Of Yule and Fire Hazards

I put the finishing touches on the altar, stood back, and smiled. Now, all that was left to do was light the candles. My face fell, and a montage of Yule’s past went through my mind. Fig’s wicked, little laughs turning into a wickedly raucous one. But, she was sixteen now. Maybe she could finally find the balance between lighting the candles on the altar and burning the house down. I side-eyed myself, as much as one can side-eye themselves, and shot a glance at the bucket of water I made a point to hide under the altar. It was as much a part of my preparations as making the wreath. I took one last, good look at the altar, knowing it would be the last time I saw it without smoke damage, then went into the kitchen.

I pulled out a peeler, knife, and cutting board; then got to work peeling and chopping the massive bushel of apples I had gotten. Normally I enjoyed the silence broken up by the rhythmic noises while I cooked, but this time my mind was wandering all over the place. I wished I could see Elias. I missed him. But, without the excuse of school, it seemed impossible. Living in a small town did that. Though, Fig managed just fine. Maybe I was just missing the sneak gene.

I glanced at the clock, then added cinnamon and brown sugar to the apples. I looked again, just to make sure I read the time right. Fig was late, even for her. Knowing my sister, she was most likely causing trouble; but that didn’t assuage the worry that pitted in my stomach. I took more brown sugar and cinnamon, as well as oats and almond butter, to a bowl and mixed it with my hands. Well, not so much mixing as grabbing clumps and balling my fists. She was going to give me an aneurysm, I swear. I scrapped as much crisp topping off my hands as I could, I should never do this angry again, and smushed it on top of the baking dish filled with apples; then set it in the oven to bake. I started cleaning, my eyes never straying far from the door. Where was she? I was setting the last spoon in the strainer when I heard the door creak. I whirled around, my hands on my hips.

“Where have you been?” I demanded. She grinned at me without remorse and I slumped in defeat and sighed. Well, at least I got through to her.

“Taking care of your present.” She flung her coat on the table. I knew better than to ask about it, so instead I grabbed her coat and hung it on the hook by the front door. Seriously, it was right behind her. “I’m going to light the candles.” I held back telling her to be careful. It, quite literally, only fueled her fire. I didn’t have to wait for the incriminating laugh for long. I rushed in to find flames licking every part of the altar and almost touching the ceiling. I rolled my eyes and made a mad dash for the bucket. I would just like one Yule to pass where I didn’t spend it worrying about fire safety. Of course, none of my days pass without that worry. I splashed it everywhere and heard a merciful sizzle. I huffed, leaned on the bucket, and leveled her with a glare. It was ineffective, seeing as she couldn’t be bothered to pay attention.

“Is this boring you?” I asked, indignant. She ignored me and tilted her head towards the kitchen.

“Is something burning?” She narrowed her eyes and sniffed. I narrowed my own eyes.

“What else did you do?” With Fig, suspicion just saves time. She glowered at me.

“Not me.” She had the audacity to be affronted and I almost laughed in her face. Of course, not you and your history of burning people, animals, and furniture. Never you. She sniffed again. “I think it’s the oven.” My eyes widened in realization.

“Shit.” I ran back into the kitchen and opened the oven. I groaned when I saw the black, steaming brick that used to be my apple crisp. I slowly turned my head and gave Fig my most murderous glare. Once again, it was not very effective.

“Microwave?” She shrugged. I sighed in exasperation and pulled the peeler out of the strainer, then shoved it into her hands.

“Get peeling.”


Microwave Apple Crisp

For the Filling:

  • 1 apple of your choosing (any kind will do)
  • 1 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp water

For the Topping:

  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (I recommend subbing with sunflower seed butter if you have a nut allergy)


  1. Peel and cut the apple into a small dice
  2. Put the apple and the rest of the filling ingredients in a microwave-safe mug and mix well
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all the topping ingredients except the almond butter; otherwise, the cinnamon and brown sugar won’t be dispersed well.
  4. Add the almond butter to the oats and mix until it forms crumbles. I’ve found its easier to just use your hands, but if you have an aversion to that you could probably get a fork to work.
  5. Add the topping to the apples and microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave, or until the apples are cooked to your liking.

Happy holidays everyone! I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Image does not belong to me (I couldn’t find the owner if you know please tell me)