Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s nearly Christmas and suddenly all the things that I’ve been trying to get done leading up to this moment still aren’t done and I find myself just sort of… giving up. For two days I’ve been in this fog; I can’t remember half of what’s on my To Do List (or maybe my brain is just blocking it out) and I’ve thrown my hands up at getting those remaining people presents. None of us really needs anything, I don’t have the time or will to shop, and this year, I really don’t have very much money and the economic forecast is not looking so rosy.
The thing is, the money, cooking, cleaning, and shopping stress isn’t really what’s at the heart of this. Really, it just comes down to that impending sense of doom–that all this effort is really just leading up to several suffocating hours trapped in the same room as your entire extended family. All I want to do is cook the amazing spread I have planned and then hide in my room with my dinner plate. And, this is really selfish, but I really want to cook what I want, regardless of whether certain people have the gall to complain about it. We host Christmas every year and if I’m going to entertain you in “my” own house, I expect that you will respect the effort that I have put into planning a menu (yes, a menu where the dishes were carefully selected) and not complain that maybe your favorite vegetable or meat was not featured this year.
I don’t think this is a matter of feeling underappreciated–I don’t really want to start having Christmas at someone else’s house because I like that my dad and I do the cooking. For one, I can’t stand the thought of eating bad food at Christmas. For two, I sort of feel like if you have some people who have a clear standout skill, it makes sense to let them do what they do best. It’s sort of like my “gift”, I guess. Really, I think I just want some appreciation for “the art” of the Christmas meal. The thought, the time, the work, the tradition! C’mon people, I just want a little RESPECT! *overdramatic head toss*
Seriously, as frustrated as I’ve felt for the last 24 hours, I have come to some more productive conclusions. You can’t please everybody, and your family is probably the toughest audience of all because you didn’t pick them. I can choose my friends, usually based on the fact that we have common interests or otherwise understand each other. There’s no point in twisting myself out of shape for someone who is never going to be satisfied, be it with my salmon or with my political views. It’s easier to say you’ll grow a thicker skin than to actually do it, of course. But I have to start somewhere, and it might as well be over a piece of fish.