I appear to be a retiree who has retired from the business of Christmas -- or at least from the business of Christmas cooking.
I have contracted out the baking to my eager husband, the guy who makes piles of brownies, chocolate chip banana bread and oatmeal-cranberry cookies, and then complains in a dismayed tone that "baking" makes him gain weight.
And then there is the actual Christmas dinner. I no longer prepare it, or even supervise the preparation. For the last three years, we have had our festive meal at a very nice nearby Inn. I am not exactly sure how this came about --it is not as if our previous dinners had been inedible. It may, however, have related to the fact that we are a very small family, and the effort of preparing a holiday meal for only four people seemed unnecessarily stressful. Less stress: that was the selling feature, as I recall. No-one commented on my gravy-making ability.
As a Christmas dinner dropout, I feel slightly guilty, but less so after reading today's Facts and Argument's essay in The Globe and Mail. After 47 years of overseeing holiday meals, the author dreams of escape to the very Inn we have been frequenting. But it won't happen this year; she cancelled her reservations when her distraught family begged for another Christmas dinner at her place. (I'll post this item when it becomes available -- the online G&M must be taking a seasonal vacay),
And for us? We'll be livin' the life-without-lumpy-gravy-and-left-overs tomorrow again. We are off to the Inn. And it will be lovely, and perfect for a retired couple and a grown daughter and her husband. But this is not necessarily a permanent arrangement. I look forward to having everyone (plus grandchild!) together at home for occasional future Christmases. (Honestly, in our family, nothing really says I Love You like lumpy gravy.)