By: Mary Fran Bontempo
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This is the time of year when we women are supposed to embrace all things “traditional.” The enormous meals replete with passed-down family recipes served around a joyous table, the decorating that transforms home into a winter wonderland, the carefully purchased and treasured gifts…and the endless treks to the attic and the mall, the exorbitant expense, the work, work, work, work.
When kids are young, there is something about preserving the wonder and magic of the holidays. But as they (and okay, we, but I’d rather ignore that) age, the entire enterprise is simply exhausting.
So I’m passing. On the whole thing.
You heard right. After much debate, I’ve decided that while my house has been holiday central for the past sixteen years, this year, I’m “red-shirting.”
That’s right, utilizing the one sports analogy that will likely ever be applicable to anything I write, I’m taking a year off.
Usually, the holidays inspire me, especially Thanksgiving. It’s all about food, glorious food, which I can’t get enough of. Turkey, stuffing, leftovers. I dream all year about that meal. But even Thanksgiving’s gastronomic indulgences can’t tempt me this year.
I’m beat, for a multitude of reasons. The mere thought of hosting over 20 people in my home for the biggest meal of the year triggers a minor panic attack. (Yes, 20—we have entire teams for dinner. Hey, what do you know? Another sports analogy.)
My mother, taking pity on me, has offered to host Thanksgiving at her house. Of course I’ll help out, even if that means cleaning her whole house and cooking the entire meal. For some reason, it may be the same amount of work, but since it’s not in my home, it all feels lighter somehow.
As for Christmas, my sister has stepped up. Dinner at her house, and I’ll have to do even less for that holiday. My sister’s kids are younger than mine and she’s still in the holiday zone mentally, lucky for me.
I’m incredibly grateful to them both and plan on taking full advantage of the opportunity to kick back and play the roll of spectator instead of ring master. I’m pretty sure my kids and husband will be more than fine with it, considering that I can get a little overwhelmed by struggling to maintain every stupid tradition I began when the kids were young. Okay, overwhelmed is a euphemism. I get foaming-at-the-mouth crazy.
All of which leads me to believe that there’s a really good chance I may be embracing a new tradition after all.
The perfect holiday season—at someone else’s house.
Tell us about your holiday traditions. Click “comments” below and share!