It’s November, so it’s that time of year again. The time where I get a bit manic trying to do everything I want before the commencement of holidays in December.
When we lived back East every Thanksgiving and Christmas we would travel around to visit and dine with family. When my girls were about 1 and 2, we had a Thanksgiving that made us rethink how we did things. It was an evening event, we went, bringing two young sweethearts who were more ready for bed than an evening out. First – there are candles all over, the ones that smell nice in small batches but when there are about 5 or 10 of them going, not so much. Second – there’s nothing I can eat. I followed a strict vegan diet back in those days (I was a pretty hard core vegan for 20 years, until about a year ago) and I had been instructed not to eat since there would be plenty that I could eat. However, there was not. We had an enjoyable time anyhow, spending time with family, enjoying the giant stone fireplace and warmth emanating from the merry flames.
We drove home around 9 or 10, driving through the heavy, wet snow that had started while we were visiting. The girls were crying, past ready to be nursed and sleeping. When we got home, I got into bed with the babies and tried to calm and soothe. They were so over-tired by then that neither of them were able to fall asleep until after 11 pm. After they were asleep I had a quick bite in the kitchen with my husband and we talked. I suggested that we might consider staying home during the holidays, at least while the girls were so young, and that we just relax and enjoy our little family. My husband was overjoyed by this suggestion and, much to the dismay of our families, we stayed home during Christmas. I look back on that Christmas with such fondness and remember the sweetness of the day, I missed our families, but was thrilled to be able to focus on the happiness of my children as we all played with new toys together without feeling pressure to get dressed and ready to drive a distance to be somewhere by a specific time.
Our Thanksgiving is simple – no one really likes turkey all that much, so I make a giant batch of pizza dough and we take out a jar of our summer-canned tomato sauce and make pizza. It’s easy and fun for everyone.
Christmas can sometimes be a little more formal, with perhaps an actual sit-down meal of pot roast and mashed potatoes, honey glazed ginger carrots and a close-to-bedtime mug of cocoa in front of the fireplace.
I love our holiday traditions, they work for us beautifully.
But back to my pre-holiday mania – I do a lot of baking, we make presents to send to far-off family, and I try to make a few gifts each year for my girls and husband. The gift-making is often very time consuming and I’ve been giving thought to taking it a little easier and making less.
How do you celebrate holidays? What are some favorite holiday meals? Do you make gifts? If so, when do you get started on those?