Family Matters,  Tis the Season

My Parent’s First Christmas with Me


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?



  • Beck

    Hahaha! Congratulations! I think my parents started throwing cash at us sometime in high school around Christmas. Now we have “Boyd Christmas” so they’ve really come a long way (an actual Christmas tree in their house (bought and set up by my sister) last year!) I love that my parents can take everything with open hearts and minds, too.

    • SAJ

      I wish my blog had a smiley face reaction button like facebook. I still can’t believe we haven’t hung out as grown-ups. We’d have some awesome long talks and walks if we were neighbors. Maybe someday! Love you.

  • Katie

    My friends have kids and they struggle with containing the gifts. It’s lovely that so many people love their children but they don’t need half of what they get. So to combat the ‘stuff’ one friend does a want, a need and a read (plus stockings). For the adults experiences like tickets or gift cards or consumables – my friend and I got each other the same gift of wine, coffee and tea totally by accident. Hey, we know what we like! Glad your Christmas was joyful. Merry New Year!

  • Debra

    Looks like a lovely day ! I’m with you, I’ve really been pondering dropping meat for a host of reasons. I decided to go meat free in January – my family might completely freak out, but they’ll survive !

  • Cathy

    My Mom just started a plant based diet (though she will eat meat once in a blue moon and she’ll butter her bread!) about a year ago. She’s lost 15 lbs even though she wasn’t overweight, has more energy than I do, is not on any meds and will celebrate her 80th bday this year. She is definitely making me think… Happy and Healthy 2019 to you!

  • gingermog

    I really thought I had commented on this post already, but I guess I did it in my head and forgot to press send.

    Squee at the idea of you going veggie! I’ve been one for years and lean toward veganism, but I’m not a judgy one, whatever works for people.

    I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it but I have inflammation flare ups, which this year have manifested a lot in my limbs, mainly my hands eek! So I’m always searching for a solution within my diet t improve the situation.Going grain, sugar, alcohol free is mean to help. I love grains though and cake. Mmmm

    I went on a anti inflammation diet for oh the whole of 17 days… no alcohol, no soy, no sugar, no grains and one more thing… but I forget. I chose the wrong month to begin though, it was June and I its my birthday in the middle of it and what’s a birthday without prosecco and cake? So I broke the diet and I’ve been celebrating my birthday one way or another for the rest of the year ;)

  • Kuky

    I know it’s weird I’m commenting on an old post. But I just got carried away, enjoying your writing. Makes me wonder why did I stop reading blogs? XD Has any instagram ads popped up for you for vegan dinner boxes like Blue Apron? One popped up for me and I thought it looked delicious. Alan didn’t like the looks of it though. And when he heard it was vegan that was a definite no for him. Ha!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.