Metatalktail Hour: Holiday HoliYAY! December 23, 2017 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, an open thread for the holidays, and I hope you're having lovely ones! Tell us something holiday-y that's up with you.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 4:47 PM (219 comments total)

We're having family movie night with popcorn and my kids' first viewing of Home Alone. Yesterday we went to my niece's baptism; earlier today we made cookies with grandma. Tomorrow, Christmas Eve dinner at grandma's, and then the next day The Big Event!

I'm getting silverware. I'm pretty excited.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:52 PM on December 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

Just me and my parents this year. Calm, quiet, and a guarantee of unanimity in the politics all day.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:40 PM on December 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

My 5 year old niece watched Home Alone for the first time this Christmas. She was VERY CONCERNED about the well being of the bad guys throughout the whole movie! LOL.

I've been watching Puppies Crashing Christmas that I saw posted earlier today. And now I'm watching the rest of the weird holiday Hulu videos. There's one of a gingerbread house being slowly dismantled as people eat it. lol.
posted by ilovewinter at 5:47 PM on December 23, 2017 [8 favorites]

We went ingredient shopping and completed part I of cookie baking. Boy theBRKP was a marvelous help and was rewarded with a breakfast of grocery store sushi. I made soft Gingersnaps and one of my BIL's favorites, an Italian Almond-Blood Orange Cookie.

I would have completed all the baking except that our 17 year old Kitchen Aid chose today to stop working, after I put all the ingredients into the mixer. The bowls in those suckers are tall and deep, I had to stand on my tiptoes to mix by hand.

Christmas Eve will be Part II of baking and cooking (Chocolate Chip and Fiori di Sicilia, Irish Soda bread and Chicken Chili Verde). All which need to be finished before 3:00 PM, as we have to head to the in-laws for Wigilia.

Then back home for Christmas. We open our house on Christmas afternoon, so family and friends will be coming after 1:00 PM. Lasagna, chili, chips, cookies, sparkling lemonade, beer and wine. Maybe some cheese and crackers.

It is my first year without my Mom and I am a bit stressed about the open house.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:54 PM on December 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

I am not a fan of holidays, and this is the first year that I'm embracing my inner Grinch, and not pretending to like it. Some parts are enjoyable, but there is so much pressure, and I can do without it. So, cheers to everyone who is not digging Christmas, this year or any other years.

That being said -- We are going to the inlaws tomorrow, and my parents' Monday. Both sets are within a half-hour drive, so it's all compact and will be very casual gatherings (I doubt my mom will be wearing anything fancier than sweatpants), both of which are very good things. I'm making a grilled kale and bread salad and cranberry upside down cake for my parents, and they are grilling out prime rib, shrimp, and baked potatoes. It's in Chicago so not typical grilling weather, but nothing stops them.

I'm trying to convince Mr. Fig to see Phantom Thread with me Christmas night. Oh! We are also supposed to get 2-4" of snow tomorrow, which will be crappy to drive in, but, look very pretty and Christmas-card perfect.

I don't go back to work until Wednesday (and, I didn't even bring my laptop home! Like a madwoman!) , so I have some projects around the house planned for Tuesday, but we'll see what I actually get done.

I hope all of you have happy gatherings and celebrations! OR not, if that is not your thing! Sending love and hugs to all of you either way.
posted by Fig at 5:59 PM on December 23, 2017 [12 favorites]

Another Shepherd and Kitteh Xmas this year free of any family obligations or visits. Holy crap, it’s sweet. This is our 2nd year running of this and here’s hoping it is always like this!
posted by Kitteh at 6:03 PM on December 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

(update: Home Alone was a big hit and we may now be watching it every day this week.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:19 PM on December 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

Had a bunch of PTO I needed to use up so am effectively taking the last two weeks of December off. Spent much of the first week (and if all goes right hopefully much of the second) binge-watching The Twilight Zone. This truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
posted by The Gooch at 6:32 PM on December 23, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am not a fan of holidays, and this is the first year that I'm embracing my inner Grinch, and not pretending to like it.

I think I've gone past that and back again. This year I'm by myself in a corporate apartment in another country. Which is fine every other day of the year but for some reason even grinchy me could stand to have someone to have a cozy dinner and lazy hangout with. Kanto area, hit me up. :)
posted by ctmf at 6:34 PM on December 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

My brother and I are playing a Christmas dinner prank.

I love to bake and always bring dessert to family dinners - usually a cake AND a pie AND one or more flavors of homemade ice cream AND fresh whipped cream AND gluten free versions for our GF friend.

This year he has announced that he will be bringing dessert.

He intends to bring Twinkies. Not only that, but he plans to bring not enough Twinkies and stack them up on Mom’s amethyst cut glass cake stand.

I’ll have a chocolate cherry cake and a salty honey pie in reserve, of course. As soon as he has had a chance to enjoy all the disappointed holiday faces .....
posted by hilaryjade at 6:39 PM on December 23, 2017 [15 favorites]

We're having a smaller gathering than in years past; I decided I just get too stressed out cooking for a horde, but I love seeing our friends. It's finally a little chilly out, so I can break out my soft sweaters and put on the Christmas music while I make the turkey brine tonight.

I'm hoping I can manage to try out the prime rib recipe that was on the blue a bit ago for New Year's, depending on how fast we go through the leftovers.
posted by tautological at 6:43 PM on December 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

At 8 p.m. tomorrow night I'm off for three days. So I'm just trying to work these last two shifts and then I'm going to watch holiday/Christmas films and play video-games. I picked up Fortnite and I'm looking forward to diving into that with a few friends.
posted by Fizz at 6:43 PM on December 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Also, not really doing any Christmas traditions or gift-giving in our home. I sort of celebrate the commercialized tv version of Christmas in that I watch some movies and eat some food with friends/family, that's about it.
posted by Fizz at 6:44 PM on December 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

We've been joking that we are failing at Christmas - we both somehow kept thinking it was the week after when it is - and we went to get a tree (small, table-top) tree yesterday....and there weren't any left! So oh well, no tree. But our friends downstairs are hosting a casual drop-in potluck dinner tomorrow evening, and we're making pie and this excellent roasted butternut squash and kale salad for it, and then Xmas morning we'll go to gingerbeer's sister's for presents and brunch and putting bows on their cats and it will all be very chill. At some point we will watch Die Hard and other Christmas movies, because tradition!
posted by rtha at 6:53 PM on December 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

I am a Jew in the south with few local Jewish friends who are inevitably out of town. Every year on Christmas I wear new nice pajamas (this year I have Hanukkah pajamas!), eat a thing of cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and have a movie marathon. This year is Rogue One-the original trilogy-The Force Awakens. I will also be visiting a friend's teenage kitten to make sure he is healthy and still willing to submit to cuddles.
posted by leesh at 6:56 PM on December 23, 2017 [22 favorites]

After shovelling snow, I spent most of today making Ragu for pasta, which I love making. I always have to make 2 because wife and daughters are vegetarian *sigh* so I do a mushroom one for them (it's awesome) and a traditional Bolognese for me and the boy. I also did all my food shopping for the next few days...and did my prep for the annual making of 3 Chocolate Babkas tomorrow. Finely chopping 2 pounds of chocolate by hand is brutal. I'd tried using the food processor a few years ago and everything just melted, so I went back to the trusty chef's knife. This year I had the brilliant idea to chill the chocolate first and then chop it in the food processor which worked awesome. 1 babka is for us and unfortunately we have to give the other 2 away.
Then tomorrow after I get the babka done it's off to Grandma's for Christmas on the German side. The deal at Grandma's was always that the kids had to do a little show before they get presents. It's slowly evolved into making short video productions that I (thankfully) don't have to be in charge of, so the kids were busily doing that tonight and are now scattered in various places...I hear an electric guitar up in the boy's room and our home-from-university daughter #1 grabbed a bottle of wine and headed out to a friend's house.
Then Monday after we do our nice quiet morning (the best part), it's the mad dash to get stuff made before we have to be at my brother's for Christmas Dinner at 4:30 with my family (I'm in charge of hors d'oeuvres this year.) One huge AWESOME thing is that it's not at our house this year (we rotate.) Then happily all the extended family stuff is done and we can relax.
Currently, my wife is wrapping presents and I'm drinking beer; just about do shut down the laptop and watch some Netflix. I'm thinking season 2 of Glitch.
Hope everyone has a great weekend and holiday and that you're all safe and as happy as possible, however you celebrate or don't celebrate. Cheers.
posted by chococat at 6:56 PM on December 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

The edible weed company does not want to pay my asking price to license my medieval UFO abduction woodcuts for their packaging. :/
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:08 PM on December 23, 2017 [15 favorites]

robocop is bleeding: "The edible weed company does not want to pay my asking price to license my medieval UFO abduction woodcuts for their packaging. :/"

I hope/assume it was a barter offer.
posted by AugustWest at 7:14 PM on December 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

We don't do family stuff on holidays, and for pretty much all the Christmases and New Yearses that we've been in Los Angeles we've spent some part of it with a nerdy kidless couple far from family like ourselves. I am heartbroken that they will be moving to Texas in a couple months, but when you're a scientist you go where the jobs are and if you want to buy a house you don't stay in Southern California, so I can't fault them even though I will miss them terribly.

To that end we're skipping Official Holiday Food (they're vegan anyway) and just eating what seems fun, which is TJ's vegan enchiladas, my lime cilantro rice and homemade refried beans, plus my vegan sausage rolls and veg sushi for snacks. I claimed I didn't have any dessert plans, and then bought GF dark chocolate chip waffles and two kinds of vegan ice cream, and then tonight accidentally made a batch of coconut-pie spice-vanilla-orange rice pudding so good it might not survive to see the dawn.

We'll be joined by a friend who was part of my squad back in the USENET days, out of touch for nearly 20 years but reconnected now and our occasional housemate as she's moving to LA and figuring out her situation. If everything works out as planned we will have dinner and then watch a movie in the freshly cleaned (it was full of fire ash) hot tub. My husband got me all the Ghibli movies for Christmas so we might pick one of those.

I just last night revisited my occasional consideration of whether to do what I had planned until The Internet Became A Thing and diverted my career in the early 90s, and apply to local Counseling Psychology masters programs. There's a Marriage/Family program literally 2.5 miles from my house. So that's a thing I'll be pondering as this garbage fire shithole of a year draws to a close and a brand new Dumpster rolls up for 2018.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:18 PM on December 23, 2017 [7 favorites]

We are in cloudy Danang, Vietnam. Christmas Day will be spent on the Son Tra peninsula looking for Red-shanked Duoc Langur monkeys. I'm in two minds about it as we're talking the whole family ranging from ages 3-76. The, uh, bookends in this group both speak super loudly so it will be interesting to see how we go.

But I still think it's going to be a terrific way to spend Christmas day.
posted by smoke at 7:34 PM on December 23, 2017 [9 favorites]

Tell us something holiday-y that's up with you.

I got food poisoning and laid on the couch napping and watching movies in my pajamas. Am not making this a tradition.

Much better now.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:51 PM on December 23, 2017 [12 favorites]

We are getting two kittens tomorrow! 7 week old sisters-one for each of my younger kids. They are so excited they could die. Our super sweet chill cat is almost 18, but she is unflappable about other animals so we’re hoping she’ll cuddle with them.

Just did a couple fun days in PDX-freezing rainy zoolights and all-and a visit to in-laws in Washington, and now home. Polar Express is on tonight. Tomorrow, mainly kitten-playing and adoration time, but also lots of wrapping and a little more baking to do (haven’t done frosted sugar cookies yet) and then my folks and sister arrive for a couple days. We do fondue every Christmas Eve, which is easy and delicious. My young adult daughter is dating a guy with a 2 year old-it will be fun to open presents with her :).
posted by purenitrous at 8:07 PM on December 23, 2017 [14 favorites]

I'm so not into Christmas this year, mostly because I've been guilted into spending it with family way on the other side of the country. This year I set some boundaries that should make it tolerable:

1. I'm flying on Christmas. Hopefully this will mitigate some of the annoyances of flying at the holidays.
2. I'm going to Mass MOCA if I have to walk there.
3. I'm not going to an outlet mall with my mom because she always talks me into spending hundreds of dollars on clothes that I never wear.
4. I'm not going to spend from 9AM to 11PM every day hanging out with my mom. I needs my alone time.
5. I'm not going to any big family parties thereby escaping this.
6. I'm organizing a meetup!
posted by bendy at 8:11 PM on December 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

I hope/assume it was a barter offer.

I suspect that's what they hoped I'd ask for, but I wanted cash money for my artistic effort in return for use of my work in perpetuity.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:21 PM on December 23, 2017 [21 favorites]

I just went shopping for ingredients for my eggnog ice cream recipe:

Ingredients: 1 Eggnog

Put eggnog in ice cream maker. Run it for a bit.

Makes 1 ice cream.
posted by aubilenon at 8:29 PM on December 23, 2017 [24 favorites]

(Oh yeah, I guess relatedely, I'm also organizing a meetup but I didn't have my crap together on time to do this in a decemberly manner so it's not until next year)
posted by aubilenon at 8:32 PM on December 23, 2017

Drove ten hours through the pouring rain today to get to Western Mass to visit my family. At least my son and I took turns driving so it was only five hours driving per person.

My sister lives up here in a town called Shelburne Falls which looks more like a Lionel train set village than it does anywhere where real people actually live. I intend to gain five pounds eating cookies and to do my best not to get into any political fights with my brother-in-law.
posted by octothorpe at 8:37 PM on December 23, 2017 [7 favorites]

Holiday-time event 1 of uh ... six (maybe seven?) went well. Our younger boy turned 3 today, and his birthday cake request was a simple one: include candles. I made cupcakes (finally using one of the boxes of Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint Cupcake Mix) and a nice, fluffy (and hard to frost) white cake mix, which my wife turned into a little Christmas tree with cupcakes to spare. I added some candles, which he blew out before we got half way through "Happy Birthday" ;)

Up next: Christmas eve with parents-in-law and my wife's older sister and her husband, who are in town for a while. Then Christmas at home, followed by Christmas with the extended family. Then my parents come in town on the 28th for Christmas #3, followed the next day by my birthday. And finally, there's New Year's Eve, which will likely see us in bed and asleep by 10 or 11 PM, which sounds lovely.

As a reminder for folks who are looking to get away, or looking for company among MeFites, we have room at our Christmas table, and other folks do, too.

Happy holidays, one and all! May you find happiness, wherever you are, even if it's just a nice moment or two.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:54 PM on December 23, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm in CA visiting my parents and, not incidentally, defrosting. Despite living in IL, MI, and NYS since the early 90s, I maintain my considerable philosophical objections to cold weather.

While I'm getting a lot of walking done, I also have two things I have to proofread and a conference paper proposal I need to finish. So, typical academic holiday, I suppose.
posted by thomas j wise at 9:09 PM on December 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

6. I'm organizing a meetup!

Wait. Shit. Why did I think that was gonna be today? That's a week from today. I might actually be able to make that. We'll see.

Today was the first of my Christmas dinners. Every year we do Christmas day with my wife's family and we get together with my family somewhere around Christmas. Today was my family's turn. I do it at my house because it's neutral territory for my brothers, who used to be bitter enemies who wouldn't go to eachother's houses. Things are better now but we still call the event Dysfunctional Family Christmas. We actually have a lot of fun, more so since we discovered we like drinking whiskey. I've had a bit of whiskey tonight.

I cooked a shitload of food. Every year I mix it up. Last year was chicken and waffles, I've done duck, homemade Chinese food, lamb shanks, rib roasts, pork roasts, you name it. Today was barbecue. We had a bit of a rain/ice storm so I set up a canopy over the grills and did some ribs. They were smoking for five hours and were yummy. Beans baked for seven hours. I had mac and cheese and green beans with bacon. It was really good and you are so jealous.

Tomorrow I basically do nothing. Most of my gifts are wrapped already. I'll relax and continue getting over this cold I've had all week. My wife is singing at church so maybe I'll watch Die Hard with my son. We'll see.

Christmas day I'm doing a rib roast. It's currently sitting in the back of the fridge, looking beautiful. Potatoes cooked in duck fat, Brussels sprouts and Yorkshire pudding will be served with it. We'll have my wife's family over. They're all great but it's a very different dynamic from my family. Some ways it's better, some ways it's worse.

Family, amirite?

Anyway, I don't think my wife reads Metafilter much and she certainly doesn't read Metatalk. She does have an account, I think Jessamyn hooked her up once when I wasn't looking, but Amy isn't really an "Internet Person" so I think it's safe to assume she's not going to see this. So, because I'm super excited to tell someone, I'm gonna tell you all that I got her tickets to see Hamilton in NYC.

