Metatalktail Hour: Holiday Cheer December 16, 2021 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Happy weekend, MetaFilter! We're deep into the holiday season and rounding the bend towards New Year's. This week I just want to hear about your holidays! Or your non-holidays! Whatever nice things you are doing this month, no matter what holidays you do or don't celebrate!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 6:08 PM (94 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Honestly a big piece of me just wants to lay in enough supplies to wait out the worst of the winter weather. Which may not be cold, but so far is some of the weirdest climate-crisis stuff yet (crazy winds & thunderstorms yesterday across the midwest) Christmas proper will be a small affair (spouse, father in law, and maybe brother in law). No gifts, just a meal together.

Brainwane's solstice volunteer amnesty has been on my mind, and I'm looking for other good ideas to anchor to the arbitrary-ish dates of solstice and/or new year's.

Cooking, always cooking. I've got a gingersnap recipe I'm excited to try. It's time to bake all the breads. Hone my foccacia recipe. And hopefully hold the almost-yearly onion soup dinner with a particular pair of dear, dear friends...
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 6:48 PM on December 16, 2021 [5 favorites]

We've had a lot of colds around our house so it's been hard to get in the holiday spirit with everyone feeling sick and tired. But while shopping for family I saw an amazing candle and immediately bought and shipped it to a friend who I wasn't planning to buy a gift for, and thanks to this unexpected and spontaneous gift it finally feels like Christmas. Here it is, the best gift I've given all year.

Also we've passed the "planning holiday activities" stage and are into the "doing those activities" stage so that helps make me merry, too.
posted by Tehhund at 7:28 PM on December 16, 2021 [7 favorites]

I’m planning to go to the drugstore to buy candy canes and cheap chocolate.
posted by moonmilk at 9:01 PM on December 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

Well I don't expect to be doing anything for Christmas, but I did just watch more of this Christmas Lights House spectacular thing (via Laughing Squid) with singing windows for longer than expected and you might also love it. It is a 32 minute show! (I left when it got too Jesus-y).

Then I tried to find the original (?) spectacular lights thing to Wizards in Winter by Trans-Siberian Orchestra but only found later ones.
posted by Glinn at 9:06 PM on December 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

I made it back to England amidst changing rules for travel between the UK and France! I’ve got French nationality too so the return in a few weeks will be harder but not impossible. With my mum who I haven’t seen for a year, and seeing other family I’ve not seen for two!
posted by ellieBOA at 1:57 AM on December 17, 2021 [12 favorites]

Hahahaha well team, I have no fucking idea what we're gonna do, if anything, for the holidays.

Three-ish weeks ago my spouse and I sold our house in South Philly and moved to the Netherlands.

And by "moved" I mean "rented an airbnb in the countryside for two months while we wait for our visas to be finished by the Netherlands government so that I can look for a remote work computer job" so we are very much in a state of limbo.

The Netherlands government re-instituted stricter COVID measures (one of the major reasons we left the USA is to be somewhere that actually changes policy in reaction to changing public health circumstances -- we're both boostered but I'm immune-compromised so I can't fuck around at all with catching COVID) so our typical tradition from the Before Times of gorging ourselves on cheese and crab legs at a noisy restaurant won't work.

Realistically? We'll likely end up eating a bunch of cannabis edibles, getting baked as fuck, cooking some food, and playing videogames all day. Maybe throw in a nostalgic gezellig inducing movie watch. All in all, it will be fine, but it will be weird.

We do not know ANYONE in this country, so if there are MeFites around that want to brainstorm some safe activity, I'm down to discuss.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:10 AM on December 17, 2021 [17 favorites]

My one plan for the holidays is to watch the Newgrange solstice livestream. They will do it for three days - 20th to 22nd December and hopefully at least one of the mornings will have decent weather. (Here's last year's for example.)
posted by scorbet at 2:59 AM on December 17, 2021 [9 favorites]

Doing nothing this year except looking after mom who's health and mental state is slowly, incrementally worsening. I have sent zero cards this year and haven't even planned a meal. She cannot eat anything too difficult so our standards are out of the equation.

I usually love decorating my house with seasonal lights and decorations that bring me cheer; and miss the lack of my usual sanctuary. Maybe next year will be better.

And, of course I work retail the day afterwards; at least I don't have to go in until 8am.

But it's kinda fine since I have been a bit resentful of the relentless attempt at "all things are so cheery" that pervades this season. I hope to have some peaceful quiet time to spend on the 24th lighting a candle in memory of my husband.
posted by mightshould at 3:32 AM on December 17, 2021 [26 favorites]

Every other year I have a solo Christmas for non-sad reasons; my brother is at his in-law's every other year, and so "Christmas" is just me and my parents and an aunt those years and we've all decided to just meet for lunch sometime a couple days after Christmas when everything's calmed down, so we can chill the hell out on Christmas Day itself. On those years - like this one - I usually throw myself into planning indulgent food for myself all day, and spend the day itself preparing and eating it, staying in pajamas and doing little else. Maybe a walk mid-day, maybe just not.

This year is one of those years - even my roommate is going to his parents' place for Christmas (although he will not be staying long; he is planning to leave as late as possible on the 24th, and will try to finagle a way to come back the following night, or early in the morning on Boxing Day at the latest). And I have planned out a menu for THREE DAYS' WORTH of food - elaborate breakfasts, traditional Christmas-Eve lunches and dinners, and grand feast on Christmas Day, and even things that will let me use up the leftovers on Boxing Day (I even did a whole AskMe about what items to put on the full dessert table I will be planning for myself and ended up with about eight courses).

But I'm also looking forward to some of the stuff in the days before and after - my office Christmas Party is tonight, and this is the first time in my entire life I am actually looking forward to such an event. (the DJ actually is letting us SUBMIT REQUESTS in advance, and I looked at some of the stuff my colleagues are sending in and thought "holy crap these are my people" - I'm the only one who submitted any holiday song so far, and it was something by Bruce Springsteen). The office Secret Santa is this afternoon as well so that should be fun (I got someone who asked only for "pokemon socks or lemon cookies", and since I was already making lemon cookies for my ownself she's getting both).

I'm also going to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Lightscape thingy tomorrow night, and next week at work should also be pretty chill as people wind down work to prepare for holiday stuff. I've also finally gotten all my gift shopping and wrapping done (save for my parents, who only want some fun foodstuff and I can get that from the fancy-ass gourmet market a block down the street so I can do that any time). I also spontaneously decided on a long weekend for New Year's and will be heading upstate to chill out there even further; it's the first time i've traveled somewhere not family-related in over a year.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:06 AM on December 17, 2021 [5 favorites]

Well, I'm not really looking forward to the day itself, because it will be Thanksgiving all over again: I have to do the dinner cooking for 2 other people who won't cook, simply won't, and they don't offer to help in any way either so I've got to do all the cleanup as well, and the thing is if I made them clean up they'd just do it so poorly that I'd spend the next week rewashing things before I can use them, and instead they will sit there and yammer loudly and endlessly about how bad the world is until I kick them out of the kitchen so I can at least clean in peace. But, I do have the 2 days before Christmas off, and the 3 days following, and I can spend those more or less doing whatever I want so that will be quite blissful for me and the cats. I've been buying/gifted a LOT of books this year, so there's plenty of nice reading to do, and through the miracle of the internet I can listen to any amount of soothing music, or I could just watch MST3K and Iron Chef Japan endlessly, which these days is about my speed TV-wise.
posted by JanetLand at 6:34 AM on December 17, 2021 [6 favorites]

I'm scheduled to fly to see my mom for Christmas but I'm not actually sure if I should - I'm starting to be worried about flying without a COVID test, but am not sure if I could actually manage to get tested before I leave.

In better news, I am trying to finish a quilt for Christmas. (Yes, there's a LOT left to do. But I have this weekend and all of Wednesday/Thursday?) I'm actually very proud of what I have so far, but last time I made a quilt I made a terrible hash of the binding, so...hopefully it goes better this time.

