First, get this video going, and listen while you read. Merry Christmas!
Christmas Eve! The whole month…well…3 weeks, anyway…has been Christmas. All of it. From the planning of food to the singing of songs and going to church and decorations and What Kind of Wrapping Paper To Get This Year.
I like to get a particular sort of paper each year. Sometimes it’s all snowflake stuff, which is pretty much the only kind of snow we see here in Deepest South Georgia. Sometimes it’s plaid, any sort of plaid, sometimes stripes…whatever. Sometimes it’s Oh No I Don’t Have Wrapping Paper Quick, Grab The Nearest Roll. This year I got it from Target, and very nearly grabbed a roll of Justin Beiber paper just to see what would happen. We each have our own method of wrapping. I like to get fancy, with multiple colors of ribbons and curly things and homemade bows. The boys just jam on the nearest store bought stick-on bow, and Himself, knowing how much I love the fancy things, does the curly stuff with a stick-on bow. Somehow, it all works and is festive and wonderful. So it’s not a Southern Living Magazine quality thing, it gets the job done and we are all happy. Plus I think it looks like a big party, with everyone wearing a different outfit.
This is not my tree.
Also, not a fan of brown paper wrapping. Oh yes, I see the aesthetic advantages. I see that it’s pretty with red raffia or paper ribbon and I’m not knocking that. I just like shiny and bright stuff, that’s all. Brown paper isn’t shiny or bright or silly. Anyway, to each his/her own.
Ok where was I? Oh yeah…Christmas Eve. There’s a party tonight, for which I’m making sweet potato casserole, that Southern kind I used to turn my nose up to, the stuff with the brown sugar and marshmallows. Well, that’s what I’m making. After 27 years of stuck-upeddness about marshmallows and all that, it’s happening. Also, a spiral sliced ham and a smoked turkey from the store. Not homemade. Not fancy. Just warmed up a bit and on a platter. Go me. I refuse to stress about the food.
For many years the Christmas Day thing has been sweet rolls and coffee first thing (like 6 am), then a brunch and then grazing the rest of the day. I don’t know if we’re going to have brunch or not. The sweet rolls are from a couple of cans (reference previous paragraph about food and stress). The food for grazing will occupy that new 3-bucket crock pot and a plate. No stress there, either. A couple of dips, some of those cocktail sausages, a cheese log and crackers, and a bag of grapefruit courtesy my father-in-law. You want more than that? Fix it yourself and you’d better not leave a mess in the kitchen. I used to go all fancy and make homemade sweet rolls the night before, let them rise overnight, then bake while we opened gifts. They would be delicious, with caramel stuff and pecans and all yeasty and sweet. And, should the heavens open up and God grant me ambition tonight, that might happen. However, as a backup plan, there’s 2 cans of Pillsbury sweet rolls in the fridge. I might get all excited and make homemade buttermilk biscuits and fry up some of that amazing smoked bacon to have a tasty brunch. however, if that doesn’t happen, I expect everyone will be so busy with their new toys that they won’t notice. Or maybe someone else will have ambition and do it. No Big Deal.
When I was younger, like in my 20’s and 30’s, it was so incredibly important to Get It All Right. I had notions about what made The Perfect Christmas Day and if something didn’t get done, or turn out just right, or if a gift didn’t arrive on time (not really an issue back then, as internet shopping wasn’t quite A Thing yet), it was cause for great anxiety and crankiness. This wasn’t a good thing. Now, I’m approaching 50, and Christmas is totally different. I don’t care if the house isn’t perfect, or if the rolls didn’t rise or if breakfast comes from a can. I don’t care that there’s no ornaments on the tree (seriously, just lights…it’s pretty in a minimalist sort of way. Maybe I’m a closet Scandinavian?) I’m not even listening to that much Christmas music…a little, once in a while, if it’s Vince Guaraldi, but not much.
It’s much more fun with this laid back attitude. The constant quest for perfection is exhausting, and not very healthy. Of course, neither are sweet rolls from a can, but you have to have balance somehow. Somehow, I am pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t want me to get worried that the presents don’t match or the sweet rolls aren’t Alton Brown’s recipe. Not that He isn’t worth the effort, but He is the one who fussed at Martha for spending too much time in the kitchen.