I celebrated Christmas for the first time with my parents this year. That sounds really funny coming from a very conservative Christian family but it is actually the case. I grew up not celebrating Christmas for reasons of it having pagan origins. It’s something I’ve been explaining unsuccessfully to people all my life. I do celebrate Christmas now but my parent’s have never been a part of it until this year. And if you ask them they will just say they happened to be there. They weren’t celebrating.
It was a little funny when Payam’s mom walked in and greeted my parents with a hearty “Merry Christmas” in her thick Persian accent and they just stood there smiling, not really having anything to say back. As the kids say, “Awkward.” Later when I showed my dad the little village advent calendar I made, and he didn’t know what an advent calendar was, Payam looked at me incredulously. How can an almost seventy-year old man not know what an advent calendar is?! I didn’t really know what to say. I guess they don’t get out much? The Persians don’t celebrate the religious aspects of Christmas either but they at least know what an advent calendar is. So it was funny. But also really really sweet. I love that my parents can take everything in with open hearts and minds. They won’t start celebrating Christmas anytime soon but they don’t judge.
After barely making it through a family-less Thanksgiving in Las Vegas I was super happy to be surrounded by family. We don’t have a big family but we do have each other and when my parents get along so well with Payam’s mom it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
We had a nice dinner with a few wins and a few misses. The instant pot tri-tip roast was a bust. I used Pioneer Woman’s recipe and I think the red wine is just not for me. It tasted like boiled meat. Blaghk. Next year I might skip meat all together. Crazy, I know!
I haven’t talked about it much here but I am embracing plant-based living more and more and have been threatening to go vegan in five years. Five years is a long time from now so there’s not too much pressure. Everyone rolls their eyes at me and I know I’ve been getting more and more hippie dippy with my obsessive dog-walking podcast listening but it just seems to me like there is more and more evidence that meat is killing us. Of course I’m having a hard time giving up spicy sausage and lovely cheeses so we’ll see how all that goes.
I made butternut squash soup as a side and it was soooooo delicious! Oven-baked Brussel sprouts and cauliflower were a hit too. You can’t really go wrong with olive oil, salt and pepper and forty minutes in the oven. Better than chips, I say.
After dinner we opened presents. It seemed like we opened presents for days. I am vowing to cut back on gift-giving next year. The kids are so blasé when they open gift after gift. I think I went wrong when I started buying little things in November. I thought I was saving money by starting early and spreading it out but I just got so caught up in the fun of giving, I never stopped. Next year I’m just going to buy plane tickets or useful electronics. We don’t need any more cutesy mugs. We could start a mug museum we have so many mugs. It’s really sad that things have gotten this bad. Next year will be different.
But all in all it was a very nice Christmas. Really at the end of the day it’s just about being together. Every year I learn a little more about how to make it better.
That’s the fun of growing up, right?