25 January 2010

away from home for the holidays


My image of a perfect holiday is that of dining at home with your closest or favorite family then relaxing in the living room all together with a drink in hand concocted ideally of egg nog and dark rum complimented perhaps with a few pfeffernusse cookies or special cakes sipping and laughing the evening away with no rush to escape.

I am lucky to spend my Christmases mostly this way. Thanksgivings too.

Sometimes they can get a little stressful though. If I am hosting the dinner, I worry about getting everything just perfect. I am usually trying out new recipes for all my dinner parties actually and I’m quite sure this adds to my madness. I also tend to wait and finish special gifts on the day and also wait to wrap them. I like to look at the gift and savor how perfect I think it is and think about how much they might like it. Although not as elaborate as I used to be, I like to pick out wrapping paper and detail the present exteriors to heighten the delight of receiving them.

Why are the holidays so stressful for most? For sure I bring upon myself the stress of gift giving, dinner preparation, and the like. There have been a few holidays where I joined my extended family without my parents and I think about the boyfriend that I’ve taken to my parents. It’s not comfortable. You are a guest and stranger to their customs as well as not a part of their intimacy. In these cases, I felt like an outsider and not welcome in spite of their efforts.

I like to include friends in my holiday celebrations because I know how it feels to be alone on a holiday and not to be invited for those special days. Of course having invitations and being able to turn them down for the comfortable solace in your own space feels just as good!

This holiday season I was away from home. I was invited by a special aunt for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I brought with me my boyfriend and a friend of ours both far away from their own families. I know they weren’t happy to join me feeling perhaps an obligatory invite only because of me. Still, we had a lovely dinner in a very comfortable home, and my extended family poured out the love and giggles making it a very special day.

And like always, I finished their gifts in the minutes before we departed for their home.