She was a theater major in college (Emerson) and she lives and breathes musicals, so I don't think there's anything she wants more than Hamilton tickets. I'm happy I was able to acquire some and I'm very much looking forward to giving them to her. They're good seats and I will go to my grave without telling anyone what I paid for them. She's worth it.

So I guess we'll be going to NYC in April.

I would totally skip the entire season if I could, but I can't. Because I can't, a few years ago I decided to make the most of it and celebrate it on my own terms. It's worked out well.

I have next week off and I'm not sure what I'll do with myself. Maybe some family things, I dunno. Amy has to go buy a new car, she was in a bad accident last week that she fortunately walked away from without a scratch. Subarus are pretty awesome cars. Airbags are great.

2017 has kind of sucked on a national level. Personally, it hasn't been too bad. I'm glad I have this place, I'm glad I have you folks, and I'm glad I have these threads every Saturday night.
posted by bondcliff at 9:12 PM on December 23, 2017 [28 favorites]

We here at my place are basically non-holiday-ers. One housemate has flown to Dallas to visit her twin sister and wife. Another housemate will visit his father on xmas day for dinner. I have no plans at all. Most of my friends are scattered now, some for good, and my brother the sailor is in Australia. I did have dinner with my closest friend on Thursday and had fettucine bolognese, which I'm counting as my xmas dinner.

BUT before A flew to Dallas, we tracked down and downloaded a charming/fun xmas movie called Call Me Clause with Nigel Hawthorne, Whoopi Goldberg, Vincent Garber, et al. and hilarious cameos by Bruce Vilanch and Richard Moll and more. It's not the greatest movie but it's funny and it's a nice twist on the traditional story.

So that's my xmas. And it's fine.I enjoy reading about everybody's festivities, even though this introvert wouldn't want to be awash in them. Enjoy yourselves. Happy Solstice and Happy New Year to you all.
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:32 PM on December 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

I learned years ago to take a couple of random days off the week before Christmas. For like shopping, hanging lights, baking, etc. Best decision ever.

This year we are blessed with no visitors and no travel elsewhere. My wife took my eldest to Last Jedi last night and a Macklemore concert tonight, so I’m home with Baby Bartfast playing electric train and FIFA 18 while drinking a Four Roses single cask. I’m making a kick ass pie for Xmas dinner at a dear dear friends house on Xmas. We are leaving for Cambodia on New Year’s Eve for two weeks and life is good.

My Trump supporting relatives are sad they aren’t seeing my beautiful children on Xmas but they can fucking suck rocks and go to hell.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:33 PM on December 23, 2017 [31 favorites]

Flew into Seattle this afternoon and the nap-less three-year-old tried to take out my eyes with his fingernails on our way to the baggage claim. My attempt at discipline quickly cratered so I dragged our screaming, wild-eyed puddle of a child along the curb looking for our ride while Ms. ntw juggled the infant and our bags. Normally I’d find it pretty amusing but after a day of travel I wanted to bungee strap him to the roller bag. He’s never had a true meltdown like that in the 10+ flights he’s been on, so lucky us
posted by not_the_water at 10:03 PM on December 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm getting married today!
(So why am I on the Internet? Well, it's basically just the paperwork. He's getting off work early and we're going to go to the nearest ward office and do the thing, and then go out for a nice dinner somewhere. I might even wear a dress. Also we need to buy creme brulées from the Creme Brulée Guy (that is basically the name of the store) on the way home, since if getting married isn't a good enough excuse I don't know what is.)
We do plan to have a small gathering next month, so expect an AskMe or two from this socially awkward middle-aged chick trying nervously to assemble friends from disparate spheres in one place.
Otherwise, tomorrow is Yuletide as well as Christmas, which means lots of good reading coming up; another four days of work until the New Year's holidays, which will be mostly at home relaxing (although I will get a little of my first experience of having honest-to-God inlaws. I like them, but oh dear.)
Happy celebrations to all.
posted by huimangm at 10:04 PM on December 23, 2017 [43 favorites]

"She was a theater major in college (Emerson) and she lives and breathes musicals, so I don't think there's anything she wants more than Hamilton tickets. I'm happy I was able to acquire some and I'm very much looking forward to giving them to her. They're good seats and I will go to my grave without telling anyone what I paid for them. She's worth it."

Just FYI my husband bought me surprise Hamilton tickets two years ago for Christmas and three days after he bought them (i.e., just outside the return window), I found out I was pregnant and would be too pregnant to fly on the date chosen, so, you know, watch out for that kind of thing! ;)

(I still have not seen it, but I hope to go in Chicago before too long!)

I intend to bring this up to my third-born when she's 14 and going, "WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN TO ME?" "BECAUSE YOU MADE ME MISS ORIGINAL-CAST HAMILTON, THAT'S WHY!"
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:06 PM on December 23, 2017 [21 favorites]

"Hey, mom, can I go out with my friends instead of going to this family event?"
"I guess so. I mean, I did miss original-cast Hamilton to give birth to you, but it's fine, you should spend time with your friends, you can always spend time with me later ..."
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:09 PM on December 23, 2017 [14 favorites]

We saw Hamilton in San Francisco a week before my wife was due and I was adamant that if our son surprised us that night, his name was *not* going to be Hamilton.
posted by not_the_water at 10:24 PM on December 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Thanks to my whole family getting the Kindergartenpest, we’re not doing our usual plans of travelling to Bavaria and doing two Christmases back to back. Instead, today I’ll be cooking supper for us plus a friend who has nowhere to be. The child will probably go to the zoo, as there is a special program about farm animals today, and in that time, I’ll be making Bratwurst, roast vegetables, gravy and an apple pie.

Frohe Weihnachten, MetaFilter.
posted by frimble (staff) at 10:24 PM on December 23, 2017 [14 favorites]

I am going to SLEEP as LATE as I WANT.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:38 PM on December 23, 2017 [12 favorites]

I'm hoping that rtha surprises me with a gift of adorable kittens for xmas.

I'm also very pleased with myself that I have ONE present that she doesn't know about that will be a surprise. We're not very good with surprises like this, generally, and just bought ourselves a new couch as an xmas present.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:03 AM on December 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

Well I don't have any extended family near enough (physically/emotionally) to do anything with, so it is just me, Ms Hero and the three kids. Yesterday we drove out to the hot springs up in the mountains and I got a nice hot soak to keep the winter chill at bay. Oddly, it was warm yesterday, and it was POURING down rain on our drive home, which was kind of stressful.

The two older kids (almost 6 and 3) are going wild with Christmas anticipation (the youngest - almost 2 - is just going wild), so I took the boy to go ice skating at the outdoor rink this afternoon. Unfortunately the morning rain has the operation shut down all day, so he had a bit of a freak out. I will try again tomorrow, especially because they will need to be separated after opening gifts to try and get them to chill out a bit.

So yeah, basically this holiday season is trying to keep my kids from sending my downstairs neighbors into a murderous rage.
posted by Literaryhero at 12:16 AM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

We spent Christmas Eve going for a walk in a drizzle - to a nearby spring which according to signs is where NZ gets 70% of its bottled water. It looks like what you'd imagine. So we learned a thing too.

Then back to my in-laws' place where they determinedly pretend they are still in Sweden.
posted by lollusc at 12:21 AM on December 24, 2017 [11 favorites]

Apparently rtha reads MeTa! And has informed me that there will be no surprise kittens because kittens are a serious decision and not something one does as a surprise.

So now I'm holding out for cha cha heels.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:23 AM on December 24, 2017 [22 favorites]

kittens are a serious decision and not something one does as a surprise.

My friend's cat apparently did not get that memo.
posted by aubilenon at 12:27 AM on December 24, 2017 [19 favorites]

OK fine, there are some good things.

1. I’m getting reimbursed for my flight.
1a. I upgraded all four legs of my trip to the closest aisle seat to the front door.
2. I’m going to see my favorite uncle and my favorite cousin (in from Edinburgh!).
3. I may be able to get to the beach with my favorite uncle.
4. I’ll meet my favorite uncle’s apparently-awesome girlfriend.
5. I’m going to push hard to get a lobster roll, fried clams or at least some chowdah with Westminster Oyster Crackers.
6. Mass MOCA
7. There’s no gift exchange between adults in my family but I generally get slipped some cash.
8. Perhaps my mom’s husband will be friendly to me again. It’s been more than two years since I got drunk at Thanksgiving.
posted by bendy at 12:51 AM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have to drive my dad 40 minutes away to a thing at my step sister's house. We normally do xmas eve here but dad canceled it...he thought it would be easier if I didn't have to cook. So now instead of doing a thing I enjoy all day (cooking) I will be driving and having to deal with people all day. Whereas for the past four billion years I could one on one or small group with people in the kitchen now I'll be driving and dealing with family at mothereffing noon. I'm sure it'll be fine but it's just not what I wanted.

Tomorrow night I'll open presents with dad from him and also stuff my brother sent. Everyone, it's been really hard not to wear the boots my brother got me. (Amazon gift less than stellar job this year.)

On Christmas day I'm fixing chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes, rolls, and we'll either have leftover red velvet cake (taking to step sister's, may leave it there) or I'll make a gingerbread cake. I will probably drink hot chocolate with baileys OR diet coke and jack while cooking. In the downtime of cooking I may read the Eddie Izzard book my brother also sent (A+ putting it in a giftbag it didn't even fit in Amazon.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:57 AM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am about to have fancy breakfast (smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, Buck's Fizz) with t'husband and then we will finish packing and wait to be picked up by my MiL for Christmas at her house, where I shall spend a significant amount of time biting my tongue and exchanging signals with t'husband as I will be a remain voting liberal foreigner in a house of people who are mostly...the opposite. (T'husband is a remain voting liberal but he is English so I am still a unique and special snowflake 😉).

I have made a xmas pudding (suitable for diabetics as grandma very much likes xmas pudding but is diabetic) and after accidentally melting the first pudding basin, the second one has turned out nicely! Phew.

Back home on Boxing Day though and then I'm off work till the 2nd.
posted by halcyonday at 1:04 AM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

First Christmas in a decade and more that I'm not schlepping up to the Back of British Beyond to see the family. Friends invited me for Christmas Day but then sick parent happened so they've flown off to see him. Which leaves me alone in a grey, unprepossessing London with just their cat for company. My life seems to have shrunk a lot this past year.

On the plus side, I can eat dates and honeycomb til I explode and play videogames all day.
posted by aihal at 2:18 AM on December 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'm doing the Jewish traditional Christmas thing (no, not Chinese food and a movie, that's a different Jewish traditional Christmas thing) and going to work so my coworkers don't have to.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:10 AM on December 24, 2017 [21 favorites]

momdonley and I have set up camp down a back soi in Bangkok and are soaking up the 90-degree weather and are applying a lot of sun cream and seeing some temples! Christmas is not an official holdiay here so we might do a few massages tomorrow. We have scheduled the Official Family Facetime. It is wonderful and so green at our wee accommodation and we are off to Chiang Mai on the 27th. Yay!
posted by mdonley at 3:16 AM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

My sister gave my son a Google home mini for Christmas, and he's in love with it. He's figured out how to make it read him a bedtime story and got to talk to Lightning McQueen. But his favorite things are it's programed to call him by his name which he's gives a big grin, and it plays Christmas music. The TV went on mute and it's been non-stop Christmas music since. I only managed to shut it off once he conked out. My sister totally won Christmas, he's just ecstatic.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 3:30 AM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

Both my siblings bailed this year claiming work responsibilities so it's just my parents and me + cat at the cottage for three days. The house is not especially cat-proofed so we find ourselves sneaking behind the Christmas tree to boggle at all the sparkly things that we do not have at home. Clearly he now realizes how awesome trees are and how could I have been keeping him from this magic, etc.
posted by janepanic at 3:41 AM on December 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

I realize I probably should have shown pictures of this, because it is literally the greatest thing I have ever made.

A certain amount of insanity is allowable with respect to electric train layouts...

My current Christmas Village, anticipated to expand over the years, because I care not for what my wife thinks of me.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:57 AM on December 24, 2017 [18 favorites]

The entire family has gone to midnight mass except me, and left me in charge of removing the ham from the oven at the appointed hour, and making tomorrow's pavlova (a last-minute request as people dashed out the door, which seemed perfectly reasonable until I got to the final step and it said to cook it for an hour an a half. An hour and a half starting at midnight takes it to half past ridiculous, is what it does.)

Anyway, this means I am fully responsible for making sure that two essential parts of tomorrow's Christmas dinner are edible. Hope there's a fish and chip shop open, is all I have to say to that.

However, if I'm going to bed at half past ridiculous, I think I'm going to resign from my other duty, which was to cook everyone breakfast tomorrow.
posted by lollusc at 4:04 AM on December 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

Also, since this is sort of an end of the year thread and I’ll be on a plane next Saturday, I just wanted to mention how thankful I am to be part of the Mefi Pub Quiz Juggernaut that has made Tuesdays at The George and Dragon a pretty regular thing. As far as I know, this is Seattle’s roughest trivia challenge and we currently boast about a 75% winning percentage and there’s cash money and free beer involved. Seattle regulars include ChrisR, skyscraper, clew,, and the greatest trivia mind of our generation, the man of twists and turns (recently departed to the Tri-cities). Semi- regulars include corb, valrus, and quietcoyote.

What I’m saying is, If you’re a MeFite and you’re in Seattle on a Tuesday night, chances are very good that you’ll walk away with money and free beer if you show up.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:28 AM on December 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

It's only her and me and him and them and this and that but none of those and very little of all the other this year. So it's good but there is no snow to freeze everything still.
posted by pracowity at 5:03 AM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Update: since I'm in Japan and can eat raw eggs without worrying about dying from salmonella, it just occurred to me I can make real eggnog. So I did. It's really, really good. *raises glass to mefites* Happy holidays, y'all.
posted by ctmf at 5:06 AM on December 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm celebrating with my annual ritual of rediscovery. Each year I refind out why we shouldn't put too much mincemeat in the mince pies and celebrate by chipping hardset toffeed mincemeat off the baking tray so I can do the second batch.
posted by biffa at 5:06 AM on December 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

Uh oh. Turns out you should read to the bottom of recipes 24 hours ahead in case they need to be refrigerated overnight. Can you substitute cadbury's heroes for homemade chocolate trifle do you think?
posted by biffa at 5:18 AM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I do kind of like toffeed mincemeat, biffa. And I reckon you're OK with the chocolate trifle not having its full setting time. If you can put a bit more cornflour [cornstarch] in the custard part it'll set harder. And if you're good at setting a custard with eggs, then you can do that.

I'm struggling a bit personally. I've come up to my parents, as the useless single childless offspring, and it kind of hurts how everything's slightly loaded with contempt. Like the "urghh, that's a horrible white thing" that was said about my hire car before I got in the door (yeah, I hate it when I book an intermediate and get a mini-SUV (Vauxhall Mokka [Buick Encore]), too), and the continual telling me what I want and what I'm thinking. I left church early (where my dad's the priest) this morning because although church matters to me, there's no one like me there, and I've been struggling to get to my home parish for a while.

I'm wondering whether to go into Birmingham and pick up some cashew cheese (if it's not sold out) and play pinball at the pinball café (pinball machines are rare in the UK) for a bit, or have a little browse round IKEA, which is more local and presumably isn't very busy today.

I think I'll do one of the two, and try to be back before too long. Then I can get more in the spirit of things for my parents.
posted by ambrosen at 5:38 AM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

My son and I had our Chrismas early as I work this year. I made lots of food and we ate and watched Midsomer Muders. A very nice day.
posted by bjgeiger at 6:04 AM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Do the pinball, brum will be carnage for shopping (i lived in Coventry). The pinball will feel more like having your own space even if its full of other people.

The trifle is a non-standard recipe or I would take a punt. I think we will repurpose it for boxing day.
posted by biffa at 6:06 AM on December 24, 2017

Because of weather complications I will not have any company for Christmas except my cats. (Thank goodness for cats.) And I have presents to open and a LOT of food to eat, and even if worst comes to worst and I lose electricity there is lots of wine, so I should be okay. And I'll get to have another Christmas next weekend.
posted by JanetLand at 6:25 AM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

My daughter crushed us all in Scrabble last night. Twice. Never play Scrabble with somebody who just scored in the 99th percentile on the GRE.

On tap for tonight is peach sangria and Space Jam.

