Monday, December 05, 2016

And Now for Something Completely Different

But first, ONE LAST comment about Trump. Yesterday morning, while wiping down the kitchen countertops, I felt such a rush of happiness. My house was peaceful, orderly, and clean. I was anticipating a lovely cup of coffee and a book, some time spent knitting, and an afternoon visit from friends.  It was good to be alive and I had an epiphany that Donald Trump can't take away the simple joys of just being alive.  He's a loathsome monster who hacked his way into the White House, but we're alive and we're in this together and our joy can overcome his nastiness.

But it's the holidays and I want to talk holiday indulgences. I love having seasonal treats that I do just once a year. At Christmas time, I stick to books that are fun and cozy, and possibly Christmas -themed. I also make a point of rereading my favorite childhood Christmas stories such as The Dolls' Christmas, and Becky's Christmas by Tasha Tudor, and The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden. I think this year I'll also reread Miss Read's Christmas stories.

I don't usually buy magazines but I always indulge in the holiday issue of Bon Appetit, and usually plan our Christmas menu from whatever new recipes I find there. This year's issue is a little disappointing, but I think I'm going to do their "reverse roast" prime rib for Christmas dinner. I haven't settled on sides or dessert yet.

A newer holiday indulgence is to read the latest Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma catalog. I went searching for it yesterday, but the 2016 version doesn't appear to have been published yet. However, I discovered that I'd missed the 2015 version! I had a good laugh, although I think they'll never top the first one. I hope the absence of a new one this year doesn't mean they've stopped writing it. If ever we needed a good laugh at the expense of the excesses of privilege, it is this year.  Please, Drew, don't fail us! If we can't have Hilary Clinton for president, we ought to be able to mock a $132 cookie baking kit that consists of items that are already owned by virtually everyone with a kitchen, or if not, can be purchased for under $15 at Target. Oh, but everything is HANDCRAFTED OF COPPER with GOLDTOUCH NONSTICK COATING.

I know it's basic, but I like re-watching favorite holiday movies. The ones I can't miss are Christmas in Connecticut, and Elf. Speaking of basic, I need to get my Christmas playlist together on my ipod and possibly treat myself to a few new songs. I also need to dig out the Christmas music so I can play carols on the piano.

How do you treat yourself this time of year?


  1. Christmas music is my main squeeze. I love the weird-but-still-enjoyable albums the best - A John Waters Christmas is probably my favorite of all time, though my Sufjan Stevens Christmas boxed set is a close second. I try to find at least one I don't already own every year to add to my collection (which is extensive - I have a playlist called MiXmas that holds my entire collection, and it's several days long at this point). I have a little one - she's 4, so this is the most excited she's ever been about Christmas, which is fun. So we do the little kid fun stuff - we went to the Crozet Christmas parade yesterday, and waited to see Santa in the fire station after; we went to see my mother-in-law sing in her community choir's Christmas concert; we're planning to hit up the Gingerbread Express this weekend. We have several advent calendars for her to do (a chocolate one from my in-laws'; a magnetic one on the fridge; etc.) but my favorite is the one where I wrap up 24 of her Christmas books and we read one every day until Christmas. And of course we sing - I love teaching her all the traditional Christmas carols and songs. I enjoy seeing this stuff through her eyes way more than I ever thought I would. I don't really change my reading habits - I read for about an hour every day, but my selections are not purposeful for the season in any way.

  2. We are all Christmas music all the time starting with the day before Thanksgiving. My husband turns it on, saying every year, "Might as well start getting into the season". This year he actually turned the holiday tunes on the first week of November. His excuse was She & Him had a new holiday album that we should listen to.
    The advent calendar, with a full slate of holiday activities tucked into the pockets, went up December 1. Some of the decorations came out that day as well. We'll get more decorations out this weekend, as we are all busy making Christmas presents this week.

  3. I went to Albemarle Baking Co. and got 10 slices of Basel leckerli, which is a lifelong seasonal favorite of mine. I'll be enjoying it for a couple of weeks.

    And my halls are decked. Pete put the trees in timers so that they're on when we wake up and again when we get home. I love the extra cheer they add to the house. We really need it this year.

  4. To hell with Trump.
    Maybe he'll be gone sooner than we think.
    Christmas Treat: Stollen
    Christmas Music: Old Carols
    Christmas Film: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. or The Great Escape

  5. I made a bunch of snack mixes and decorated the shit out of my house. I haven't watched any movies yet, but I have been playing a variety of Christmas music at school, which goes over VERY well with all the kiddos.

  6. There's a haters guide to the Restoration Hardware catalog this year too!!! I love Drew Magary.

    1. Seriously??? I have got to find it. Thanks for the tip!