Holiday Redux

Christmas, for those of us who celebrate it, is over, along with many of the other December holidays. New Years is yet to come. How were your festivities? Mine involved an iPad from Santa, so that was fun, and lots of wine. And I just started watching Homeland (not even through Season One, so NO SPOILERS in the comments please!). What did you all get up to?

37 comments for “Holiday Redux

  1. TomSims
    December 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Xmas is all about family time for me. Season’s Greetings to all!

  2. JBL55
    December 26, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    My husband and I saw “Les Miz” and then went to friends for dinner.

    We had planned to dine at home, but our friends asked us a couple of days ago and my husband and I had just been privately bitching and moaning to each other about how “nobody ever reciprocates” our own dinner invitations. So we went to our friends’ home and had a lovely time.

    We’ll have our traditional Christmas dinner (roast beef & Yorkshire pudding) this Friday night instead.

  3. December 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    This was the first year I’ve ever explicitly not celebrated Christmas. Helps that my partner and their partner are both Jewish, of course, but I’m not, and so this was kind of A Thing for me. I’m surprised by just how annoyed I got/am at the ubiquitousness of Christmas; I thought I’d reached peak levels last year, but apparently not.

    How I spent the last few days: finishing one aspect of cataloging (all 600 f/sf novels are now in LibraryThing, woo! ~3400 other books to go!), managing the new stray cat we acquired last week, having wonderful processing (&c) times with my partner, and being two unique kinds of ill.

    • December 26, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      (Anti-Christmas sentiment is general, not a swipe at this post; I’m generally good at scrolling past. Apologies if confusion resulted.)

    • Marksman2010
      December 29, 2012 at 6:33 am

      Xtinas, I take it that your 4,000 books are mostly tangible, not digital, copies.

      If so, do you have problems when moving from one residence to another? I detest packing all of my books in boxes. They always take a few hit points of damage while en route to my new location no matter how hard I try to prevent it.

      I’m on LibraryThing as well, so your post caught my eye.

      Just curious…

  4. December 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Every year, I loathe the holidays even more. It mostly has a lot to do with the fact that suddenly everyone in my world wants to see me over the same three days. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have friends and to have those friends want to spend time with me. I just wish we could spread it out a lot more, because the whole having to be in five places at once makes the holidays almost unbearably stressful. Like, can’t we be friends in February, too? Not just only in December.

    But I did get to sing some 80s TV show theme songs around a piano with my friends, and then I got to have Chinese food and see a movie on my own, too.

  5. SamBarge
    December 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I had an amazingly great Christmas. I made Beef Wellington on Xmas Eve to rave reviews. We opened presents on Xmas morning, which was a lot of fun as I got Mr. Barge a new electric guitar and we did the whole “Ralphie and the BB gun” thing where we hid his present so he didn’t think he was getting one, etc… It was great. BabyBarge got an iPad (at 13 yrsold, she’s not even close to being a baby anymore but you know how mothers are). Then we joined friends for Xmas dinner, visiting and games. Lots of fun.

    We still have plans tomorrow and on the weekend but today is quiet and lovely too.

    Sorry to sound like a Pollyanna, but I love Xmas and this year was no exception.

    • Computer Soldier Porygon
      December 29, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      We had a killer beef wellington for Christmas Eve too.

  6. Radiant Sophia
    December 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    For Christmas I got… a sinus infection :(
    At least I was able to spend Christmas with my roommate, in our apartment, with electricity, food, and the internet. I am very thankful for not being in the hospital or homeless.

  7. shfree
    December 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I worked–for that tasty, delicious time and a half.

  8. A4
    December 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Went to an unexpectedly awesome yoga class, practiced the piano, and did a lot of dishes.

    The yoga teacher said “please” before many of her instructions which was unusual for the teachers I’ve had, but set a totally different tone for the class. There’s a dramatic difference for me between someone telling me to breathe and someone saying “and PLEASE breathe” and sounding like they would love nothing more than for me to breathe deeply.

