Wednesday, December 27, 2006

a new Christmas tradition


This Christmas was unusual: my first Christmas spent away from family. I have found a new tradition. Instead of traveling, agonizing over gifts (I am a self-confessed idiot when it comes to picking out presents), or negotiating family, I spent a quiet, fun, and normal evening with Cullen and his brother. We decided that since it was, after all, Christmas, we should cook something nice, but there was no Christmas music playing (I think Beastie Boys was playing at one point), no Christmas decorations, and no obligatory gift giving and wrapping paper to clean up. Cullen gave me my gifts the night before--they were un-wrapped and hidden in a closet, and he found his gifts the following day, so we kept that part personal--but Christmas itself was just an ordinary evening spent in great company.
We each contributed to the feast. Cullen grilled (a new North Carolina term I am incorporating into my vocabulary: out here, you grill, you don't BBQ food) a delicious chicken, I baked bread and made mushroom risotto and a salad, and Will made fondue. We had enough food for 10 people, and we ate so much that we were almost at the point of sweating. But it was delicious. We laughed a lot, and we drank a few bottles of wine, and because the chicken took so long to cook, dinner wasn't consumed until 9. But that was perfectly okay. Because it was just us, and no children eager to eat quickly so that gifts could be un-wrapped, or elderly relatives who needed to be home before too late--just us. No schedule, and certainly no reason to be hasty--especially with all that fondue. And the best part? No Christmas letdown. I can't quite articulate that feeling, but I used to get it every year. After the presents are opened, and the dessert consumed, a feeling hangs in the air--a nebulous discomfort of "that was it?" All of the holiday hype, and two months of suffering through Christmas music and plastic-ness and poof--it's gone. Christmas is over and piles of ribbons and crumpled wrapping paper remain.
I now prefer the dinner party approach.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here, here to Christmas on your own terms. I'm researching the whole "festivus" celebration (thank you Kramer from Seinfeld) for next year. I like the idea of an aluminum pole and the whole idea behind festivus. Cheers for the new year, sweet. Even though I know you were having a nice time alone, I missed you.