Monday, December 13, 2004

Channel Surfing

Yesterday, I channeled my mother.

It is actually a good thing. Growing up, Christmas was always huge. We didn't have a lot of disposable income and for several years we had even less. We always had healthy food, warm clothes, plenty of books and a lot of love, but ours was not a consumer-driven household. To it's credit. But Christmas was different. On Christmas my sister, Gail, and I would tiptoe downstairs at 5 am and invariably be astounded by the gargantuan pile of loot that seemed to obstruct the view of all but the top of the tree. It was absolute magic. I think this is why I still believe, in part, in Santa. Yes. Just-shy-of-40 me.

And so each year, I channel Santa, through my Mum, to me. Including the wrapping. Oh, woe, the wrapping. You see, each of those 847 presents under the tree (plus 3-4 in each stocking) was wrapped in paper with coordinating ribbon or bow, the picture in the paper framed nicely on the front. No gift bags for Santa. For shame. So that is what I did yesterday, in the loft above the living room. Fortunately, I do not work full time and the kids go to bed at an early hour, so I have been able thus far to forgo the second part of the Mum-Santa legacy, the wrapping of the 847 individual presents at 2 am Christmas morning. Plus, there's something a bit disheartening seeing all your wrapping in shreds on the floor a mere few hours after you lovingly and artistically placed that last piece of tape. I still have about 20 to wrap, mostly for Charles, including his birthday, and for friends, but the rest is done.

I also made a double batch of Mama Joyce's spaghetti sauce, the best meat sauce in the world in my opinion, the only opinion that counts in the House 'O Piffle, where I am head chef. So we had the world's best spathetti for dinner with the extra in the freezer keeping the pesto company. Red and green. Chez festive.

In other holiday news, we had the 2nd of our work parties. Mine was a typical medical one. Someone reserved space at a restaurant and about half of us showed up with spouses. No (ahem) themes. No gift exchange. Just food and drink and talk. Actually, the school Hawaiian-themed party for Charles' work was rather fun, lots of people am fond of that I had not gotten to see in over a year. As we were leaving, things were starting to shift into gear with the ritual spiking of the punch bowl. Felt rather junior-high (although not the Jr high I went to) with a crowd of hula-skirted, Hawaiian-shirted people standing with their back to the punch bowl while others clandestinely emptied the contents of various bottles in the mix. It did smell enticing, I must say, but we were good and skedadled. While I know Charles is liked by most, it is hard to get the party really going with the boss there.

So, there we are. Happy holidays all. Next up: Christmas cookies with Colin and Sara. (If I am feeling energetic and cocky.)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being the only male in your early youth, I, too, channelled S. Claus through the matriarchal side of the family. The oyster stew Christmas Eve, the stollen (sp?) Christmas morn, and dinner with your maternal grandparents with all the cousins. One year we extended early Christmas dinner into the evening "pickin's time" well after dark, without ever leaving the table. (But I do forget the reason I challenged Uncle Paul to drop his pants.)


3:13 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Ah yes, the jule kaga with all the almond frosting and little candied fruit and almond flowers. I have toyed with the idea of traditional childhood Christmas food but know that I would be the only one eating the oyster stew and candied fruit bread. I did do the canned fruit cocktail with marshmallow-with-a-candle-stuck-in-it for a year or 2 but Charles boycotted absolutely, so when kids came 10 years later, I had moved on to orange refridgerator rolls and sausage. And chocolate.

I am wondering if the uncle Paul de-pantsing has anything to do with the extended version of the "Fruit of the Loom" game? You remember: Underwear for musicians -- Fruit of the bassoon! Underwear for the edentulous -- Fruit of the Spoon! Must have been REALLY funny all glowy with Art's wine.


10:38 AM  

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