Oh, the holidays

turkey1So, we’re in the holiday season – a treacherous time of year. Too much food, too much consumerism (although maybe not this year), too much family. Excess everywhere.

Halloween, a month-long extravaganza of refined sugar, costume parties and festive yard displays is over. We’ve hauled the extra candy into the office to foist on our dieting coworkers, and the Christmas onslaught has begun.

Thanksgiving gets crunched in the middle – not much in the way of inflatable yard displays or colored lights, but boy do we make up for it with that one big obscene meal. Sales for butter and miniature marshmallow (yuk) must skyrocket in mid-November. The other thing that skyrockets is anxiety – Norman Rockwell really set our expectations for the perfect family reunion. Despite our better judgment – we know that all those family members won’t change their stripes, not even for one day a year – we travel to whatever we’re defining as “home” and fool ourselves into believing that it will be a Perfect Day.

We eat far too much – what other day of the year includes a meal of multiple courses, seven vegetables, gravy (when else do I ever make gravy?), butter, cream, big helpings, four desserts, and football. Perhaps we’re stoking up for the shopping season which, for some sorry folks, starts the day after. The economic meltdown may alter the usual scenario this year, but Thanksgiving is a strange holiday indeed.

This year I’m tasked with bringing appetizers for seven diners. Shouldn’t be difficult. I’m planning on three dishes – some spiced nuts, vegetables and dip, and a fat-laden cheese tart thing. Of course I will make enough to feed the 101st Airborne – you never know when they might drop in.

And then I’ll think about Christmas.

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1 comment so far

  1. Neal on

    Just when we think we’ve commercialized what was once a joyous Christian celebration, our society does seem to find new ways of expanding on the secular extremism of the time. And, I can’t help but wonder about the relationship between the retail orgy that has become Christmas and the state of our society. Generations now have grown up accustomed to the wild-eyed race to find the perfect gift for Aunt Sally, or Uncle Harry, or to develop an “award winning” recipe for the Christmas party at the office, thus earning you the endless adoration of coworkers in the coming year. In the alternative, if you don’t do the foregoing successfully, you are flirting with dorkism and/or worse, a reinforced belief that you are a cold-hearted ego centrist devoid of even a modicum of the “Christmas spirit.” Could it be that our national self absorption and its symptomatic representation in our holidays, particularly Christmas, is at once both a promotion and a product of that character state?

    Perhaps if we were all to forget the presents provided by armies of retailers and focus on the simple, and quite profound gift of Christian love (or for that matter, Muslim, Buddhist or what have you), Christmas would indeed be the happiest of seasons.

    Have a blessed…..and merry…..Christmas.


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