I know I've got an Atari 2600 Retro Console under the tree, so looking forward to spending tomorrow playing cheesy video games from the 80s.

Happy holidays Mefites!
posted by COD at 6:34 AM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

Elviramas was a success, looks well-positioned to become a family tradition (next year: everybody wears Elvira wigs!). Then I had inguinal hernia repair surgery.* Now it's snowing and I am desperately, painfully constipated. So kind of an up-and-down holiday season for me this year, but at least it's memorable.

*(The timing was deliberate; I had a ruptured appendix removed on the same date 30 years ago. Open to suggestions for a major abdominal surgery to have in 2047, ideally something in the lower-right quadrant.)
posted by Spathe Cadet at 6:35 AM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

Even though it's just me and the folks, we did meet up with my aunt on the 23rd while they were collecting me in Rhode Island. My aunt is a Trumpster, and my father made a bit of a peace offering to her of "well, the tax deal will benefit our cranberry business for a while, anyway" and my aunt got enthusiastic about how "see, someday everyone's going to come around to how good Trump is after all and see how much he's done for the country".

My parents and I all exchanged a split-second silent look, and the I forcibly changed the subject to how cool it was that the Cubs won the World Series in 2016. During the rest of the drive back to my parents' place, the three of us vented about Trump and lamented my aunt's having bought into Trump's bullshit.

Even just today Dad grumbled to me that "it's killing me because the tax plan will be good for the business bottom line, but it's coming from a guy that I hate the guy's guts".

Fortunately the only other people we will be talking to for the next 48 hours are each other, and the random Other Parishioners when we go to church tonight. And Luke Skywalker (we're going to a movie Christmas day).

...I shamefully admit to having counted the number of presents under the tree that were for me - and to being a tiny bit disappointed that the number of presents from mom to dad far outweighed everything else. But just typing that out makes me realize I should get the hell over it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:36 AM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

I haaaaate this time of year. Between divorced parents, a sibling with family, and my in-laws, I have four separate households that want to see me. They all get deeply hurt if any one of them senses that I’m spending too much time with anyone else. I can never just do what I feel like doing, or I inevitably get sad or angry texts and calls from someone who hasn’t seen enough of me. It’s nice to feel appreciated, but it’s a nightmare every time I visit.

But we watched Frozen with my nephew, and he was cute.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:19 AM on December 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

I had a party to go to yesterday evening and was feeling quite ambivalent. It snowed yesterday and we got freezing rain today; roads are crappy, diveway's a mess. Perfect excuse to stay home. I made muffins, did some shoveling and started packing to go to my kid's inlaws' for Christmas Eve and more family for Christmas. Being company is a bit more relentlessly social than I typically have been lately, but they're nice and they have a nice dog. And I have books. There is expected to be a lot of snow on Christmas Day and I will likely have to stay over an extra day, so I'm throwing in an extra book.

Last year there had been sad things so we did the very least we could do for Christmas and this year feels better, even despite the state of the US, which is saying a lot.
posted by theora55 at 7:50 AM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

My wife is working evenings over the holidays and for hospital employees the time is stressful for a number of reasons including reduced workforce but not necessarily reduced work. Particularly for professionals, not being able to do the full scope of your profession (and increasing the risk of error as a result) due to business is hella stressful as it is yet alone throwing in holiday fomo.

So - to combat that, we've been doing a present or two per night after work to counteract the blues and focusing on little treats (like using our new milk frother and Moka pot for lattes) as we won't have a traditional holiday meal as she'll be working. Tomorrow, as we're away from our family, we'll get up late and do brunch with friends and because our presents are mostly already opened it'll feel a little less rushed. It's certainly not either of our usual traditions but we're making the best of it and will go home in a couple of weeks to spoil nieces and nephews HARD.
posted by notorious medium at 8:19 AM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'd reading Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson and falling in love with her writing all over again.
posted by BibiRose at 8:20 AM on December 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm currently lounging on the couch but in a couple of hours I'll be on the bus to my folks' place. I am contemplating taking a bite of one of the edibles I got earlier this week to take the edge off the journey, but I'm unsure about dosage and don't want to be obviously stoned when I arrive. I'm bringing homemade chocolate-dipped sponge toffee, cranberry curd and a cheesecake made with the curd.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:58 AM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Ever since we got the dog, we had to discontinue our yearly tradition of getting a room at Foxwoods Casino. So now we stay home and watch Die Hard. No Chinese food, though, because apparently there aren't enough Jews in Northern RI to keep the restaurants open. So I'm about to head out to the market to buy the fixings for a rocking charcuterie board.
posted by Ruki at 9:43 AM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have eaten three Reese's trees and I have an entire cheesecake in my fridge. I'm pretty sure that sugar can't actually solve my problems, but I'm trying. I mostly can't wait for the holiday to pass because I'm realizing how inconvenient it is to have so many things closed when you aren't celebrating. I live right next to my grocery store, so I've gotten used to regularly being able to just shop for the next couple days--I bought so much food yesterday that it felt like I was preparing for a natural disaster or something. Tomorrow, I'm going to see Shape of Water and I'm super excited about that. I think I'm going to spend most of the next couple days coding and I'm happy with that.
posted by Sequence at 9:47 AM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

My wife is still recovering from a bulging disc in her spine, and both of the nubs spawn are sick. This may be the quietest Christmas we've had.

On deck for today is the last little bit of house cleaning and making my own eggnog, a holiday tradition. Tomorrow will be the hustle of shuttling to the in-laws for the morning and then my family for the afternoon & dinner (though with the various health issues at Nubs' House of Illness & Disability, we're aiming for it to be as short as possible).

Boxing day I'm very much looking forward to not moving much myself, and just enjoying whatever Santa saw fit to bring me.
posted by nubs at 10:03 AM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mince pies are done, trifle is in the fridge and now its wait and see as to whether it can set enough for dessert . Most happily the Xmas album repeat has ceased, so there is much to be thankful for.
posted by biffa at 10:43 AM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

We've got the MST3K Club marathon on, the truffles are in progress, and it's snowing so hard I can't see across the park. Festive AF over here! Safe and happy Hogswatch to everyone! <3
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 10:54 AM on December 24, 2017

Am currently making the sauce for the pot pies we're serving tonight, preschooler is napping, husband is cleaning the bathrooms, and in utero baby is doing barrel rolls. Hoping the ice melted enough to get outside for a walk soon. Yesterday's ice storm meant I didn't get my kid's main present, which I'm feeling pretty bad about, but I think she's young enough that we can pick it up later this week and she'll still be excited. Personally, I'm looking forward to a good dinner with family, waking up tomorrow to several inches of snow, and not having to travel too far!
posted by john_snow at 11:05 AM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Need to get dressed for church in a few. My father just watched the tail end of the sports movie The Greatest Game Ever Played, and when I saw it, without thinking I blurted out "ah, Shia LeBouef before he got weird."

".....What do you mean 'got weird'?" Dad innocently asked.

That touched off a strange conversation.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:08 AM on December 24, 2017

i woke up at 8am instead of my customary 1pm and idk what to do with myself? why is the sun still out? who needs all these hours in a day, no one, that's who

im going to sleep and no one can stop me
posted by poffin boffin at 11:42 AM on December 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

This holiday is just the cherry on top of the shit sundae that has been this year for me. I'm going to take a shower and make some more coffee and probably eschew any housework and watch movies. Is Paris, Texas worth renting on Amazon? It sounded interesting.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:49 AM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I am enjoying Christmas this year. My inner grinch took the year off, apparently. Discovering Amazon Prime may or may not have had anything to do with that.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:57 AM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

Every time I go to my parents' house, I forget how great it feels to be in the land of ethnic diversity. I like where I live, and I don't want to live where my parents live, but holy fuck is Christmas better in a place where I'm not the only person who doesn't celebrate it.

Anyway, tonight we're going to the movies and then to a Middle Eastern restaurant. Tomorrow we're going to my parents' next-door neighbors' potluck Christmas party. I am bringing brownies. Everyone seems to be getting along (knock wood), which is nice.

I am trying to figure out if I should get myself an Instant Pot as a prize for surviving the Christmas/ super-short day season. Does anyone have an Instant Pot? Is it worth it? I use my rice cooker all the time and my slow cooker occasionally, but I can't decide if the Instant Pot will actually add any value to what I already have.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:01 PM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I filled the bird feeders yesterday afternoon when it was 60 something. It's in the 40's this afternoon and supposedly going to snow on Friday.

A friend gave us a bunch of firewood for our little burny thing, but it is either green or wet, so the fires we have had lately are super smokey. But we have them anyway because I love them.

Thursday we went to a solstice gathering with friends and enjoyed writing messages to the universe on bay leaves & tossing them into the fire. It was really nice to see everyone & I realized we really need to spend more time with friends instead of spending all our life grouching about politics & feeling doomed.

Tomorrow we open presents & help the dogs & cats open theirs and just generally chill all day. Tuesday is back to work.
posted by yoga at 12:11 PM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

notorious medium: My wife is working evenings over the holidays and for hospital employees the time is stressful for a number of reasons including reduced workforce but not necessarily reduced work.

Thank you to people in health care like your wife who work through this season.

Owing to a few dodgy overnight symptoms (gory details will be spared), stemming from a stomach bug I’m still recovering from, I had to visit an ER this morning for a few hours.

I’m fine - home and resting comfortably. Will just be missing out on a few festivities tonight and tomorrow so I can rest appropriately. Otherwise all good.

Thank you again to the the health care workers who work at a job that is anything but 9-5. You’re there when people need you.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:14 PM on December 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

Is Paris, Texas worth renting on Amazon? It sounded interesting.

Worth it, yes. Just know going in that it is devastatingly sad -- or at least for me. So much misdirected love in it.
posted by vers at 12:23 PM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

We took the girls to a documentary about Jane Goodall and now I'm listening to the best Christmas present Metafilter ever gave me.
posted by hfnuala at 12:27 PM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ugh, I have a raging sore throat that keeps getting worse. I feel for everyone who’s sick today. It’s ok having a low key Christmas, but sometimes you want to do it on your own terms.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:49 PM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

I worked this morning (home improvement store) and got off at 1pm; rented one of the floor cleaners (two day rental for price of one day since the store is closed tomorrow!)

Today is the anniversary of my becoming a widow, so I try and pretend all is happy to not bring others' happy down. But, truly, it sucks.

I just finished terrorizing the feline inhabitants and have barf-free carpet. I will use the machine at mom's tomorrow and do her hallway and bedroom which are covered in coffee dribble spots.

I also need to make a few things that I take to friends/neighbors. I guess that is my next task in a few. Have catlap, so am stuck for the time being. Really want some water but must no disturb purring feline.

It's only the two of us tomorrow and food will get ready whenever I get to it. Other tasks will be changing out the guts of a leaky toilet and replacing a motion sensor area light. I may even have time to rest!

At one of my other jobs, the awesome sole proprietor gave us an unexpected and generous bonus; at the other sole proprietor workplace, I was given a wee little pumpkin bread=no need to make cake/whatever for tomorrow. I will try and convince myself to spend my bonus on something I really want rather than need (not likely but I can think about it.)

This year has been a challenge but I am fortunate to have a few friends and good neighbors and lovely critters about. And I greatly enjoy sharing my existence with you fine MeFolk.
posted by mightshould at 12:52 PM on December 24, 2017 [22 favorites]

You Tube is a cornucopia of Christmas music and videos, pretty much everything from a 1970s Christmas Music soundtrack specifically made for K Mart to play during the shopping season, to ballets, such as The Nutcracker, to zillions of Christmas songs, from the classics, to soul, you name it.

Also, Macy's Thanksgiving Parades, including the Broadway musicals, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, videos of Christmas lights, Christmas villages, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
posted by Beholder at 12:55 PM on December 24, 2017

I'm at the airport on my way to Paris with my recently widowed sister, and from there we go to Tanzania for a safari and a trek up Kilimanjaro with a pile of family and friends.

It has been such a terrible year it requires a life changing trip to begin to make up for it.
posted by suelac at 1:07 PM on December 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

I like reading about people's non-traditional holidays. I find it comforting.

My partner has gone to his parents' place six hours away because it makes his mom happy, which I get. But ... I would not particularly enjoy being there. His parents and I get along fine, but Christmas makes his mom a little crazy. And life's too short for that. And she won't miss me. Again, we get along fine but it's hardly like my presence completes her holiday. (And I have just enough work that it can be used as an explanation for my absence.)

My own mom lives 3000+ miles away, which means I haven't been back for Christmas in a long time. It's my least favorite time to travel anywhere and I think she's finally made peace with the idea that we see each other a few times a year, but Christmas will not be one of those times.

So I've done a lot of baking (bagels, bread). And I bought some sea urchin (which my partner would never eat, much less so when they're labeled "gonades" here in Montreal -- yes, I know that's what they are but ...) and I'll watch a lot of mindless TV tonight (which I never really do.) And then tomorrow I'll probably go see a movie and walk around a bit and enjoy that the city feels a little abandoned.
posted by veggieboy at 1:18 PM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

Well I still believe in tradition and have had Dr. Who reruns running in the background for days while I eat a lot of crap and listen to dogs snore.
posted by bongo_x at 1:32 PM on December 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

Sitting in north Fulton county Georgia drinking a beer, eating homemade Cincinnati style chili, and listening to my teenage daughters in the other room telling stories and laughing with the friend they have known their whole life. Eventually we will open a Christmas eve present and settle in for a mindless holiday movie and as many Christmas episodes as we can watch before someone cries uncle.
posted by mumblelard at 2:20 PM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Did a bit of quality wrapping for my son the percussionist.
posted by rory at 3:09 PM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

....aaaannd now it’s snowing hard in Seattle on Christmas Eve. Fire in the fireplace, pie in the oven, kids playing with the train set around the tree, Bourbon in the glass.

Houston, we are at peak Christmas, this is not a drill. We are at Yule-con 1.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:56 PM on December 24, 2017 [12 favorites]

Not to abuse the edit window, the Bourbon is in my glass, not the kids. My wife is making hot chocolate for the kids and we are arguing about the expiration date on the marshmallows which passed 2 years ago. My position being that marshmallows never go bad and it’s a hoax to make us buy more marshmallows.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:59 PM on December 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

Gumbo for 100, just kidding, 10 gallons gumbo mostly for me!

posted by AlexiaSky at 4:03 PM on December 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

Sitting on the gf's sofa listening to samba with her and the daughters and just hanging out waiting for the rest of the immediate family to arrive so that we can eat. 2 hour black out in parts of Rio tonight owing to big storms. The bacalhao, rabanadas, lombo and much more is waiting !
posted by adamvasco at 4:11 PM on December 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

I just finished putting the house back together after carpeting has fully dried. Have stuff sitting by back door for tomorrow. Food stuff is in fridge. I bailed on making fudge tonight. Too tired. Maybe tomorrow.

Am on sofa with catlap again. Jazz is playing, ceiling fan is on low, ate other half of yesterday's leftover sandwich and am enjoying a half glass of wine and looking up at ceiling to notice a large crack going all the way across. Huh.

Plant lights on timer (shut up - not that kind of plants) just went off so I'm sitting in the darkned room, enjoying the glow from my little three ceramic house village. Peace.
posted by mightshould at 4:17 PM on December 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

My girlfriend and I are visiting her dad at his apartment in the ol’ folks’ home. We had a delicious lunch that I didn’t have to cook (the cafeteria here is really good) and we got the dogs new beds for Christmas, so they’re both snoozing in luxury on the living room floor. There is bourbon and peppermint bark. There will be church later but the bourbon will help with that. After church, the elves will come. When my girlfriend and her sister were kids, the elves would come on Christmas Eve during church and leave them a set of matching pajamas. Even though they’re in their 40s, the elves still come, and this is the first year that they’re coming for me, and I’m pretty excited about it.

Tomorrow night, once we’re home, we’ll probably order Chinese and watch a movie in front of the fire.
posted by coppermoss at 4:24 PM on December 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

We are downstairs at our friends’, testing cocktails (first batch: burnt sugar Old Fashioneds, made with rye) and about to eat some smoked turkey chili. And talking about Star Wars.
posted by rtha at 4:52 PM on December 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

My sweet husband and I spent Winter Solstice putting the last five perlins in place for the roof of the "lakeside cottage." Which meant at one point I had a freakout on the scaffolding -- I got to the top and there was nothing on the footbridge to hold onto after climbing on. (it's not fear of heights -- it's the sharp shock on hitting the ground).

