Monday, December 13, 2010

Do You Eat on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Now that we're all Type A-ed out. Let's move on, shall we? Let's obsess about something new. 

This year we are opening all our presents and doing the whole Christmas thing a day early on the 24th. John's airline schedule is really in control of our lives. He goes on reserve on Christmas Eve Day. So, he may or may not be here on Christmas or even the day after. While I do love the bennies (hello free travel!), this isn't my favorite part.

But, my mom's mom, My Nana, who passed away on January 1 of this year at the age of 100, taught us this: "It is not WHEN you celebrate, it is THAT you celebrate!"

So, who cares if we open our gifts and stockings 24 hours before the rest of the country?

Not me.

Although, I'm wondering just what we should DO with ourselves ON Christmas Day, should John still be home.....I guess we'd better buy a few more toys for the kids to open, because there won't be anything else to do but stay home and play with our toys! Maybe I'd better throw in another one for John as well.

This year, John's mom and stepfather are coming in on the 23rd. I am planning our big meal for that night (essentially our Christmas Eve). I am looking forward to all of it, especially since we don't have to rush out for church because it is only the 23rd!  I'm making a ham. I would make JoAnne's macaroni and cheese, but since she'll be on the airplane during prep time, I can't attempt it alone. It always turns out wrong. Always. Unless she makes it. I guess we'll have mashed or scalloped potatoes. And green beans. And some kind of yummy salad--with pomegranate seeds maybe? And some homemade rolls. And maybe a dark chocolate kahlua cake for dessert....

As a kid, I don't remember having turkey at Christmas. Or did we? I can't really remember the food from the early years. We didn't really have a set meal. I remember roast beef, hams and some crown roast thingy with the paper chef hat looking deals on the bones (what is that thing called?!) We started eating tamales on Christmas Day at some point. I loved that tradition. And cranberry bread on Christmas morning. John's mom always had lasagna on Christmas Day and we did fondue on Christmas Eve for many years.  My own family never really had exact dishes or meals that had to accompany any given holiday. But I seem to be forging my own opinions on the matter. Christmas has to be ham for me. I don't feel ready to handle another turkey so soon after Thanksgiving! Reaching down into the still half- frozen body cavity to find some nasty packets of organs. No, thank you. A nice little packet of brown sugar glaze? Yes, please.

And I never can figure out when to eat the big Christmas meal. Christmas Day? Christmas Eve? Definitely can't handle both. And church always throws a giant wrench into Christmas Eve planning. It seems no matter how you plan it, Christmas Eve is a big thrash to the finish. All my hopes of a beautiful calm dinner are tossed out the window. Then, after all the presents are open on Christmas, it seems like a let down. But I don't really want to cook all day on Christmas either....

So, what do you do?


joanna said...

Growing up, when we went to my grandparents' house I'm pretty sure we ate a big meal on Christmas Eve (the same meal we'd have at Thanksgiving) and then leftovers on Christmas Day. and we didn't go to church. At our own house on Xmas we'd have sweet rolls for breakfast and the same meal, but I don't remember when. With O we didn't make turkey for Xmas - and I kind of liked that. Our neighbors in Alaska would give the neighborhood a little breakfast casserole as a xmas gift, and I really liked that. That's a mishmash of traditions, huh.

Bevo said...

Beef for Christmas Day. You're describing a crown roast. It's a beef rib roast curled around so that the ribs stand up in the pan as it cooks. When my Norwegian grandmother was alive we had LUTEFISK at Christmastime, a tradition we have let slide, thank goodness. When we are in town, we get to go to Britt's fabulous Christmas Eve Scandinavian smorgasbord - Swedish meatballs, herring, lingonberries, no lutefisk.

lisa said...

Growing up we always opened presents on Christmas Eve. We had a simple dinner (lasagna, swedish meatballs) and then opened presents afterwards. Christmas Day was always spend playing with toys and allowed plenty of time for making the big dinner. Since getting married we open presents Christmas morning and make the big meal then as well. Oh- and we do cheese fondue Christmas Eve now, I love it!