My friend and I were shopping around town trying to find some fun holiday foods; Christmas cakes, pastry, candy, you know the usual calorie stackers. Suddenly, I had a moment of sheer virtue and decided not to overdo it this season. Of course the season is not nearly over yet, so we’ll see what comes. As I was applying myself to this new found discipline, I had a chance to take a good look around. I said to my friend, “Here we are, hoping to enjoy the holidays, but everyone looks so harried and stressed out. She noticed it too but we kept our pace a little faster due to leaving some items on the shelves.
We separated for a while, she went on to the food isle and me to the household cleanser isle, after all, it is the holiday season and the need to clean the kitchen seems to quadruple. I was trying to choose the strongest yet least chemically aggressive cleaners, when a woman asked me about one of the products in my hand. After explaining that I had not yet tried it, we began making small talk about the increase in prices around the holidays. She then remarked that she does not celebrate the holidays. I asked her in a surprised tone, “How is that working out for you?” it reminded of the claim of the conscientious objector during war time. She smiled and said “Just fine” she went on to explain that her family and friends make it a point to celebrate throughout the year enjoying each other’s company with food and music.
A few days later I was getting acquainted with the new neighbor down the street and asked about her plans for the holidays. She explained that most of her family was no longer with us and that the others were scattered around the states. I was just getting ready to feel sorry for her (which I suspect is a little arrogant) when she said she had never really bothered with the holidays. She just made the most of each day trying to appreciate what she had in her life. She never had a sad memory of any holiday season, just a very grateful life and a great sense of humor as well.
I have been thinking about my preconceived notions regarding the seasonal requirements that must be filled for a holiday to be deemed successful and I’ve decided to change things up a little. So this year instead of ordering my usual Prime Rib roast, I have ordered a meat package with steaks, pork chops, and kielbasa and will allow each person to choose from the platter. It may not seem like a big change to someone else, but I have been celebrating with a Christmas roast since I can remember. I am a work in progress and it feels pretty good so far. I’ve also convinced my new neighbor to drop by.