Holiday Roundup


Another round of holiday festivities is behind us. They always seem to wrap up just about the time you think you can’t take much more family fun.

Spent New Year’s Eve at an ice skating party with the grandkids. I don’t skate myself, for fear of breaking something I still need; I am there mostly to finance the venture. Along with the overpriced concessions, there were people dressed as cartoon characters and tables where local groups and businesses handed out free stuff. Which was nice, but it’s a little disturbing to see your 11-year-old granddaughter walking around wearing a bracelet that says “Recovery Works!” 

After the skating, daughter Gina and the grandkids came back to my house to spend the night. They donned party hats, played “Auntie Jessica’s Socks” (a game made up from materials at hand) and drank sparkling grape juice out of wine glasses (your choice, red or white). The toasting went on a while, as they really like the part where you clink glasses. 

Meanwhile, we didn’t have the usual Christmas Day brunch at my house. We had Lebanese food, which used to be our Christmas Eve tradition but wasn’t this year, a situation that did not sit well with the Daughters, who are like one-quarter Lebanese but you’d think they were all born under a cedar tree in the hills overlooking Beirut.

I’m accommodating. I dug out my 1972 Lebanese Cuisine and my mother’s old recipes (Mom was 100% German but a great Lebanese cook, probably because she knew when to stop already with the cumin). While cooking up a Lebanese storm, it dawned on me that just about every dish calls for onions and cinnamon. Throw in lamb and you can make just about anything you want. I don’t recall any of my relatives buying onions in bulk, but I chopped, grated and chopped more onions, until I started to wonder how my ancestors ever coupled with anyone outside their ethnic group. Thus a family tradition begins.

And of course, December is the month when school kids everywhere face the floodlights and sing. Cosette’s preschool program included the usual four-year-old boy who sat down and refused to participate and one girl who up and walked away during “Away in the Manger.” Cosette sang every word and did all the hand motions. When it’s time to step up, Cosette does not drop the ball.

Then came the elementary school program, an unstoppable stroll down Candy Cane Lane which put all the students in the school on stage simultaneously, most in their pajamas. I’m starting to think costuming may be the most important consideration when picking a grade-school script. Who can’t come up with Christmas pajamas? They’re colorful, themed and come in every size. Maria sat with the pajama-clad fifth-grade girls (enthusiastic singers all), Christian sat with the pajama-clad first-grade boys (not your most focused group), and Grace sat with the other animals in the kindergarten section. Gracie was a Kitten. Of course.

Forget the holidays. Time now to cocoon in our snug and cozy homes until winter relents and we can venture forth again. Time to make our New Year’s resolutions. And don’t think you can skip it this year. You are far from perfect.

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