Whether I fly out or not, I'm tremendously looking forward to having a few days at home doing as little as possible.
posted by Jeanne at 7:15 AM on December 17, 2021 [7 favorites]

We've almost always spent Christmas Eve at my mother's house, and that's what will happen next week. It will be a changed landscape, though. My middle brother passed away in June, and my mother's partner is rather fragile after some serious surgery in the fall, so she's been stressed and depressed. All the grandkids are grown up, but not at the point where they are having their own children yet, so my mother can't really indulge in her habit of buying a million little toys to put under the tree. Feels like we are on the cusp of this particular celebration going away. My mother is 80 and not in great health herself, so who knows how many more Christmas Eves we'll have like this. I'm not all that enthusiastic about Christmas in general, but I am sure I will miss it once it's gone.

Christmas Day is a much lower-key affair for my wife and daughter and me. For maybe the last ten years, we've gone out to a movie and had dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Boston's Chinatown. Movie pickings are a bit slim at the moment, but we have tickets to go see the new Spiderman movie. The movie is a 7:00 p.m. show, so we might not get in the Chinese dinner.
posted by briank at 9:14 AM on December 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

Going to try to get the tree and stockings up this weekend - 3 out of 4 of us have a rotten cold, but we really need to do it. Already made and garishly frosted/sprinkled cutout cookies (they're in the freezer to be fresh-ish for Santa). I'm going to try and make some chocolate and/or gingerbread cookies too this weekend.

We may or may not see the grandparents on Christmas Eve depending on how we are all feeling - parents are boostered and 5 year old is vaxxed, but they are vulnerable and cases are exploding locally.

Plans for Christmas Day include either French toast or eggs in a nest and bacon, mimosas for the grown ups, and takeout pierogies and kielbasa from our local Polish joint for Christmas lunch/dinner. Maybe taking a walk with the kids if the weather's not vile. Otherwise doing basically fuck-all which is how I'd prefer it.
posted by Knicke at 9:43 AM on December 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

I always get quite excited about Christmas. I like the decorations and the baking especially. Something about all the glitter when everything is dark. (Nine or so hours of light a day and some days rather dim.) So I made my Christmas cake at the end of November. I started getting out decorations and various Advent things at the start of Advent. And then I promptly got sick. I'm finally getting to a point where I can help when my family does things, so we've just now put up the tree and made some cookies. But also accepted that a number of things may not happen this year. I think one of the good things about liking and having lots of Christmas stuff, though, is how much you're left with even when you leave some out. And even if we hadn't made more treats, we already had some and would be fine. And with the tree up, decorating really is set, despite having more available.

I'm doing Christmas with just my spouse and teenager. We open stockings and presents together on Christmas morning. Most years we manage to give and get a book, puzzle, and/or game that we do during the afternoon. Or just lay around reading and playing video games and telling the funny bits to each other.
posted by blueberry monster at 9:45 AM on December 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

It's been quite a few years since I managed to find gifts for my family. We don't really celebrate Christmas anymore, but we sort of do as well, and sometimes there are gifts, and sometimes not.
I'd decided not to worry about it this year, although despite Omicron (we're in South Africa) we're going to be together as a family for the first time since the pandemic started.
Then I found a book sale!
Now I have a copy of the Golem and the Djinni for one sister, and Twilight Robbery for my other sister.
Still need to find something for my brother (maybe make a Piranesi T shirt saying "The Beauty of the House is Immeasurable, it's Kindness Infinite")
And something for my father... but what?
posted by Zumbador at 11:29 AM on December 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

Did the usual Chanukah dinner with my mom and my husband on the first night. It was lovely as always, who doesn't love burning candles and eating food. The three of us will also do brunch here on Christmas morning. Quiche or shrimp and grits, I haven't decided. My husband's aunts sent us some Harry & David pears so I'll likely whip up a crisp or galette as well.

Besides eating and being with my loved ones, I am all about creating a jolly atmosphere. All the frippery is festooning everything around here.

The kitchen chandelier is truly an abomination of greenery, tinsel, ribbons, and faux berries. Looks pretty much like it plans on snatching that Best Dressed sash at a winter wonderland themed full glitz pageant.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 12:57 PM on December 17, 2021 [8 favorites]

I have sixteen days off in a row! And no real plans for any of them. I have a few invitations for gatherings that seem increasingly ill-advised with every passing day. Right now it's a proper December winter, good amount of powdery snow glittering in the sunshine so I hope it keeps up long enough to get some nice wintery hikes in with my dog. He's a hilarious nut in the snow.
posted by HotToddy at 1:39 PM on December 17, 2021 [6 favorites]

Every year for the past who-knows-how-long we've hosted a party roughly a week before Christmas and get all our friends over to eat and drink too much. It's a good excuse for us to try some new recipes and techniques, and with very few exceptions (who wants to make crackers?) everything is homemade. We usually start preparing before Thanksgiving.

Last year was the first time since we started doing this that we did not have a party. We were very sad about it. To make matters worse, I had to travel for work the day after Christmas (in the middle of a pandemic, yes). It was a pretty crummy holiday season all around in 2020.

Well, the party's back on this year. We're still trying to be cautious regarding covid, so for the first time we're hosting it outside. We've got heaters, I strung up lights, and we're going for a Weinachtsmarkt theme - gluhwein, sausages, pretzels, and I'm going to find some obnoxious Christmas polka music to play. And just like the Christmas markets that I remember from my youth, it's going to rain and everything is going to be wet!
posted by backseatpilot at 1:39 PM on December 17, 2021 [6 favorites]

I made some killer applesauce for Hanukkah latkes that my sister made which we ate on JIMSMAS and then, despite all of this I managed to give Jim (not_on_display) a nearly perfect birthday after we'd already had a nearly perfect Thanksgiving with my sister. I grew up in a hectic family with some lackluster parenting so just holidays that are chill and enjoyable and don't wind up with someone on edge and miserable (often me) seem like a gift. And we all decided "no gifts" this time around, often we'll give each other little thises and thats but not this year. And so I decided with omicron concerns and the janky state of my dad's house (not sure the laundry or dishwasher works and don't want to hassle fixit people over holidays) and my sister being on call (so can't go to my dad's house) I'd just stay up here, in Vermont which I love, and Jim will come up and we'll hunker and get takeout and watch movies and go on walks and that is the entire plan. I like walking and driving around here and seeing all the lights. I am definitely wearing my not-that-into-xmas pants this year but am okay if other people are All In with it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:44 PM on December 17, 2021 [8 favorites]

I went overboard and got some smart, programmable Christmas tree lights from Twinkly. They're silly and excessive, but fun. I can make them looks like swirling candy canes, fireworks, sunset, falling snow... anything really. Here they are on our tree.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:52 PM on December 17, 2021 [8 favorites]

Groovy lights!
posted by Bella Donna at 2:59 PM on December 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

hi. got little lurk a dose of vaccine and myself a booster. finally pulled the trigger on xmas sux xv: sorrowing sighing degrading denying, latest instance of my seasonal gesture in lieu of cards (and this year containing 100% less i fucked your snowman!), making distribution to 130 recipients of which only three have linkrotted since last year (one typo, one death, one undetermined and whom i cannot identify by email address alone) and one so far has deleted me as spam but requested i resend. will observe a fairly laid-back holiday with little lurk, mama and my parents. maskless i think now that little lurk's initial dose ought to be ramping up. we will eschew other family gatherings. sibling, supposed to come visit after xmas, the other day texted "i am negative now but household contact positive. we are doing everything right. ... plenty of time now to not get it so... I am not telling anyone but you now," and, more worryingly, did not reply when i asked "household contact?" twice. should the plane travel and visit transpire we'll surely wear masks. anyway, now that mom's got some in-home help to relieve her 24-7 care of alzheimering pop, she visits me on friday night. usually a pleasant time over too soon. (pop, for his part, thinks he and i have a connection and should hang out more, maybe a sleepover. i always agree. he's pretty sure his mom would like me). anyway, she should arrive any moment. peace.
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:51 PM on December 17, 2021 [6 favorites]

I'm glad and grateful we can make plans to see friends, and have casual relaxed celebrations in whatever style we want. There will be jammy pants and an excuse to buy a big ham.
There is a cat snoozing under the tree most times, and nobody has messed with it much except once today so I moved the cat bed to the sunlit window.
posted by winesong at 4:01 PM on December 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I had a delightful 51st birthday today with my wife and my son. I'm becoming increasingly pessimistic about the prospects of spending New Year's Eve with my bestest friends from college, because I'm becoming an Omicron fatalist, but we get what we are dealt.
posted by mollweide at 8:29 PM on December 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

My wife and I bought a house in June. So we have room for a tree again, and she got us a nice artificial tree. We are lucky that the cat has not bothered the tree. The cat does like to "hide" under the tree and watch the birds in the back yard.

