It’s not over until the fat guy flies


By Jody Stump

If you’re deadline-driven like me, you are probably racing around, shopping and putting up last-minute decorations. Stop! You have two weeks left to get it right, and if you’re sly about it, you can save 40 percent buying all those Christmas gifts on sale. You see, there really are 12 days of Christmas, and Dec. 25 is only the first day.

Traditionally, the celebration begins with the birth of Jesus but, unlike the U.S., most of the Western world does not stop there. They recognize that it took the wise men a good 12 days to follow the tail of that comet to Bethlehem. In fact, if you really think about it, since it took three wise men 12 days, why don’t the rest of us dummies get at least three weeks for Christmas? But I digress.

My point is that you can take a leisurely tour through the song’s lyrics and have a splendid 12-day holiday this year. The first day calls for a partridge in a pear tree. Well, Malibu has lots of quail, a reasonable partridge stand-in, and bare-root pear trees are just arriving in neighborhood nurseries. Pick up an Asian pear, perfectly suited to our climate, and you’ll have beautiful white flowers all spring and crunchy pears in the fall.

As for turtle doves, they’re in our bushes, so don’t buy a bird, check out Malibu’s own American Tortoise Rescue ( and see if your home is a suitable retirement spot for a turtle who’s had a tough life. Calling birds are mocking birds. They also hang out in our yards, so why not head down to Radio Shack and pick up a new mobile phone, one with e-mail or a camera lens? By this time, you’re probably tired of the bird thing, so go eat one. French hens are on the menu at Beau Rivage and Malibu Grill offers succulent rotisserie hens.


Now, we get to the fun stuff-five gold rings. Grazers would spread the wealth and pick up one each at Malibu’s jewelry emporia, but my personal favorite is a dull gold tourmaline ringlet at Tops. The next day, you can atone for the fifth day’s extravagance by donating a flock of geese to Project Heifer ( This is an extraordinary organization that operates on the principle of teaching a man to fish and you’ll feed him forever. Your geese will build a whole industry in some remote village.

The seventh day of Christmas is New Year’s Eve, the first day you can see newly imported black swans at the Los Angeles Zoo – and the last day for kids to enjoy their annual Reindeer Romp. If you want adult fare, don’t forget the swans swimming at the Hotel Bel-Air, a perfect spot for cocktails.

Before you head out, take a tip from a lazy eighth-day milkmaid, throw together a savory bread pudding. Then, all you have to do on New Year’s is pop it in the oven and pour yourself a mimosa. Sunday, the day for ladies dancing, wander into Santa Monica’s Dance Doctor for afternoon salsa lessons and over to the pier at night to watch the pros prance. Also, it’s the last evening for “Cavalia,” a brilliant equine version of Cirque du Soleil where horses literally dance.

The tenth day is Monday the third. Lords will be leaping back to the office, so I’m going to remind you of one last holiday party not to miss. The next day, the Trojan band’s pipers will be in Miami for the BCS Championship Game against Oklahoma. Fight on!

Now, we have arrived at the twelfth, and final, night of Christmas. By now, you’ve had such a good time stretching out Christmas for 11 days, why not schedule 12 drummers for next week? Jan. 12 is Broadway night at Pepperdine’s Smother’s Theater. Strike up the band!

New Year’s Pudding

Serves 8-12

Savory bread pudding, or strata, comes in dozens of variations. This one is richly decadent and vaguely Alpine, but feel free to substitute almost any meats and cheeses – it’s all good.

6 ounces lean prosciutto, sliced

8 ounces panettone, sliced and lightly toasted

1 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups milk

6 eggs

1/4 cup minced fresh rosemary

12 ounces St. Andre cheese, rind removed, crumbled

12 ounces sweet Gorgonzola, crumbled

1. Butter a 9×13 casserole dish.

2. Whisk together cream, milk and eggs. Season with salt, cayenne and rosemary. Stir in prosciutto and cheese.

3. Dice the bread and toss it with the milk mixture. Pour into the prepared dish and cover. Refrigerate at least an hour or overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Uncover the dish and bake until golden: 30- 40 minutes.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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