    I asked her about it afterwards and she said that since she works with children a lot, she’s developed the habit of modeling good behavior for them.

  9. December 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Had a spaghetti dinner Xmas eve at my parents since my girls were going to be with their dad Xmas day. Opened a few gifts, made some bruschetta. Nice time. Did the Santa thing with the girls and boyfriend Xmas morning. Pretty sure this will be the last year for Santa.. They’re getting pretty old, but are amazingly enough still “true believers” even at nine and eleven. And I’m not even that stealthy. They always amaze me with their gratitude in spite of the smallish number of gifts this year (partly by design.. Trying to downplay the more materialist aspects of the season.. Also, I’m not by any means well off)

    Xmas day I dropped my kids off at their dads, said a quick mere Christmas to ex-hub and wife and then boyfriend and I went for a nice long drive before heading to my sister’s. my sister’s family is huge, 6 kids between her and BIL. It was a big noisy fun time. We didn’t know how long we’d stay because boyfriend is not a holiday person, due to shitty upbringing and I can’t handle a lot of people in a small area, but we ended up having a great time and didn’t go home until 1:30 am

    Every year I bitch and moan about the holiday season, but truth be told, I absolutely love getting together with my family, they really are, for all their flaws, a wonderful group of people. If I could go to sleep December 1st and wake up on the 24th each year I’d be a happy camper.

    Of course, today I am sick with a code so boyfriend and I are internetting and couching and video-gaming.

    At least it’s keeping me away from the Boxing Day mayhem.

  10. December 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Got to the supermarket early on the 26th for the cheap ham. Otherwise, cruising the web. Today’s local (NZ) gem from journalist Sarah Marquet:

    First place in the youth steer-riding went to self-confessed ”adrenaline junky” Libby Bent, of Tai Tapu. While she was happy with her win, it was bittersweet. ”I’m not allowed to move up to the second division [the next level up in the event] ’cause I’m a female … it’s quite gutting.” She said she was allowed to ride in that class at practice and training days, but not on competition days, although she was determined to do so one day. ”My aim is to get in the open [class].” No-one the Otago Daily Times spoke to yesterday seemed to know why bull riding was a male-only sport.

  11. December 26, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I’m in mod. I swear my Xmas was g-rated!

  12. December 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    An “orphan” dinner (feast, really) at our fave new restaurant. Catching up on season one (on DVD) of Downton Abbey (season two still to be watched, season three to be DVRed). Jammies, jewellery, silk pants, and a kitchen gadget. Pancakes and bacon! Roast chicken with roasted veggies. And tonight, “Amaluna” by Cirque du Soleil!

    Hope you all had a wonderful winter-celebration-of-your-choice!

  13. Iam138
    December 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I’m culturally an American Jew. We went out for Chinese food and then to a movie.

  14. December 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Oh, and we spent Christmas afternoon at the aquarium. Lots of families there! Watching jellyfish in particular and fish in general puts me into a blissful state.

    • bleh
      December 29, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      How lovely. I too am calmed and full of joy watching fish and jellyfish.

  15. Donna L
    December 26, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    My son and I did our usual Jewish Christmas ritual of seeing a movie (Lincoln) and then going to dinner (not Chinese, though; we had a very delicious meal at an Italian restaurant in Chelsea).

  16. LadyMalkav
    December 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Husband and I spent the holidays cooking tasty food both Christmas Eve and Christmas, the watching Doctor Who Christmas special, dealing with a sink clog/leak, and drinking tons of wine (partially to help cope with the leaky sink). Husband got me a kindle as a gift which was pretty awesome.

  17. December 26, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Well…if you’re about to read this, I suggest getting a snack and a cold drink because I have a Christmas story to relate of unbelievable awesomeness. Now when I use the word ‘awesome’, I use it not in the sense of ‘an awesome pair of shoes,’ (though awesome shoes do play a bit part in the story,) I use the term more in the sense of an ‘awesome explosion which killed thousands of people.’

