Sunday, November 25, 2007

season's greetings


It's Christmas already in all the store windows. Nonsectarian lights twine through the branches of the trees on our town common, while, in the next town over, fake wreathes with fake candles hang from the lampposts. I've started buying presents for all of my relatives who celebrate Christmas and this afternoon, before I went to visit a friend whose baby just came home from the NICU, I baked four batches of jødekager,* Danish cinnamon Christmas cookies (pictured above).**

I like this time of year, because, though Christmas is all around me, I'm under no obligation to do anything at all. It's like going to a party at someone else's house, where, at most, your responsibility is to bring flowers or a bottle of wine. Or, I suppose, like waking up on Christmas morning and finding a note from Santa and your stocking full of presents, and all of it done by magic while you were asleep.

What's your favorite or least favorite thing about the Christmas season?


*Literally, Jew cakes, though I can't imagine what the connection is.

**The cookies I gave her were prettier, topped with red and white sprinkles.

31 comments:

Becky said...

My favorite part about Christmas is shopping for other people. Honestly, I love buying people gifts.

niobe said...

Becky: I'm exactly the same way. Although I always worry that I'm getting the wrong thing.

susan said...

My favorite and least favorite part is spending Christmas (or a facsimile thereof--this year we will arrive on the 26th) at my sister's house. It is both fun and maddening all at once.

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

My favorite part about Christmas is watching all the shows that used to be on when I was a kid and decorating.

My least favorite part is the traffic. For whatever reason, this season brings out the most annoying people on the road.

The cookies look and sound so good! YUM!

Lori said...

I love decorating for Christmas, and I am one of those annoying people who blasts Christmas music for all of December.

I try to be more observant of Advent and resist leaping ahead to the celebration of Christmas- but it's hard not to get swept up in all of the festivities.

Oh, and I enjoy buying presents too- especially when I come up with something I really think will be special (not expensive, just special).

S. said...

My favorite thing is my parents' Christmas tree. My least favorite thing is the whole build-up about presents. I'm not very gracious about bad presents.

And then there's the whole convert-going-home-for-Christmas thing. It's been a lot of years, so mostly the cognitive dissonance has dissipated, but it does trip me up occasionally.

Magpie said...

I like giving. And wrapping. And cooking. And decorating.

And I'd like the recipe please! Those cookies look wonderful.

Megan said...

My mom makes crescent-shaped cookies which, for some reason, are called Jewish shortbread. They have ground almonds and cinnamon in them in addition to butter, sugar and flour and are dusted with confectioner's sugar.
Get your blog friends to take you to the Harbord Bakery next time you're in Toronto.
Oh and Christmas? It doesn't exist this year...
I was thinking dim sum and a movie, instead.

My Reality said...

I love the decorations and the baking. I hate the sadness that the holiday brings for so many reasons.

And I would also like the cookie recipe. I will trade a cookie recipe for it. :)

M said...

Those cookies look fabulous!

This Christmas I am looking forward to spending time with my family - the last 4 Christmases have been spent with the in laws, and whilst I do love them it's just not the same...

LAS said...

Cookie decorating. Definitely. I love it - more than I can even convey. Truffle making is fun too. Honestly, any kind of holiday baking. I really want to get those 3D cookie cutters. Although I like to make cookies with someone else and I don't have anyone to do this with. My sister-in-law and I have done this together. Maybe when I get down to the farm in December. My brother's mother-in-law knows how much I love this - so usually she arranges this to occur when I'm there. Just like she always makes me my favorite down on the farm breakfast. So - cookie decorating and spending time with my bother and sister-in-law, and going to the farm, where I can sit in a jacuzzi tub every night. As far as what I don't like - I'm not even going to go there. I'm trying to focus on the positive.

Lori said...

LOVE: the music

HATE: the expectation of gifts, both buying and receiving. People ask what I want and I really don't know.

My perfect Christmas would just like it is but without present. Still lights, still music, still goodwill, still family time. Still good food. Still corny TV shows.

But no freaking shopping.

Cate said...

I hate everything about Christmas. Except for Egg Nog. I love Egg Nog.

I know you can hear me... said...

Those are some delicious looking cookies!

What do I love about Christmas? EVERYTHING! I love the buying gifts, making and sending cards, wrapping presents, the music, the lights...and the fact that for just a moment in time people will go out of their way to be kind to someone else.

Eva said...

The decorations, the excitement, the gatherings. I hate all the shopping for people who don't need a thing so thank goodness my mother decided that we're not doing gifts in our family this year (except for the baby, of course). So it should be just about perfect!

thailandchani said...

I do like a lot of the classical Christmas music. And I like the lights.

Furrow said...

I like the music, the movies I've seen a billion times but still watch when they come on TV, buying for charity drives, cinnamon on everything...

I don't like getting a bunch of gifts from family that I don't need or want and having to find some place to store them until I feel a sufficient amount of time has passed that I can give them to a thrift store.

painted maypole said...

wow, those cookies were gorgous already

my favorite parts? hard to say. The old hymns, the lights, the silence, the reflection, the PREPARATION - not of my home or the presents or of food, but of my heart. Preparing to meet God. That's my favorite part.

meg said...

I have never really been that into Christmas, what with my tiny and uber dysfunctional family. Now, I'm just pretending it doesn't exist. I like the "not feeling obligated to do anything thing" you have going. I'm going for zero responsibility this year. D is even doing all the shopping. And yes, I am a total grinch.

BasilBean said...

I both love and hate the music.

I love the special times with family but wish that they weren't so far away.

I love the lights everywhere.

Caro said...

Apparently they used to be sold in Jewish bakeries.

christina(apronstrings) said...

i love christmas. i think it's because its when i get to be the most creative. and it's the only time of the year when i bake.

Elizabeth said...

When I have the time and energy, I enjoy shopping for "the perfect gift" for loved ones, or knitting things.

When I don't have the time and energy (seems like that's been the last 8 years) I resent the feeling of obligation.

Tash said...

"nonsectarian lights" cracked me up. Hope you don't mind if I borrow that.

I love the baking and decorating, hate the shopping/commercialism. This year I'm taking a pass out of pretty much everything (cards, shopping) with the exception of the neighborhood party which is held in my house, and I feel strangely libertated. That might come back to bite me in the ass.

slouching mom said...

Egg nog, I'm with cate.

bubandpie said...

Must. eat. some. of those. The cruelty!

Beruriah said...

Lights, absolutely. White lights downtown reflecting on snow, especially.

Amelie said...

funny -- I was just going to post that the christmas lights in the city have finally been switched on. It appears late to me; probably because I remember christmas-y stuff in stores in Germany as early as September.
I love to find or make a nice gift for everyone (not so much if I cannot think of anything..) And the lights, with snow, I agree with Beruriah.

Aurelia said...

I love all the Christmas decorations and movies and the parties and paraphanalia, and shopping, as long as I do it ahead of time.

The only thing I don't like, is dealing with Mr.Cotta around the budget aspect. He seems to think buying presents should cost nothing, or better yet no presents at all. Every year he turns to me a couple of weeks before Christmas and says, "I think we should just agree not to give presents to each other this year." And I laugh....since I've already bought his presents months ago. I give him a list of things to buy for me, and he grumps endlessly.

Same with the kids. He really does keep too much Grinch in his back pocket somedays.

I've been working on him, slowly. He's getting better.

LawMommy said...

I love the lights.

Recipe for the jodekager?? Please??

Gretchen

Jitters / Enat said...

I want that recipe. Please, pretty please. I would even be willing to trade a recipe of sorts.

I want to eat my computer screen right now.