But we have met only a couple neighbors so far. So I am going to make some cookies to give them. But I am cheating and have bought refrigerated dough that I need to only pop in the over and then throw sprinkles on.

We are having Christmas Day with my dad and sister. I usually go over to my Dad's between Christmas and New Year's and make a coffeecake that my mom used to make. Then we share that between households.
posted by NotLost at 5:42 AM on December 18, 2021

I will be working Christmas weekend as well as New Year’s Day. One of the benefits of being one of the newest employees but also due to a long-standing tradition of working Christian holidays because I’m Jewish and don’t celebrate them myself.

The fun part of working Christmas is that the garden is closed to the public so what is usually a mad rush to get things watered in the conservatory should be much more leisurely.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:03 AM on December 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

I’m not a Christian, I’m anticonsumerist, and I don’t have any kids, so it’s a long-standing tradition at my house to observe the holiday by ignoring it.

I’m lots of fun at parties, too
posted by scratch at 7:56 AM on December 18, 2021 [12 favorites]

I don't personally get excited about xmas (we don't get a tree, or decorate). we do xmas eve with MIL and make Koldomars, which are really yum. so very chill, food, some wine. xmas day? idk, dinner with FIL, unconfirmed...

we nearly had plans for NYE. like going out, in the city, wearing fancy clothes. LOL!!!! who are we kidding? omicron was a perfect excuse to do what I really want: stay home, have a fantastic dinner, and probably fall asleep before 10. I'm old. sorry not sorry.

safe and happy holidays however you take em!
posted by supermedusa at 9:09 AM on December 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

Between job issues and relationship issues, this December has been sub-optimal - a lot more crying alone in my parents' basement while the rain pours outside than I would generally like.

But! Near everyone will be out at my work next week so I can be as mentally checked out as I want, and then after that I have 2 weeks off. This weekend I'm having brunch with a hometown friend I haven't seen in ages, and in lieu of going to the movies on Christmas Day because omicron, my family will pick some streaming movie and we'll stay home and hang out and bake cookies instead. And then it'll be time to go home and face the new year like (ง'̀-'́)ง
posted by btfreek at 9:31 AM on December 18, 2021 [7 favorites]

I finished work yesterday until 4 January, so a nice long break. I'd planned next week to do things with a friend, but the surge in Covid in the UK has put paid to that. Her son has tested positive, so I'm not going to hang out with her. I'm going away on Friday to spend Christmas with 2 friends in their country cottage in the wilds of Kent, and we are all taking lateral flow tests daily to make sure we're okay - all triple-vaxxed, and cautious, so it's as low-risk as can be. I'll be driving down and don't intend to stop along the way.

This time of year I'd usually be really busy. I always (in the Olden Times) go to at least two Christmas music and/or carol concerts at the Royal Albert Hall or the Barbican, the local church nativity play, a trip up to London with friends to see the lights followed by dinner. For the second year in a row, I'm not doing any of that, but that's okay. There's lovely Christmas music on the radio, cheesy Hallmark movies on TV, things to bake, friends to connect with.

The invitation from my friends came at the right time. I'd resigned myself to spending Christmas Day by myself. I don't actually mind - I like doing my own thing and when you're at someone else's house, you often can't please yourself. But these are good friends, we're all vegan so no food problems, they have a dog, cats and chickens, live near a beach and we are all pretty chill individuals so I think it will be lovely.
posted by essexjan at 9:53 AM on December 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'm supposed to be flying to my father's house next Wednesday, and I'm currently trying to figure out whether I should fly as planned, drive instead, or cancel altogether. I really don't want to cancel, mostly because there would be so. much. drama if I cancelled. Bleh. I'm sick of feeling like the whole world is a giant moral obstacle course.

Otherwise, my holiday plans include ridiculous, non-age-appropriate festive manicures. Also some ridiculous, non-age-appropriate festive knitting. (I am knitting rainbow mittens. They're kind of glorious.) Possibly some festive, entirely age-appropriate adult beverages. If I do cancel my trip, I may resurrect my Christmas Day dumpling-making marathon.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:04 AM on December 18, 2021 [5 favorites]

My favorite thing is always the holiday lights, and this year there are more lights than usual. Entire blocks lit where in previous years there was maybe a house or two with icicle lights. It feels like a kind of electrified armor against the cold and the dread of winter this year.

We lost power for three days and two nights due to the hurricane-force windstorm that hit on Wednesday. Huge limbs down across the city, and giant trees fallen. Something like 40,000 without power for a while, and some blocks remain dark although crews are at work nonstop. The furnace has been blowing merrily since last night and I am grateful, grateful, grateful.
posted by mochapickle at 10:20 AM on December 18, 2021 [8 favorites]

Christmas has thrown up all over our house. This year has been even a shittier year than 2020-Covid and adult daughter’s house burning in oregon wildfire’s and a Crohn’s diagnosis for our 11 year old in 2020<more Covid and my husband’s dad dying in May and my dad getting pancreatic cancer and dying in august in 2021. So I’ve actually welcomed the lights and decoration and bits of joy for us in Christmas even more this year (our family normally goes all out anyway). Especially working mostly at home-having the tree and lights to sit under while I do my job (which is a freakishly stressful job in the best of times-managing a child protection office-and let me tell you child protection during Covid is nowhere near the best of times). Anyway. I’m off for the next week and have not much planned besides a tamale making party with my sister, cookie baking all day Monday with a few close friends, and wandering to a neighbor’s outdoor solstice party Tuesday evening. We are fortunate to all be vaxed and everyone who can be boosted is, and we live in a social bubble of vaxed folks. My mom will be here for Christmas Eve and Christmas-we will have our fondue Xmas eve and tamales Christmas Day. I think it’ll be a bittersweet day-thanksgiving was easier in some ways cause my dad was a tightly wound ass when they hosted every year-but he was great at Christmas at our house and-not sure how it’ll be for us all.
posted by purenitrous at 10:42 AM on December 18, 2021 [8 favorites]

I’m pretty much trying to ignore the whole thing. My dad passed away in June, in July my mom who has Alzheimer’s went into assisted living, and two weeks ago I quit a job I really liked but the environment/leadership had become so toxic I couldn’t stay. No new job lined up yet.
I appreciate people who enjoy this time of year but I also appreciate those who understand that this isn’t necessarily a happy season for everyone. Honestly, I’m just trying to get through each day. I can’t muster the energy for anything else right now.
posted by bookmammal at 10:51 AM on December 18, 2021 [25 favorites]

I'm so sorry, bookmammal. This is a tough time of year for so many people. May 2022 bring you better things.
posted by essexjan at 11:38 AM on December 18, 2021 [5 favorites]

I will be resting after a stressful few months that have included:

Covering for the purchasing manager when she went on vacation (it was ok in that I survived doing her job and my job at the same time and nothing terrible happened! It might have confirmed my suspicions that she is not actually as busy as she claims but nevermind!)

Watching yet another coworker quit (we've lost six people so far this year. They've all moved on to other jobs from what I understand, but still)

Having to take this babycat to get stitches in her face after she split her lip open in some kind of Mystery Incident. They used the dissolving kind and I think they're just about all gone; it is hard to tell because she doesn't let me look in there very much. She still has five days of antibiotics left and getting her to take those has been A Thing. She doesn't like canned cat food, pill pockets or really anything that isn't Acana Wild Prairie dry cat food, so twice a day I've been crushing up the pill and smearing it into her mouth with some peanut butter. On the third day of this she started to get wise to me and now when she sees me coming toward her with a spoon she makes a panicked little mmmrrrrp! noise and disappears under the couch. I will never understand why cats are routinely given pills instead of liquids. Or why the package claims the pills are "chewable." Chewable! Who decided that this was a true statement.

Applying for an internal position with my company in....British Columbia. I haven't heard yet if I got it (and if I'm being honest I don't feel that the interview I had over zoom went very well because was over zoom and also I had prepped for a lot of questions and was not asked any of them) so I'm trying not to think about it. I guess you'll know if I got good news if you see me post a panicked question later on about how to move two cats, some heirloom level antique furniture and a human (who doesn't drive) across the country during a pandemic.

