oeuvres and sipped champagne while Annabelle hosted a dolly tea party. Miniature tomato tarts, baby quiches and thumb-sized croque monsieurs proved the perfect size for the occasion.
The afternoon was spent in true Christmas style: Annabelle played with her new toys and we, the weary parents, lounged excessively. When the rumbling of our bellies announced impending mealtime, we ate French cheese and I prepared a simple yet elegant Christmas dinner for three. There was duck breast with espelette (sweet pepper) sauce, spicy roasted sweet potatoes and caramelized brussels sprouts with pancetta and shallots. The dinner was a perfect blend of comfort and decadence.
As tempting as it was to settle in for the night, we unanimously decided to change out of our pajamas and go for an evening stroll. We were so glad we did.
It was almost balmy as we made our way toward rue de Rivoli. We may or may not have had destination in mind…
We did, in fact, have a plan. We were headed for the giant Ferris wheel at the far end of Jardin des Tuileries. We couldn’t think of a better day than Christmas to ride to the tippy top, so we crossed our fingers and said a little prayer that it would be open…
It was late when we headed for home. Annabelle was getting squirrelly and asked is she might climb on a statue in the park. Despite the fact that it was probably totally against the rules, we let her do it. She thought the whole thing was hysterical. So did we when we took a closer look at the photo.
There was only one thing left to do and we did it. We had our buche de noel and ate it, too. We think Marie Antoinette would have approved.
We hope your Christmas was as merry as ours!
xoxo Sarah, Naud and Annabelle