When I first met, Søren, my husband, I was excited about Christmas. It was new to me. I grew up in India, some kind of Hindu and Christmas was a holiday on the calendar but there was no tree – no real connection to Christmas. It was just a date on the calendar.
In India there would be a lone star hanging off of someone’s porch and we would identify them as Christians. Now, everyone seems to be celebrating Christmas, both Indians who live in India and abroad. My Facebook wall gets inundated with Happy Christmas messages from people in India and around the world.
We have always celebrated a Danish Christmas. After all, technically, the only “real” Christian at home is my husband who is Danish. Danish Christmas is about alcohol and presents. Lots of “Jule Snaps” (Christmas Schnapps) and “julefrokost” (Christmas Lunches).
In Denmark, julefrokost is infamous in the workplace for extramarital affairs and one night stands – and usually stems from the combination of excessive Jule Snaps, bad red wine and plenty of beer. I have actually met couples who broke up with their former partners because they met their new partners…you guessed it…at a company-sponsored julefrokost.
In my company, our department is having a Bond julefrokost. So we have casino tables (no real money), an in-house DJ and well “okay” food and drink. I’m going to be making martinis (shaken or stirred) for forty plus people so that the drinking can begin at 2 p.m. in the afternoon. It’s this Friday so more details later. But you can see the poster that’s hanging around the building.
There was a time when I loved Christmas. Absolutely! It was about the food, the family, the tree, the ornaments and yeah, also the presents. But as the years passed by my interest waned and waned and waned – to the point that now I can take it or leave it and the only reason we even pretend to have Christmas is because we have kids. My husband lost interest many years ago, before he met me but because it seemed like such a big deal to me he thought it would be petty to tell me to stop decorating the tree because he didn’t give a damn.
I think the reversal of Christmas glory happened because of the kids. I think it happened because of the barrage of presents under the tree – which usually led the kids to OD on Christmas presents until they didn’t even know (or appreciate) what they got. I think it happened because my mother-in-law died and my father-in-law is too busy to spend Christmas with us. I think it happened because it usually happens. Even the kids don’t think of Christmas as a “presents” thing because they know there’s nothing special on that front happening on the 24th of December because they can usually get what they want any time they want. I’m happy to wrap a thing or two if it makes them happy but they told me they couldn’t careless either. Is their disinterest stemming from ours? Of course. And I wanted to feel guilty but decided against it. No one is happy if we’re doing things that makes others happy and us miserable.
So…I hate to say this but I think we’ve killed Christmas in a traditional sense in our house.
In 2010, we were in Egypt for Christmas – sunshine and thirty degrees for Christmas is a great way to spend the holidays. We had a great time seeing the pyramids, deep sea diving and horseback riding in the sand.
In 2011, we didn’t go anywhere but it seemed unreasonable to cook a big duck et al just for the four of us so we booked us a table at Custom House, a really nice restaurant. You’d think that not too many restaurants are open for Christmas but you’d be wrong – plenty are open and they’re all full. The meal was perfection and there was no stress of cooking or cleaning and the four of us had a wonderful time.
In 2012…well I’m thinking that we’ll spend the night in Carmel or San Luis Obispo or somewhere on highway 1 as drive down from the Bay Area back to LA.
I want Christmas or any other holiday to be about decompressing and have a blast – I don’t want it to be about alcohol or presents (though everything in our lives is about food and more so during vacation). I want us to enjoy each other’s company and put our feet up and hair down. I want Christmas to be about doing something fun together rather than eating duck together. Maybe if Søren had this huge family with uncles and aunts and all meeting up for Christmas it would be different – but it it’s just us four then we do something just for the four of us. Universal Studios…here we come!!
So here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas no matter how you do or don’t celebrate it!