Anyhow. Yes. Resting.
posted by janepanic at 12:37 PM on December 18, 2021 [6 favorites]

I was only going to post the once, but just discovered the existence of something that must be shared. It's from 2018, and it's one of those sentimental Christmas ads; in this instance it's for a telecom company in France, and is all full of bittersweet nostalgia and the passage of time and family tradition in the holidays and all that kind of stuff.

....but in this case the cherished tradition involves goofy dancing to "Come And Get Your Love" by Redbone.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:57 PM on December 18, 2021 [6 favorites]

I'm sorry, bookmammal. I think this time is hard for me because my world hasn't really recovered from losing my dad in 2017, something that put a lens on the lockdown and its isolation, disconnection and ongoing grief.

That disconnection is the source of the white-knuckle petrifying fear I feel when planning for Christmas and seasonal festivities. Even acknowledging this here involves accepting there are other ways to respond to these circumstances but, today, this is my script.

This season, we have already shut down the smoke-a-turkey party we hoped to have last weekend and I'm clinging to the slim hope that we can descend into SE England with its omicron wave to see family. Being risk averse and 'playing safe' are strategies of the late k3nsenior, so I'm hoping to do the best for the people who show up with the hand dealt me.
posted by k3ninho at 4:14 PM on December 18, 2021 [6 favorites]

Oh well, Christmas family gathering canceled now. Nephew tested positive. Now I need to convince my siblings to be more careful around my father. Doubly difficult as they think of themselves as being Covid responsible when they are not.
So odd to see that 29% of USA is boosted already when we don't even have that percentage had two shots yet.
Sorry for the downer comment on this thread.

At least my meds seem to be working and I have my anxiety under control. First time in years that I don't feel as if an alarm is constantly whirring inside me.
It's like being a new person. It's an incredible feeling.
posted by Zumbador at 7:45 PM on December 18, 2021 [12 favorites]

so i followed up with sibling who above said ominous things and then was silent. sibling said "i got it too. i should be negative by sunday." some discussion developed during which it was revealed that "household contact" was spouse, who had pcr done at a hospital whose paperwork did nor reflect that that the sample had been sequenced, and that sibling got positive at home antigen result. (those of the kids that are home are reported clear) i suggested two negative results (consulting my binax product labeling) on subsequent days, rather than just sunday; sibling offered that, doctor attested, is required for spouse to return to workplace, indicated no awareness of any like requirements for flying from that state to this one (as i am unaware). sibling indicated that sibling is "telling no one," and, as yet, i see no reason to object. would prefer sibling continue to feel like being open so i can hear about those test results and believe sibling. sibling isn't due to visit for 8 more days. plenty of time. it only struck me writing the foregoing that "hospital" may be a suggestive place to have a covid test from; have inquired whether spouse was at hospital for covid or just covid test. would think sib woulda said something if spouse were hospital sick. mostly sibling expresses frustration that the dishwasher is not draining right even as the kitchen floor renovation remains incomplete.

my state hasn't reported most of their daily covid statistics since december 4. there was about the same time a reported "cyberattack" on the state department of health. by the 6th, the website stated it was experiencing a "server outage" even while bringing two reports back online: it says "hospitalizations data are current" and "vaccinations data is updated" with a current timestamp. but mom's been keeping a hand-drawn bar graph chart of daily-reported covid deaths in the state on an ever-increasing sheaf of taped-together and folded and rolled and clipped pieces of paper (april 2020; november 2021. somewhere in between there i unrolled it to take a photo and then a) didn't wind up with a single photo that was a reasonable shape (& so never posted), and b) couldn't get it frolded & clipped back into secure shape -- pretty sure there's some gordian-mobiosity going on in there), which effort has been frustrated. on the other hand, it makes my state look like it's doing great on most of those "how your state's doing" newsish features which tend to show no data and project a downward curve from it (while a close look generally reveals dec. 6 or so as the last reporting date). on the other hand, within that period i scheduled a pcr, got tested and received my results (on second day; negative) through a county system; they did my booster too.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:28 PM on December 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Obligations to the sports industrial complex that has my step-daughter’s family in thrall mean they must leave home on Christmas morning for a distant tournament. So we booked a trip to the Caribbean to celebrate our 20th anniversary, leaving Christmas morning. The plan: celebrate Christmas Eve together and then go our separate ways. To my happiness, step-daughter seems to look forward to the feast-making and we have nearly finished the present cogitating/buying/wrapping/shipping.

Only now we’re thinking it’s all a bad idea. An anti-vaxxer has been invited to the holiday dinner and travel overseas probably isn’t a good idea due to Omicron. The mister and I are on the same page, thankfully, and we’ll make/announce the decision Monday. TBH I’m looking forward to a lazy Christmas with the kitty and the NFL, my guilty pleasure.

Today an envelope arrived that was supposed to contain my Green Bay Packers share certificate. I missed out on the 2011 opportunity, to my regret. This purchase pleases me no end, for no good reason. The mister, a loyal Bears fan, refused to be a joint shareholder on principle. Of course he finds it hilarious that the fulfillment outfit sent me the wrong one. I guess I’ll just have to change my name. ;)
posted by carmicha at 12:02 AM on December 19, 2021 [6 favorites]

Look at my cats with my menorah.

Glad my holiday is over, basically. Gonna hole up and do crafts, watch anime, and cook elaborate food for one person for the next couple weeks, obligation-free. Unfortunately my bestie (seen holding Zevo the black cat in the photo) is likely flying cross country for a Christmas with his parents; he is currently torn but really does want to spend the holiday with them, even though he has horrible luck with flights and it’s like he’s just asking for trouble this time. I am thankful that I’ve never felt obligated to fly home close to Christmas, it’s like a cosmic balance thing for the Jewish holidays not being taken off in grade school.
posted by Mizu at 2:24 AM on December 19, 2021 [15 favorites]

We just got home last night from a week in Puerto Rico. Our third trip in the last six years to the island. Had to show proof of fully vaccinated status to get out of the airport, and again anytime we wanted to enter a restaurant. Saw exactly zero people indoors sans mask the entire week, and even in the restaurants full of vaccinated folks, everybody put their mask back on if they left their table. We've yet to have anything but wonderful encounters with the people of Puerto Rico, whether that be service workers, random people in the street, our AirBnB hosts, etc. We were in the Orlando airport for 5 minutes for our layover coming home before I was disgusted by the behavior of my fellow Americans. So what I'm saying is if I could convince myself that my wife could manage her diabetes there, we'd move. But I can't convince myself of that, healthcare there is a mess and even more so if you need specialists. Although I wonder if telemedicine has advanced enough in the last couple of years that we could get by with Zoom and a couple of trips a year to Miami for appointments...

Anyway - quiet Christmas at home after the trip. Our daughter, who we have not seen since she returned to grad school after Christmas 2019, will be home Tuesday.
posted by COD at 7:35 AM on December 19, 2021 [8 favorites]

i'm going solo camping at a lake in the foothills Christmas Eve & Day
posted by glonous keming at 10:07 AM on December 19, 2021 [11 favorites]

I quit twitter and deleted my account, but I had a goof account associated with my Metafilter identity that I rarely if ever used, But I used it last night to tweet to nobody about a show I was watching, the new reality show on HBO called Finding Magic Mike. 100 guys compete to become the next Magic Mike for the Las Vegas stage show. It kept my attention because it was showing me a version of masculinity that I really hadn't seen before. And one of the finalists, Ricky, made it all the way from the original 100 to the final four.

Everyone liked Ricky but he was such an outlier. Goofy Latino kid with a pudgy bod and no dancing skills whatever. But he was funny and fun and just a really nice guy. I figured he probably wouldn't win, and he didn't, but I was still impressed that he made it as far as he did, so last night I tweeted, Ricky is the Pete Davidson of Finding Magic Mike. And when I woke this morning I noticed it got a retweet, and when I clicked to see who even read it, let alone retweeted it, it was the Actual Ricky Negron from the show. I have no idea how it made it's way to him, and it's a stupid thing to be happy about but it has made me unusually cheerful for no good reason.
posted by Stanczyk at 11:04 AM on December 19, 2021 [21 favorites]

So odd to see that 29% of USA is boosted already when we don't even have that percentage had two shots yet.
Sorry for the downer comment on this thread.

