I love the holiday season. And I'm not talking "love" like the cliche "Christmas is my favorite holiday" drivel. No, I'm talking love like everything-about-the-holidays-makes-me-mushy-inside love. As in, I love the things that most people just hate about the holidays.
- I love the gaudy, ostentatious holiday decorations that show up in the big department stores every year (it makes me feel like I live in a Christmas movie set in New York)
- I love the cheesy Christmas songs on the radio that start the day after Thanksgiving (yes, I'm that person)
- I love watching holiday movies over and over (I never get tired of The Santa Clause and While You Were Sleeping)
- I love seeing Santa Claus at the mall in his giant North Pole house with a huge line of kids all waiting to start screaming the second they sit in his lap.
- I love untangling Christmas lights and dragging out the boxes of Christmas decorations and I love leaving my tree up until mid-January... or late January... or March.
- I love the cold dump of snow and everyone bundled up running around doing their Christmas shopping last-minute.
- I love driving around town looking at the overblown Christmas lights and those horrific lawn decorations that seem to show up in every neighborhood.
- I love Christmas carolers and hand bell choirs.
- I love that jittery, excited feeling that has been with me since I was very small and still thought that a big jolly man in a red suit was going to magically leave me presents on Christmas Eve. Sometimes I still believe that.
- I love the overstuffed church pews on Christmas Eve.
- I love the foods that are somehow only acceptable once a year. Pumpkin pie, peppermint ice cream, cranberry sauce, baked yams, egg nog, gingerbread.
- and I love hot cocoa, even if every, every, every time I drink it, it scorches my tongue and I can't taste anything after the first sip.
After spending a long weekend at the mall people-watching (like a crazy person... who goes to the mall on purpose this time of year not to shop, except me?) I decided I needed to round-out my dose of Christmas cheer with a warm, chocolaty beverage.
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips
3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon, to taste
Mix the cocoa powder and sugar together in a small pot. Add milk and chocolate chips and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate chips have melted and consistency thickens slightly. Add vanilla and serve. I sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top of mine.
Makes three-four servings.
True to form, I burnt my tongue the first sip I took, but somehow managed to enjoy the rich, chocolate taste to the last drop. Delicious.