Christmas is coming! Have you noticed? ‘Tis the season that we embrace or loathe or love to hate… so tell me, what are your Christmas highs and lows? What do you look forward to, what do you dread?
I love Christmas Eve, when the anticipation and excitement is palpable. As a kid, we had a traditional Christmas Eve family dinner of fondue. I’ve carried on this ritual feast with Beth and her family for the last several years, although her fondue pots are filled with a deliciously safe cheese concoction, as opposed to the vats of bubbling oil that used to grace our family’s dining room table. I will be hosting this year’s Christmas Eve dinner, and entertained the idea of keeping the sterno-fueled fires of the fondue pot burning, but I have a son who likens cheese with barf ; and although I am quite fond of the odd vat of burning oil method of cooking, I simply can not bring myself to spoon heaps of raw meat onto the plates of my guests. Ew. I will, however, attempt to resurrect my family’s traditional dessert of chocolate mouse, complete with lady fingers (recipe please, mom). There is a very good chance I will also emulate the warm family memory of the dog’s paws upon the kitchen table as she scarfs the chocolate mousse.
What I do not like about Christmas is no big secret… the shopping! It’s so stressful! I make a point of not shopping too early as a self righteous snub to the retail industry, but I invariably wait too long and find myself wasting precious vacation days in line at Target, with hostility nipping at the very core of the holiday spirit I cling to so desperately.
The only thing I like about Christmas is the parties.And last night we had a great one – a traveling neighborhood soiree. All the neighbors in the 4 houses at the end of our street went from house to house, eating and drinking. Margaritas and quesadillas at Cara and Vere’s; squash soup, ziti and cosmos at Ron’s; enchiladas and martinis at Keri and Andrea's; bread pudding and hard cider with rum at Frank and Tracey’s; and savory snacks, Hershey kisses and beer, wine and cordials at our house (aglow, up there on the right).
It is a lovely crew, and we had a great time.
Everything else about Christmas, though?
Makes me feel like this.
Ah, the Christmas season, I like it overall. Like Ellie, I do enjoy the parties. What’s not to like? Good food, good drink, and good company are the norm at most holiday parties. I also enjoy my children’s holiday performances, although this year it’s a bit out of hand, as my oldest is in a hip hop class that is performing at seemingly EVERY retirement home in San Diego. But they grow up fast and watching their proud faces mid- or post-performance is priceless, and fleeting, so I try to savor them all.
What is not so high on my Christmas wish list is the excess, the material excess. I keep telling myself that next year I won’t have a tree, or will buy a live tree, or will purchase some eco-friendly artificial tree (which probably don’t exist) that I will keep forever, and that I’ll wrap every gift with old paper bags or interesting magazine pages, or, gasp, not wrap them at all. Or that I’ll only get people perishable, or recycled, or experience-based (think concert tickets) presents instead of some “thing” that was just mass produced in China, but as Jacquie points out, time flies by, and before you know it, it’s December 13 and you still have most of your shopping to do. Things often come in handy.
Next year, Santa, next year….