As I write this column, it’s five days until Christmas and I’m feeling pretty smug. My shopping is completed; all gifts have been wrapped.
This whole past week I’ve been having cozy coffees with friends. The house is decorated, albeit idiosyncratically, and there’s only one big thing left to do, which is decide what we’ll eat.
After decades of pancakes in the morning, served with real maple syrup, followed up a few hours later with a late afternoon meal of beef, lots of beef, and Yorkshire pudding, I’ve grown weary of pseudo-British Christmas fare and am thinking why not take out Thai Me Up? I just saw on Facebook they’re open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so, really, why not?
It’s crazy to imagine how much time and energy I wasted stressing over Christmas and all I had to do and buy. I remember frantic moonlight excursions to big box stores fighting off other parents to score the latest must-have toy. I remember toiling at all hours making presents for my child’s teachers and school bus drivers — one year it was beribboned jars of homemade salsa, another homemade wreaths — and feeling distraught glimpsing the looks of disappointment on their faces when they saw it wasn’t a gift card, or, better yet, straight up cash.
My family and a handful of family friends recall traditions of our East Coast Christmas Day. It was always freezing with six inches of ice and snow and no plow guy showing up. Luckily we never went anywhere, but had friends drop in instead. One friend came over early and we all joked how she was the only one not wearing a bathrobe. Another liked arriving midday to hang out in the kitchen drinking coffee while I got the massive dinner going. She usually stayed long enough to switch to wine from caffeine.
Since relocating to the Pacific Northwest we’re developing new traditions. I got a new stove this year and it has a built-in griddle. We could swap out the traditional pancakes for grilled brioche breakfast sandwiches.
The only tradition that never changes is our pets getting the most gifts. We’ve always been indulgent with our animals; I wince thinking how much I spent once upon a time on horse blankets. This year our min-pin is our only fur child so she’ll be showered with treats and toys and a new coat to keep her warm.
This is the time of year people start making New Year’s resolutions. In years past I’ve resolved to go on a diet, drink more water, hold my tongue. I’ve resolved to donate to animal charities and shelters, but not take on another cat or dog.
Over the years, I’ve failed miserably at keeping these promises, which is why I often abstain from making any resolutions at all.
That said, for 2020 I’m doing something different. This year I’m resolving to stay open to new experiences. Another goal is to be more flexible. I fully intend to plank (that’s a yoga thing) daily and ratchet up my morning routine of 200 crunches to 250. I resolve to eat more leafy dark green vegetables, although I’ve pretty much given up on kale.
I also resolve to do all or most of my food shopping in Seaside at the Hamilton Market. What a gift it is to have a great little grocery store right in the neighborhood.
Happy New Year!