For some reason the talk here at work today has been Christmas and festive season holiday plans. And it is for this reason I am forced to confess I am a Christmas Scrooge. And by that I’m not saying I’m mean or cheap – I believe (she says, puffing out her chest) – I’m generous in my gift giving… and that has nothing at all to do with the fact that I don’t have to give many. Nope. No siree!
Instead, as it happens, I am just not a big fan of Christmas. Or New Year for that matter. In fact the only thing I like about that time of year are the days off work. (Oh, and the excuse to drink copious amounts of alcohol at all times of the day.)
As I brace myself for the onslaught of disdain, condescension and ridicule (or… of general apathetic shoulder-shrugs) from my readers, I feel a compunction to argue my case.
1. The food
I cannot state strongly enough my dislike of traditional Christmas food. Turkey – meh! I prefer chicken or.. you know… any other meat in general. (Except offal. I don’t do offal. Or dogs, rabbits, deer, kangaroos, crocodiles and so forth). And when it comes to plum puddings and christmas cake – blech! I don’t eat much fruit (other than apples. And watermelon.) As for dried fruit, I like sultanas (and as for fruit by-products, I like wine…. hmm… not sure that counts). But although I like sultanas, I don’t actually like them ‘in’ things (cake, cereals, biscuits etc). Let alone a product made almost entirely from dried fruits. SCARE-Y!
Here in Oz, where we celebrate (?!) Christmas in Summer, many forgo the traditional hot Christmas lunch and partake (instead) in seafood. And booze. Of course… after all, we are talking about Aussies.
My family (including myself) are not seafood lovers, so this option doesn’t appeal to me either. So, while I’m partial to a ‘roast dinner’, Christmas lunch or dinner becomes just that. A roast dinner. Which I could have any night. If I cooked roasts, that is.
As for the dessert, I am a lover of cheesecake. And, I’m sure my mother (who is often my hostess at Christmas or the one ‘playing’ mother and cooking stuff to take elsewhere; whereas I am the one who buys alcohol and chocolates, rather than cook for the general populus!) would be happy to make my favourite cheesecake. HOWEVER, my birthday lies between Christmas and New Year and so I get to have cheesecake on my birthday (in lieu of a birthday cake; and breakfast and lunch etc). So two cheesecakes seems a bit OTT. If you know what I mean.
So, obviously for me, Christmas food is a big bust. Which, on the other hand is good in a healthy-eating sense. I’m not tempted by the Christmas fare and those treats which taunt so many others.
2. Family and friends
I’ve spent most Christmases with my family, though I have spent several alone because I’ve been far away (here in Oz, or overseas) and given my antipathy about the whole thing, I’ll stay at home, cook myself a roast and imbibe in some champagne.
But, sadly this cannot always be the case. I enjoy spending time with my family. I’ve loved many-a-Christmas spent with my folks, and my brother and his family. But… there is – often – an obligation to do the extended family thing. And while it isn’t overly problematic, it isn’t uncommon that I find myself spending Christmas with my sister-in-law’s brother and his family and her parents. In fact… because I am single, when Christmas has been at her parents’ place (and my parents have attended) there’s been an assumption I will go along as well. Bloody expectations again! The truth of the matter is I really don’t care, but a few years ago I went off with my best friend and we spent a week in an apartment on the beach. On Christmas morning we got up, went for a walk and opened champagne. I wouldn’t trade the Christmases I’ve spent with my family, but that one was definitely one of my favourites.
3. Christmas and New Year parties and other celebrations
As you would be well aware (and which continues to shock you, I’m sure), I am single. So, not only do I not get invited to those myriad of Christmas parties that couples attend; but almost all of my friends are in couples so there’s no ‘partying’ of the single-gal kind. And when I attend parties with other smug-marrieds (to quote Bridget Jones) I feel like a bit of a loser. And… worse still, am reminded I have spent yet another year alone. (A moment’s silence please….. Okay, that’s it! Pity party over.)
And there you have it. I rest my case. This year my sibling and his family are off overseas, and the recent passing of my father means that Christmas will just be my mother and myself. I have to admit I was already looking forward to it just being the three of us, when dad was still with us…. A low-key Christmas sounds perfect. And, in all honesty, mum will probably be happier with cheesecake. We expect invitations to join others – however – we are already (resolutely) looking forward to creating new Christmas traditions. There may be a roast, but who knows what else. In fact, Easter is my favourite holiday (despite what it symbolises to Christians – sorry about that mum!) because of the chocolate. So… who says Christmas can’t be about chocolate? Chocolate and champagne. Oh… and cheesecake (and obviously no calorie-counting). And just my mum and me.