Saturday, December 26, 2015

Restructuring Christmas

Until I married Wife, Christmas was a none-event for me. In my family not only was it not a part of our tradition, but my Father was against celebrations in general.

When Wife and I moved in together we had only been together for 5 months (we were married 2 months later) and she asked me what we were going to do for Christmas. I said nothing and quickly realized this was not going to be an acceptable answer. So I surprised her with a small artificial tree for our apartment and from that point Christmas was in our life.

With Kids coming very shortly thereafter, Christmas became a big deal. As the kids grew up and started to go away* and started having families of their own, it became more and more apparent that the Christmas of those years was gone.

In the highly rewritten, sanitized and revisionist history of this story, Wife and I discussed what we should do about the holiday in the calm, rational manner that we approach everything - 42 years of uninterrupted bliss and harmony can only be achieved in this way. In the end it was decided that whether children and grandchildren were here or not, having a holiday celebration was important. It might mean that not everything was done to the same extent but that it should be done. For us this meant some decorating, a tree, music, food, presents.

The music was frustrating. We bought this new Sonos system but Wife's computer from hell (another post) on which most of the music was housed refused to stay connected to it. We ended up digging out our 80's era cassette tape player. 

Presents were another issue because let's face it, we pretty much buy whatever we want whenever we want it. But we looked at the tree so naked with nothing underneath it and at the last minute, I caved and said I would buy presents for both of us...which of course got Wife guilty and she went out too! We actually ended up going to the same small store within minutes of each other. As a special bonus we opened our presents up just as we were Skyping with Daughter #3 so it was sort of like having a bit of a family Christmas.

Making pizza is our meal tradition dating back to when the kids were little and they said they didn't like the lasagna I used to make. In recent years we have gotten it to a real science. Wife is now using a dough that takes two days of slow rising. I made my sauce using tomatoes (pulp and dried) and chile from my garden. Our new oven gets up to 600 degrees so with our pizza stone and the new dough we get a great crust. We've learned to not put too much on the pizza so that it all cooks in a short amount of time. We had pepperoni, Italian sausage, onions, mushrooms, and green chile along with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. We made six pizzas with varying combinations freezing most for later and for taking to a neighbor couple who is older than we and having lots of issues.

Wife Getting Ready to Prepare the Dough

We follow the advice of our friend Gaius Derf that no pizza should be made without wine

The Wine of Choice

Our Pizza Assembly Area

One of the Final Products

The 1980's Musical Christmas

*Really away. I mean you have to wonder what trauma you inflicted on them that they have gone almost as far as possible away without going all the way around the globe and coming back!


Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

It is great to hear stories about your past. Thanks for this post.

Tee said...

It's fascinating to me to that you had to make a conscious decision to celebrate Christmas. My hubby and I come from families with longstanding holiday traditions. So for us, it was not a question of whether we would celebrate, but how we would add to the traditions to make our own celebrations unique to us.

I'm glad you chose to continue celebrating. If nothing else, Christmas is a great way to reflect on the blessings of love and family.

alexis said...

missed having christmas with you guys but glad we got to hang out a little in the end!!

Bernice said...

I love it that you stil have the cassette tapes. Must run in the family as my Hubby still has them (maybe some 8 track for all I know)