Rituals of Food – The Christmas Edition

Part of what makes a holiday a holiday is the food. If its the Fourth of July, there should be hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Valentine's day involves chocolate. Halloween involves candy as a whole and even Flag day – for the crafty among us – involves a sheet cake decorated in red, white and blue colored icing. 

Christmas, at least where I grew up, is all about the food. Christmas cookies are darn near mandatory. Even if we do not touch the flour bin 11 months out of the year, there is this odd imperative to bake up dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies. Then there is the feast itself which could be ham or turkey (again) or one year I did a goose. Turns out  a goose has a lot of fat. FYI. 

Of course you need a lot of people at the table to eat all that food. I have a few memories of getting together at my paternal grandmother’s table in my early childhood. It was great. My older cousins (by only a few years) were cool and fun to play with. One of my uncles was the funny, interested in us kind, at least until his temper suddenly blew out which it often did after a couple of hours. Actually, sudden temper blow outs was more of a theme in our extended family life then not. Alcoholism can really mess up the emotional landscape. Still, I remember a table set for eleven or more people and the excitement of pending presents to be opened and basically a happy time.