The global disparities in access are horrible and deeply immoral, and the "holiday season" sure seems like the right time to foreground that and consider ways it could be made better. (However, the percentages here are slightly less than that statistic -- it's about 30% of already-vaccinated people here who have gotten boosters, so more like ~18% of the total population.)

We're having a very low-key, mostly just stay home and hang out, couple of weeks, other than one very small get together with a couple of immediate family. It's been a really hard year and it's going to be difficult to feel very celebratory when there is that awareness of loss of those who are no longer with us.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:00 PM on December 19, 2021 [6 favorites]

Geez, that was a downer of a comment, I'm sorry about that.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:01 PM on December 19, 2021 [3 favorites]

I've got my IKEA fabric christmas tree (decorated with leftover wristbands from a 2009 hacker event this time), I've got my outdoor christmas tree (bog standard lights and plastic baubles... this one is for the neighbours after all), I made 20 holiday cards that turned out well and they're all ready to send out tomorrow.
I think I'm doing this right.

We're on lockdown, starting today, but honestly with our recent habits it hardly makes a difference. We will go visit my (boostered) parents for a cosy Christmas meal, and that's all the socializing we intend to do IRL for a while.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:16 PM on December 19, 2021 [4 favorites]

We have all our kids and grandkids coming over (plus a few partners) for Christmas dinner - about 20 in all. We decided on dinner because we got sick of people coming over for breakfast/lunch, only to rush off to some other family obligation, so this way we get to just chill for most of the day, then can (hopefully) have a relaxed evening with the extended family.

We don't really have plans for holidays as such (for the first time), because my wife has to work at awkward times, but we'll probably come up with something or other. I've been told that the house renovations are on hold until the new year, because I need to take a break or something, so not sure what to do with myself, as I'm not used to not having a current project.
posted by dg at 4:42 PM on December 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

We will supposedly be going to my mother's for dinner, but man oh man. Thanksgiving was that same plan and it was not great and I just don't have high hopes for this situation. Plus, my partner is a bit sick (though still testing consistently negative for plague), so who knows if we'll even chance it.

I used to be such a Christmas person but I just haven't been able to vibe with it for a few years running now. Last year was just a Big Grief Christmas which at least was, like, emotionally resonant even if it wasn't fun. It's just a list of chores and tickboxes this year.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:20 AM on December 20, 2021 [5 favorites]

I wasn't going to decorate when I got in touch with an old friend, she was texting images of her house and tree. I was joking about my one ornament and that all the rest were within 2 feet of me, in my desk. So, while we talked, I got them out and put them up! It made my day! Then I received a package that had been returned to my friend, who sent it, because it had batteries in it. The batteries were to a spray of mini twinkle lights, so I put them up too, and had smoked almonds, cookies, and almond roca for breakfast. I added an omlette and coffee, ummm chilaca peppers! Happy Solstice to you all and a better new year!
posted by Oyéah at 12:56 PM on December 20, 2021 [10 favorites]

It's just a list of chores and tickboxes this year.

Always was.
posted by dmh at 12:20 AM on December 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Bah humbug. Halloween is the last good holiday of the year. Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, New Years all crammed into that coldest most miserable month and a bit of the year... I mostly hibernate until it's over and wave good riddance.

But my aged mother is once again out shopping for a care package after I spent years trying to get her to stop (and succeeding for a while). But she pretty recently fell into a ridiculous rest-of-life income so a) it's sorta pointless to try and tell an old lady to not, and b) my sister and I get that sorta best gift of not really having to worry about taking-care-of-mother-eventually as much. It's just such an ease of future worries sort of things.

And I just got my Christmas Newsletter from my ex-boss and his large family (bunch of kids) after not getting one last year and thinking the worst because waves-hands (or just getting pruned from the mailing list). It's oddly nice to get Volume 29 of favorite ex-boss of many years that technically you've know from way back when he was your grad student supervisor at that first tech job. 'Twas another really nice cheer bringing thing.

Meh, it's pretty much routine and planned and expected for me that sorta December is my Bah worst month of the year month.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:52 AM on December 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

I lost my job the Friday before Thanksgiving and though I've picked up some freelance work it hasn't been consistent. Mostly I've just been hunkered down on the couch playing iPad games and trying to make myself as invisible as possible. I've been procrastinating sending my MeFi holiday* cards and hiding from them as well.

Today I had a shift in perspective when I got my mom's Christmas package - I know it holds both rum cake and wedding cake cookies - and I got up and finished addressing all my holiday cards to various friend groups. After my next sleep I'll write the cards and mail them.

After that I'll celebrate by opening the cards I've received and my mom's gift and things will be a bit better.

Usually on Thanksgiving and Christmas I take myself out to a nice restaurant and grab a seat at the bar and indulge but on Thanksgiving it was too cold and I didn't even get out of bed.

Last week a friend told me that his wife's dad had just died and I spent a long time wondering if there's a holiday that doesn't get worse the older you get.

* My holiday is the new year so my cards aren't late.
posted by bendy at 4:56 AM on December 21, 2021 [11 favorites]

It's just a list of chores and tickboxes this year.

Always was.

Ah, not for me. For me it was the (most years, sole) light in the darkness--both literal and metaphorical. Now things are simply always dark, winter or summer.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 6:41 AM on December 21, 2021 [4 favorites]

So my roommate is getting a little spooked by the spread of Omicron and the haphazard way people in New York are responding to it, and how two people at the office Christmas Party he went to 10 days ago have tested positive (he has taken three tests and all of his have been negative). He was half-hearted about heading home anyway (his relationship with some of his relatives is....complicated), and he may be staying here in New York now.

And truth be told....I'm a little disappointed, because I was looking forward to a nice quiet peaceful SOLO Christmas. But I did have the fleeting thought a couple days ago that "is it weird to be alone on Christmas or should I try to seek people out?" and maybe this is the universe telling me that I shouldn't be completely alone after all.

And anyway, most of what I was going to do was just lay around and eat anyway and I can still do that. And - the gift I got him is a cookbook for making your own edibles, and that is NOT something he would have wanted to be opening in the presence of his parents anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:44 AM on December 21, 2021 [5 favorites]

For everyone who's having a dark time, I wish you light and an easing of burdens. I hope the new year brings you better times.

So many of you here have given me laughter, or something new to think about, over the years. You're all awesome.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:46 AM on December 21, 2021 [23 favorites]

Last year was a very quiet, cozy Christmas. I'd just been laid-off a few weeks prior (along with half the staff in our non-profit, yeah, Merry Christmas to us), and Mum and I were still vigilant about not going anywhere until we could get vaccinated. It was also only the second Christmas we spent together after my father died and Mum and I moved in together. So it was quiet but still pleasant in a low-key, melancholy way. Our first Christmas together without my father was actually quite nice because an old friend of the family was in town and basically adopted us into her family traditions, so we didn't have to think about what we were doing and just went with the flow.

We put up the small Christmas tree that was my grandmother's, mostly because it was the most accessible in our unorganized chaos of hastily stored moving boxes. No ornaments, but the lights made it cozy, and Grandma wrapped a fake holly garland around it to give the scrawny fake tree a little more depth. We got prime-rib and sides from a local restaurant, enough food that it lasted us all week (some of the best left-over sandwiches!). We watched a lot of mindless holiday TV. It was nice, even if we would randomly start crying every so often. I lost track of what day it was, because I no longer had a job keeping me on a schedule, so it all blurred together in the holiday season.

Last weekend, Mum put up Grandma's tree again. It still has no ornaments, but it gives the room a bit of a festive look. We probably have enough Christmas decorations stored away to decorate a house twice as large, but we just haven't had the energy to deal with it. So we reach for the easy, sentimental décor and say, "This is good enough."

Earlier this year, I started a new job (yay!) at a place where we are responsible for putting on a massive holiday event each year. So I have been living and breathing Christmas for... months, even if the event didn't open until Thanksgiving. Shipping delays and lack of supplies, and keeping an eye on Covid waves and restrictions that resulted in lots of last-minute changes, and being super-duper short-staffed for everything, meant October and November were horrifically stressful -- I only managed to get a break a couple weeks ago when I spent some time with friends doing something fun on my first out-of-state trip in two years (yay for boosters!).

