Hey, Merry Christmas, it’s the last day of December, I think I can say that.
The last week has been a blur of eating, driving, parties, cooking, and whatever else happens leading up to Christmas Day. And while I inhale my hundredth Christmas cookie, and recycle this plaid ribbon, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is my favorite week of the holidays. It’s still acceptable to keep Christmas lights up and do festive things, but there’s less intensity in the air. Everything that happens in the previous few weeks before Christmas is acceptable but there’s less of fervor and more relaxed. Somebody on Twitter described the week in between as every day feeling like a Sunday, which I agree with.
So before the tree’s come down and the eggnog goes away for the next eleven months, which good riddance, here are a few of my favorite things about Christmas.
Christmas lights, I love decorated houses. I love the minimalist ones, that just have lights on the eaves. I love the classy looking houses that choose to just do white lights, proving that anything decorated with white twinkle lights has to be good. But my favorite houses are the houses that put up whatever they want, not really a theme, more of an explosion of Christmas and taste. I enjoy all festive decorations except for the inflatable kind, which looks like sad trash during the day.
So much food. So much baking. Everyone has their own traditions but here are a few things that we do.
- Chinese food, on Christmas Eve. And no we are not Jewish. It’s a long-standing tradition from when my mom and her siblings were kids. Mostly to give my grandma a break from not having to cook a festive giant meal Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It has varied in types over the years, but Christmas Eve is never without Chinese food.
- Latkes- My friend Danielle was in L.A. for the first night of Hanukkah, and we made a big feast for 12. She shared with me her Bubbie’s recipe for latke’s, which I plan on putting to use.
- All the baking, mostly cookies. what is Christmas without a cookie?
- Fruitcake- Hold on, my Grandma has the best recipe for fruitcake. It’s super nutty and minimal amounts of flour. It’s closer to a festive protein bar, then what people normally think of fruitcake. It’s so good there was once a discussion about selling it, but for now, you’ll have to ask my mom.
But my favorite thing about Christmas, hands down, is our annual caroling party.
It. Is. The. Best.
It’s a long-standing tradition, that’s been going on for over 30 years. It’s the last Saturday before Christmas, beginning at my mom’s house with appetizers and hot mulled wine. After about an hour we as a group carol through the neighborhood and end at the other cohost’s home for more singing around the piano and dessert.
Over the years it’s been canceled twice with some variation in between. It can ebb and flow in size sometimes being as big as 200 people, or maybe what feels like 200 people. And there are all sorts of stories and events that I could tell you about when you hold the same party for thirty years.
Like the time the cops were called, because an elderly neighbor who didn’t hear very well, looked out and saw a giant mob of a people on his front lawn. Or the time it was so cold. cold for southern California, that the whole caroling party made a pit stop at a neighbors house, half a block down from the house where it ended.
As I kid I always sang, and then about 14 is when I stopped. Now, if I were to invite you, and it was your first time attending, I would make you carol, and as my guest, I would go along to accompany you. But for the most part now, as my siblings and I are older, we tend to ‘run the show’ so to speak and my mom can go about playing host and talking to people. It is a ton of work, and kind of exhausting at the end of the night, but it doesn’t feel like Christmas until the caroling party happens.
Traditions are a funny thing, I appreciate them, and think they are important to have, but sometimes traditions need a little fine-tuning or switching it up, which is probably what’s going to happen going forward with the caroling party. Which is ok too. As this is the last post of the year, I feel like it should have been more reflective of what this year has been, but instead, I talked about Christmas, because writing about Christmas on January 2nd, seems like I missed the boat.
So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!