Christmas spirits
Photo: Shimon & Tammar

Christmas morning for grown-ups can be brutal. Especially if you've been up half the night wrapping and labeling and trying to figure out just who will be getting Jasper Fforde's cult novel Thursday Next: First Among Sequels , and what you were thinking, buying five pairs of dangly earrings from a vendor on Broadway when you know only two potential recipients who wouldn't see them as feathery fishing lures. Meanwhile your husband is struggling to assemble the giant Dora the Explorer playhouse that has arrived without instructions—until you both finally throw in the towel and go to bed around 4 a.m. The call to wake up comes way too loud and much too soon. Opening your eyes is torture. How does Santa stay so jolly? Where's my Christmas spirit? The answer at our house is eggnog . I don't mean your store-bought mix, or the sweet, pale teetotaling kind. This is the real thing, courtesy of my husband's Richmond, Virginia, childhood, the recipe handed down over generations. Eggnog whisked into being for just this emergency. Eggnog at 8 a.m. Eggnog before coffee. Or if you feel less adventurous, eggnog in your coffee. Drink with caution!

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