A selection of gingerbread cookies decorated just prior to the tablenog incident. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

A selection of gingerbread cookies decorated just prior to the tablenog incident. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson Column: The terrible but tasty tablenog tradition

Let’s hope this custom doesn’t stick

Do you recall a while back when we were all (presumably) excited for the weekend and then we remembered we are in the middle of a pandemic and can’t really do anything and, even if we could, the torrential rain kind of hampered any outdoor activities anyway? That’s the weekend I’m talking about when I say the other weekend my family and I made gingerbread cookies together.

On the Saturday I made up the dough and got it in the fridge to keep the mess at bay. I then invited my family to help me cut the cookies. You wouldn’t believe how much of a disaster a counter lightly dusted with flour and 20 little fingers could create.

In any event, we managed to cut out a dozen or so gingerbread people and a half dozen each of snowmen and candy cane shapes. We also managed to cut out three dozen assorted firefighting shapes including a fire fighter, a fire truck, a fire helmet, a hydrant, and a fire dog. Talk about a Christmas theme! With the leftovers the kids fashioned their initials and various odds and ends: a snake, a suspect looking “boat”, giant recreations of themselves, a barbell weight for their ginger-likenesses to lift; you know, the usual holiday fare. It was a great time and the mess got cleaned and after we baked them, we set the cookies aside to decorate the following day.

The next day came and so did the rain. The children were like caged beasts all day, pacing around the house leaving a painful trail of Lego and puzzles while looking for the next way to get under their parents’ skin.

Their ears must have been out of batteries, like half the toys in the house, and the kids were simply just not listening.

I told them if they cleaned up their stuff we could decorate the cookies. You’ve never seen toys put away faster. It irks me that their ears did work after all. We had one glorious hour of decorating as a family, that is, once I gave up the idea of the cookies looking like they do at the bakery. After that it was fun.

The problem was, a lot of sugar was consumed in the process, leading to somewhat of a chaotic aftermath. If we thought they’d behaved like caged animals in the morning, they were most certainly now feral.

Getting more and more frustrated, my husband and I began barking orders. Those orders were ignored, further angering us. I’d say it was the children’s faults, but really, it was our lack of boundaries when it came to eating cookies and decorations that had caused the sugar possession of their tiny bodies.

I knew the standard commands wouldn’t get through to their candy-filled brains. So, I started giving them tasks they aren’t often asked to do so at least they’d have to think before they ignored me again. I gave them the jobs their father and I tend to take care of.

All of a sudden they were listening. What’s more, they were helping! When they asked for a drink of water, I shocked them when I told my eldest to get the eggnog out of the fridge and pour himself and his sister a cup each. I love giving them a treat when they aren’t expecting it, or better yet, when they know I’m cranky, just to throw them off a bit. Keeps them on their toes.

My husband looked at me quizzically, wondering why on earth I would let my six-year-old pour the eggnog.

I shrugged.

“He’ll be…” I started to say, but, before I could finish my sentence, eggnog was spilling out over the top of a coloured plastic cup, onto the kitchen table and cascading down to the floor.

“Careful,” I finished, with a sigh.

My poor son looked up at me with fear in his eyes. We’d be harping on them about the mess all afternoon and now there was an epic eggnog lake on the table, complete with a waterfall to the floor below.

“Well,” I began, seeing his shoulders tense up. “Don’t just stand there! Drink the waterfall!”

His eyes brightened.

“New family tradition!” I yelled as my son tried to capture the drips in his mouth. “Tablenog!”

My daughter ran over to the spill and looked at me expectantly.

“Get in there!” I exclaimed. “Drink that tablenog!”

Like the puppy she often pretends to be, she began to lap up the eggnog lake on the tabletop.

Their worry turned to joy as the kids “cleaned” up the spill that just seconds before, they were sure they’d be in trouble for.

“Accidents happen,” I reminded them.

It’s not so much about making the mistakes, it’s about how we react when we make them.

That spill flipped the switch on what had been an up and down day. All it took was a litre of eggnog.

It was a heck of a mess that ultimately took four dishcloths, a towel, a mop to clean up, as well as showers for both of our beyond sticky children, but it just might have been the highlight of my day.

I just hope nobody asks to spill the eggnog again next year.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ColumnistComedy and Humour

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Cowichan Tribes’ gymnasium at 5574 River Road is now operating as an extreme weather shelter. (Submitted photo)
New extreme weather shelter opens on River Road in Duncan

New facility should relieve some pressure on Warmland House

Dementia doesn’t just affect the person living with a diagnosis; it affects caregivers, family, friends and their community. (Submitted)
January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

“Raise your voice: Dementia, long-term care and COVID-19” on Jan. 27

The firefighters at the Mesachie Lake fire hall could soon be working out of a new retrofitted building if the Cowichan V alley Regional District is successful with its application for a $350,000 federal grant to fund the project. (File photo)
Major retrofit planned for Mesachie Lake fire hall

CVRD applies for $350,000 federal grant

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy requires emergency treatment 3 times after ingesting drugs from Chemainus parks

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

The Cowichan Valley School District is holding an online session to discuss the future of Koksilah Elementary School, closed since 2013. (File photo)
What’s the future of the old Koksilah Elementary School?

The district is hoping to collect feedback on options for the future of the school.

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Most Read