Anyway, for the past month, I have been surrounded by holiday cheer, whether I like it or not. And I do like it! But the charm is slightly rubbed off when instead of reveling in the season, I'm mostly focused what still needs to be fixed or what is missing or figuring out why an order hasn't come in yet as the retail staff rearrange shelves to make it look like there aren't any gaps. Christmas is now work -- there's a ton of effort and planning (and cursing!) involved to make a magical experience for thousands and thousands of people (yes, even the people who think we're ruining Christmas by requiring masks).

I am fortunate to be doing more behind-the-scenes office work than public-facing work, which means I generally get weekends off -- so Christmas on a Saturday is confusing. My Christmas weekend will be basically the same as all the other weekends this month. On Friday night, we are picking up a whole Peking duck from a local restaurant (that also provides a kit to make ramen with the leftover carcass!). Our Saturday will be spent napping and lounging and eating duck while watching mindless holiday TV. Sunday, I will do just enough chores to get me through another week, then continue napping and lounging and eating duck ramen and watching mindless holiday TV.

If Omicron weren't a thing, I'd seriously consider going to the movies on Boxing Day -- that's something we used to do as a family when I was a kid, and there are some "only in theaters" films I really want to see! But even though we are boostered, it's not a risk I'm willing to take, especially since we all need to stay healthy to get through the rest of the season. Just two more weeks, then we can strike the set on Christmas 2021 -- and begin planning for Christmas 2022.
posted by paisley sheep at 11:04 AM on December 21, 2021 [5 favorites]

Shout-out to all of the other people so bad at keeping xmas gifts secret that they give out a steady trickle of gifts to their family the entire last week before the holiday. I should have been Jewish. The eight nights thing sounds easier to stick to. I've given my spouse and kiddo a total of five gifts so far. I'm really not good at this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:51 AM on December 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

It's 32ºC today, and even after 40+ years in Chile this does not feel like X-Mas to me, sorry.
Plus my wife and son are little grinches so we don't have a tree this year. I bought a battery powered light up star but don't really have anywhere to hang it.
My wife and I don't gift each other for X-Mas (that's our present to each other). Our son is getting 8GB of RAM for his newish gamer-PC and a digital download of a game he wants. We'd get him more stuff, but don't really know what, he has most everything he wants already except for a VR-rig but because of diminishing returns, hedonic treadmills, etc, I'd rather wait another year before we get it for him.
posted by signal at 2:19 PM on December 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

*snerk* Now that my roommate is staying here, we've been discussing the food for the weekend. I asked his thoughts on a cheese tray and he answered by stating that he endorsed any and all snacks "in my formal capacity the resident House Stoner".

I have NO IDEA how I am going to avoid telling him about the cookbook I got him and how appropriate it now is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:30 PM on December 21, 2021 [5 favorites]

well snap five days after my first comment in this thread talking about visa limbo...the netherlands emailed me and let me know my zoekjaar visa is approved. one down, one to go (my spouse's stay-with-partner). happy early holiday to me!
posted by lazaruslong at 11:50 PM on December 21, 2021 [13 favorites]

My prediction that my siblings would not be receptive to changing their behavior and Christmas plans proved true.
Gatherings still planned (mostly outside but without masks) but luckily no longer at an outside restaurant so at least less risky.
Sister who just came back from a 5 day camping trip with a large group of strangers simply refused to isolate from my father.
She says "Omicron is everywhere".
My brother in law also tested positive now so he won't be joining us. Luckily neither he or my nephew are very sick.
Reading the advice about how many tests one should do before visiting others is grimly amusing. Do people in the northern hemisphere know how difficult it is to get tested in other countries?
On the up side, my anti anxiety meds keep working better every day (8 weeks in).
The past few nights I still wake up a lot at night, but I no longer have have the endless adrenaline rushes that I've had for 2 years now. I feel like I need to mark this transition with a ceremony of some kind.
Oh, and I found a gift for my brother. A copy of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Empire in Black and Gold.
And my two new rescue budgies are getting on really well with my existing budgies, disrupting the bullying that used to happen with their overly friendly and bouncy energy.
They are competing to feed and groom Zumbador (my namesake!) the older bird who used to be at the bottom of the pecking order.
posted by Zumbador at 8:01 PM on December 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

When I left home for college and thereafter I learned very fast not to share my childhood memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas. More than one person burst into tears. It's no fun bringing people down.

But I love the festival of lights part. Back in the 60s and 70s, West Seattle ruled in this regard. People from all over Seattle drove there to check out the Christmas displays.

There was one block where things were so over the top -- one family's house had every straight line lit from roof to ground right down to the ground with every windowpane outlined. It had a nativity scene with life size humans and livestock.

Behind all that was a semi-abstract pale green statue of the Blessed Virgin that was so stylized that it brought to mind those little statues of Kuan Yin. Except it was about fifteen feet tall. We used to call it the house of Two Marys.

And the family's teens and tweens were dressed in black slacks and white shirts and blouses like waiters and they carried plates of freshly baked cookies to hand out to the people in the cars slowly cruising by. I am not making this up.

The one thing I do miss is my last cat Grace. I would turn down all my friends who invited me over for Christmas just to be with her. Because, you know, Christmas is the time to be with the ones who you love and who love you. It' was a lot more fun than going over to someone else's house. There was nothing sweeter than to lie around the bed on Christmas night, watching TV with her curled up in my armpit, purring and purring and purring. I miss her to this day.

But I absolutely love picking out, buying and giving presents. And getting them is OK, too, if they're cool as the ones I give.

And what with Omicron, though I am vaxed and boostered, staying home beats going out. Though I am thinking of taking a Lyft out to West Seattle to see what the lights look like in 2021...
posted by y2karl at 8:59 PM on December 22, 2021 [12 favorites]

y2karl, there are plenty of lights happening this year. Most of them are being noted by vaunted local newsblog West Seattle Blog in their excellent holiday guide, many of which have pictures. They do spotlight posts on them through New Year’s. My favorite so far is Garth the spider and his snail friend getting festive.
posted by Mizu at 9:35 PM on December 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thank you so so much. Wow, that is so cool. And so much more than back in the day.

Now I wonder if the Menashe Family house. is what we called the House of Two Marys. Because that was the biggest display back then, far outstripping anyone else.

But it's been so long since I've been out that all the trees everywhere have grown bigger and taller. And to think I used to wonder then what their power bills ran to, not to mention how robust their wiring was. Now it looks like things have grown by several orders of magnitude.

Once again the words of Ibn Hazm's The Dove's Necklace come to mind:

Truly that is a miracle of wonder surpassing the tongues of the eloquent, and far beyond the range of the most cunning speech to describe: the mind reels before it, and the intellect stands abashed.
posted by y2karl at 11:34 PM on December 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

A nice quiet time for us, and it's finally looking like summer (most days well above 15° and sometimes 30°). We'll probably go to a park for the day as neither of us have family, and all the plants are flowering so well everywhere this year - they seem to enjoy La Niña cycles, plus we had the wettest winter on record, and a long cold spring.

Thank you to everyone here for another year of questions, answers and filtering. I learn so much here and have really valued reading this post's comments.

Despite it being southern NZ, we're very cautious - country is again fully open internally (after Auckland's lockdown) and some are travelling. We have a number of anti-vax folk in our community, with some going right down the Q-hole, including a contractor I was hoping to deal with.

NZ has a new Covid program - traffic lights, which we have yet to see how it works, it allows for a regional lockdowns to Level 4 (basically Wuhan-format) - which we hope not to see.

Looking forward to not thinking too much about landscapes for a week or so, maybe spend some time with our own one.

A client visited today and gave me a copy of my favourite garden design / watercolour painting books - Melanie Fleischmann's American Border Gardens. (the garden plan pictured is from Stonecrop NY - which I'd love to visit one day). AMB is very inspiring and I keep borrowing it, as my client didn't know that it also shows we're attuned to each others' design sense.
posted by unearthed at 12:24 AM on December 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

Hey, have y'all heard that joke about gaslighting?

C'mon, sure you have.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:34 PM on December 23, 2021

Well, poo - my parents have cancelled our lunch on Tuesday. They're a little too spooked by Omicron. Which is understandable, but still a little bit of a bummer.

And the office party - while it was awesome and let me discover that my boss is one HELL of a dancer - apparently lead to a couple of breakthrough cases which caused a little bit of a panic this week. (The best guess is that the infections didn't come at the party itself, but at an afterparty when some people hit up a neighboring bar to keep hanging out.) The boss threw up his hands and sent EVERYONE home, ordering everyone to stay there until they came back with a negative test.

