Building a Gingerbread House

Christmas is a bit of a pastiche at our house.  Mostly because I don’t have any family traditions to import from when I was growing up.  My father is Muslim and my mother is Christian.  They didn’t really have a holiday strategy  - you know the way Debbie & Danny made a dinner strategy in “About Last Night”:

“Two nights a week I cook. Two nights a week he cooks. Two nights we go out. And then there’s sandwich night.”  (Totally unrelated but in reply to that, Debbie’s acerbic friend Joan quips “I bet your sex life is a real thrill.  Two nights a week you’re on top, two nights a week he’s on top. So what is it you do on sandwich night?”)

There was no plan.  Christmas trees would invariably go up but it was furtive and short-lived, certainly not fun.  My father, who gives the best gifts in our family, would forgo taking part in the restrained festivities.  Mostly, my sister and I received sweaters – itchy ones.

Sometimes we celebrated with my Romanian grandmother, she is a talented cook and gifted hostess but her traditional Christmas dish is ‘Piftie‘, a medieval style dish of smoked pork leg in aspic (served cold).  Not exactly the roast-turkey-with-cranberry-sauce-bread-sauce-gravy-stuffing-sprouts-sausages-spuds-bacon-wrapped-prunes-with-plenty-of-leftovers-for-sandwiches Christmas spread that I make every year.

It was slim pickings at our house.  I would look enviously at what my American friends were getting, eating and doing for Christmas.  Or my Jewish friends “How come Angie Schwarz get’s presents 7 days in a row?!” I would complain to my parents?!

Not having and wanting as a child is the biggest impetus to have as an adult.

Since I moved out of my parents home, I have celebrated Christmas in a big way. Not for any religious reasons but because it’s excess at it’s best: so you put felt reindeer horns on the dog and roll your eyes good-naturedly at the lame joke in the cracker.  You eat too much and rent 10 DVD’s, you make a pillow tower to support your neck so that you can continue to eat christmas cookies while maintaining a reclined position.  After 15 minutes, you stop the movie and get up to make Christmas sandwiches. Read more of this post

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