Friday, November 25, 2005

My new favorite holiday

I have to admit, while growing up, Thanksgiving always paled in comparison with Christmas. Thanksgiving signified hand outlines that were forced into looking like turkeys, or dressing up like pilgrims and trying to navigate the historical difference between the Mayflower and Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria (FYI: of course I know now that Columbus discovered the New World on the Mayflower. That's how he met Pocahontas. Duh.) At best, it meant four days off, and at worst, it meant I had to spend those four days studying (or at least telling people I was studying) for all the finals that stood in the way of me and two whole weeks off for Christmas.

It's kind of inevitable that Thanksgiving always got overlooked. It didn't really convey much benefit beyond those four days and the vague promise of turkey and stuffing, which usually got lost in the shuffle of the family vacations we always took for that weekend. But Christmas, now: two weeks off from school, one of them spent skiing, the other devoted to enjoying all the new stuff we got for Christmas, or anticipating that enjoyment. And Christmas itself, and all the trappings: the decorations, the family traditions, the egg nog, and all the family that came over to enjoy the turkey and stuffing that my mom always cooked at Christmas (and she's no slouch of a cook, I look forward to that meal all year).

But how our priorities change. That meager four days off for Turkey Day is the longest vacation I've had in months, and is all the more remarkable in that I don't have to use any of my vacation time from work. My parents don't always leave town anymore, and so I got my fill of homemade turkey and stuffing (and gravy) yesterday. Plus it was my dad's birthday, and as much as I love pumpkin pie, I won't even give it the time of day if there's cake to be had. (Then again, it's hard to really enjoy your cake when you're that full of the aforementioned turkey and stuffing.) All this followed by three glorious days of nothing. Most weekends aren't much of a source of rest or relaxation because I spend Saturday still being stressed about Friday and then spend Sunday stressing out over Monday. But this weekend, I can devote an entire day to lying on a couch (today) and another day to doing something slightly more active (tomorrow) and then decide which of the two I like better (lying on a couch) and do that Sunday. And I'll finish the weekend feeling both productive and rested, whereas normally, the two are mutually exclusive.

Let's compare this with what Christmas is going to look like. I'll get the Monday after Christmas off, so I'll have a three-day weekend, but Saturday will be spent (let's face it) frantically buying and wrapping presents for people, Sunday will be Christmas Day and kind of interesting in that it'll be the first Christmas where I don't wake up in the same house as the rest of my family (we have a whole tradition centered around waking up, having egg nog/hot cocoa/hot cider together while we open our stockings, then breakfast, then opening presents... I imagine it'll lose something if I have to make a point to show up at a given time, wearing street clothes vs everyone else in PJs). Monday will likely be spent on my couch in a food coma, stressing out about how much work I'll have to get done on Tuesday given that I'll be taking the rest of the week off to head to Phoenix for a wedding. I'm starting to see why some people find the holidays to be so depressing.

Verdict: Turkey rules, Santa drools.

Whole27: Seven (Eight?) Months Later

Breakfast this morning was cinnamon rolls. In fairness, I'm sick right now with something resembling that monster flu--hopefully it...