    OK, some background. My family does not celebrate Christmas, but less due to any affiliation to Judaism but a general distaste for holidays and mawkish sentimentality. I love mawkish sentimentality and my wife’s family celebrates Christmas, in a fairly laid back, have a party, entertaining kind of way which doesn’t really involve going to church or anything like that. However, my in-laws got to a point where they were no longer prepared to host Christmas dinner for the whole family as they had done for 30 plus years, so a few years ago we decided to take over the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day celebrations, which in our family also actually includes Dec 23, as it’s my mother in-law’s birthday. My wife and I live in Brooklyn, while her whole family lives in a suburb of Buffalo, NY, which if you are unfamiliar with US geography, is quite near the Canadian border.

    So, we decided, rather than take over my in-laws 3-bedroom ranch house in Kenmore, to rent a 6-bedroom house in Niagara-on-the-lake Canada, which sleeps 20 and allows us to have the entire family for dinner, even the people who we usually had to see on Xmas Eve due to the smallness of the house. So, I have become accustomed to having 20 plus for dinner, of all ages, with many of them staying at least one night. We had put a deposit on the house again this year and the usual schedule was envisioned. However plans changed when my father-in-law was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September with chemotherapy and stem cell transplant to follow.

    Not wanting to cancel entirely yet not wanting to deal with all the hassles of cross border travel, we decided to rent a big house out on a place called Grand Island which is on the New York side of the Niagara River, about 10 minutes away from where my in-laws live. Christmas was to fall between my father in laws 2nd and 3rd chemo treatments, and after the 1st and 2nd went well, we were really confident that it was going to be a great time and just the sort of thing to lift his spirits as he’s a big family man. We had the house rented from the Dec 22-28, and we booked tickets and were all scheduled to go up just for those dates.

    Then, on Dec 15 my wife finds out her father has been admitted to the cancer hospital because his kidney is swollen and there are blood clots in it. She changes her ticket to fly up that day, and a few days later he has a stent inserted and he’s back on the road to recovery, but there is a kidney infection for which he needs a week of Cipro (not sure of the full name, it’s that strong anti-biotic they gave people who may have been exposed to anthrax post 9/11.) So he’s back home, and he has to get this daily anti-biotic drip, plus he can no longer take his arthritis medicine (Celebrex,) and was given Dilaudid in the hospital for the pain with oxycodone given upon discharge for taking at home.

    So, the day he’s discharged is the day I am scheduled to come up and i am still taking the train as my wife and I had planned due to all the stuff we have to bring from our home kitchen to make this massive dinner. Only now, I have to take it all. SO Im packing everything away and I reach in to the bag that has my mandoline slicer an I sliced half the nail off my middle right finger. Blood everywhere. I applied pressure, etc, etc, and at the end of the day it wasn’t anything which require medical attention, apart from that of Dr. Band-Aid.

    Despite the bandaged finger, I arrived at Buffalo in good spirits and my father-in-law seemed to be doing well when I arrived and my wife whisked me off to the house in Grand Island for what turned out to the highlight of the week (unpacking, eating chicken wings, and having light marital intercourse.) The following day was my mother-in-law’s birthday, but due to my father-in-laws weakened immune system going to a restaurant was out of the question, so we got takeout food and had a small gathering of just my in-laws, self and wife, my brother in-law, his son and son’s girlfriend, his step-daughter and her new boyfriend, who by all appearances was a massive choad of the highest order.

    During the course of the meal my father-in-law appeared to get weaker and he was trying to be stoic, but when we asked he said he was in a lot of pain, despite having taken the oxycodone. He did manage to stay alert much of the night and got in to bed leaving us hopeful that a good sleep would help him ride out the episode.

    The following day we did nothing other than prepare the house for entertaining 23 people and just around midnight, my wife’s brother texts her, and she learns she’s going to have to go to her parents house Christmas morning, administer her father’s Cipro, then drive them to the house, taking his oxygen generator (which is somewhat heavy.) We finally finish preparations around 3am, and go to sleep.

