As the holiday season approaches, we have decided to describe what Christmas means for us. Let us wish you a wonderful holiday season with the series of these short ‘editorial’ stories.
Waiting for Christmas
The first snow, that truly heralds the beginning of winter, fell a few days ago. I went down for a walk with my daughter while my wife was busy baking cakes. It was much colder in the woods than in the city. Our task was to make snow angels in the fresh, untouched snow. No one else dared to come out that morning and we could literally wrap ourselves into the silence, surrounded by the skeletal trees. I think we have successfully completed our mission. After a while our hands were freezing even in gloves. Our noses started to turn into a decent red color, so it was time to go home! My daughter sat on my shoulders, almost asleep and I was also tired out. The moment I opened the door, the smell of cinnamon, cloves and honey instantly curled my nose. My daughter fell asleep, so I put her in bed straight away. Two more days till Christmas. This morning I looked into the cake box and realized that there’s only one single angel shaped gingerbread left. It was snowing again, I’m sure we’ll go down to play again. I hope that freshly baked gingerbread will wait for us again when we get back.
This year, I will do something unusual. I would like to give presents to those who have never received gifts from me before: my neighbors. I live in a small, two-storey house downtown. With most of them, I am only in ‘nodding acquaintance,’ a few of them are my friends, perhaps. The old lady from the ground floor or the common representative will be probably very surprised when I will knock on their door.
The holidays are always celebrated behind closed doors, keeping a low profile, so it will be very strange at first. But I think they will be happy to receive and use my hand-made Christmas tree ornament, and they can also compare their own beigli with those couple of slices I will prepare for them. We are a community, and it should feel good to share fun with each other. When, if not at Xmas?
If I am being optimistic, I view Christmas as a family holiday, if pessimistic, it is nothing more than a traders’ celebration. I do not like giving presents. Someone is always offended if his present is worth gets less then what he puts under the tree. Years ago, I asked my wife to handle this whole procedure. In fact, even the two of us avoid making surprises for each other, but rather talk about what we need and buy it together. The only exception is our daughter, who will receive her presents from Santa, of course. I am not religious, so this day as a holiday, means nothing for me. I do not fancy the idea of one particular day appointed for the celebration of love. It’s not only at Christmas when we need to stress out that we love each other! This day is perhaps an important one because of the distant relatives’ visits, giving a chance to spend some time with each other.
Christmas in the kitchen
I prepare elegant and traditional Christmas dinners every year. Fisherman’s soup, stuffed turkey and ‘beigli’, I’ve been there. This year though, I’ve decided to trigger off a revolution in my kitchen: since we spend New Year’s Eve away with our friends, I have always skipped cooking traditional New Year’s Eve dinners. Therefore, I’m gonna make a roasted pig for this Christmas! I am very excited about it. Either it will be a terrible failure or full flush. A cunning little piglet has already arrived from a friend’s farm, weighing 2.6 kg, and it will march into the oven on the 26th, with an empty bottle of champagne in its tummy. (I’ve been told to do so, to avoid my lovely piggy’s backbone from cracking.) As a side dish, I will serve ‘drunken’ cabbage, mashed potatoes and onion gravy. On Xmas Night, we will have a ‘simple’ meal of roasted lamb with rosemary, grilled sugar peas and wedges. Christmas Eve is always intimate, just the two of us, but on the following days our home turns to a ‘passage’. This is how we like it: relatives and friends complete the celebration of Xmas.