I'm still going ahead with the elaborate food plans and my trip upstate next week; I discussed that with my roommate, and he pointed out that I was vaxxed and boosted and had been exercising good mask habits, and that I'd said I was largely going to be laying around in my airbnb and not doing much - so I was likely going to be fine. I still grabbed a couple of at-home test kits from a local mom-and-pop pharmacy when I learned they had them, so I could be stocked up just in case.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:11 PM on December 23, 2021

We hosted my family last weekend for an early holiday meal. It was the first time in three years that all of us were able be together, including my dad, his wife and the wife’s adult son. It was loud and stressful and a lot of fun. Everyone old enough to be vaccinated was vaccinated. SIL 1 was a total rock star - she helped with the cooking and took over the cleanup and sent me to my room to sleep when I developed a migraine later in the evening. SIL 2 was able to do nothing, which is exactly what she needed and wanted as she works in healthcare (along with her spouse/my sibling) and is raising two kids under the age of 5.

Both spouse and I had yesterday off, so we saw kiddo onto the bus and headed out to get breakfast and do some final shopping. I introduced spouse to the wonder that is Robinson Township’s JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts and it was utterly delightful to watch him get repeatedly distracted by everything in the store.

And we added a new addition to the family - this delightful gnome.

Quiet Eve and day planned. Wings tonight, lamb shoulder tomorrow. Going nowhere and doing nothing for three days. I finally have the time and space to be tired and I am very much enjoying it.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 8:38 AM on December 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'll be watching A Quiet Place Christmas.
posted by y2karl at 10:11 AM on December 24, 2021

I was feeling a little glum because in my family we don't celebrate Christmas, we don't celebrate Hanukkah, we used to make an effort to celebrate Winter Solstice when the kid was little so that he'd have a big present holiday like everyone else, but now that he's grown up we don't even bother to do that... so I made five kinds of cookies. Now we have something to celebrate... a house full of cookies!
posted by Daily Alice at 10:45 AM on December 24, 2021 [9 favorites]

My Christmas "present" to myself this week was dropping $4k on a few years' worth of accumulated service on my car. The majority of that was labor; they did a lot of required + preventative maintenance (and hey, they even left me a bottle of wine in the passenger seat when I went to pick it up!). The bill stung pretty bad, but it's acceptable when I consider that (other than the usual gas/oil/tires) it's the only time I've had to spend serious money on this car since I got it 9 years ago...and assuming all goes well, it'll be the most I'll need to spend on it for quite another while. This car's in good shape, and I'm hoping it'll last me until I get too old to drive, so even the occasional upkeep bill is still cheaper than replacing it.

So that was quite enough holiday excitement for me, thanks very much. I think I've mentioned before that I stopped celebrating Christmas once my son was grown and gone; so no tree, no decorations, no nothing but appreciating the extra day off from work. Today I'm simply relaxing with a cup of tea and listening to some chill piano jazz (continuing my ironclad policy of deliberately avoiding Christmas music as much as possible). I'm alone, but not lonely...mostly...

I'm getting my booster shot tomorrow. Maybe I'll make brownies later this afternoon, I haven't done that in a while and it'll be a sweet post-shot reward to look forward to.

Rather than try to get together at a hectic time of year and deal with holiday traffic, some friends are planning a potluck meal later in January or February to help break up the midwinter doldrums. Not sure yet whether or not it'll need to be socially distanced (i.e. we all exchange precooked food packets in a centrally-located parking lot, then reheat as necessary before dining "together" over a Zoom call), but either way it'll be fun.

I hope next year will be better for all of us! Stay safe and well, folks.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:50 PM on December 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

I discovered TikTok live.
posted by bendy at 5:28 PM on December 25, 2021

Another quiet Christmas with just the two of us and the cat. We have a small Christmas tree, and some window lights. The cat's cancer treatments are going well, so we are just very grateful to still have him around. Last night we had ham, mashed potatoes, salad, and raspberry chocolate cake for dessert. This morning we ate panettone, opened presents and watched the recorded/streaming version of the Folger Shakespeare Library Medieval Christmas music program, which is great. Tonight we got takeout from our favorite Lebanese restaurant and so we had salad, Labneh with pita, and kabobs with garlic whip and rice; so good! Here's a photo of the cat enjoying the wrapping paper.

Other than that, my time the last few days has been mostly tied up with computer stuff. Mr. gudrun's computer died at Thanksgiving, and he has been limping along using an old Surface Pro for work and home. This week he finally got a new machine. I seem to be the default "tech" person in the household (heh, so unqualified for this role), so have been working on getting it set up, while navigating Windows 11 for the first time. Fingers crossed it is pretty much done now, other than doing some struggling to see if we can get a very old printer to work with it.

Anyway, wishing a good holiday to everyone on Metafilter - please stay safe! - and dropping a link to a very short (just over a minute) video by Angie Pickman, The Longest Night.
posted by gudrun at 5:35 PM on December 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

My dad is 71 and he built his first Lego today, with my 5-year-old daughter, after Christmas dinner when the kids were breaking out their toys. One of my brothers is an AFOL, and I also build adult Lego sets now and then, and all four of his kids were major Lego fans as kids and got big sets for Christmas (and all 8 of his grandkids are big into Legos), but somehow he never participated in building one until today! He kept being like, "These are so well-engineered! Everything fits and is so sturdy! The diagrams are so clear!" It was really heckin' fun to watch my dad discover the joy of Lego while my 5-year-old issued imperious orders! "Squash that down, grandpa! Find a one-by-two, grandpa! I will put mine here, and you can put your there, grandpa!"
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:56 PM on December 25, 2021 [12 favorites]

Well! I have a complicated relationship with the holidays and slipped into the slough of despond for a couple of days there, but in the event Christmas Eve and Day were actually quite lovely. Just the normal things--breakfast, opening presents, taking the dog for a hike (we have a lot of beautiful powdery snow so it was really nice), a good dinner. But everything felt right.

Tomorrow we're going on an overnight trip to meet up with some of my partner's family. Everyone is boosted and we're all going to test but I feel like we have about at 50% chance of getting covid. Weighing that against a 100% chance of feeling sad and lonely if I opt out, I decided to go. I've had a lot of crappy Christmases in my life and don't want to pass up any chance I get at having fun family togetherness.

Also! My dog turned five on the 20th! All year I have had it in my head that he was turning four. What went wrong in my brain that I could be so confused about something so central to my life, I cannot explain. Basically all the years that I've had him have been chaotic and I must have lost one somewhere in there. Anyway it is very weird to find that my dog is a whole year older than I thought he was!

And thank you to the Mefi Holiday Card Exchange participants for all the sweet cards! My mantel overfloweth!
posted by HotToddy at 8:53 PM on December 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

First Christmas post-divorce. People generally being extra kind and treating me like I'm covered in bruises which is fine because I am.

Watched the Matrix in prep for the new one, credits roll -> "Whatever happened to the Wachowski brothers?" / "Oh, they're the Wachowski sisters now." -> ugly anti-trans shit -> heated argument.

Chalk up yet another White Christmas ruined by me. Hooray for online car rentals and hotel bookings and fucking off to Boston to spend a couple days with the family you choose, instead.
posted by Ryvar at 10:53 PM on December 25, 2021 [10 favorites]

That is a lovely grumpy tabby picture, gudrun. Just realised my cat has not had her presents yet. Except for a bonnet to which she very much objects, and is also not well-designed for a cat's head (despite that being its stated purpose).

It's been good to check in here to catch up with what others are doing. I really need to find a way to do Christmas better without so much guilt involved. My father (dementia) got very confused about arrangements and I think ended up without a Christmas meal (we are seeing him today). Though he did spend the meal time rootling about in a tool shed which is one of his top pursuits. My mother says she had the worst Christmas she's ever had (drunk rude husband). I cried secretly at one point during my own doings. There has to be a better way to do this and to detach some of the emotion.

