I promised I'd tell you about my holiday plans, so here goes...
Even though I'm 100% Jewish, I've always celebrated Chanukah and Christmas. Whenever friends tease me that Jews order Chinese food and go to the movies on Christmas, I say defiantly: "Not me! I celebrate Christmas!"
It started when I was a kid. My cousins Susi and Julia celebrate both holidays, so every Dec. 25 my family traveled from Long Island to Brooklyn to take pictures by the tree and exchange presents. I even had a pair of red and green plaid pants (stylish, I know!) that I dubbed "my Christmas pants!" After my mom passed away, we continued going to their house. Each year, at least one relative would say how strange the holiday felt without my mom. Who knew a Jew would be missed on Christmas!
As a teenager, I also started celebrating Christmas Eve. My best friend Laura's family invited me to their house to indulge in homemade Italian food, Christmas carols edited to include family jokes, and the most delicious cookies I've ever eaten. My favorite were the peanut butter-chocolate kiss ones. Yum!
Last year I began a new tradition. I traveled to Colorado to spend Christmas with my boyfriend Mark's family. On Christmas Eve, after Mark's 6-year-old nephew went to sleep, we all tip-toed downstairs to put our presents under the tree. Never before had I been able to play Santa! The next morning we woke up to a white Christmas. A foot of snow covered the yard and giant snowflakes fell slowly from the sky. It was the most picturesque scene. Imagine me -- a little Jewish girl from Long Island -- seeing a white Christmas in Colorado!
This year Mark and I will travel back to Colorado for round 2 of Christmas with his fam. Tingles of excitement (OK, and 10% nerves!) flutter in my stomach. I'm happy for another chance to get to know everyone better and spend time together. I also love who Mark is in his home state. There's a calm and warmth he never quite achieves in busy-busy New York City.
Do you have any advice for visiting your significant other's family?
Holy Mackerel - For all my complaining about the lack of fresh ingredients in winter, you'd think that by the time summer rolled around I'd be cooking incessantly. But t...