Monday, December 28, 2009

All you want is one more Saturday

With my trip to Herkimer for Christmas revelry, the holidays for me have pretty much ended. And it's surprising how quickly this actually happened. It feels like yesterday Darren and I were at my grandparents' house in Richfield Springs, along with my parents, brother and aunt, enjoying some holiday ham, deviled eggs, French slaw (I'd never heard of this before but found it wildly delicious), green bean casserole (much to Darren's delight), seafood Newburg (with fresh shrimp and lobster) and two kinds of pie; opening presents; and collapsing into a heap watching the "Claymation Christmas" DVD I'd given my grandparents. It's with a hint of nostalgia now that I look back on those few days we had together without the stresses of work and household obligations hanging over our heads.

Even traveling was pretty unstressful. It took us about four hours each way, which pleasantly surprised me, because I was certain we'd catch tons of holiday traffic on the way home. The weather even cooperated, and much of the snow we'd gotten in Dedham had melted by the time we got back home.

The holidays were filled with the very things I love about them: the warm feelings sitting by the fire, decorating the tree, listening to holiday-themed music, baking delicious treats, sharing them with friends and family, choosing just the right gifts and seeing the joy on people's faces when they receive them. The one hangup I'm left with is that Christmas in my family is always a huge marathon of gifts. This year was the first year I truly felt I received too many. Seriously, I don't need this much stuff! I received at least two sets of winter wear (scarves, gloves, hats, etc.), and I already have one set from last year that I still use regularly! Darren also received gobs of clothing he already has lots of. Each post-Christmas period before the new year becomes a time of cleaning house: assessing the damage of this year's marathon and going through all the old stuff we have to see what we can get rid of. That stuff gets either thrown out or donated to the Red Cross, Salvation Army or other charity. It's not that I'm ungrateful for the bounty of gifts I receive from relatives each year — quite the contrary — it's just too much, and I'd rather share the bounty with someone less fortunate who can actually use this stuff than have it sit on a shelf, in a closet or in a dresser drawer, forgotten for all eternity, or at least until the next time I go through my stuff, which is about twice a year. Even more stressful for me than choosing just the right gifts for everyone and having them ready for Christmas is finding good ways to get rid of all the old stuff I don't need during my post-holiday clean-out. I've sort of taken Darren under my wing, since before we started dating, he was a notorious pack rat, and still is to an extent.

Still, I've been able to enjoy the gifts I received that I can actually use: a 1-terabyte external hard drive from Dad and Mike, a new lunch bag my mom included in my stocking and the pasta-making attachments Darren got me for my KitchenAid professional-grade stand mixer he got me last year. I got to work last night making some whole-wheat pasta, some of which I left in the fridge for Darren to make for his lunch today.

And so now that the whirlwind feelings, sights, sounds and smells that come with the holidays have gone, all that's left is the heartbreaking knowledge that at least 2 1/2 months of winter (and the potential for torrential snowstorms) remain, with no holidays to look forward to in the interim. Time to really hunker down and settle in to the daily (indoor) grind of work and household routine until the snow melts, the temperatures rise, the leaves reappear on the trees and the prospect of outdoor activities returns. After the new year, which I don't foresee being all that exciting, besides a party I may or may not attend, this is all I have to look forward to. Maybe some fun knitting will keep me occupied through the winter doldrums. Wish me luck!

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At 9:11 AM , Anonymous Elyse said...

Hey Liz! Glad to hear you had a nice Christmas. Thanks for much for the cookies and wine coolers! Happy New Year.

At 10:11 AM , Blogger Liz said...

Glad you liked them! I loved the thank-you note with the penguins — Darren got a kick out of it, too!


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