You guys, maybe this is weird since I live in Denver where winter is cold and snowy? But I am really looking forward to winter. I did not like winter in New England, I will say that. It was too cold and gray and unrelenting. It was like, November hit, the first snowstorm came... and we all buckled in and prepared ourselves not to see the sun again for months. And sometimes the temperature would stay below 0 for weeks on end. It was... less than pleasant.
But Denver winter! I love Denver winter. I love snowstorms and I love the sun and mild weather that usually follows them. I love that it gets bitterly cold sometimes and gives us an excuse to hide in the house for days on end with a fire going constantly, cuddling with the dog, and I love that other times we get a snap of 70-degree days in February. I love walks in the snow and Uggs instead of flip-flops and watching the dog go crazy in the snow in the yard.
And I love the holidays. I love Thanksgiving, with its relaxed, family-focus feel, no presents, no real occasion, just a chance to take time off and be together (and eat a giant, delicious meal). I love lighting the menorah and singing the blessings. I love decorating the Christmas tree and putting out a wreath. I love Christmas day, and not just for the presents. I love New Year's Eve, even though we aren't the partying types and this year I won't even be able to drink champagne (sparkling apple cider, anyone?). I love the feelings that surround it and the decorations that are everywhere and the mood everyone's in. I love holiday cards too (though, we are thinking of not doing a holiday card this year and instead waiting and doing a birth announcement that doubles as a New Year's card... so if you got a card from us last year and don't get one this year, don't be offended... it's coming!). I am super excited about holidays with a kid in future years (and at some point I need to write about the whole multicultural Santa issue and how we're going to navigate it, but that's a separate post).
This year, the holidays will be a little different for us. I will be officially too pregnant to fly on Christmas, and since I will be more than 32 weeks along on Thanksgiving, I don't want to fly, or go too far away from my midwives, then either. So we will be celebrating both holidays at home. My sister and her family won't be able to join us--she herself will be pretty pregnant at that point, plus financially it's complicated for them, and made even more so by the shared custody arrangement of her stepkids. And my parents, though they theoretically could join us, are always busy at the holiday season because of my mom's toy store, and they've already booked a trip out here for a couple weeks after my due date, so it would be a bit much for them to fly out here twice in such a short timespan. Torsten's parents don't celebrate Thanksgiving, not being American, and are also planning to come visit shortly after Piglet is born, so they won't be here for Christmas either.
So, the upshot is, it's just going to be the two of us for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Christmas I am totally fine with. We will exchange at least stocking-stuffer type gifts, and there will be a tree, and it will be cozy, and also I didn't grow up with any specific traditional Christmas Meal, so whatever we decide to cook will be just fine. Though I will definitely need my dad to instruct me on how to make Yorkshire pudding, because that is my favorite holiday dish, and he makes it every year so I have no idea how it's done.
It's Thanksgiving that throws me a bit more for a loop. I've never cooked a turkey before, and everyone swears it's not as hard as it seems, but then you always read horror stories of really dry turkeys, or underdone turkeys, or turkeys that unexpectedly take 72 hours to cook, and all these complicated solutions to these issues, like brining the turkey, and the point is, I'm a little intimidated by the idea of cooking my first ever turkey, and on Thanksgiving, when the pressure is higher to get it exactly right. And also, turkeys are big. Even the smallest turkey available will probably be too big for the two of us, even considering leftovers. Like, as in maybe we should cheat and do a chicken instead? I've never roasted a chicken either. And the side dishes? I could probably do mashed potatoes, but more complicated things like stuffing? I don't even know where to start.
But it's not just the food. Thanksgiving is just a crowd holiday to me. There are supposed to be some people in the kitchen wrangling the food, and others chatting and drinking eggnog and offering to help with the food, and still others setting the table and finding creative ways to fit all the required place settings, and a general holiday-season-kickoff feel to it, you know? It just seems WEIRD and WRONG to me to have Thanksgiving with just two people.
Obviously, it'll be fine, and you know, it's more like two and a half people, and maybe it'll turn out that Piglet kicks extra hard when I eat stuffing, or something, so that it will feel like he's participating. And I'm sure we'll figure out how to cook a manageable, but reasonably traditional, Thanksgiving meal, and it'll be cozy and pleasant in its own way, just the two of us. But it will certainly not feel like a regular, traditional Thanksgiving. And I'm a little apprehensive about that.
Though at least this year there will BE a Thanksgiving. The year I spent studying abroad in France? It was a random Thursday in November and I didn't even realize it WAS Thanksgiving until my parents called when I got home from school to say happy Thanksgiving, and when they called I STILL didn't realize that it was Thanksgiving at first and was worried that something bad had happened since they weren't calling on our regularly scheduled day. And then after I talked with my parents, my host family and I ate gross leftover soup for dinner. It was the least Thanksgiving-y Thanksgiving EVER, is my point. So this one AT LEAST has to be better than that.
What about you? Do you have holiday plans in place yet? What are your traditions, and will you be following them this year or doing something different?
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