    The following morning I get up at 7 and start working on the food. We had gotten our initial start the previous night when we made big pans of truffled mac and cheese, and leek and potato casserole, and I had made a cranberry eggnog tart, a pan of rocky road, and marinated my 8lb pork roast which the Xmas main course. My wife left for her parents around 10am and was supposed to be back by 1pm, having invited everyone for 3pm.

    I started the bacon stuffing for the roast pork and went to work on assembling my Gateau St. Honore, when my wife called to say that she was going to be a while, and that her dad was in such pain he could barely move. I said ‘don’t worry I’ve got it covered’ though my internal monologue was probably more like ‘arglefarglemarglezrgle’, I was so confused and disoriented by that time. However, needs must when the devil drives and I soldiered ahead. I somehow managed to put out a full table of canapés, crudites, cheese and charcuterie (and olives but that ruins the alliteration,) a table full of cocktail raw materials, a blood orange burgundy/champagne punch and the roast pork was starting to fill the air with a lovely aroma when I got another call from Mrs. Fat saying she didn’t think her father could make it. Again, I pretended to be not at all panicked, hung up the phone, went outside, smoked a joint, went back inside and poured a gin and tonic, then back to the grindstone anticipating the whole family apart from the actual ones who are my wife’s immediate family and somehow figuring out how to love that situation.

    Fortunately my wife’s brother went over to her parents and managed to get her dad mobile and psyched up for the event and subsequently plans changed again. Naturally everyone showed up before my in-laws, but I got to play gracious host and things were going fairly smoothly. My wife arrived with her parents and her dad just looked awful, he was on his oxygen and could barely move. He did manage to make it to the meal portion of the evening before going straight to bed with more oxycodone. Naturally my wife could do little more than worry the entire night and who could blame her? I had gotten her some really special presents this year and she couldn’t even get enjoyment from that. Well, one of the gifts was not really something to ‘enjoy’- in fact, due to the situation, it provoked more tears than I had even imagined- you see, in October we had to put our 20-year old cat Gus to sleep, and as part of her gift I did a mock-up of New York Times obituary for little Gussie and framed it. As you can imagine, there were not too many dry eyesy in the house. It wasn’t all maudlin gifts, I also got her a pair of Christian Loubitin Cranberry Ballet Flats, the awesome shoes I mentioned in the first paragraph. (they match the colors in her company logo which she designed.) Despite the entire night being a success in gastronomic terms and party terms, the worry still hung heavy and well, it’s just no fun to have to go check if a loved one is ‘still breathing.’

    The next day went from bad to worse and they had to take him to the emergency room where he sits right now as I type, while a massive snowstorm engulfs Buffalo…

    The story is not over, but I still felt it was worth sharing…

    • December 29, 2012 at 11:01 am

      Dude. STEVE. Major hugs, man.

    • EG
      December 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

      Oh, Steve, I’m so sorry.

    • PrettyAmiable
      December 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Take care, and best wishes to your wife and her father. I can’t imagine how difficult this time is for your family.

  18. MikeV
    December 27, 2012 at 3:20 am

    I got Building Stories by Chris Ware and Mortality by Christopher Hitchens, both of which I started reading immediately…it’s been a sad, sad couple of days. I guess I’ll just be going to go to sleep for a few days now…

  19. Wordwizard
    December 27, 2012 at 5:50 am

    I survive the “Christmas season” every year by listening to the WKCR 89.9 FM (Columbia U.) BACH FESTIVAL which broadcasts more than a week (until New Year’s Eve turns into New Year’s) of 24/7 J.S.Bach programming. This allows me to avoid the Jingled Bells everywhere.

    (Yes, I DO do ONE X-mas caroling party, the Renaissance Street Singers + friends singing Medieval+Renaissance carols less often heard–followed by food + more singing Early Music indoors.)

