|More Random (non-musical) Christmas Thoughts|
December 13, 2011
When I was little, my dad was a 6th grade teacher (English and Social Studies). Every year, he got Christmas gifts from his students. Gallons of cologne, enough handkerchiefs to make sails for the Armada, and dozens of soaps on a rope. (Does anyone remember those? Do they even still make soap on a rope?!). Not to mention a vast assortment of tie clips (does anyone wear those anymore?) and cuff links (does anyone even know what those are anymore?!)
One entire shelf in the upstairs linen closet was dedicated to storing all this flotsam and jetsam. It was used, as necessary, for "regifting"....long before regifting was fashionable (or even a word!)
Back when my brother and I were in elementary school, however, the vast majority of elementary school teachers were female, which made most of Dad's regiftable items inappropriate. (I think there were 2 male teachers in my elementary school One was the music teacher. The other was my 4th grade teacher, whom I adored).
So, a lot of this 'stuff' hung around in the closet for some time before it could be given. For all I know, there may be a few things still lurking in the back there!
When I started working in day care, I would sometimes get Christmas gifts. Again, it was usually cologne, or costume jewelry. My favorite gifts were always homemade cookies. I could enjoy them, reuse the tin (or throw out the box, depending on how they were packaged), and not have to worry about finding a place to put 'stuff'.
Once, I got a gift set of a cologne I particularly disliked. My ex assured me that his mom really liked that cologne, so we gave her the gift set for Hanukkah.
The following year, what do you suppose my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas? You guessed it....the gift set! (the ex and I chuckled over that for quite awhile. I also vowed NEVER to give my m-i-l cologne again!)
I don't have anything against regifting (or being a regift recipient)...you just have to be careful what you give and to whom!
I once gave a lovely metal wine rack to a girl at work as a wedding gift. I had nowhere to put it, and no use for it, as we didn't drink wine, nor keep it in the house. I knew she and her husband did. It would've been the perfect gift. Unbeknownst to me (cause I'd never opened the box it was in), there was a "Merry Christmas" gift tag at the bottom of the box....put there by whoever gave it to my ex as a gift! Oops!
2. Dad and Santa
I don't remember much of the first Christmas my ex and I spent together. It was the first Christmas he'd EVER had (being Jewish). It was the first one I ever had without my family. I was very sad. He was clueless (not entirely his fault). We had a horrible fight (I don't remember what it was over). We made up, but that Christmas was not one of the better ones.
The next year, we went to my godmother's. So did my parents. It was awkward, but we survived.
The following year we went to Mom and Dad's. It was and unseasonable 67° outside. It felt like summer. As the Long Island Rail Road pulled into my hometown's station, I saw a man dressed like Santa Claus, strolling down the platform.
"Look!", I said to H. "There's some idiot dressed as Santa!"
Then the "idiot" turned around and started walking toward us.
"Oh, no", I groaned.
"What?", said H, rather grumpily (he didn't really want to be going to my parents')
"It's my DAD."
And sure enough, there was Dad, in full beard, boots, wool Santa suit and hat, Ho Ho Ho-ing and booming out "Merry Christmas" to everyone getting on and off the train.
He saw us, and announced (Loudly enough for everyone to hear) "It's too warm for the reindeer....I had to bring the Buick!"
At the time, I was more than a little embarrassed (I was much younger then). But I came to cherish that memory of my Dad dressed as Santa. It had been his way of breaking the ice between my husband and him. It was so like Dad, to do something a little theatrical, a little 'larger than life', a little funny, to put everyone at ease.
I also remember that every year, when we put out the cookies and milk for Santa, we always had to put out the cherry-filbert cookies, cause they were, we were told, Santa's favorite. They were also, coincidentally, DAD'S favorite. And those "thank you for the cookies" notes we'd get from Santa? They often matched Dad's handwriting (on occasion, they matched Mom's).
3. Christmas Dinner
I'm not sure what I'm going to make for Christmas dinner this year. For many years, it wasn't an issue...we went to Mom and Dad's, or, when we moved upstate, we went to my grandparents.
When they passed away, I was a bit at a loss as to what to do for Christmas Dinner. We had veal one year. Steak the next. Once we had lobster. And one year, I even tried my hand at roast goose. (but ONLY once!)
Eventually, I hit on Prime Rib, and that made the ex very, very happy, and became the tradition.
When he left, I celebrated Christmas with Lois for the next 2 years, and we had beef wellington one year. (don't remember what we did the other year)
Christmas Eve is always seafood for me. (Italian tradition). With the ex, I always made shrimp scampi, cause he wasn't too adventurous when it came to food.
I've made scallops for myself for Christmas Eve, and I've made Beef Wellington for Christmas Dinner. Some years, I've made Prime Rib.
This year, I'm at a loss. Everything has gotten so much more expensive, (Prime rib is $7/lb...IF I spend an additional $20. Beef Tenderloin is $8/lb. Even leg of lamb is $6/lb!) It seems rather exorbitant for one day's dinner.
I know it's only once a year...but I can't help feeling a bit like Ebenezer....it's "a poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every 25th of December!"
But still, even if I'm celebrating all by myself (which I will be), I still would like a festive meal, and something a bit more 'special' than every day.
Well, guess that's it for me. I'm getting a bit chilled in the den, so it's time to heat a cup of tea, and curl up in my 'cocoon' and watch TV.
I stopped on the way home and bought a box of store brand equivalent Zicam. I've got a slightly scratchy throat, and a little bit of nasal congestion (more like nasal itchiness, really). Hope this stuff helps. I guess it can't hurt.
I ordered in Chinese food tonight. Orange Beef, and Hot & Sour soup. The soup felt especially soothing and good.
Last night, I rubbed my chest with Vicks when I went to bed, and that made me feel better. Tonight, I'll do that again, and I think I'll make myself a hot toddy before bed, too.
And on that note...time for me to 'toddle' off!!!