One week to Christmas -- Holy Hollyberries! Hey, we're all still upright (for the most part, I hope) and if you don't have all your presents wrapped and under the tree, the spirit of Christmas Present(s) is going to visit you during the night and whisper stuff you don't want to hear in your ear or show you a vision of mountains of decade-old fruit cakes, a fork (no water, no napkin), and you're chained to a desk where people return unwanted gifts the day after Christmas. So, curl that last ribbon, stamp that final Christmas card, don't forget to give the postman, the garbage guys, and other assorted folk who give you great service during the year, a big box of homemade cookies or cash or a hug, something so they'll know you appreciate them.
We always go back east for Christmas with the bulk of the family, a wild and hectic and chaotic adventure for only the stout hearted. There is so much food, you end up sitting on the sofa stuffed to your glazed eyeballs and wondering if you could eat that last chocolate chip cookie (of course you can). (Don't forget while you're food shopping to make a donation to your local Food Bank.)
I want you to picture a traditional Christmas feast (turkey or ham, potatoes, all the trimmings) partnered with an Italian food fest, provided by Bunny's (owned by family), huge trays of meat/veggie lasagna, ceviche, eggplant, chicken parmesan, etc. And what do you have? An incredible Christmas banquet abbondazza.
Since I got really smart maybe three years ago, all boxes of gifts are now sent directly to each family member's home, not all delivered to the main family gathering house like a colorful tsunami, to fill up the living room with the promise of so many stuffed trash bags the pick-up guys call in sick. However, everyone else brings their presents and piles them under the tree (the living room is still overloaded) and the children are shrieking and thumping boxes and parents are crazed-eyed and trying to keep a semblance of calm while stuffing their faces and DRINKING, and then . . . I sit at the piano, the lights are dimmed, everyone has a lighted candle, and we sing Christmas carols. And there is peace in the kingdom and everyone smiles and realizes Christmas is so much more than antipasto and presents and chaos.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year everyone. Enjoy your families and friends and make new ones.