My older family members are a bunch of assimilationists. Which I can kind of understand, given family history. Hey, who wouldn’t want to fit in? And I dearly love my grandmother, despite her proclamation that Christmas is an “American holiday.”
Depends on who you view as American, I guess.
So how do we celebrate Christmas? Why, we celebrate it in the true spirit of capitalism!
(It should be noted that what follows is just a collection of loose thoughts that drifted out of my head. Don’t blame me if you read the whole thing and then want ten minutes of your life back.)
In my family, Christmas is a holiday that revolves around presents and food. Unfortunately, the food is assimilationist as well.
Last year, I celebrated December 25 by cooking a seared salmon with citrus glaze, served fetchingly upon a bed of vegetables (nappa, bokchoy, snow peas, etc.), a kale salad with apples and cranberries, lovingly dressed with a homemade dressing and a beet and carrot soup. Accompanying this was a lovely loaf of a hearty bread.
What did my family members scream at the dinner table? “WHERE’S THE HAM?!” I kid you not.
I despise ham. And now I am going to jump off from my pique about the lack of appreciation for my beautiful dinner to complaints about presents. Because I am just that shallow.
I wrote previously that I do not regift. But then I remembered that is a lie. Because just the other day I gave the trash collector (who is an inordinately cheerful young Latino guy) a present that I received in the mail. Also somebody tends to send me two pounds of chocolate every year and I typically give those to the mail carrier. Who is a not-so-cheerful older Asian guy.
Regifting is probably not such a nice thing to do. And there should be rules about it, like you should not be allowed to give your mother-in-law a used gift that you cadged from one of your other in-laws. But there are worse things.
I received a copy of a book titled something like “Fit not Fat” from this relative. Just a note for next year, folks: Try not to give gifts that have an implied negative message. Like if you think one of your relatives needs to shape up a bit, keep it to yourself. Stay out of the bookstore self-help section. Unless of course, you’re buying for yourself. In which case I’d like to suggest the titles. Because I am just that mean.
This relative has also lectured me repeatedly about the evils of potato chips and other high-fat foods. I will probably stop eating potato chips when somebody pries the bag out of my cold greasy fingers. Also, I don’t quite get the point of the lectures since this same person also sends me two pounds of chocolate every year. I actually am pretty fit, in part because I know enough to give the chocolates to my mail carrier. Who is a skinny guy. Which maybe makes sense, because fat people are supposed to be jolly. Therefore skinny people must be miserable. Like I am when I don’t have potato chips.
Damn, just writing this has made me want some potato chips.
Unfortunately, I cannot go to the store because two days before Christmas the credit card company shut off my credit. Somebody ordered a bunch of computer stuff over the internet. The credit card company tagged it as fraud. And rejected all subsequent charges. Like the one I was attempting to make at the gas station while it was sleeting.
So I called the credit card company. And the customer service rep said that because I am a super-duper special customer and my shit doesn’t stink, a new card would be expressed to me at no charge and I should get it in two days.
Me: But two days from now is December 25.
Rep: Oh. (long pause) Well, in that case because of the holiday you probably won’t get it until next week. Maybe 8-10 business days. And you have to be home to sign for it.
I guess my shit does stink after all. But hey, you’re still reading.
Anyway, in the spirit of the Consumer Holiday, feel free to drop a comment about the worst present you’ve ever received. Or if you feel all warm and fuzzy, you can comment about the best one. I got a bookstore gift card last year. It was kind of like enabling, but it felt soooo good.
Happy Consumer Holiday. See you in the new year.