Who wants turkey for Christmas? I ask.
Huh, I kinda like a turkey with stove top stuffing.
Since we do it at Thanksgiving, we can try something different at Christmas. Everyone prefers beef. We are Alberta-born and raised, so a thick cut of red meat satisfies the taste buds: a prime rib all fancy with those decorated tips and marbled to maintain juicy flavour.
Just like the turkey tradition, it took me years to accept that I don’t much enjoy loading batteries and building toys, peeling potatoes and chopping veggies on Christmas day. I want to sit back, relax and listen, watch, and soak up the atmosphere.
So I serve Christmas dinner on Christmas eve… Christmas is for leftovers…the well-cured, flavour-dense leftovers of a solid roast beef Sunday dinner, plus roast tomatoes, sautéed brussel sprouts and pomegranate goat cheese salad, with garlic mashed potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. This day there’s time to make a chocolate yule log and add a decanted bottle of Chilean Malbec…
After the evening’s repast, there’s peaceful slumber…We have no choice but have a deep winter’s sleep, all snuggled in bed, with sugar plum fairies dancing in our head…because the carb overload has put us into hypoglycemic heaven.
This is our tradition…not necessarily yours. To each their own. As long as it satisfies the hopes of your family, and you’re happy and able to comply, then all will be well in your household.
Try as I might to be quietly present this season, I continue to hear messages, spoken or not, that I am not doing enough. I hear…
1. Your kids won’t feel loved unless you spend more than you can afford.
2. Unless your freezer’s full of dozens of goodies, your guests will know they should feel undervalued–cause we all know we don’t get enough treats at Christmas.
3. If you haven’t decorated your Christmas tree Martha-style–matched and child-free…no paper angels, broken decorations & only the front half of the tree accessorized…the tree doesn’t cut it!
4. You haven’t left a fifty dollar bill to every mailman, hairstylist and piano teacher you know? You must be Scrooge.
5. Christmas commercials tell me what to buy, so what I already bought isn’t good enough…
Watching a Christmas special with the hubby, I told him, “That’s what I got you for Christmas”…pointing to a Hyundai…or at least that is what I’m told I should have got him… What I actually bought him was something that he needed, something that he even ASKED for…perish the thought.
…We’ve got to that point in marriage, where surprising the other can’t be repeated five times a year: Father’s Day, birthdays, Valentine’s, anniversary, Christmas. We’re most thankful for the basics…electricity, running water, a bank account that affords groceries, travel adventures and EACH OTHER. Them there’s a lot that a new car just don’t compare to.
Life doesn’t always work like Christmas morning, unwrapping gift after gift in reminder that everyone loves us unconditionally. The very worst scenarios might play out under the tree of our lives.
We can still be simply thankful for the things we do have. For those that we do have, for the Someone that really does love us; that Someone’s looking out for us, and cares to bring the dreams of our hearts to fruition.
Our culture likes to set aside a day, even a season, to dream, to create that snow globe of happily ever after…this seasons helps us remember that there are those who do want the very best for us. The very best gifts we give each other are kindness, tenderheartedness, even forgiveness. Then the magic of connection and Christmas can continue every day.