As you’ve undoubtedly come to realize, I am not a traditional kind of chick. But with Christmas upon us, it dawned on me today that though I myself am not a person of customs, there are still things in my life which remain reassuringly the same, year after year.
One of these is the holiday visit to the ‘rents.
Though this year I will be attending solo (due to my failure to produce grandchildren, I have been informed that my parents have no interest in meeting any of my future spousal equivalents until there is an actual ring on both of our fingers. This, they consider punishment.) But I know that the basic foundation of the day will be predictable nonetheless.
Allow me to give you a peek in the window.
I will arrive, burdened with unworthy, useless gifts that will be moved immediately upon my departure to the nether regions of the attic and/or garage and/or sock drawer, never to be seen or heard from again.
The table for eight in the six-bedroom home will be set for four (Mom, Dad, me and the dog. Yes, I said ‘dog.’) With candelabra, crystal, gold-trimmed dishes and silverware, ornate centrepieces, innumerable side plates and spoons whose use only Martha Stewart and my mom really understand, and extravagant imported Christmas crackers at each setting, which my mom will insist we all crack right away so she can force us to wear the silly hats throughout dinner.
I will drink wine, and possibly get tipsy. My mother will sniff mine and get a good buzz on.
Zorro (the dog) will get his dinner first (on the gold-trimmed plate), so that he is free to beg during the actual meal. This year he will snub us once dessert is served, because he was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year and so will not be able to partake in the sweet courses.
My dad will eat turkey and keep a very close eye so that none of the ‘toad food’ (tofurkey) that my mother and I will be eating gets on his plate. In fact, he won’t eat any meat from unwrapped packaging in the fridge for a couple of weeks, just in case he accidentally chooses a soy hot dog that I may have somehow left behind during my visit.
There will be 800 types of pies, squares, cakes, cheesecakes, and other assorted sugar-based foods to choose from, of which I’ll eat a bite or two and my mother will look sad. My dad, however, usually helps pick up the slack.
Then we will gather around the 10-foot tall, 6-feet-in-diameter Christmas tree (because my mother goes big or not at all) to watch Zorro open his presents. My father will grin like a proud father in the delivery room as he takes 6000 photos that will look exactly like the ‘Zorro opening his gifts’ photos from the past 11 years.
Then, even though my parents decided to give me my car insurance this year for Christmas because they couldn’t think of what to get me and they promised not to buy any gifts for me, there will be a huge pile of presents for me to tackle because I am a spoiled rotten little brat. Clothes from Mom, power tools from Dad.
It is then nap time. Because even though I don’t eat turkey, I am fundamentally profoundly lazy and napping just seems right at times like these.
And there you have it, folks – that’s about the gist of it.
It’s nice to know that some things never change, though, isn’t it?