A Bûche de Noël to wish you a very merry Christmas

There are several things I love about Christmas, and no they do not involve material presents. There’s the food, which is always a tad more abundant around this time of the year. I also love getting reunion invitations from friends I haven’t seen in years! But what I really honestly look forward to about Christmas is that especially magnified sense of contentment I always get.

I’ve always felt like my year culminates during the Christmas holidays instead of the new year. I guess with all the excitement on New Year’s Eve I have difficulty finding that moment of solitude to really take in everything that I have around me, or even to reflect on the year that has been.

On Christmas-day though, things seem a bit calmer. Your soul has a way of feeling more grounded than usual. The good vibes are rampant enough that it leeks into your train of thought, making you see things in a more glass-half-full light. When the mood is as good as it usually is on Christmas-day, looking back on the bad days makes them feel like blessings as well. I feel unburdened enough to have a clear head, and sometimes that’s enough to make me realize I have the ability to actually feel sincerely grateful for the life I’m living.

I know for a fact that the rest of the year can feel like a blur of stress and ill-feelings, but on Christmas it’s much easier to spot contentment. I find it in the brand new strength and confidence I acquired from my failures during the nearly-finished year. I find it in the added maturity that allows me to nitpick the silver lining from the bad memories. Heck I even find it in the laughter between sips of peppermint-spiked hot cocoa. I enjoy finding it in the antics of three insane younger brothers, who despite growing more and more into their individual selves each year remain to be the only bunch of boys who can tap into the overprotective side of me. I can even find it in the jokes and stories my parents tell around the dinner table.

Christmas has a way of making everything feel special to me, and that’s why this is my favourite day of the year.
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I’m glad I changed my mind about Chai and made this cake

Before I begin to heap praise upon praise for this recipe, I just have one quick question: Do you like Chai?

At the beginning I didn’t like Chai. At all. It reminded me of this particular childhood stomachache medicine that my grandmother used to force into me whenever my tummy went bad. I asked her why it smelled odd and she told me it was a concoction of crushed Chinese herbs that will cure me instantly. I admit begrudgingly that my stomachaches do go away pretty quickly after having this medicine, but it certainly always left a bad taste in my mouth. It used to be that the moment I get a whiff or a taste of anything Chai-flavoured, this is the memory that surfaces to my mind.

I guess this cake is about to replace that memory now.
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