A Holiday Spectacular!

November 30th, 2012

I have no idea what the title of this post means. I’m too wiped out at this time of year to know what I’m doing from one minute to the next.  Those teacher holiday gifts don’t buy themselves, you know.

Blog posts don’t write themselves either (dammit).  So here’s a list of my favorite holiday stuff. In no particular order. Order’s too much work. Anyway, it’s almost five p.m. Cocktails don’t drink themselves, you know.

1. Best holiday movie? It’s a Wonderful Life, of course. Why? Because George Bailey’s life is not really wonderful at all: it’s frustrating, difficult, and maddening, filled with missed opportunities and lost hopes, and made tolerable only by the love and support of close friends and family. Which is exactly like real life–or at least like my real life.

2. Best holiday food? A few years ago, I’d probably have said turkey and stuffing but I became a vegetarian on New Year’s Day 2010. (Or was it 2011?  My memory’s gone since I stopped eating iron- and protein-rich meats.) And it’s definitely NOT that fake vegan turkey I cooked and served last year at Thanksgiving–’cause that thing was vile. Now I’d say the best holiday food is New Year’s Eve’s caviar on blini, served with a schmear of creme fraiche. Too bad my kids figured out it’s delicious: now if we try to serve it, those beasts scarf it up, and fish eggs are expensive. (Side note: teenagers eat a lot and they never pick up a check. What’s up with that?)

Our Thanksgiving meal. Yes, it's a screen shot. And I don't know how to crop it. My skills only go so far.

Our Thanksgiving meal. Yes, it’s a screen shot. And I don’t know how to crop it. My skills only go so far.

3. Best holiday tradition? We have this white tablecloth that we pull out for Thanksgiving every year. We all write down what we’re most grateful for and sign and date it. We’ve been doing this for close to ten years. The kids’ original entries were misspelled and messy. Now that they’re older, they’re still misspelled and messy. Makes you teary. But not in a good way. In a “what-the-hell-were-they-teaching-you-at-that-school-for-thirteen-years?” kind of way.

4. Best holiday outfit? Anything my 18-year-old son wears. He’s a snappy dresser. And my 15-year-old daughter makes anything she puts on look stylish. The rest of us consider ourselves well turned-out if we don’t have any obvious stains.

Okay, I’m exaggerating: I have one nice crimson top that I wear to holiday parties. I wore it for my photo shoot for Ladies Home Journal. The photographer took a bunch of photos with me in that top, then suggested I change into something else, just to give the editor some choices.  I went up to my room and put on another top. When I came back down, she shook her head and asked if I had anything else to wear.  I went up to my room, grabbed every semi-decent top I had, and brought them all down to show her. She looked through them and said, “Let’s shoot some more with the original top.” So . . . I have one decent top. One.

5. Best holiday game?  Yankee Swap. (Also known as a White Elephant Swap). You gather a big group together and everyone wraps up gifts of more-or-less equal value and puts them in a big pile, then draws numbers. Going in turn, you either pick a new, wrapped, mystery gift or steal a gift from someone who’s chosen before you (who then gets the same choice). If the game goes really well, someone ends up crying, and everyone ends up disappointed. It’s fantastic.

6. Best holiday activity.  Being together. The whole family. Together. That’s the point of it all, isn’t it?

7. Best holiday underwear? Spanx. (Okay, I only included that one because Johnny says I always mention Spanx in my blog posts and I didn’t want to disappoint him. He thinks it’s weird. But I know that other middle-aged women understand the wonder and the glory that is The Spanx.)

So what are your favorite holiday anythings?

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