    For the rest, I exchange greetings +/ gifts (IF I feel like it) for Winter Solstice with fellow atheist family + friends.

    For anyone with a cold, try zinc lozenges–They REALLY WORK for heading it off/getting through it faster.

    • Radiant Sophia
      December 27, 2012 at 8:40 am

      The zinc lozenges do work very well, but they make everything taste different.

  20. MsHypothetical
    December 27, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I generally have two Christmasses – this year the first was with my mum and my brother, and there was steak and I gave brother a whole load of LEGO and we played Scrabble and Jenga and watched the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, and I had to borrow my mum’s rucksack for all the leftovers I took home.
    Then on Boxing Day brother and I went to see dad and the other siblings and their significant others and a whole herd of other family, and there were NERF battles and my little nieces, and my stepbrother gave me a spirit hood that looks like Red Riding Hood slew a Muppet for her hood. Also my dad and stepmum gave me a Bedazzler. NOTHING IS SAFE. *****8D*******

  21. DouglasG
    December 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Today wraps up almost a week of solitude (so restful). I’ve been comparing The Tudors to The Borgias and idly listing what to expect should anyone ever base a series around Catherine de Medici.

    They included one of my favourite episodes in the Match Game Marathon on GSN. I’d correctly remembered a contestant winning the maximum amount of $21,000 by matching Eva Gabor at the end, but had forgotten that, two minutes earlier, the same contestant had committed the grave sin of calling her Zsa Zsa.

  22. Angie unduplicated
    December 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I always purchase and cook Christmas dinner for my boss’s low income tenants. Boss is a traditionalist of the worst sort and I have to do everything his late mother’s way. This year the new wife got into the kitchen at 10-ish and stayed in my hair and under my feet all day, so I missed the slow dance from fridge to counter to stove and the quiet pleasure of making a big meal in solitude with Christmas jazz and doowop on the iPod. Next year, I’ll get up at 3AM and get it all done before she decides to participate.
    Seriously, as long as I never, ever again have to put up with my family, my Christmas will be placid, if not merry.

  23. konkonsn
    December 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Mostly hanging with family that’s…tolerable. Christmas Day, though, is all about just the immediate family, and it’s great. Lots of presents to open and then we just nap and eat whatever for the rest of the day.

    This year I got both seasons of Justice League Unlimited and Gundam 008th MS Team. Because I’m a nerd.

  24. Marksman2010
    December 29, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I rarely celebrate Christmas in the traditional manner. But I wanted to be thoughtful and e-mailed holiday greetings and best wishes to several people.

    No one responded.

    • December 29, 2012 at 11:21 am

      Dunno if you’re seeing this, I know it doesn’t count for much, Marksman, but…Happy Holidays.

      • Marksman2010
        December 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm

        I’m seeing it.

        And it counts quite a bit.

        Thank you–and Happy Holidays to you, too.

  25. December 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I’m an atheist, but my family isn’t, so we celebrated with gifts at my brother’s house. Sadly, unlike in your situation, there was no wine.

  26. Computer Soldier Porygon
    December 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I had a great Christmas – well, sort of. I mean, I enjoyed seeing my family and friends, we had a totally killer dinner, I got some good stuff (my grandmother actually bought me a dress I LOVE! truly a Christmas miracle) but the whole thing was kind of overshadowed and made bummerish by my missing dog. Who was found this morning!

  27. Angiportus
    December 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    To a cousin’s house for dinner, where another cousin played typical game of getting on my case for some ridiculous pseudo-infraction but was headed off wih a bit of pushback. Said cousin then treated all to some performance art, which consisted of pulling a white hair out of grown son’s eyebrow, which everyone thought was funny but for me was triggering.
    I took refuge in a virtual flight over a much-loved region far away with someone’s tablet–both satellite and tilted/3D views. There have been worse gatherings.
    Now, spending my gift cards and taking further flights via the magic of the intertubes.

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