Anyway, he repositioned the ladder and I was able to lean against the metal rafter while lifting and sliiiiiding the 20-foot beam into place in its channel. He clamped his side, I added a temp clamp and climbed down, then he welded each beam while I collapsed in relief.
And then climbed up again. And again.

The roof beams were finished and most of the three scaffolds were disassembled before the street lights came on. We drove a couple of hours back home before the cold front came in and the next day we had freezing rain and a little snow on the yard. Welding is done (for a while).

That's my X-mas present to my husband.
Next -- plywood and metal roofing! Such joy....

May your holidays be as memorable as you would like.
posted by TrishaU at 5:04 PM on December 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

I made Cornish hens, chorizo-leek stuffing, and braised collard greens with bacon for our Christmas Eve dinner. Tomorrow, we brunch with his family, then we see Star Wars and come home to enjoy a massive Charcuterie board. I'm finally over my cold from last week and ready to enjoy this.
posted by PearlRose at 5:30 PM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

....My parents are both seriously obsessed with Last Tango in Halifax.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:34 PM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I ate too much sugar and crashed from that crap, and so settled down for a long winter's nap.
posted by mochapickle at 5:38 PM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

So, like, pie is kinda my thing. Another masterpiece.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:49 PM on December 24, 2017 [15 favorites]

One day in and I may have already had too much family. At least there's beer.
posted by octothorpe at 6:27 PM on December 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

I've made 6 different kinds of cookies, and peanut butter fudge. Plus, I folded an origami bed to put in a box, because we're giving my son a room redecoration for xmas. (He's a teenager, and still has some furniture from when he was a kid, and his taste is not at all my taste, so giving him carte blanche to do his own space is a big deal for both of us. Heh.)

We're sitting down to watch Muppet Christmas carol, drink nog, open one present, and then I'll decide if I want to put on braces and real clothes and go to mass, or if I'm ok celebrating Light's birthday with cats, kid, husband, and dog.

In the holiday tradition of schmoopy emotions, I want to say thank you to all of y'all that have been such an integral part of surviving 2017. It's been a hell of a year at sea kids, but our raft has held strong, and for that, I am supremely grateful.

I hope your holiday season is filled with happy thoughts, sunlight and peace. The days are getting longer again, the shadows will retreat. Stay strong. :)
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:34 PM on December 24, 2017 [10 favorites]

my family has lots of ... issues... but one thing we do every year is make a craft together. This year we took glass blocks, put lights inside them and decorated them with ribbons, snowflakes, etc. This is mine. (My name is Kevin.)
posted by AFABulous at 6:38 PM on December 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

i woke up at 8am instead of my customary 1pm and idk what to do with myself? why is the sun still out? who needs all these hours in a day, no one, that's who

posted by bongo_x at 6:47 PM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

... it's not fear of heights ...

Dialogue between climbers:
A: I'm not afraid of heights. It's falling I'm afraid of.
B: I'm not afraid of falling. It's hitting the ground I'm afraid of.

Also known as deceleration sickness.

Anyway, traditions. I just enjoyed a glass of Martinelli's sparkling apple cider with dinner (which was a bacon and egg sandwich). Another glass with breakfast tomorrow. I'm planning on beans and rice for breakfast.
posted by Bruce H. at 7:06 PM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

At the last minute I decided not to fly east to visit family. We do do Christmas, so it's not the biggest deal. It's just me this year and it's quite nice. I might go out for a drink later depending on what's open, but am otherwise entirely abstaining from indulgence. Everything accessible to me is not good for the waistline alas.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 7:10 PM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

My wife and I both have 9 days off and have slept in and just redecorated the tree cause the lights weren't right and people are coming over tomorrow for prime rib and naps.
On a sad note my neighbors have the worst invention of all time. On the small bush in front of their apartment they have put a string of singing Christmas lights. That don't stop. 24 hours a day it transitions between 20 second midi versions of Christmas songs. You can hear them all day and all night in our home office. I'm not even mad at my neighbors for buying them. I do know I'm hunting down the designers so they'll be like 4th against the wall when the time has come. It's nice to have a specific target for all of my general rage about the world.
Merry Christmas everyone.
posted by Uncle at 7:17 PM on December 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

The 4 year old asked me to make a sprinkle cake for Christmas, so today I baked a from-scratch funfetti cake (thanks, smitten kitchen) in a square pan, cut it diagonally, and made a 2-layer triangle/Christmas tree cake with green buttercream and red nonpariels. The kid was very impressed, so that was a success.

Husband and I put together the Santa gifts and arranged them artfully under the tree. The stockings are stuffed. Now we just wait for the 4 and 2 year old to wake up, hopefully no earlier than 6:30am. Then we will brunch, relax, and then finally we will eat tamales for dinner.
posted by gatorae at 7:55 PM on December 24, 2017 [7 favorites]

I wanna make a homemade funfetti cake. I have no reason to make a funfetti cake, except to please my inner nine-year-old.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:58 PM on December 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

I just finished the collards (two step process the way I learned to do it. ) The final step is putting them in a cast iron skillet (to which, in a fit of Christmas whimsy I added some bacon grease from some topline bacon) and chopped and sauteed them till they were not soggy anymore. I tasted them before I put them up and almost started crying. Because they finally taste like how my mother makes them.

She is 78 so that is not a small thing.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:21 PM on December 24, 2017 [16 favorites]

I did some reminiscing over here. I relistened to uncleozzy's amazing Christmas Eve country song, which everyone should go enjoy. This adorable dog is curled up across the room from me sleeping while I watch Love Actually, which I'd never seen before. I had a game night last night with friends, and as ever, it was a lot of fun.

Not everything in my life or my loved ones' lives is great right now, but I'll take all the good stuff I can get.
posted by limeonaire at 8:23 PM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm Jewish, spouseless, childless, and obligation-less in the South, so my Christmas looks like any other random wintery weekend day. ( bought myself a car this week to replace my 20+ year-old one, so I'm mostly reading the ridiculous number of manuals that came with it. I don't go to the movies anymore, but I will have Chinese food early enough to get home for the Doctor Who special. And I'm neither Grinchlike nor holiday enthused. Not celebrating Christmas is, to me, like not celebrating any other holiday that's not mine, like Diwali. I'm happy for everyone else who enjoys it, and happier for the opportunity to be lazy. But I'm looking forward to a fancy restaurant meal with a friend for NYE.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 8:29 PM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

We went to my BFF's earlier tonight and celebrated Hanukkah (they were out of town for the holiday, but "saved" the last night for us to join them when they got back!) and then we all piled in the cars and drove to my mom's house for Christmas Eve cocktails and cookies, so a wonderful Chrismukkah was had by all! All of the children were Very Impressed with the other side's decor and food, and they ran riot in two different houses.

We have been best friends since high school but this is the first holiday season we've been in the same city since we graduated 20 years ago, so until now it's just been quick visits squeezed in during packed holidays involving hotels and air mattresses and long drives and so on, so getting to relax and party and do both our holidays and reminisce about how we used to do the same when we were 14 and now we get to do it with our kids was just lovely.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:02 PM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

The thing at my step-sister's wasn't bad. Just tiring for my introvert self.

Tonight I cooked the chicken and cut it/shredded it to put in with the dumplings tomorrow. I also made the gingerbread cake (from a King Arthur box mix...didn't want to deal with using molasses because I'd have to buy it and I never use it.) Gingerbread batter was super ginger-y and baked product smelled delicious.

Dad was pleased with his bomber jacket, robe, and tiny desk computer. (For real, new tiny desktop computer was $150ish on Amazon, fanless, solid state, win 10. A big improvement on his 10 year old computer. Dad is 77 and only uses his computer for email and to check movie times.)

We got maybe half an inch of snow tonight. Gibbon (asshole pug, pic on profile) saw that there was snow when I opened the storm door, noped out, then peed on the porch. A+ pugging. At least it wasn't in the house. Then Gibbon wouldn't leave the porch so Binky (French bulldog/German Shepherd mutant) could only go about four feet.

Getting ready to craft a tremendously tacky deer thing for my aunt. Made my 26 year old cousin a fuck it bucket.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:09 PM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

From my apartment I can hear at least three festive gatherings. It's nice. You're never alone in the city.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 9:30 PM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

What is a fuck it bucket and how does one use it?
posted by janell at 9:35 PM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am having a wild Christmas Eve painting the master bathroom while modding (thank you all for not making me get too much paint on my phone.) My wife is visiting her parents for the holiday so I get to spend Christmas just the way I like it - by ignoring it completely.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:47 PM on December 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

What is a fuck it bucket and how does one use it?

If something is annoying you or pissing you off but you can't really do anything about it, you chuck it in the fuck it bucket and move on.

I'm staying up all night because I have to be at the airport at 6AM and lately I've been sleeping until 4PM. I'm wondering what the correct amount of beer I can drink in the hours remaining will still allow me the coherence to summon a Lyft.

Also, my mom called, presumably because she saw on TV that it snowed here in Portland and wanted to fret more about the snowpocalypse. I let it go to voicemail.

Then I read the mushroom thread and LOL'd a lot and discovered this gem of a story and now I miss agropyron though I never met them. Now I see that agropyron didn't write it.
posted by bendy at 9:53 PM on December 24, 2017

I’m in Los Angeles visiting my brother. It’s just the 2 of us and we hadn’t seen each other for 7 years. So it’s nice to reconnect but he has had a horrible cold/cough thing and hasn’t been feeling up to tourguiding me around or doing much, poor thing. I’ve been museuming & bookstoring my little solo heart out. It’s weird not to be all Christmas frantic. Ordinarily right now I’d be wrapping presents, listening to a child’s Christmas in wales, drinking a little whiskey. None of those here. He doesn’t usually do Christmas and I usually do the Whole Thing and so as a compromise he put a string of lights on a bookcase and I went and got a big cactus and we hung some lights on it. Tonight I made soup and then a lime pie from the yellow limes lying on the ground (go home SoCal, this is madness, citrus just lying about, you’re drunk.) Tomorrow we’re going to Venice Beach and I’m excited about that and then we will probably get Chinese and I feel like I’m in the movies - lime trees! beaches! Palm trees! Chinese food on Christmas! It all feels vaguely sinful, which is good, but I am missing my (all grown up) kids, snow and traditions a bit more than I thought I would. Oh well! Yay Different Christmas! Wednesday I’m heading up the coast and so looking forward to spending most of January near the ocean, ahhhh.

I owe a couple people memails, I’m sorry for the delay! I promise I will get to them soon.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:03 PM on December 24, 2017 [9 favorites]

Had a fantastic three and a half days with family visiting, and then just hit a total wall this morning. But there are still two and a half more days of family visiting, so that's going to be difficult. It's really my father that's the issue; he comes for a week, but he doesn't stay with me, so I feel that I don't have much standing to tell him that is too many days, but I'm going to need to tell him that is too many days in the future. Because even if he's not staying with me, I'm still doing the hostess thing -- figuring out what we're doing, making the plans, driving him around -- and he pretty much just wants to be led around, and it's *lovely* for three days, do-able for four days, and way too much for seven days. My brother and my sister-quasi-in-law arrived yesterday and are staying with me, but only for three nights, and they're lovely and I'm glad they're here. I had a bit of a Midwestern-style meltdown this morning after brunch (that is, I got very quiet) they both jumped in with offers of help. The main one I'm taking them up on is going for a short hike with my sister-in-law-ish tomorrow, while leaving my brother and father in charge of making sure the house doesn't burn down while I have lamb shanks braising. The three of us spent most of this evening, after an early pizza dinner with my father, drinking wine and beer and listening to Pandora's "Dreamy Snowy Day" station, which I recommend, and watching the Christmas tree be sparkly and petting the one cat who will tolerate guests. Not feeling festive, but feeling ok.
posted by lazuli at 10:09 PM on December 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

My spouse, the love of my life, died one week ago tonight. I am utterly lost. We were far too young for all this.
posted by kamikazegopher at 10:15 PM on December 24, 2017 [19 favorites]

oh, a mental bucket, not a physical container in which to imprison small children. what's even the point then.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:16 PM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm so sorry, kamikazegopher. We're here. Sending love your way!

posted by limeonaire at 10:16 PM on December 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

The fuck it bucket I made is a bucket full of candy. Based on the (Rooster) Sedaris tradition as told here by David Sedaris: "When a hurricane damaged my father's house, my brother rushed over with a gas grill, three coolers of beer, and an enormous Fuck-It Bucket - a plastic pail filled with jawbreakers and bite-size candy bars. ("When shit brings you down, just say 'fuck it,' and eat yourself some motherfucking candy.")

Amy Sedaris version.

I bought a $2.39 red bucket, filled it with $30 worth of baby ruths and snickers. Am going to write FUCK IT on it in black sharpie.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:17 PM on December 24, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'm so sorry, kamikazegopher. My mother died just before Christmas, a decade and a half ago, and the time of year definitely makes everything harder. I hope that you have people around you who can help take care of you.
posted by frimble (staff) at 10:20 PM on December 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

kamikazegopher, I remember your comment about using your spouse's welding gear to view the eclipse. I've thought of that comment ever since.

I can't begin to imagine what you're going through, but this stranger is sending you love.
posted by mochapickle at 10:21 PM on December 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm so sorry, kamikazegopher.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:22 PM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, kamikazegopher, I'm so sorry. *hugs* if you want them.
posted by lazuli at 10:37 PM on December 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm revising that eggnog ice cream recipe, btw: Add some extra cream. (It's not enough to thaw and redo, but it'd be better)
posted by aubilenon at 11:54 PM on December 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Sending condolences from Canada, kamikazegopher. I'm so sorry for your loss
posted by chapps at 12:36 AM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

((((( kamikazegopher))))))
posted by mightshould at 2:04 AM on December 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

(On preview: ((kamikazegopher)) )

I'm happily having another nontraditional holiday.

Well, first I spent today working with my housemate on replacing the brakes, bearings and front end on a 1982 vintage Ford F-150, which is has been an ongoing clusterfuck of laughably epic proportions. Including having to cab to - well, choosing to, and not my choice nor cab fare - the only hardware store open today on Christmas Eve within 20 miles looking for anything even remotely resembling a very narrow gauge 5/8th inch or 16mm flare nut wrench, which we should have had like 2 months ago and I may end up having to make one with a grinding wheel and an old wrench.

Those of you who know me know I basically hate cars with the fury of a thousand exploding suns getting sucked into a supermassive black hole, but its something I can do to pitch in for my housemates, and we kind of need the truck for household chores.

This isn't the first time I've recently pitched in with the shade tree mechanic stuff. Turns out I'm freakishly mechanically inclined with vehicles, like maybe I missed a calling as an honest and careful mechanic. Apparently bolts, threads, grease and tools like me and I can seat and thread bolts in totally awkward places and get things done and grok what's going on so quick that things that have been taking an old wrench days to do I can get done in under an hour, as in "How the fuck did you get that loose/attached?"

As much as I hate cars and hate the grease and dirt that's on an old truck... I've enjoyed learning things and being able to look at something I didn't think I knew anything about and realizing that, no, it's pretty easy to understand an old truck. Cripes, apart from the engine block there might be more functional parts on my bike. And it's kind of silly but I'm finding wrenching on it easier than, say, repairing a laptop or doing some fiddly soldering. Or even working on the brakes on my bike. Trying to center some cantis or centerpull brakes on a bike can be a serious hassle, and the parts are tiny. Tolerances on a good modern are pretty slim, and I've seriously spent way more time and swear words trying to true a rim and center a pair of balky brakes on my own bicycle than it took me to strip the front left side of this truck down to the axle, calipers and hoses and all. The parts are just way bigger, and... shrug.

I have exactly what I wanted for Christmas, which is my first official white Christmas ever, nerding out with photo stuff and peace and quiet. Like I still can't sleep and I keep going outside and I don't want to take my boots off yet and I might pull an all nighter.

Snow is still very new to me and I also finally have a really decent set of clothes, layers, gear and boots to go enjoy it without getting soggy, frozen or drenched.

I just got back from walking around gawking at everything and taking some photos, and playing with the vintage Sunpak flash I picked up from a thrift store for five bucks.

Taking pictures in the snow is novel to me, and unexpectedly a pain in the butt more than rain even with good gear. There's a picture I want out of snow, long exposure and strobe work but I'm not quite sure how to get it yet.

But what's still oddly fascinating and novel to me is the whole concept of snow on a beach. I have no idea why the combination of sand and temperate ocean and snow and water is so fascinating to me, and I don't think it would be so novel if I was in the arctic or somewhere where that was a thing that happened more regularly. But there's definitely something that cranks up my curiosity in the combination of light-ish snow, temperate/mossy trees, sandy calm Puget Sound beach and driftwood and sand.

