Ta dah! Now that I have successfully disappeared for a month, I’ll move on to my next trick, which may or may not involve more consistent blogging.
The doctor’s note I’m submitting for my absence will remind the reader that December is the third circle of (work) Hell for me. No surprises there, it has been for the last twenty years or so, since I stumbled into the hospitality industry back in college. My job has always been to create and insure other people’s holiday memories, not so much my own.
For years I didn’t really care, but getting married (and older) has made it increasingly important to carve out time for special celebrations with family and friends.
So nowadays, about the time the T-day leftovers are packed up, I’m scrambling to plan as many snippets of holiday fun as possible around my chaotic schedule. While highly valued, they do end up absorbing the wee segments of time I can normally devote to leisure activities like blogging, working out and laundry.
I think I was pretty successful this year in creating some Christmas “me” time; so here, in vague order, is a recap of my holiday season.
The Christmas Tree
Nothing says, “Whoo-hoo, it’s Christmas!” like a Christmas tree. A tree is mandatory for me since a long ago Christmas when I was so broke (mentally and financially) that I couldn’t manage one. My friends chipped in and got me a tiny Charlie Brown tree, which was very sweet, but kinda sad. Afterwards, much like Scarlett O’Hara, I swore dramatically to “never be Christmas tree-less again!”
Getting that Tannenbaum up and bedazzled is the first thing on the holiday agenda.
Now that I split my time between my loft and the home I share with my husband, I have reluctantly sacrificed real Christmas trees for a faux fir. Real trees are truly the best, but with a work schedule skewing towards 12-15 hour days and 6-day workweeks, I would only get to enjoy about five minutes of twinkly wonderment each night after work before passing out from exhaustion. I would then spend the entire next day, trapped at the restaurant, fretting that the loft was erupting in flames since I’d forgotten to unplug the tree lights.
Fake trees don’t smell as nice, but they are slightly less incendiary and don’t turn into a projectile weapon when you finally take them down mid-January.
Years of serving hors d’oeuvres at other people’s events has left me with a perpetual jones for Christmas soirees where I get to be a guest and dress up in holiday finery to revel with friends.
This year David and I not only hosted our own Christmas party, but we finally made it to our friends Anne and Randall’s Annual Grown Up Cookie Swap with Booze, (which to our shame and regret, we have missed the last three years.) An added bonus: our white chocolate, ancho-chili gingersnaps won “Best Cookie,” garnering us the first prize of a spendy bottle of champagne and the warm fuzzies of success.
What’s merrier than a little Holiday on Ice?
Unfortunately, ice skating in Atlanta is pretty much limited to pop-up rinks during the holidays, but I try to squeeze in at least one seasonal ‘Scapade, since I own my own skates and by December, have typically paid down my insurance deductible.
My BFF and I have a running “Toe Pick!” joke that never fails to convulse me in laughter, especially as I’m inevitably the one to take the first colossal wipe-out of the season. David and I also went ice skating on our first date; which, especially now knowing my husband’s distaste for ice skating, never fails to remind me of the power of love.
Annual 3-D Flicks and Friends Outing
Every December, I meet up with a couple of fellow geek buddies the Wednesday the week before Christmas to catch whatever gi-normous sci-fi/fantasy 3-D blockbuster the studios are tossing out for the hols. We started in 2010 with Avatar, moved on to Tron, and have been surfing the Hobbit death-spiral since 2012.
It’s been ages since we all worked together, but we have somehow survived changes in jobs, marital statuses and progressively offensive movie interpretations of beloved books to keep our yearly appointment of film and friendship for these past five years. Wow.
Which only goes to show you that “nerd” is thicker than water.
David’s and my Wedding Anniversary
David and I have two anniversaries, as we had two weddings (the secret helicopter one and the include-the-whole-family one.) December 22nd marked two years for the family festivity, and January 26 will be 3 years since we said “I do” while choppering about the Atlanta sky.
This year, David surprised me with a starry stroll on the Beltline to Inman Park for a lovely dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. It was magical to have some “us” time and definitely one of my favorite moments of the season.
Christmas with my family in Alabama
I feel truly lucky that my parents and David’s mom, Linda have become wonderful friends and we are able to spend Christmas together. It’s just plain awesome to have a jolly hol-i with all the family I love so much – including my sister, her husband, my niece Olivia, and “adopted” sibs Wendy and Alexis.
This year I was able to finagle almost a whole week off work to spend in Birmingham. Score! Lots of fabulous food and drinks, talking and reminiscing and watching Christmas Vacation for the gazillionth time. Oh, and lots of love. That’s the best.
Overall, I think this is one of my favorite Decembers ever. Hopefully, next year will be just as memorable and if I’m lucky, might actually include in a post or two, the odd sit-up and a little Woolite hand-washing.
Wishing you all a very wonderful 2015!