I have extremely fond memories of shared winter holiday meals, but many actually took place before or after or in between the official Christmas and New Year’s festivities. They weren’t the fanciest nor the best prepared meals, and to be honest, many were whipped up at the last minute. And yet I remember them more fondly, perhaps because of the magic of that spontaneity or the stressless ease of enjoying simple things … simply.
It may seem unusual that someone like me, who likes taking his time preparing things, and who doesn’t hesitate to complicate (but I prefer to use the term “complexify”) preparations, so that they become almost exactly what I imagine them and want them to become, can show great appreciation for the simpler, spontaneous, less fussy meals with just a few people, as opposed to larger gatherings.
It isn’t always about what you eat but more about how and in what spirit it was prepared and doing the best you can with what you have and sharing it with people you feel comfortable enough with to just be simple.
I often ask my mom for her childhood Christmas stories, back in her cute little village back in Greece, located in a valley at the foot of Mount Olympus. If you’re wondering if it snowed, the answer is YES. Her stories are filled with little pearls of wisdom and gems of happiness. They didn’t have much, but they had just what they needed. They all appreciated everything they had and the efforts everyone contributed to make it wonderful and memorable for all. My mom sometimes chokes up when remembering the “good old days” which were so much simpler and basic than what we’ve all gotten used to or expect today.
What I’m trying to say is that even though the 2020 holiday season coming up may not be as overboard, as festive nor as crowded as the other years, there’s no reason for it to not be magical and perhaps even more memorable than the other years. It all depends on you and your frame of mind.
Do the best that you can. As hosts, take the time (if you can) to make something simple from scratch or something more complex, if you’re comfortable with that and be thankful you have guests. As guests, enjoy something simpler as much as you would something more complex prepared for you and be thankful to be invited.
A gratifying and memorable event, no matter how simple or complex, long-lasting or fleeting, is a team effort, with roles played by everyone who happens to be there at that moment, to participate and contribute.
I’ll be making these cookies and sharing them with my loved ones, as usual, but also with a few of my neighbors, because during these past 9 months of restrictions and lockdowns, I’ve bumped into, spent more time with and exchanged more with these fine folks who live so close by, than most of my family and friends I’ve known for so long but have been unable to see and spend quality time with recently.
Happy holiday preparations to all because it’s going to be fine and it’s going to be great, so don’t you worry your pretty little Santa Claus hat-wearing heads … :)