I actually opened my Christmas present over a month ago in the form of managing to barter a flash/speedlight macro kit I couldn't really use for a decent shopping trip at Glazer's in Seattle. I got a bunch of smaller photo gear I wanted, including an Arca-Swiss compatible frame rail grip for my camera that allows me to quickly attach it to my tripod. It also allows me to flip the camera from landscape to portrait mode without having to adjust the tripod head or composition which is super useful. I also got a really good ND filter and some batteries and a small pile of accessories.

And after shipping madness dies down after the New Year my dad has a Novation Supernova II rackmount synth he accidentally found at a garage sale for $10 when buying a desk. Apparently it was bolted inside or something and he didn't find it until he got home. I've been waiting for it for something like nine months now due to him having to move and put it in storage and work and such.

While I'm excited to play with it and even refurbish it, this is a really big deal and rare opportunity for me because of how cash poor and intentionally underemployed I am right now. I'm hoping to sell it to a good home for just enough to get my next camera, and the going market price for this synth is just about enough, especially since they just dropped the price of the camera I want 'cause the third gen is coming out next spring.

My camera is almost 10 years old and I love it, but I really want and have plans for a Fuji XT1 for landscape, astrolandscape and combined light painting photography. I have about a notebook and a half of unique recipes and shot blocks/plans I want to try. It'll allow me to do stuff with wireless control that I've been trying to do by bribing/begging friends.

One of the things I've been trying to do is to combine something like this pendulum light painting and/or this magnesium spark with this kind of long exposure landscape, or, if I ever get the chance even an aurora background like this, but that's asking a lot out of the cosmos and my planning skills.

Which is awesome on it's own, but now imagine some some surrealism in with some kind of impossible UFO crop circle light mandala floating there sixty feet wide, and it's not a composite shot or photoshop or even processed at all. It's 70 pound test monofilament and a backpack full of lights and stuff and nerding out about practical photo effects on a budget.

Is it morning yet? I wanna go play in the snow and take photos in daylight.
posted by loquacious at 3:20 AM on December 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am sure hugs and love are utterly inadequate, *kamikazegopher*, but I will send some in your direction anyway. So many condolences for your loss.
posted by Catseye at 4:37 AM on December 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Hugs from down under, kamikazegopher.

You'll get through this. People want you too, and that's not just internet people; it's everybody.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:19 AM on December 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Things have been stressful lately, but her mom put on a really, really nice Christmas Eve dinner for my wife and I and her grandmother last night. Cornish game hens and ham and mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and GF rolls, and all we had to do was show up with a pie. We complained about Trump and rolled our eyes at Omarosa and it was so nice being at a family event where I didn't have to mince my words. We caught the end of a really bad holiday movie (two friends fight about greyhound racing and end up making up in the NYC sewers?) and looked at samples for her kitchen floor. Her grandmother is doing better for the moment. It may well be the best holiday gathering we have this year.

The funny part about this is that her mom is the one who treats us most normally (even my mom, who adored my wife, was a little wink-and-nudge about us occasionally). Her mom is also the evangelical who kicked my wife out of the house for being gay at 22. People are wild and wonderful.

Merry everything, y'all.
posted by joycehealy at 5:23 AM on December 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

I've had this on constant repeat for a week or more.

It's not only the best xmas song, it's also close to being one of the best songs ever.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:27 AM on December 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

Sending love to folks who are hurting this holiday.

My brother got early leave from the Army because we're Jewish, so he was in town last Monday through yesterday morning. He's planning to order Chinese food for all the other Jewish officers on duty with him today, and release all of his enlisted men with kids to go be with their families. He's a good egg.

We all finished Chanukah on our own, but we did Family Christmas on the 23rd while my brother was in town. We decorated the tree, wrapped presents, hung and filled stockings, opened presents, and watched A Muppet Christmas Carol all in the span of about 4 hours. Yesterday, after the ice ended, we visited my grandmother and returned my brother to Texas.

Today it is snowing on top of the ice
, so we will probably not go to more family events - just sit on the radiator and read with my parents' increasingly geriatric cats. My boyfriend came up to my folks' house and does not seem to have been totally horrified by my family, and he has been playing fetch with Triceratops and beer bottle caps. All in all, I cannot complain!
posted by ChuraChura at 6:32 AM on December 25, 2017 [11 favorites]

it's also close to being one of the best songs ever.

I love Tim Minchin, and I've enjoyed that song, but I don't love it. My family is very much not like his (apparent) family. I've basically always hated Christmas, and my fave was one when I was an expat, almost a planet away from my family, schlepping a PA, DJs and a mob around a few parties in a basically-empty London, in the back of a removals van.

This Christmas, I was very happy that my eldest Sister put on a brilliant lunch, which was important to her. There were no arguments, no politics, and the weather was good. The Neblings in attendance were happy. My SO felt her position in our clan's matriarchy was confirmed, which is important.

I'm leaving stuff out, because I don't want to be a bummer, but that is stuff for which I am thankful.
posted by pompomtom at 6:54 AM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Good song, but.
posted by pompomtom at 7:10 AM on December 25, 2017

I am at one deceased parent's house (2011) after swinging by another deceased parent's house (July) and I feel pretty good about how I am holding up. Big hugs kamikazegopher, I am so sorry.

not_on_display is here. I've had some nice visits with people (hi Cat Pie Hurts!) and some slightly weird visits (my high school friend who doesn't let her kids say the word "stupid" and apparently I'm not allowed to say it around them either. I brought wine for dinner and she called me "so grown up" #nolove). Usually Xmas Eve is Chinese Food somewhere but this year my sister is doing things with friends and is not here so Jim and I took SlapHappy up on his offer to spend it with his family. They have a nice puppy pile family hang out time full of food and drink and screens and nerds. The sort where you walk in the door and everyone yells "Hooray!" They hadn't met Jim before (in fact called him imaginary!) so that was nice. Went home early with full bellies and after drinking some European (spiked) dessert coffee. Chilled on the couch, counted our blessings, and Jim went to bed before me (never happens).

Woke up to a rainy snowstorm and hunkered back down. By the time we got up for good, it was sunny. I have a friend coming down bringing a tourtiere and we are going for a walk on the beach and then settle in to watch movies. I made applesauce so the place smells amazing. I do FeederWatch stuff, counting birds for a citizen science thing, and it's been a BIG bird day here so I've been nose pressed to the glass with my little clipboard. Jim's trying to figure out what the hell Perry Como is holding. It's been a good day. Best wishes to everyone.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 10:48 AM on December 25, 2017 [17 favorites]

kamikazegopher, what a sad sad loss. Please accept my condolences and sympathies.
posted by MovableBookLady at 11:56 AM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Results so far: most of carpet cleaning at mom's is complete. Food was good EXCEPT for the first time ever, yorkshire puddingstuck to pan. Top was edible and good and more than two people needed so.. win. Am sitting on mom's couch and trying to muster energy to change out area light. Maybe later. Have imbibed 2 glasses of wine whixh is way excess for me. Hope autocorrect is correct.

Listening to public TV xmas concert...totally white folk tv but good for now.
posted by mightshould at 12:35 PM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

posted by loquacious at 12:43 PM on December 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

Brownies are baked. Trying to figure out whether I should wear my sparkly snowflake earrings to the potluck or whether that's too ostentatious for my parents' neighbors, who are very staid Minnesota Lutherans.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:46 PM on December 25, 2017

I'm at the childhood home with my dad, who is recovering from surgery to deal with the same cancer that killed my mom. We're gonna drive down to pick up my clever and hilarious little brother today, though, and he and I are gonna hang with my dad and stay in a cheap hotel with a swimming pool. I cleaned most of the literal grime and cobwebs out of my father's bathroom yesterday and there's a new bathmat for nice clean feet. This is all very hard.

kamikazegopher, I'm also thinking about you and sending love. AAC, wear them earrings. I grew up with Missouri synod folks, so I know whereof I speak. I think on Christmas you can say Merry Christmas, so as I will always wish Eid Mubarak (or a million other things), Merry Christmas.
posted by lauranesson at 12:55 PM on December 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

So, so, so sorry and *so* much love to you, kamikazegopher.

We've had a very low key and relaxed Christmas, except for kind of an embarrassing amount of yummy food cooked for two people (though we were actually fairly restrained), and doggo santa gifts of sausage and cheese for the furry one. But now she seems to believe that this should go on forever, and on demand, and is looking her gift horses in the mouth by wandering back and forth between us, increasingly assertively insisting on MOAR. Some canines. (your pancreas will thank us, doofus)

We had Christmas eve pork roast, gravy, noodles, and green salad, Christmas day turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, asparagus, and salad, homemade Christmas cookies but didn't manage to bake the apple pie we had planned, so will make day-after apple pie tomorrow, and, I'm sure, enjoy it more for the delay. Our pancreases may not thank us.

Sending stubbornly, determinedly optimistic wishes to all for our new year, along with warm, comforting thoughts and hugs. We've all been in this together for a long time, and whoa, has it been it been a tough long, long time for the last little while. Love. ♥
posted by taz (staff) at 1:14 PM on December 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

I realised I didn't give a lot of detail earlier.

For logistical reasons, we all gathered on the eve of xmas eve. People are scattered all over the place, so it was just the Sydney & Canberra contingent: parents, siblings, five nieces & nephews, Lil Ubu, and an uncle & aunt.

We ate:
- a cold salad of octopus & prawns (shrimp) with dill
- cold roast duck with figs
- fig, rocket (arugula) and apricot salad
- chicken & apricot tagine
- pīrāgi (Latvian bacon buns; associated with the Midsummer festival)
- traditional gingerbread cookies
- a ridiculously indulgent trifle made of panettone, lots of cream and fresh berries
- homemade mango icecream

Xmas eve was ridiculously hot, like 37.7C which translates to 99.86F; almost The Don's batting average.

So on that day I made this outstanding cold soup, of beets, kefir, radishes & cucumber, with heaps of dill.

Put on a batch of American IPA on xmas day, and did a heap of housework. There's kombucha to bottle today, and I'm planning on an alcoholic ginger beer also, which wants warm fermentation temperatures of around 25C, which should be about right in the outside dunny, with a camping groundsheet wrapped around to stabilise the temperature a bit.

Not literally in the dunny. Just in the structure.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:50 PM on December 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

A recipe for you all!

Christmas Morning French Toast
Serves three not-particularly-ambitious people or two highly competitive people.

6 slices of challah
4 large local eggs
1/2 cup whole milk (approx 125ml) from a local dairy that you assume must be organic but there's not anything on the label that explicitly says so.
Stick cinnamon in a grinder -- the good cinnamon that smells like a flannel shirt feels. Not that peppery shit that tastes of chemicals and burns your mouth.
Nutmeg in a grinder
1/2-ish tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
A lot of butter. Holy shit so much butter.

Shallow wide mixing bowl
Medium whisk
Medium frying pan, big enough for two slices of the challah.
Lid for frying pan
Frying spatula
Table fork
Oven-safe wire rack and oven-safe pan the wire rack can fit in. Doesn't have to be all that large.

Unwrap the challah you got from the local Jewish bakery and hack off six thick slices. 2cm thick -- somewhere between 3/4 and 1 inch -- is best. Leave the stuff out to reach a nearly-crumbly stale-ass dryness. If the slices are thick enough, you might be able to stand them vertically to maximize air circulation. otherwise try this: Lay out a large cutting board, drape with a clean dishcloth. Arrange wood or bamboo chopsticks in a grid. Lay the challah slices on the chopsticks. If you have more challah than cutting board, put on another layer of chopsticks and set the remaining bread on that. Drape with another clean dishcloth.

This is crucial: You want to have challah that is stale like asses are stale.

Since you have time left over, take inventory. Odds are pretty good that you forgot where one of the ingredients are.

Crack the eggs into a big shallow bowl. The eggs should have yolks so yellow that Lisa Frank can't stand to look at them directly. Dump in the milk, sugar, and salt. Grind some cinnamon and nutmeg in. You're on your own for how much of that stuff, because basically I could say "season to taste" but then you're dipping raw egg in your mouth, I don't want to do that to you. However much dry nutmeg and cinnamon powder other recipe books say? You want less than that, because the fresh shit has so much more life in it.

Put the wire rack and pan in the oven. Set the oven to 200°F. While the oven's warming up, light the stove and set a medium-sized frypan on top. Drop a whole tablespoon of butter on. The burner should be medium-low according to my stove but basically aim for it to be just hot enough for the butter to be working hard on boiling its water off by the time you've completed the steps in the next paragraph:

Whisk the hell out of the glop. Once it's a reasonably smooth consistency (less than a minute if you have a good arm) with some spiky cinnamon bits still in, set the bowl next to the stove. Drop a slice of stale-ass challah in the batter and soak it in. Usually turning it over once or twice is sufficient. Use the fork to turn the challah over and for transferring it to the pan. Put the challah in the pool of hot molten butter, start the next slice, and add that to the pan too. At this point the butter should be right on the verge of browning. Cover pan with lid ajar.

Check Frenchifying challah frequently. The surface is going to fry quickly and the interior will still be raw. That's great, the innards are gonna be finished in the oven, so you're good. Turn your nascent Frankenized toast when the heated side looks like it belongs on somebody's cooking blog. When both sides look like this, move your current pair of Francophonic Toasties to the oven, drop another half-tablespoon of butter on the pan and start culturally transforming the next pair of stale-ass slices.

When the second pair of slices are on the verge of done, remove the first pair from the oven, they're ready to serve. The outsides will be crisp and dark, the insides will be a firm custard. Keep this process rolling until everything's cooked. You have leftover batter now so gank some sandwich bread that you don't really like and use them to sop up the batter. (FUN CLUETIP: Make a toasted cheese sandwich out of these. It is like a post-Christmas Christmas present to yourself. Very enjoyable with alcohol.) Oh yeah, I should have added "Sandwich bread you don't really like all that much" to the ingredient list above. But you always read recipes thoroughly before you try them, so it's okay.

Serve French Challahtoast to people you love using your best breakfast condiments: Extra-dark maple syrup, ginger slices preserved in sugar, dulce de leche, fruit preserves stuffed in the back of the fridge door that you keep forgetting about, wedges of clementine... This shit is also good with hot sauce if that's how you roll.

Enjoy your egg-on-egg bread with coffee, tea, mimosa or bourbon. Two slices is a meal unless you're starving.
posted by ardgedee at 2:47 PM on December 25, 2017 [18 favorites]

I missed my flightt this morning by three minutes. I met a homeless guy today who has a really bad infection after surgery. I got us a Lyft - the first one wasn’t willing to take us up the hill to the emergency room but we finally found a Liyft that would take us.

He immediately got triaged to the back room. I think they’re going to admit him but no one will give us a straight answer.

He’s in the back again and all his stuff is here.

I met another homeless guy in a wheelchair whose name is Rick Shaw.

I’m on the edge of my seat while they decide whether or not they’re going to admit Jim Tim.
posted by bendy at 4:40 PM on December 25, 2017 [13 favorites]

Yesterday my SiL taught me how to make pie crust. By all accounts everyone expected it to end in tears, but we have three tasty and professional-looking pies which we will be eating tonight.

It's a Christmas miracle!
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:53 PM on December 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

It was snowing when we got up, that is, when I got up. Letting Mr. Mon Dieu sleep in, as he'd driven 45 minutes each way last night, when we met up with his rellies for sushi and gift-exchanging, a jolly time had by all.

I started by cutting up red onions at 7:00 a.m., let me tell you: that is a good way to clear your sinuses. Cooked them suckers slowly for a while, drinking too-strong coffee, while the Mr. slept. He needed his sleep, having slid off the road Friday night (hello, tow truck costing the same amount of money as the work prize! Ugh!).

After a while, I made some gougeres: cheese puffs with gruyere cheese. Funny how buying a fancy bottle of wine as a gift makes me more likely to buy a hunk of fancy cheese, isn't it?

Then I used said red onions, caramelized with a bit of sugar and aged balsamic vinegar, to make a tart, with brie cheese and bacon.

Watched Bright on Netflix. It was pretty good. Although I wish I'd closed the curtains, because there were so many dark scenes, and while those might lend themselves to movie theater viewing, people at home have windows, I'm looking at you Netflix :::ahem:::

Then I made my orange gastrique, aka, sugary-vinegar sauce with orange juice and broth. Cooked a lot of stuff like leeks in butter, etc., while Mr. shoveled snow. Supremed an orange. Reduced my sauce too much, added in more orange juice and cornstarch and voila, it was pretty good, especially with those orange supreme slices that I'd done earlier, mis en place, my friends. I am so slow at cooking, I had to start this whole meal at 2:00 to get it ready by 6:00.