I did get a garden bench for Christmas which will allow me better to facilitate the cat's midnight patrols (she won't do them if I close the front door, so I end up sitting on the stairs with the door open freezing the entire house - bench will allow me to sit outside with her). So that is good. It's a nice solid thing.
posted by paduasoy at 3:20 AM on December 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

I successfully put together an electric fireplace mantel and insert to make our basement all cosy for watching Muppet Christmas Carol, and we were mostly successful at year one of our hopefully new tradition, using a random number generator to determine which country we're cooking Christmas dinner from. Ecuadorian food is tasty (mmm, pork and curtido and fried plantains), but my attempt at making pristiños turned out more like cinnamon sugar bread sticks than the donut texture we were shooting for. But I did not burn the house down deep frying them, so all's well.
posted by deludingmyself at 1:46 PM on December 26, 2021 [5 favorites]

....we were mostly successful at year one of our hopefully new tradition, using a random number generator to determine which country we're cooking Christmas dinner from.

my people. this is brilliant.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:22 PM on December 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

My son's birthday is in September, and we got him a high-ish end gamer PC—with an RTX 2060 if that means anything to you—which was a lot better then what he was expecting, so the effect is that he's still kind of stoked about it and all he asked for this X-Mas was an extra 8GB memory stick, which we were happy to get him, but it felt kind of a let down since there's usually a BIG present for him and he got ridiculously good grades this year (6.8 out of 7.0) so we kind of wanted to go whole hog so we also got him sunglasses and some non-piercing earrings but I missed watching him open up a big box of some kind.
posted by signal at 6:43 AM on December 27, 2021

We watched the new Peanuts New Year special, highly recommend.
posted by signal at 6:59 AM on December 27, 2021

I’ve spent six weeks procrastinating on sending my MeFi Holiday Card Exchange cards because I couldn’t come up with the perfect message. I’m writing them now and the first line is “You have to flee.”
posted by bendy at 6:43 PM on December 27, 2021 [4 favorites]

I got myself a Christmas gift, the most expensive one I ever had. A fish pond for my backyard. I am slowly settling it up, introducing plants, playing with the water flow.
I made a ceramic face that allows water to stream through the eyes, nose and mouth and it's working nicely as a water feature.

Am having a very stressful time with my family so it's nice to have a distraction.
posted by Zumbador at 8:14 PM on December 27, 2021 [6 favorites]

lazaruslong, if you want to try it, the system we settled upon was as follows: you must make at least 2 traditional December/January holiday dishes from the county, only one of which can be a dessert. Beyond that, "inspired by" menu items are fine. All parties involved can mutually decide how many times to RNG if you want to select between a few options. In our case, Ecuador beat Lebanon because we got very excited about Christmas plantains, whereas Lebanese food sounded great, but in our limited research we were struggling to find unique Lebanese holiday dishes.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:15 PM on December 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I’m writing them now and the first line is “You have to flee.”

That reminds me of the story (untrue, sadly) that Arthur Conan Doyle sent a letter to some of his friends saying "We are discovered. Flee at once." as a prank - and one of them just disappeared shortly afterward.

...or, come to think of it, maybe that's specifically what you're referencing...
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:27 PM on December 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

lazaruslong, if you want to try it, the system we settled upon was as follows: you must make at least 2 traditional December/January holiday dishes from the county, only one of which can be a dessert. Beyond that, "inspired by" menu items are fine. All parties involved can mutually decide how many times to RNG if you want to select between a few options. In our case, Ecuador beat Lebanon because we got very excited about Christmas plantains, whereas Lebanese food sounded great, but in our limited research we were struggling to find unique Lebanese holiday dishes.

Thank you so much for expanding on the system! This sounds like the sort of thing my spouse and I would totally get into.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:41 PM on December 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

In our case, Ecuador beat Lebanon because we got very excited about Christmas plantains,

I, too, had Christmas plantains! Did you have tostones or maduros?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:01 PM on December 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

Maduros! I like tostones, but maduros at just the right ripeness are magical. Ours probably could have used another day or two, so I guess I'll have to try again soon. Oh no. So sad.
posted by deludingmyself at 11:31 AM on December 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Just sharing the GENIUS thing that has now begun because of one of my friends' New Year's Resolution.

She announced on Facebook that her one and only resolution this year was: 2022 would be the Year Of Cheese. She was going to do a deep dive into eating more cheese, trying new kinds of cheese, learning about cheese, cooking more with cheese, basically just really going all-out in All Things Cheese.

Immediately a whole bunch of us responded "PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY LET ME JOIN YOU IN THIS", and the fervor got so great that she has actually started a private Facebook Group for all of us. I've already promised the group two recipes for baking with cheese - and literally as i've typed this I'm remembering a French Cheese tasting room that I visited once that I can link her to.

But - yeah, there's someone out in the world who is celebrating the New Year by preparing for an exhaustive Study Of Cheese and I am all for it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:00 PM on December 30, 2021 [4 favorites]

As mentioned above, our Christmas weekend was quiet. The duck turned out great and the ramen was delicious but I think I could have made a better broth -- I was too impatient and didn't let it simmer as long it should have to infuse all the flavors.

The rest of this comment would be better suited for a complain-y grah thread, but it is what it is, and I need a little place to vent:

This is the last weekend of our Big Holiday Event (as mentioned previously) and all of us at work are exhausted. We're also frantically planning and prepping the Small Winter Event that starts in a couple of weeks. While also closing out and packing up the Big Holiday Event. It's... a lot. We're utterly worn out, but we can't really take a break until the end of January.

Still, it's been fun seeing people (and other coworkers not in our department) enjoying what we've offered for the holidays. At least we know all our hard work has been appreciated!

Then again, there's the other part of me that just wants to tell people to stay home. Their reluctant masking up just before entering our events is not going to be enough to keep the holiday covid surge at bay, especially with omicron in the mix. I'm selfishly thankful that I've been able to hole up in my office and avoid most of the public. But I worry about our public-facing staff and their families. We keep offering free on-site vaccine clinics and social distancing in work spaces and, of course, the ever-present masks. But every day we are notified of someone calling out due to covid -- either tested positive, symptomatic and waiting for a test, or were exposed to someone who tested positive.

Also, thanks to our company using Kronos for payroll time-keeping, no one's paycheck has been the correct amount for the past month. There are some seasonal employees that still haven't gotten paid! Payroll is doing their best to fix the issue, but we are a corporate monolith, and corporate has decided to select a date pre-hack to use going forward and then correct any over/under payments later. It's going about as well as you might imagine, especially because the week they selected was also the week I went out of town for my fun getaway with friends and only worked a couple of days. So all of my paychecks this month (busiest season! Lots of OT!) have been far below what they should be.

And then yesterday was the Marshall Fire. We live just south of that area -- enough to stay out of the evacuation zone, but close enough that I didn't get to sleep until after midnight. I couldn't go to bed until I saw the pre-evacuation zone a couple miles from our house had been lifted, and that it seemed the fires weren't going to be spreading further. So I'm counting my blessings -- but seeing the devastation of that community has been heartbreaking. So many families have lost everything. At a time where home means so much to me -- it's been my fortress when dealing with the chaos of the world outside -- to see so many homes turned to nothing but black squares on the charred ground is, well, there are no words.

The one good thing that came out of it is my mum and I had a serious conversation about what we'd put in a to-go bag, where important documents and other irreplaceable items are (we realized the family photo albums in a not-easily accessible corner of the basement, buried behind boxes that still haven't been unpacked from the move two years ago), how we'd pack up our turtles, and what friends and family nearby would be most likely to take us in. We didn't need it, thank goodness, but at least we have an emergency plan -- even if now it's just "move the photo albums so we can get to them quickly."

Oh, and the forecast this evening is a hearty dumping of snow. It's a day too late, because if we'd had some moisture, there wouldn't have been such a devastating loss of hundreds of homes and who knows what else last night. The worst of of the snow will fall just before midnight, so in addition to the usual New Year's drunken accidents, there will be terrible road conditions. And the hospitals are already full because of *gesticulates wildly*.

So tonight, once I finally get home after my last day of work in 2021, Mum and I are settling in for the weekend. I am making my world-famous "gringo nachos." We'll find something to watch on TV. Mum will probably doze while I pretend to know who the celebrities are on whatever countdown show we find. I'll wake her up in time to ring in 2022, and we'll go back to trying to survive yet another year.
posted by paisley sheep at 11:23 AM on December 31, 2021 [2 favorites]

She announced on Facebook that her one and only resolution this year was: 2022 would be the Year Of Cheese.

Paging Wordshore.
posted by bendy at 5:34 PM on January 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

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