Holiday Traditions

Bryce and I had a quiet Thanksgiving -- dinner just the two of us on Thursday after a relaxing day, Bryce's duck breast with blueberry port sauce and potatoes gratin and asparagus, and completely delicious and tart lemon chess pie (gluten free of course). Friday we went up to my mom's and had drinks and appetizers in the garage with the door open to assuage our COVID fears, which was great except the real feel outside was TWENTY DEGREES. I appreciated the flexibility in the name of peace of mind even though we felt like we might lose some toes in the process. 

On the way home, we saw something we haven't really seen before -- Thanksgiving decorations! There were multiple homes that had the Giant Bags of Ugliness (big blow up lawn ornaments, can you tell how I feel about them?) but instead of early Christmas stuff it was a TURKEY! A turkey in a pilgrim hat! I have conflicted feelings about the pilgrim hat, but I was like, "Yeah! Giving the turkey his due!" 

This morning I talked with my best friend on my way in to work, and she was thinking on when was the latest she could get away with putting the Elf on a Shelf out. Her kids are 14, 13, and 10, but the 10 year old is still gung-ho about it. Now THAT is a holiday tradition with kids that I am glad we don't have to do (you move the little elf doll around each night, it's watching the kids and reporting to the North Pole, and if anyone touches it Krampus comes and devours the whole family or something like that). Some holiday traditions seem to have exploded in the way of gender reveal parties and promposals and "Will you be my bridesmaid" elaborate exploding boxes with confetti. 

We haven't put our tree up yet, even though I wanted to on Sunday, but it will go up by the end of the week. Ahhhh, fake pre-lit tree, year two. It will be interesting to see how Eggi does with the tree since this is her first Christmas with us. I thought I'd be sad with the fake tree, but it is actually gloriously easy to put up and turn on and I don't have to worry about setting the house on fire by accident. 

I think this next weekend will be our Christmas Decorating Extravaganzaaaa, and we'll get our Woodland Critter Countdown out for Wednesday. So far I've just changed out Pumpkin Bourbon candles for Balsam Cedar and Winter Clementine. We're a bit behind, but there's no pressure from tiny people to have stuff ready. 

The holidays used to be a source of deep, deep sadness. Christmas is literally about a miracle baby, and families and family things are flung in the face willy nilly (oh how I hate "the magic of Christmas is all about children" and similar comments accompanying Christmas photo shoots on Facebook), and it used to be a horrid reminder of all we lost. But, I think about our new house and our new prelit tree and all the ways that we have made the holidays ours, enjoyable for what they are and not what they could have been but weren't. I don't think I would have believed 5-6 years ago that we could be in this space of acceptance and flourishing. It is good to remember how it felt that that sadness would never end, and now it's more of a hum I can only hear on occasion when a song or movie hits just right, and not our whole experience. 

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  1. Blow up turkeys lol. I saw something this year I haven’t seen before: cars decorated with menorahs (for Hanukkah, I assume). I wonder if Covid and the disruption to usual rituals has people doing alternate, more visual and showy things. I think the truth of the matter is that humans will always seek out some kind of ritual….it’s just who we are. It’s awesome that you have found ways to celebrate that are appropriate to your life and family. What a yummy sounding dinner!

    1. Oooh, I love that, the car menorahs! I have a coworker this year who is Jewish and I asked her to make a paper menorah to 'light' on our wall this year. Rituals are great, especially in times where it feels that nothing is "normal." Happy holidays!

  2. Giant Bags of Ugliness had me laughing. In this hilly windy city, people don't really go in for a lot of outdoor Christmas decorations. I do like the idea of turkeys though!

    I'm looking up recipes for chess pie, which I've never heard of but as I love lemon desserts and tarts I think we would like it.

    And I loved your ending. This is perfect: "It is good to remember how it felt that that sadness would never end, and now it's more of a hum I can only hear on occasion when a song or movie hits just right, and not our whole experience." Exactly.

    1. Now all I can see is giant inflatable holiday decorations flying off into the air like hideous kites... :) I can't take credit for the phrase "giant bags of ugliness," someone else said it years ago and I can't remember who, but it stuck!

      The Lemon Chess Pie is a King Arthur Flour recipe... Enjoy! SOOOOO good. I miss it already.

      I'm so glad you love the ending of this post. It is definitely something else to be in a place where I don't want to cry my way through the holiday. :)

  3. Your Thanksgiving meal sounds GREAT! And having drinks and appetizers at your mom's sounds fun too. What a nice holiday.

    I'm glad you're enjoying your fake tree. It's what I always had growing up so I don't mind it. Easy to maintain.

    I'm really glad you're enjoying your holiday traditions. I know what you mean about overwhelming sadness settling into a hum you only hear occasionally. <3

    1. Thank you! It was so yummy. The drinks at my mom's was freeeeeeezing, but it was good to get together, safely. I am so looking forward to this pandemic being over.

      I NEVER had a fake tree growing up, so it felt sacrilegious to get one, but now that it's here, I love it. Especially not vacuuming up dead pine needles for ever and not twirling around with lights that never quite line up nicely. Oh and also I am allergic to pine sap, so no hives! :)

      I'm glad the hum spoke to you, and I'm glad you also are settling into holidays your own way.

  4. You are such a great writer! And Bryce sounds like an amazing chef. You always have me laughing and welling up tears, all in the same post. I just love your last bit about acceptance.

  5. I love the sound of the entire meal. Yum. I don't mind the blow ups too much but do tire of the same old, same old. The other day I saw a brown skinned Santa. I admit, I did a little dance. ;-)

    I am so happy you have found a space to make the holiday your own.