Anyway, I got there, we got dug out, and Mr. got his meal, and he liked it. I'm still not sure if I scored the duck breast correctly, but it sizzled and was brown. So I served duck a l'orange, with potatoes with lots of butter and whipped cream, with buttery sauteéd leeks folded in, and shaved (aka finely chopped) brussels sprouts cooked in duck fat.

Also: I am very sad for anyone who is sad this holiday. I was very sad this morning, which is why I got up at 7:00 a.m. and started cooking onions (also a good way to disguise crying). It's all good, and I wish you all the very best, each and every one of you.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:54 PM on December 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

Last year at Christmas my mom was living her last days; for the last time, we got her into the Christmas room (in my childhood home) on the 26th (I carried her, simply). She died on the 30th of December, after a month of us taking care of her at home (two and a half months altogether between living more or less independently alone at 86 and the end).
My (grown) kids and my wife and I always came to that house for Christmas--this year I needed a change.

So we're in rural Va. at my wife's parents' place now, having a culinarily heavy time but otherwise a good life. A Goldendoodle to soothe the periodically upcoming Blues (yes, it does come up).
Family meeting yesterday, Much Food, but No Politics (phew...).
Christmas at home with core family today, big heap of prznts and moar food; also, a second visiting Goldendoodle. So in short: happy.
Meeting with other side of family tomorrow (there's gonna be food, Doodles and no politics).

In short, my first 'murican Christmas is going rather well.
posted by Namlit at 6:31 PM on December 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

Today I bought myself a gift of a Metafilter account.

I also tried a new baking recipe and it seems to have come out well!
posted by threementholsandafuneral at 8:20 PM on December 25, 2017 [18 favorites]

Woke up this morning, reached out to snatch one of my cats into my arms, and sang him Handel's "Oh unto us a child is born!" from Messiah while rubbing his belly in time to the music. He purred and only half-wriggled to get away from me. Xmas Eve dinner was a small, frozen lasagna eaten with a plastic fork. Today's Christmas dinner was a small, frozen tofu pot pie. My apartment is totally packed, and (almost) totally clean. Moving Day is Friday, which is later than I had planned. New Apartment is mine in January, so I'll be ringing in 2018 on the road. I've alternated between crying and saying goodbye to Oakland, and being deliriously hopeful and excited about my new chapter. I've found this to be a comforting, healthy mix. I called my grandmother, who is with my uncle and aunt, and her voice was full of such joy and laughter it warmed my deepest core and made me very, very happy.
posted by missmary6 at 8:30 PM on December 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

Today I wandered the edges of happiness
Had pleasant conversations
Also pleasant silences
Looked at the spaces
In the conversation
Where I would have said
The wrong things, if I had spoken.
Took the time to watch
Took the time to listen to
How happiness sounds
How the laughter resounds
How my grandson is growing, and
The flow of reminiscences out of
Sweet strangers old friends of
New family.
Everything was wonderful,
Hopeful, ongoing moving
With purpose, within some
Grander pattern I will never
Unravel in any positive sense,
Like the spread of dandilions,
Or way too many snowflakes,
But not to many smiles,
And hoping their hope
Will bring them more of how today was.
Perfect, in every way.
posted by Oyéah at 8:33 PM on December 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

My brother had to go into the hospital yesterday, and Christmas has been scaled back a lot. But, going to spend the day with him there, I found that he's where he needs to be, is stable, and in reasonably good spirits. It felt good to succeed in doing what I could to try to make him feel better and not abandoned.
posted by thelonius at 8:36 PM on December 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

Today was rough, just for the dumb reason that despite the fact that my family is composed of good people whom I love, they are never people I can really relax with or feel easy with - though they all seem to feel easy - and I often feel like an asshole by the time I leave, because so many factors/personalities come together on xmas that cause me a lot of stress in a way that's hard to explain or even make sense of myself, it's weirdly PTSD-like though without a cause I'm aware of.

Among other things I'm furious that the unspoken assumption is that, as a female, I will be helping with cooking, and as a male, my brother will lounge around playing games and being distracting (OH HEY DID YOU KNOW RANDOM TRIVIA FACT) until time to eat. We are both grown-ass adults and capable cooks. On the bright side, I got a lot of good stuff for my kitchen.

I can see from this thread that I've had a relatively easy day. I'm sorry to everyone who's having a rough time of it.
posted by bunderful at 8:42 PM on December 25, 2017 [8 favorites]

Thelonius, I hope your brother improves soon. Good for you taking the time to be with him.
posted by bunderful at 8:51 PM on December 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

Doesn't always happen but I'm someone who likes to shut the door on the 23rd and not open it until the day after Boxing Day. This Christmas Eve I instead had to do a vital victuals run versus the vultures at my nearest supermarket, spent the afternoon with friends at their fun and cosy family do, worked unpaid overtime until 11pm because all the Monday tasks had to be advance completed yet still got home in time to watch Midnight Mass on the telly with my Mum who's at mine for Christmas.

A lot more enjoyable and more memorable than my usual mince pies, Bond film repeat and last-minute present wrapping approach. Merry Christmas all round!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:19 PM on December 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

After putting in a huge effort for my family (mostly the kids) so they could have a Magical Christmas, we were invited to have dinner with one of my oldest and dearest friends. I’m 47 (!) and in high school she was a random minor player in my cast of characters. Somehow we followed the same trajectory and attended college together, then med school, then residency. Somewhere in there we spent two years sleeping with each other until I met my current wife. My first med student as a senior resident was a great guy who met her and eventually married her. We both had our first son’s within 2 months of each other. Those boys are now 8 and are the best of friends. Anyhoo, that’s the family my family spent Christmas night with.

The whole time me and this lovely woman were sleeping together was miserable and we’d always felt that we should have just stayed friends instead. Now years later, she has photos in her house of my wife and her running marathons together and our boys playing together and I absolutely treasure where our relationship ended up and I consider her much closer family than my biologic family and I love spending the holidays with them.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:59 AM on December 26, 2017 [13 favorites]

Max the Unforgiving hopes everyone had a good Christmas! least I think that's what he said. Either that or something about indignities not going unanswered. Definitely one of the two.
posted by Stunt at 1:20 AM on December 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

Am now spending the morning after xmas day not being able to download music from itunes as is apparently traditional because they apparently had no fucking idea people would be downloading stuff what with iphones and giftcards from apple being an unusual gift and all.

AND ALSO. I AM GETTING ENCATTENED LATER TODAY. I have been saying this for months but the grey cat that's been hanging around is going to come live inside. I am going to name him FERNANDO. Pictures later when he's in the house.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:43 AM on December 26, 2017 [21 favorites]

FERNANDO is an excellent name!
posted by thelonius at 4:28 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

All the parents/inlaws in my family met and had dinner for the first time last night. I spent the day helping the hosts, who were beyond stressed out by all the cooking and everything.

My BIL was going to cook a main course, but the night before last he brought all the ingredients over and told me how to cook it. No warning that I’d be the one making it. It was something I’d never made, and it was for a dozen people. I feel like a doormat for agreeing to do it without argument (which meant starting at 7 am yesterday), but I figured I’d rather cook than get into family drama. Not the healthiest choice, but at least no one yelled or cried about anything.

Anyway, dinner went well in the end. Got lots of compliments on the dish I cooked. Gifts were exchanged and they were all thoughtful and great. Not a terrible Christmas in the end, but I’m with the gf now and it’s a huge huge huuge relief to be with her.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:47 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

There is a sleeping kitty on my lap. That is all.
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:23 AM on December 26, 2017 [12 favorites]

Is this where I can rant about Christingle?

We usually go to the service at one particular church, but it's been getting louder and more chaotic and the sermon's not that great, so we tried somewhere else. It was not a success.

a) the main event was a pantomime dame telling the Nativity story using socks on a washing line. Socks with holes in = angels, posh socks = wise men, etc. Very very loud, screechy, lengthy and just bizarre.
b) the carols were wrong - modern versions.
c) they didn't let us light the Christingles in church! Some rot about health and safety and lots of small children with long hair.

Older niece said service was "disgusting". Younger one said it was "so bad it was good". My highlight was embarrassing older niece by asking someone if I could borrow their pen (to fill in the gift aid form on the collection envelope). It was terribly embarrassing apparently, which amused me, and I must find more ways to torture her.

In other news, the cat really liked his catnip cigar and has been lying with his nose on it looking incredibly relaxed.

(It occurs to me that Christingle services may be a UK thing - here's an explanation.)
posted by paduasoy at 6:27 AM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

We did Christmas Eve & morning, as we usually do, at my mother-in-law's place. With money so tight lately, we've taken to skipping bigger gifts in favor of stockings; everyone adds little items to everyone else's stocking.

We did get proper gifts for our sweet toddler, who is 20 months old today! Not that it's a competition, but 2 of the gifts, which were my idea, seem to be her favorites. We started a dress-up/costume box for her (she enjoys putting on all the beads and scarves at once with sunglasses, a la Janis Joplin); and since she's become so obsessed with her parents' work badges, constantly stealing them from us during the commute, we made her a set of her own badges, with job titles like "Senior Duckie Analyst" and "Freelance Snack Critic."

Her daycare is closed this week, so I'm staying home with her right now. She's trying to put me to sleep on the couch, piling blankets on top of me and patting me while shouting "NIGHT NIGHT." Okay, now she's just piling on any objects she can find. send help
posted by duffell at 6:36 AM on December 26, 2017 [18 favorites]

It occurs to me that Christingle services may be a UK thing

The orange bit definitely is, but at later Christmas Eve services (9-11 pm) in the United Methodist church, we light candles in little plastic holders, usually while we sing Silent Night.

NB This is why I prefer the later services - no kids and we get to play with fire!
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:50 AM on December 26, 2017

the carols were wrong - modern versions.

I heard the service from Cambridge on the radio yesterday - I guess it's what they call a "Festival Of Lessons And Carols" - and, while they do old carols, I found that they sing them too well for my taste. I actually prefer that traditional material done by untrained singers, I think. Reverse snobbery on my part, I guess. It's more folky, and seems more Christmassy to me.
posted by thelonius at 7:05 AM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just got back from my brother's place, and while I'm sad not to have had more time with our family, I'm particularly mopey about leaving his dog behind. It was my first time meeting him, and apparently he is not generally very warm to men, especially those with facial hair, but that was not an aspect of his personality I encountered (at least until my dad and uncle arrived a few days later) - we got along like gangbusters. And since my brother travels for work fairly routinely, the dog knows exactly what packing a suitcase means, which was kind of heartbreaking.

Best present: a portable emergency car charger. Very happy to have that in time for our upcoming New Year's camping trip in Nowhere, middle Massachusetts.

Oh, also, my parents were totally relaxed about my partner and I choosing not to attend church with them, which was a really nice surprise.
posted by solotoro at 7:17 AM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

We hosted family Christmas afternoon as planned. The Chicken Chili Verde was a hit. It went very well, although I am completely tapped out from all the social interaction, while spouse is eager to get outside and go do something.

Wigilia went exactly as I expected. There is some tension between hosting Aunt and my MIL (they are sisters), so there was an undercurrent in the room. Aunt stood up before dinner to give a speech about how wonderful and blessed 2017 had been for the entire family, only to suddenly pivot to acknowledge the passing of my mom last spring. Since there was no transition between the two topics, it came off as "We had a great year! Except for that downer in-law in the corner over there. Her mom died".

I had a mild case of hysterics once we got back to the car. 95% laughter, 5% tears. I shared the story with my dad and twin brother yesterday. Thankfully they both also saw the humor in it.

kamikazegopher I am so very sorry for your loss. I will hold you in my thoughts.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 7:22 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

I forewent my usual morning surf with dolphins at Pyramids Beach in sunny Western Australia with my family, and got on a plane for 27 hours to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to be with my bloke.

Day One, emergency room IV for rehydration from mega bug I caught on the way over. Probably a broken rib from coughing n chucking up. The Dr looked like a jolly St Nick and is the first person I've ever met in the USA who hasn't asked me to repeat everything I say slowly. Is my not-that-bogan Aussie English that hard to comprehend? ONE person so far in this country thinks I'm intelligible. Me, who has been a radio announcer in my time.

I have never existed in an environment which is colder than -5°C, so uh -26°C has made me cry for home. I'm here for six weeks and I dunno if my body can handle this. My fella is fatter than ever n doesn't feel the cold. I've vomited for days with this bug and can count my ribs, I have no lard/blubber encirclement and not enough down suits to get me to drag myself outside. No amount of the sugary condiments that Americans seem to load onto every available piece of normal food will help either. I can't stand how everything tastes like chemicals n sugar here. Even the meat, which I barely eat in life anyway, and only out of politeness on feast days, tastes like it's drowned in syrup.

We went out at 11.30 on Xmas eve to see Falls Park lights which were amazing. On the way back home we saw cops pull over a guy, who panicked n pulled his car away. In a town of blonde Scandinavians it was alarming to see cops pull their guns out in seconds on one of the few black fellas in town. The stories we hear overseas about this kind of thing made me shake with what I might have witnessed. It's terrifying.

I love the idea of snow n hygge n seeing deer run around in the yard, but the romance of all of that has evaporated. Give me my surf, dolphins, sand, boat, BBQ n sunny verandah n people who don't ask me to repeat everything I say.

posted by honey-barbara at 7:41 AM on December 26, 2017 [8 favorites]

I spent the last two days home alone by myself, and the only other people I've seen were UberEats drivers.

Didn't make a big deal out of it, because I didn't want to be the unplanned extra guest at someone's house that they invited out of pity.
posted by mrbill at 7:50 AM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

*raises glass to fellow solo MeFites*

Got a live tree this year so that I can keep it in the yard. I miss evergreens, so it makes me happy – your run-of-the-mill Norwegian spruce. Wanted to decorate it and keep it inside for Christmas, but my recently-adopted kitten had other ideas. She particularly enjoyed that it was a potted tree, as it allowed her to jump into the pot, dig around, decorate the living room with muddy paw prints, then dive back in for more. Tree was thus moved back outside.

Squirrel-kitten was adopted from a local foster org here, her mama cat and she had been rescued along with her siblings. Mama cat is still being fostered, and her foster needed someone to sit over the holidays, so I temporarily have three cats! Squirrel-kitten immediately recognized her mama, but mama cat was like, "just WHAT the HECK do you think YOU'RE doing all up in my business sniffing me with impertinent familiarity!!" and promptly hid for 36 hours. They'd last seen each other when kitten was three months old; that was five months ago.

Just before Christmas, mama-cat warmed up to her daughter, delighting them both. They chase each other around the apartment while my nine-year-old floof of a Maine Coon observes them calmly. Mama-cat will occasionally dash past him and biff his cheek with her claws retracted. His expression when she does that is priceless: "um. okay? whatever."

Best part: three purring fluffers who all love belly rubs. Very much enjoyed this Christmas.
posted by fraula at 8:48 AM on December 26, 2017 [13 favorites]

SlartyBartfast, that is a great story.
posted by veggieboy at 8:54 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh wow, fluffy battle kitten, that's an awesome cat name. Did you see that's the name of one of our cardinal friends I posted a link to above? Yay Fernandos!

And ugh, honey-barbara, I'm sorry you're miserable up in Sioux Falls. I feel like you're getting all the most unfortunate parts of a U.S. winter experience. When you're feeling better, I wonder if any other MeFites are up there and might want to meet up and/or pass along recommendations for better food options. Sending love your way!
posted by limeonaire at 8:58 AM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

I hope it was OK for you, mrbill.....I spent Christmas alone a couple of years ago, right after I had oral surgery and couldn't even eat. I was fine, it was actually sort of nice. But there were meds.
posted by thelonius at 9:30 AM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Blinking Christmas lights at my house. The fire department showed up to deal with the camper trailer that has been parked across the street for the last two weeks and which started burning some time last night. I searched for news before posting this, but apparently I don't know the magic words for finding local fire calls.
posted by Bruce H. at 9:50 AM on December 26, 2017

We sang a Sunday morning service and then a Christmas Eve service at 8 pm on the 24th, both of which went well considering our choir had several holes in it from people out with colds or vacations. The 25th, we had Christmas dinner at my in-laws' place. The interactions I always dread were tolerable-decent this year, and there was only one fly zooming around the food (only one fly is good for that hoardy house -- I always dry clean everything I wear after being there).

