Christmas with the family

Written by Chaz on 6 February 2012

Though the real world usually makes it harder to spend time traveling, sometimes it makes it easier. I’ve spent much of the last couple months in Texas for work, and since I was going to be so close, I decided to spend the Christmas holiday at my uncle Eric’s house just east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. My grandmother was also coming down from Fargo, North Dakota, where my dad grew up, and my other uncle was coming with her from Minneapolis. So I was very happy to have the opportunity to join all of them.

I arrived a few days before Christmas, and had to do some work the day after I arrived, which was still a normal working day. Luckily, my uncle, who is an avid and proud hunter, provided his home office, which was more than adequate.

Chaz’s N.M. office

We had a ton of snow in New Mexico the day after I arrived, and our trip into Albuquerque to pick my grandmother and uncle Joel up at the airport was a bit dicey. They had even closed the interstate. But we made it there and back safely, and set to work immediately taking full advantage of the snow with my uncle’s ATV, some rope and a couple sleds.

Though probably not the safest activity I’ve ever engaged in (“Try not to fall off into a cactus,” my uncle said), it was really fun.

The culinary portion of my time in New Mexico began on Christmas eve, when my cousin helped my grandmother make some holiday cookies before my grandmother turned her attention to our family’s Christmas eve tradition: oyster stew.


Oyster stew, it turns out, is very simple. You just cook the oysters until the edges curl and combine with butter and cream, then serve. It only took a few minutes before we were ready to sit down at the table.


My seafood odyssey has come a long way, but oysters are still a little much for me. I didn’t object to the stew, though. What’s not to like about butter and cream? And I guess this is why they call them oyster crackers.

We woke up the next morning to a pile of presents from Santa Claus and a delicious egg bake prepared by my uncle Eric.


After presents and breakfast, my uncles, my cousin and I tied the sleds back onto the ATV and headed out for some more sledding (if you can call it that).

Ever the outdoorsman, my uncle couldn’t conceal his glee when we found some bloody snow that had been the site of someone’s dinner.

We headed home to make the Christmas turkey, and my uncle and grandmother worked together for a while in the kitchen on getting things ready. My uncle had found his mother’s old kitchen apron under the Christmas tree, apparently salvaged from his childhood home, and was seen sporting it in the kitchen for much of the rest of the week. I love the traditional turkey meal (it’s a big part of why I love Thanksgiving), and it turned out wonderfully. Of course, there was a little familial strife in the kitchen along the way, but what can you do.


We suited up the next morning to head out to Sandia Peak for some skiing. It was my first time skiing outside of the beautiful state of Pennsylvania, and the conditions were way better, just as everyone says. We were very fortunate to have gotten as much snow as we did. I read in the newspaper that New Mexico had the best skiing in the country that week.


My trip was off to a great start!


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Uncle Eric says:

    That Uncle Eric seems like a very good guy and a great host. I loved his explaining The Circle of Life. I’ll bet he has an interesting grasp on where babies come from. How could there be a section on Seafood Odyssey without a single mention of fish tacos?

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