Yeah, I'm the opposite of festive. But even if I were maximally festive (for me) there are things I wouldn't do. Not this season. And never.
Bake Cookies. I like a good sugar cookie that looks like a tree or bell or something as well as the next person. Maybe more. I enjoy the occasional other cookie. Maybe something with a little coconut. But I'm just not interested in baking. The rest of you feel free to do it. If I need cookies, I'll go to Upper Crust or Sweetish Hill. Or you know...eat the ones you bring me with the festive cellophane wrapping with Santa Claus on it.
Well, Cook Much of Anything. I have been known to make sweetbreads with an elaborate sauce and I'll assemble an app now and then. I've received accolades for deviled eggs. (Especially my a la Russe. Really. From a food writer.) But, really, I'm going to leave turkeys, hams, mashed potatoes, roasts and the rest of it to the real cooks. Sweetbreads, too. To me, that's what restaurants are for. If I'm invited to your house and you cook, though? Yeah, I love it.
Wear Festive Santa Claus Clothes and Accessories. I have a red sweater (gift) and a red blazer (bought at FFP's insistence decades ago while I was shopping for a navy one). I have no apparel with images of Santa Claus, trees or, for that matter, Baby Jesus. No dangling jingle bell necklaces or earrings. (Uh, yeah, and I never wear earrings anyway.) Now my mom loved a Nutcracker or Santa Sweatshirt, a woven Christmas sweater, etc. And Santa socks and earrings if she had her way. Not me. Never. No way. Seems I had a pin years ago that was a flamingo in a bright Christmas scarf. I wonder where that is?
Decorate a Tree, Let Alone a Tree that was Recently Alive. I like decorations, don't get me wrong. But if it isn't Christmas-themed bendable posable figures and Legos, I will probably not be putting it up in my house. I admire people who collect crystals from old chandeliers, clean them up and decorate a live tree Martha Stewart would envy. I go in bank lobbies and stores (and your house if you invite me) and am genuinely thrilled with the festive stuff. But in my house? Not. My mom loved to decorate and craft decorations. But. Not. Me.
Insist on Giving Real Gifts Instead of Cold Cash. Some friends I usually exchange gifts with have explicitly opted out. I've gotten a 'real' present for my nieces and their husbands and my great nephews. My niece will get a 'real' present from me for my great niece and, if she can find something, for my sister and brother-in-law. I'll give them the cash, too. If I only gave the cash, they'd understand. I have gotten nothing for FFP or my dad or in-laws. And I may not. Too hard. FFP asked what I wanted for Christmas. "Nothing." I answered and I am totally serious. I want nothing that could be purchased. Bah. Humbug.
Wish it Would be a White Christmas. My sister and her clan live in a Denver suburb. They can have my part of snow. Ditto friends living in New York, the Midwest, etc. Austin doesn't know how to deal with temperatures that support snow on the ground. End of story. I love that Christmas Day can be blue skies and a high of sixty. Yep. Go play tennis, walk around the lake! Yeah.
Go Caroling. Yeah, it's one of the cooler things about holidays, really. But I've gotten deep enough into my religious denial to feel a little silly singing along with Silent Night (although I'll do it for nostalgia's sake). Don't think I'll to go out and specifically sing at people's doors. Fact is, of course, that I also can't carry a tune in a bucket. I might put a selection of holiday tunes on the stereo, though. Especially like jazzy Christmas selections and Robert Earl Keen's "Christmas From The Family." Even though I'm not festive this year I might do that.
Shop on Black Friday. I've done some shopping (with support from the niece and FFP). But not on some anointed 'biggest shopping day' and not in the middle of the night. Never.
Well, somehow, delineating the rules has made me feel more festive. Or maybe it's just that I played that "Christmas From the Family" song from lala.com.
Happy Holidays, Folks.