There was one supremely lovely interaction, with a cousin -- this was the first holiday dinner he's attended since starting to transition (female-to-male). I asked if he'd got a new passport yet ("Get it now!" I said, MeFi conversations ringing in my head), and he said not yet, that there are some court processes that are in the pipeline first (drivers' license was easy and fast, thanks California DMV!). What's it like for your music, we said (he's had a band for like a decade). He said his voice broke for 2 weeks and he was afraid all his previous hard-earned technique was going to turn out to be useless, but his voice settled down some after that, and it was still going down. Would you feel comfortable demonstrating? we said. Sure! he said, what should I sing? Silent Night! I said. So he sang the first verse in a gorgeous tenor.

I can feel the rumble vibrating all the way down, he said, gesturing down his body. Yeah, said my husband the baritone. Really? I said, You never mentioned that before. I've never felt that. I'm jealous. It's just the frequency of those sound waves? Thanks for demonstrating! Cousin said, Thanks for asking me to!

This cousin's sweetheart was there too, a cis man who had started going out with Cousin pre-transition, and the transition has changed nothing except perhaps made their bond stronger. Yay for him for many reasons especially because one of Cousins's brothers has refused to talk to Cousin since transition started, so last night they moved around each other like oil and water... On the brighter side, a month ago at Thanksgiving dinner, Cousin's grandma had told us, "I can't call her the new name, I just can't," and kept referring to Cousin by Cousin's deadname; but last night, the grandma referred to Cousin as "[Chosen Name], [Deadname]" -- so the fact that Chosen Name passed her lips at all is promising, I think.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:59 AM on December 26, 2017 [7 favorites]

We were out of town till the 23rd, so on Christmas Eve we went out in search of a tree. On our third try, we found a place that still had trees and bought one. There has been much sniffing. I defrosted some frozen Ikea gingerbread dough that was anywhere from 5-10 years old and we made gingerbread cookies (they were delicious).

Christmas Day we had all-you-can-eat Korean bbq and then went to see the new Jumanji movie (surprisingly entertaining).
posted by mogget at 10:28 AM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

> I hope it was OK for you, mrbill

Thanks. It wasn't, but I don't want to whine and burden anybody.
posted by mrbill at 11:30 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

This is a safe place to whine,

*pats empty spot on couch*

Put 'em here and whine away.
posted by mightshould at 11:47 AM on December 26, 2017 [8 favorites]

Christmas went well, except for my brother-in-law. We were talking, and he normally means well, but anyway, we were talking about current events and he basically wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise despite my attempts to have a friendly conversation with him. I don't usually debate or express my mind much, because I don't like to rock the boat, but this time, I tried to have a conversation, and tried to counter some of his arguments, because it's messy and I didn't agree with his views. However, he kept taking over me and raising his hand to let him finish whenever he'd made a point and I tried to counter/respond. Eventually, I was all, "you know what, it's clear you're not interested in actually having a conversation with me about this, so I'm done." And I got up and walked out of the room!

Normally, I am either silent and meek about it, or I get so upset that I start crying, but this time, I didn't take the bait, didn't beat the dead horse, I actually got up and walked away before I let my anger or frustration get the better of me. Also, I'm grateful to Metafilter for helping me really question these things this year, instead of nodding my head and just letting the misguided comments pass uncountered. (Also, I really hate being talked down to or lectured at, and I'm realizing that it's OK not to accept that.)
posted by PearlRose at 12:20 PM on December 26, 2017 [23 favorites]

My printer decided Christmas Day would be a good day to die. Having read the near universal acclaim on Ask Mefi for the Brother B+W laser printer, I pleaded with my wife to forego a color printer. She insists it is not possible, so I bought the Brother color inkjet which gets some love on Ask Mefi. 10 minutes to configure and get working with my Linux desktop. An hour later I finally got my wife's Chromebook to print via Google Cloud Print.

Next time we move I want to be within 5 minutes walk of a FedEx Office or similar, so I can outsource all printing. It's almost 2018 and home office printers still suck.
posted by COD at 1:12 PM on December 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm in the midst of the Annual Pilgrimage to the Midwest, and while I have feelings about the fact that it's Bloody Fucking Cold, I'm consoling myself by the reminder that at least its BFC + snow, while back in Murland it's Fairly Chilly As Well with No Snow.
I am meeting my 2-month-old grand niece for the first time, and of course she is very beautiful. I've been having pangs of grandma jealousy lately, as many of my slightly older friends have acquired them in the past few years. But I had an interesting observation/realization: while the whole being-grandma-to-grandkid thing looks fun, I am definitely not interested in being a mom-to-a-new-mom at this point, which appears to be the harder and more fraught of the roles.
posted by drlith at 1:51 PM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

My grown-up kids and I spent Christmas afternoon with extended family--three progressives in a room full of fundamentalist Christians and a couple of libertarians. We all avoided conversation about anything involving religion or politics. There was one interesting moment during a white elephant gift exchange. My son saw two cousins surreptitiously trying to exchange a couple of gifts so he laughed and yelled, "Collusion!" There was an uneasy moment of silence and some nervous glances before the game resumed. Aside from that, my kids and I saw the new Jumanji (yes, surprisingly entertaining) and went out for a nice steak dinner. Oh, and a highlight was singing along with the Wicked CD on our drive home.
posted by a fish out of water at 1:56 PM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando.
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:43 PM on December 26, 2017 [13 favorites]

Didn't make a big deal out of it, because I didn't want to be the unplanned extra guest at someone's house that they invited out of pity.

Do be a planned guest next time, then. Or unplanned. I mean, if you're wanting to be with people you should, because the probably want to be with you, too and would want you there.

Heck, you can even ask them right now. Don't be shy. You can even tell them what you just told us. "Hey, guys, can I plan on joining you for Christmas next year. I almost called this year but I didn't want to make a big deal out of it..."

If they're your friends, the answer is going to be "Of course. You should have called. There was too much food..." and so on. Trust me, I wrangle orphans for Thanksgiving every year and so far every year I have this conversation with at least one if not more of my random artist-weirdo friends about how they should have been there and there was too much food and they were missed. But I can't go over there and make them put their shoes on and show up,

We will, however, stay up late larding about like a bunch of overstuffed walruses in case they show up late. If only so we can stuff pie and leftovers into them. I mean, misery does love company after all. *winks*

I've found that while learning to accept pity can be difficult, that feeling and emotion of shame is often more of one's own making than not. And I've totally been in this place, and can feel where you're coming from.

When I think about feeling pity for someone, it's the same urge and feeling to tuck a blanket over someone cold, or to offer warm food to someone hungry. The implication is definitely not that someone is a failure or lacking or even "oh, what a burden". I think people too often let this feeling or idea get in the way of easily and naturally accepting the warmth and urge to make someone they care for more comfortable or happy.

I feel pity is not naturally a negative or sorrowful emotion. If anything it's a hopeful one rooted in wanting to comfort someone. It is much more "this can be easily fixed" and much less "this is bad and you should feel bad."

The question asked by pity is almost never "are you a total wretch and a burden oh lord when does it ever end!?" but simply and sincerely "Would you like a blanket? I bet you would like a blanket. I'm offering to give/get you a blanket because I want to. Being warm is nice, isn't it?"

The question isn't "Do you really need me to make a sandwich for you, you starving noisome foundling?" but "Would you enjoy a sandwich? Are you hungry enough to eat a sandwich right now? I enjoy sandwiches and I am interested in you and I wonder what kind of sandwich you would enjoy, and I would like to enjoy a sandwich with you."

Which, y'know, can also even mean "I personally would like to eat a sandwich because I'm hungry and I want to comfort my own pitiful self with a sandwich. So I'm offering to make you a sandwich, too, because I want to eat a sandwich right now and we're doing this weird politeness thing. Have a sandwich, ok!?"

And, well, if anything being too avoidant of accepting comfort from people who care about you can quickly become more of a burden and a big deal than not, if only simply because missing someone is often worse.

I have a chosen family I've visited for Thanksgiving for the last 6+ years, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. There's a good dozen or so "extra guests" and orphans and whatnot who show up, whether coupled or single and it's just great. They aren't "extra guests". They're just guests.

And it all kind of works out even better than a traditional family gathering, at least in my experience, because I can help distract and/or watch the kids, or help out in the kitchen, or make a run to the store and there's just a lot more adults in the room. Theoretically.

Conversely I think I've spent the last five or six actual Christmas days alone or even working, but that works for me. Like, this year I was all about napping and chilling out and feeling just slightly guilty about not going out and doing even more photography in the snow before it vanished - and that's about all the guilt and stress about Christmas that I'm going to allow myself this year.

As I've gotten older, I have personally found I have a lot of dislike and distaste for the commercialized and consumerist aspects of Christmas and the stress that it brings, even to my daily life trying to go get groceries or whatever.

I'm bringing this up because if you or anyone else has felt pressured or obligated to try to enjoy Christmas as the holiday that it is in the US or much of the Western/developed world, you're not alone - and it's not as simple as "bah, humbug". It doesn't even have to be as simple as being depressed, either.

I don't really like Christmas carols - and I especially dislike being randomly sung at by people. I'm not a fan of cutting down live trees and sticking them in houses as decorations. I see holly and I think "invasive species". I don't like all of the pressure around exchanging mostly commercial gifts and the spending of money. I know I'm not obliged to participate, but I don't even really like being around it or assaulted by it via marketing. I actually really kind of hate commercial wrapping paper and ribbons and how wasteful and destructive it is, especially on this kind of a scale.

When I've lived in more suburban/wealthy places and I'd see all the giant boxes and bags of trash of wrapping paper, and all the thousands of discarded trees, and even cast off old toys or TVs or whatnot replaced with new ones - seeing that kind of hyperconsumerism all around me just hurts my heart and soul, and I no longer feel like I should have to apologize or even explain why I might feel that way so intensely.

Or why I might not actually like these parts of Christmas as it is practiced.

And my point about all of this is that if you feel this way about these or other things, yes, maybe we shouldn't let people make us feel bad for not enjoying them as enthusiastically. And there is a whole lot of cultural pressure that says you should feel bad if you don't enjoy these things enthusiastically enough.

There's also a lot of cultural and emotional pressure about gifts and how they relate to your worth as a person. I didn't physically open any gifts for Christmas, but I'm not sitting here feeling like I'm missing something, or thinking that's a reflection on me as a person, because it's definitely not. For one, I didn't put any effort or plans into giving or exchanging any. For two, I give and get gifts year round and I like it like that.

For three, I sincerely didn't want anything for Christmas at all except for snow and some peace and quiet and a nap, and I totally got that.

But current culture tells me I'm supposed to feel bad because I didn't get any presents on Christmas day or have dinner with someone, nor get all dressed up for a party of any kind and I sincerely, honestly just don't care nor place my values or self worth there.

Because where I place my values and self worth is stuff like this: I just shared some pictures with an extended family member in the hospital with his wife in the ICU, and by accident it was the perfect thing because they used to live in my area, and his wife grew up here. I just didn't know what else to offer in the face of what might be the end of a long battle, instinctively reaching to offer some of the beauty of the cosmos, because it's where I've found the most comfort.

And if I wasn't the sort of person to ignore conventions by choosing to celebrate Christmas alone and doing photography all night instead of buying and wrapping a bunch of gifts, well, I probably wouldn't accidentally just happen to have a folder full of landscape photos that just happen to be pictures of her childhood home.

And I certainly wouldn't be so uninhibited or unconventional that "Hey, look at my photos!" would be considered an appropriate response to "Your aunt is in the ICU." Having the response be "That was perfect, thank you." is not something that can be bought and put into a box.

Heck, last Christmas I ended up helping out at the local soup kitchen non-profit and then becoming a regular volunteer, simply because I didn't make plans for Christmas day at all and ended up wandering down there with a friend, so it's obviously not just a case of "Bah Humbug" at all, and it's not like I'm not understanding the true meaning of Christmas.

Goodness, no. I do like the community and food sharing and celebration of winter itself as part of the holidays, but this is as much if not more Saturnalia or Yule and much less Christmas as a commercial shopping holiday as it is today.

And the older I get the more I seem to be more interested in quietly observing Solstice as a general, non-religious astronomical kind of way. And I mean observing, simply, no real plan or ritual, just "Oh boy, one more trip around Sol on this whirling dirty wet space rock! What crazy antics will you get up to this time? Here we go!"

Emotional manipulation and crass consumerism? Pass.

Getting together? Bright lights to drive off the dark, even playing with fire? Yes, please. Comfort food and naps, if not nearly hibernating? Pehaps a stupor? Bring it. Celebrating getting through another winter? Hanging out with folks? Reading books? Yes.

Wait, hold up. What do you mean "through"!? Winter is awesome! Oh crap, this means it's half over and it'll be spring again, soon. Oh well.

My personal favorite part about Christmas this year is when I woke up around 10 AM on Christmas morning with a thin but fresh and sturdy blanket of snow out there and it was just so quiet, so calm and so peaceful sounding and feeling that I could use it like a blanket. Maybe even save a little bit for later. So I did.

You guys, it was glorious. So peaceful. If only it could be bottled and sol,... oh wait a damn minute argh.
posted by loquacious at 6:51 PM on December 26, 2017 [13 favorites]

Thanks. It wasn't, but I don't want to whine and burden anybody

You are such a better person than me mrbill. Sorry for the grouchy rant everyone. I am now medicated with grape juice, (something something Cabernet) and a nice fire. And some loving pats and no one said 'what/excuse me/ say that again/ confused face' today, mostly because I am finding my rotic R like a boss and bunging it right on. Parrrrrrss therrrr caberrrrrrrrnet plearrrrse. Seems to work.
posted by honey-barbara at 6:54 PM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

I didn't think I was going to get it done, but I did in fact get the new cat tree put together on Christmas Day, sparking a giant territory war between my younger two cats who previously had been on pretty good terms. I almost ordered another cat tree, then realized they're cats and if I do that then clearly one of them will just sit there as they fight over the other one.

I think I'm coming to the conclusion that I'd like to have one Proper Christmas about once a decade and that's really enough, but I'm not even sure what that might mean anymore since I think I want it in theory but I definitely still don't want it with my actual family. Meanwhile, it's back to my real life, where I'm working on a project for this course I'm taking where we're supposed to turn in wireframes before we do any HTML, and--I am so bad at visual stuff that I think tonight I'm sitting down and doing the HTML and then when I have it right I'll draw appropriate boxes on a piece of paper. I want so badly to be a good designer and I'm being crushed by a bunch of rectangles. Help.
posted by Sequence at 7:27 PM on December 26, 2017 [4 favorites]

HOLD UP. CAT TREE, YOU SAY? That seems super relevant to my interests. Was this cat tree purchased on the interweb, possibly I might like to order one from my nerdbox. FOR FERNANDO.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:40 PM on December 26, 2017 [6 favorites]

We made the usual pilgrimage several hours away to the in-laws for X-mas dinner out in the country. Youngest Honorable Offspring allowed my dear husband to drive her new-ish car while she slept. Oldest Honorable Offspring stayed at our home with a medicated black lab.

"Gosh, why is everybody so quiet?"
This was said several times in the presence of husband, daughter, unmarried BIL, and husband's parents. BIL tended the baked ham while we girls set up shop in the kitchen working on candied sweet potatoes, dressing, vegetables, boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes, and eventually creating milk gravy (MIL and I persevered -- yeah!)

Then in came the married BIL with his adult son and two married daughters, one son-in-law, and his five grandchildren. The nieces and nephews gossiped with each other and us, helped get the rolls buttered and baked, moved the pies and cake out to the sunroom, and set up both big tables.
My daughter has a new role that she undertakes with enthusiasm: enjoying her energetic young cousins. She was a willing audience for gymnastics, helped them with their artwork, and told them stories about growing up with her sister and their mothers.
Meanwhile the three-month-old napped in his great-grandfather's arms (in a tiny Santa outfit, no less!)

After a splendid dinner the adults caught up with each other and the little ones ran about and played, then it was time to unwrap presents. Bows and wrapping paper flew about, happy squeals were heard, and as usual at least one toy required parental interpretation of instructions.
In time hugs were given, last-minute returns to the house for lost items were made, and then various vehicles exited the front yard on their way back to homes or to other family gatherings.

"Gosh, why is everybody so quiet?"
We made our way back home without incident, unloaded a few gifts for OHO, and waved goodbye to our youngest as she drove a few miles to her house.

