Christmas Eve is the one night of the year when nobody is getting any actual sleep. The kids may be pretending to sleep, but they're not. And the grown-ups are up wrapping things or trying to figure out how to assemble some absurdly complicated contraption. As the night wears on, the whole thing can seem like a Tim Burton short film, set in an Ikea.
First, you're likely to need a cookie recipe, since you likely forgot to make all that stuff that the kids now want to leave out on a plate for the invisible suited guy. If cookies aren't your thing (really?), then you can leave out something else, say, a dish or drink other cultures traditionally reserve for the big night: rice pudding if you're Scandinavian, carrots for the reindeer, beer if you're in Australia. (Yes, beer; apparently Santa requires beer in Australia. Don't we all.)
And if that glass of lager is sounding pretty good to you, you may want something stronger, particularly if you don't find reading Toys "R" Us instructions enjoyable. So we've assembled some recipes — for gingerbread cookies, for beer nuts, for a stiff cocktail or two — that might help you out on this long, sleepless night. Merry Christmas. Have a cookie and maybe save the bourbon for after you've finished with that drill gun.
Lotsa pictures of cookies, none of anybody in a red suit at Instagram @ascattergood.