Ballerina Mia on December 27th

Mia the Ballerina, ready for her nap

Another Christmas is over… and looking back upon the week-end’s festivities, what do you remember most vividly?
Was it standing in long lines to purchase those last-minute gifts.. or the gift that you purchased online 3 weeks ago that didn’t arrive in time…
or was it the pure, unadulterated hatred you felt for the poor grocery store clerks when you discovered the sauerkraut was GONE! …
It’s amazing to me how much pressure people put upon themselves to create the “perfect holiday”. Call it “commercialization” or whatever catch-phrase you wish, but it is silliness! Sheer silliness.

I grew up in a family that celebrated major holidays, and I always defended our rituals to those who didn’t practice them (JW’s mainly, lol) … and yet strangely, I find myself drawing more distant from the traditions each year. Even with 3 children… and Mia just celebrated her 2nd birthday on Christmas Eve!
Prior to Thanksgiving, my excuse was the lack of close-knit family to share an enormous meal with. Why cook a banquet for 2 adults, and three tiny stomachs?
I joked about serving everyone peanut butter sandwiches, but wound up cooking pasta instead. Part of my aversion towards food-related holidays could be the time I spent as a grocery manager, and having to deal with distraught and hateful people who couldn’t understand how the pumpkin crop disaster earlier in the season affected the pie filling shortage our warehouse was suffering. They wanted their filling! Apparently I didn’t know my brain from my butthole, and I should be fired immediately for incompetence!
However, somewhere deep inside, I simply grew dissatisfied with a culture that seemingly forgot the attitude of the pilgrims whom we idolize. They left the comforts of England
to forge a new country in a foreign hostile land, to gain independence, and hopefully not starve to death or be scalped by their neighbors.
We all know the Thanksgiving Story about the Wampanoag Indians who taught them how to plant native crops, and the banquet held to give thanks to God for providing them with food and friendship with which to survive the coming winter. Perhaps one or two pilgrims sat back and griped about the lack of traditional English cuisine and all the comforts they’d sacrified, but those people aren’t even mentioned in footnotes.
The moral of the story – to be thankful for the things you have – needs to be reminded to those folks who stand in Aisle 6 with their cellphones glued to their faces, cussing at the
small bare hole in front of them:
“G-dd-mn-it, I f–king told you, they’re completely wiped out of cranberry sauce! Not a f–king can on the shelf. What the f–k are these a–holes getting paid to do?”
I was tempted to throw the dried beans and some lettuce into their carts, and say,
“Be thankful! The pilgrims would’ve walked into this grocery store and wept.”

Christmas affects me in much the same way. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or some other variation… most of these inspirational stories center around “making do” with God’s provisions and acknowledging your blessings. I can’t find a single Yuletide tale that gives people the allowance to act like jerks and obsess over sauerkraut. It supposedly brings good luck?!
I recently asked a dozen people whether they were planning to serve it at their meal, with a negative response from each… and yet the shelves are wiped clean and not a can or bag to be found on Christmas Eve. To all you people faithfully eating your sauerkraut: has your luck improved each year? And do you believe that Destiny will poop upon you, should you fail to eat it THIS year? …Seriously, does it really matter?

As far as gift-giving goes, I’m fortunate that my youngest two children are not accustomed to hordes of presents, and most likely won’t be getting hordes in the near future. Bwahaha!

My master plan for creating their gifts from scratch didn’t work out quite as anticipated… a naturally inclined procrastinator should never fill her plate with ideas which include custom paintings, hand-sewn tents, and repurposed furniture.
But the kids seem content with the plain sheet draped over a new folding table…. perhaps I’ll have the door and windows added by Jacob’s birthday. Joe’s Vampire Cat portrait might be finished by the New Year… just in time for my next planned blog regarding Goals and Resolutions. I’ve always shunned making those, but I seriously need to develop a solid business plan for next year and stick to it! I’m hiring Joe to hold me accountable. 🙂

So what did I serve for Christmas this year? Well, I made no specific menu.. but we try to keep a fridge stocked with basic essentials, and I have fruits and spices galore. So I dug
through my recipe book and found one I’d copied from Women’s Day magazine for Apple Stuffed Chicken.
I substituted the reduced-fat cheddar for Feista Blend (because I had half a bag left over from homemade tacos… remind me to post my awesome flour tortilla recipe sometime!)
and I didn’t have any lemon juice or Dijon mustard (for the sauce) on hand either. But otherwise, it turned out fabulously well! We had Mia’s birthday cupcakes for dessert… the Spongebob cake having been slaughtered by hungry savages.

Joe dug the artificial tree out from the basement storage on Christmas afternoon, and Lydia added some construction paper decorations to it. The sugar cookies and popcorn we’d planned to hang on the tree never made it that far. Every year, someone tries to give me commercial ornaments and they wind up getting broken, lost, or confiscated by the kids as toys.

I’m as unlucky with tree decorations as I am with jewelry… perhaps I should add more sauerkraut to my diet, ay?