Good food, good fellowship, and the love of family (by blood or choice) are what the season is all about.
Happy holidays to one and all. May the new year bring comfort and joy.
posted by TrishaU at 7:43 PM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

Just got back to Pittsburgh after a ten hour drive from Northern Massachusetts. Fortunately, none of the areas that we drove through got snow like Erie did or we'd never have gotten home. It was great to see my family but OMG 3.5 days is just as much as I can handle. I'm sitting at my kitchen table and decompressing after more drama than I normally deal with in a year. Fortunately my niece gave me some very nice Fort Hill Brewery beer for Xmas so I'm happily here quietly drinking a Jigsaw Jazz Double IPA and wondering how my sister copes with all the drama on a day-to-day basis. Cheers.
posted by octothorpe at 8:06 PM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

For the second year in a row we left town for the week before Christmas, returning just in time for the holiday. It was glorious. I mean, leading up to the trip is crazy because packing plus making sure the house is clean because it's not just hating returning to a messy house but also needing the house to be ready for guests, plus I have a weird thing where I absolutely refuse to patronize any business on a holiday or even the night before because I feel sorry for the employees who have to work (even if they technically need the hours, working holidays sucks) which means that there must be food in the house for when we return so that we will not be out shopping when we're dead tired from travel. Oh, and of course all presents must have already been purchased and wrapped because we're traveling too far to bring anything extra back.

But then you get there and there's nothing to do but relax because it's all been done and you get home and there's nothing to do because it's all been done and I don't believe I've ever been this relaxed on Christmas day.

We're blessed to have made some friends in the last few years who have accepted us as family such that it's a given now that we will spend the holiday together and it's awesome not only for us as adults but especially for our kids because none of the kids have cousins anywhere nearby and seeing my cousins was always the best part of holidays as a kid. The orphan Christmases that we had for a few years were hard to get through but especially because we knew what our kid was missing, even if he didn't.

So lots of gratitude this week.
posted by vignettist at 10:01 PM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Christmas was pretty mixed this year, as usual. Google Photos has been torturing me over the past couple of weeks or so by throwing up reminders to "relive the moment" and look at the pictures I took three years ago, the last time I had a Christmas with any of my family. Even though I could swear I told it to stop showing me the *)#@! notifications. Stop rubbing it in, Google! STOP IT!

I finished reading The Travelling Cat Chronicles and bawled through the last 40 or so pages. Gave my cat some damp, tear-stained cuddles amidst declarations of eternal love, which he somehow did not appreciate but at least tolerated for a little bit. Felt very sorry for myself. Gave myself a stern lecture about how there are plenty of other people out there who were not enjoying the day, either because of families they dislike or don't get on with or no longer have; or lots of tedious travelling and/or cooking; or because they too are reminded of their not-belongingness. Pointed out to myself that if I had really wanted to be around other people, I could have made more of an effort; that being alone was what I had chosen so I should really quit my whingeing and try to appreciate how nice it was to be able to sloth about in pajamas all day, doing whatever I felt like. Oddly this didn't really help me feel any better. Tried to watch Rogue One on Netflix and didn't like it, stopped after an hour.

I did get one present: my period, with concomitant cramps. Yay.

Eventually I decided that my sweetheart on the other side of the world might possibly be awake or at least awakenable, which turned out to be the case. After some conversation and other activities, I wound up bawling again but this time turned out to be somewhat more cathartic, quite possibly because my partner did not berate me for feeling horrible the way my self did. Made dinner and we wound up simultaneously Netflixing The Queen of Katwe which was an inspired choice and cheered both of us up enormously. So it ended well. Boxing Day was ok and today I'm back at work (though accomplishing little). I'm somewhat dreading the next bit of holiday but I'll get through and then it will be over again for another year, thank fuck.
posted by Athanassiel at 10:03 PM on December 26, 2017 [5 favorites]

I had a perfectly lovely xmas eve. I love my family to bits, but all of the traditions and expectations and stuff that surrounds this time of year just weigh me down, so I have bowed out of it all for the last few years and spent it at home with my boyfriend. We make a roast and eat it together and then fall asleep on the futon in the living room

to do a perfect prime rib:
go to a good butcher, get their best prime rib. 2 bones at least, or if you're feeding more people it's 2 bones for every 3 people
rub roast with a combo of salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, a touch of cayenne and smoked paprika
put on roasting pan with the bones down, with a meat thermometer placed so the end is in the middle, and the face can be seen through the oven window
preheat oven to 500
roast for 15 minutes at 500, then turn down the oven to 275, and leave in until thermometer says 150
remove from oven, tent with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes
eat. revel in your decadence
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:49 AM on December 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

I had this bittersweet, somewhat melancholy Christmas. We went back to my wife's small hometown and spent the holiday with her parents. They have a lovely home in the hills of Appalachia. A big wooden home on a hill, heated primarily with a woodstove, and with a really big kitchen which is the social center of the place.

What made this year different was we were also hosting our nieces, two sweet little girls about six and seven years younger than my two early-teen kids. They're my brother-in-law's daughters and they were staying with us because back at their home, their other grandmother, their mother's mother, was in her final hours of home hospice. The kids had endured months of watching their grandmother deteriorate and their parents thought it best that they not be there at the very end, especially since it looked like it was going to happen on Christmas Eve.

So they spent the weekend with us, at their other grandparent's house. And we all had a marvelous time. It snowed and we went sledding, threw snowballs, and then went in and warmed ourselves by the woodstove with hot cocoa and eating Christmas cookies. We didn't talk about what was happening at their home, they didn't seem to want to. Instead, they bonded with our kids, who were particularly well behaved and accepting. They did crafts together and helped with the cooking. We played games and on Christmas Eve, we opened just a few gifts, enough so that everyone had something new to play with, or read.

Once the kids went to bed, we brought out the Santa gifts that their father had snuck into the house earlier in the day. And we added the gifts we brought, as did my in-laws. We also hung and filled their stockings, including a note about an elaborate scavenger hunt that Santa had to go through just to ensure he delivered their gifts to the right house. Then we ate some of the cookies they left out for Santa and shared the Nog after adding a bit of rum.

They came down the next morning and everyone was eager to open presents. The grownups got coffee and we all sat down to witness the unveiling of the loot. The kids all made each other gifts, and those were exchanged too. Everyone swore they were their favorite, but they were quickly forgotten for the American Girl dolls and electronics and Pokemon paraphernalia that followed.

At about ten a.m. their parents called and said they'd be coming to pick them up. Their grandmother had died at midnight between Christmas Eve and Christmas. When they arrived they looked like they had been through a war. My sister-in-law's eyes were pink and puffy, but she hugged her kids and brought them into a bedroom and told them. We waited outside and made more coffee. When they came out, the kids were sad, but this wasn't unexpected. There were a few more gifts, more cocoa, and cookies, a nice Strada, and of course, more coffee, though this time with a bit of Baileys.

It was both an idyllic Christmas and a terrible Christmas. I loved the time we spent with our nieces, and my kids got closer to their cousins than they've ever been. I also felt that I had a purpose and a use this Christmas, and I think I really love having that kind of responsibility. But it was also the most awful Christmas ever, and one that those poor little girls are likely to think about every year at that time. I hope we helped. I think we helped. We certainly tried to help, and I was incredibly proud of my kids. They had a pretty good Christmas themselves, but they took care of their cousins and kept them laughing and playing most the time. Not typical behavior in teens. It was enough to make my small heart grow three sizes that day.
posted by Stanczyk at 8:52 AM on December 27, 2017 [20 favorites]

I had, overall, a lovely holiday. The 23rd is my birthday, so it is always low key as people are always out of town and busy with other things. We went up to Santa Rosa to visit chosen family for Christmas eve and day. Everything was lovely and not at all stressful. My bio family caused a ton of unnecessary and horrible drama as we were driving home yesterday so, unfortunately it ended pretty poorly, but I'm doing my best to keep the good stuff at the front of my thoughts. It's hard for me to feel good about holidays and my birthday which is always tied up in the worst of a narcissistic parent's desire to keep all attention directed in one way, but I'm not totally sad today and I don't have an overwhelming desire to get back into bed, so something clearly went right.

kamikazegopher - I am so sorry. I hope your spouse's memory will be a blessing to you.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:10 AM on December 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Peace to all who are grieving and suffering.

...I ended up with a bonus gift from my parents - they saw me flipping through a slow cooker book from their bookshelf, and Dad said "you know, we never use that book - you want it? Take it." (Slow cooker cookbooks have apparently been my brother's go-to gift to them for the past couple years.) I'd already resolved to do a lot of clearing out of cupboards and slow-cooker meals this week while I'm home (I took the whole week off work).

It's not a Christmas story as such, but this thing I just posted on my blog was a result of the clean-out-the-cupboards drive, and is ridiculous and silly enough that if anyone needs a chuckle, this would work. (It's how I went temporarily insane and managed to lose a five-pound tub of sugar in my living room this morning.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:02 AM on December 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

Christmas is fraught these days for me, but I made it through the season by clinging tightly to the music of the ancien regime. I especially fell in love with June Christy this year.

In any case, events found me away from home helping my friend get set for his biggest job of the year. We went out to Christmas Eve dinner with with his friends there to do other setup and then went back to the venue to play some board games. One of them got out his phone so we could use an app that chooses a placed finger at random to decide who goes first. In the split second before he switched the screen to the app, I caught a peek at his browser.

"Wait a minute. Was that a certain blue website?"

"Oh, I don't know."

"It wasn't a site known for having a blue front page?"

"I mean, maybe I know what you're talking about," he said, sounding a little hesitant.

"Are you a friend of Matt's?"

At which point his face lit up, "Oh! Oh, yes!"

"Hey! I'm ob1quixote. Nice to meet you," I say, shaking his hand.

"cardioid, nice to meet you!"

We then proceeded to become fast friends and have a grand old time. I'm so pleased to have randomly met someone who would make a "same as in town" joke while playing Mage Knight that I've come here to write this the instant I got back to my desk at home. It really made my Christmas bright.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:26 PM on December 27, 2017 [34 favorites]

I have the whole week off work this week, and am staying in town – devoting the time to a long-overdue clearing-out of closets, cupboards, and other dark corners of the house.

Empress, totes jelly. I've been making great progress in long-overdue household purging, and I need to finish that, and also do deep cleaning. At least I will have a long weekend to do some of that, when I get back.
posted by thelonius at 3:41 PM on December 27, 2017

My little "amusing in retrospect but stressful at the time" christmas day story. My sister bought her two grandsons a Nintento Switch for Christmas and my one grand-nephew promptly ran upstairs to the kitchen to find a pair of scissors to open the box. He did this, took half of the stuff out of the box ran to the TV room and tried to hook up the game without a power cord or instructions. When he went back for the box that he'd left on the kitchen counter, it was gone and no one knew were it was.

This resulted in what seemed like 45 minutes of people running around looking for the box, my sister having a complete crying melt-down because she'd paid extra for a long-term warranty that was lost with the box, people yelling at each other, ripping trash bags apart and finally ended when my niece found it carefully packed away in my sister and brother-in-law's bedroom.

My brother-in-law then said, "oh yeah, I forgot that I cleared that off the counter and put it away when I put the pies out." This was after he'd been asked more than once if he'd seen the box. My sister did not kill him.
posted by octothorpe at 3:58 PM on December 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

And lo, there were Christmas monkeys.

I just wish I had more time with them.
posted by smoke at 6:11 PM on December 27, 2017 [10 favorites]

I'm incredibly jealous of your Christmas monkeys, smoke. They're beautiful!

Every year I buy a pig for the guys I worked with in Cote d'Ivoire for Christmas. It gets butchered on Christmas Eve and distributed to everyone's family for the fete. Last year, the person I sent money to didn't actually purchase a pig, and I got a bunch of angry calls from Cote d'Ivoire. I ruined Christmas because the pig they were planning to eat never arrived and this was clearly my fault even though I did send the money in early December and trusted that my guy would make the purchase. Anyways, things were cleared up and they ate the pig for New Year's instead, but the damage was done and I got some crap about it when I was there over the summer.

This year I sent money to a different guy to purchase the pig, and the pig was purchased and butchered and distributed properly, and everyone ate pepper soup and offal on Christmas Eve, and sauce grain and sauce melon and sauce feuilles des patates with very fresh pork for Christmas. Success, and nobody got mad at me!
posted by ChuraChura at 7:52 PM on December 27, 2017 [14 favorites]

I was still doubting my decision to move back to Mexico, even more after a dreadful consumerist Christmas dinner with the bio family.

But I just spent a lovely day with chosen family, who spend the rest of the year 1000s of miles apart, and were are all so happy to be old and uncool and still so much love. And all the children meeting each other and laughing in 5 different languages.

And the ocean was warm enough for a long swim, beers are 50 cents each, and this was the sunset.

So all is well.
posted by Index Librorum Prohibitorum at 10:09 PM on December 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

>"Are you a friend of Matt's?"
>At which point his face lit up, "Oh! Oh, yes!"

OK, this made me grin.
posted by mrbill at 3:47 AM on December 28, 2017 [6 favorites]

I had the most peaceful christmas since many years, Christmas eve it was just the three of us and then next day off to see all my mother and
My elderly aunts which in past years i found extremely stressful as usually my brother whoo has mental problems has a total meltdown on the 25th were he looses control over his bowels, but this year he did not. So i did not clean feces and urin and instead enjoyed the party.
posted by 15L06 at 5:22 AM on December 28, 2017

My sister did not kill him.

Well, which one of you did, then?

I have been the brother-in-law.
posted by solotoro at 6:05 AM on December 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

Christmas Eve with her mom and grandmother was, in fact, our nicest family holiday gathering (out of 4), though the 26th was immediate family was pretty decent.

HOWEVER. Yesterday we drove safely down to the airport, got parked easily, had a decently tasty and online slightly overpriced dinner in the airport bar, and got on a flight that was only delayed by about five minutes. It was the best takeoff I've ever experienced (I hate flying, y'all), I read a really great book (The Last Black Unicorn), and we got into DAL on time. Our bags took a minute to come off the belt, but we still got to the rental car place before it closed.

We slept like the dead, and now we're lounging around my wife's girlfriend's living room watching Night at the Museum 2 with the teenager while GF and hubby have to work. We're in for a week of good food, all the Cards Against Humanity we can play, a museum trip with the teenager tomorrow, and introducing them to Settlers, and life is good.
posted by joycehealy at 8:50 AM on December 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm borderline annoyed that I didn't even realize I wanted xmas monkeys.

Sequence sent me cat tree link. Which meant looking at lots of cat trees/condos. But then I decided I needed to wait and see what Fernando requires of a cat tree situation. AND! It's good I waited because in the last 24 hours he's become a lot more playful. I'm really excited he's leaning into being an inside cat. I think he's young (1.5 to 2.5 years old, I'd guess.) A+ litter box usage, likes laying about on fluffy surfaces. (This cat showed up in the neighborhood last February. He liked being talked at but did not approach me till June. At which point he 100% picked me as his person but I kept trying to keep my feelings in check.) Making vet appointment for next week to have a once over and schedule neuter...he appears to only have one nut. Secondary unit may not have descended. (Not the first time I've had a cat with this.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:42 AM on December 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

We have a new cat in the family as well, although technically we're fostering him and haven't decided if he'll stay. He is Diego the Ditch Kitty. He was scrawny and covered in fleas and had all sorts of things wrong with him, but is now a very satisfied and healthy weight cat, although he wants food constantly and will probably turn into a massive cat loaf if I don't start dialing the food back. He's very sweet with humans but either is super dominant or just doesn't know how to cat - he walks up to my two, sticks his face into theirs with his head cranked like the exorcist and screams at the top of his lungs at them. In fact he screams a lot, mostly when food is not available at any time he feels he needs some. This has resulted in some epic cat battles in the hallway.

My sister and brother in law joined us here in the Midwest, so they got to experience the really cold weather we've got now. But inspired by Metafilter, we made our first roast beef (and it turned out excellently) and did tiny Yorkshire puddings along with it. A few days later we completed our Inadvertently English Christmas by making Eton Mess. It was nice not having to travel and to have some relief from our mom and politics. I'm excited about January as we're taking a two week trip to southern Spain to celebrate twenty years married, but I'm also a little nervous as my husband has bipolar and things can sometimes get hard without warning. We're planning on taking it very casually and I only am going to demand to see a few things like the Alhambra and let the rest come as it may so there is no pressure. I'm simultaneously elated and scared.
posted by PussKillian at 2:46 PM on December 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Was that a certain blue website?


sounding a little hesitant

To be fair, there are a lot of blue websites, and people don't generally discuss their preferences over dinner.
posted by pompomtom at 11:50 PM on January 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

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