Thursday, December 30, 2010

This Way Lies Madness

Been awhile, hasn't it? Have I mentioned that holidays make me insane? This year's trip into hair-tearing nuttiness was bad. Somewhere in my life, I absorbed the notion that it's my job to recreate everyone else's childhood holiday memories. Societal expectation? My own? Who knows. Over the years, I've managed to whittle back a few traditions at a time. We no longer have a tree at all. We're both allergic to the real thing (this was a terrible blow, because who doesn't love the house smelling of pine in midwinter when it's dark and nasty?) We'd gone to a fake tree, only to realize there was a warning label on the box saying "Cancer causing, blah, blah, lead, blah, toxic, blah" and the cats liked chewing on the fake tree branches. End of tree. Which only made us cling to other traditions - like the baking and goodies. Which, naturally, are *my* tasks. For whatever reason, this year, the To Do list just got longer and longer. I became crankier with each passing hour. The picture here is the a holiday tradition I started two and a half decades ago while I was still living with my folks. It's a favorite. Christmas Brunch. I comb recipes starting in October, looking for showcase dishes. No dish is ever repeated (so far - this may change). The brunch menu is a secret each year until everyone sits down to eat. Typically, we have at least one dish that's a huge win - and one dish that's an epic disappointment. This year, dessert was a disappointment - but one we were able to salvage. It all worked out. It was over brunch that we realized that our entire holiday seemed to revolve around food most specifically sugary, fatty food. And my stressed out gnashing of teeth. We kicked around ideas for changing things up a bit. How do you take the emphasis off the cookies, candies and breads you don't eat at any other time of year? How do you ease the burden of holiday stress and expectation?

You get the heck out of town. We have a list of three places we'll investigate for next year. Why shouldn't we go hang in a nice hotel and let someone else do all of the holiday cooking for us in a location we love? We don't have kids. Just cats, who, if we return with quality catnip, won't care what day of the year it is. I'm thinking of loading up the Kindle with lots of yummy books. I'll sit in a comfy lounge, sipping a nice drink. Happy future holiday...