Kiss the cook under the mistletoe.
We’re celebrating Christmas a few days early with my family this year. Because Christmas Day falls on a Monday and my wife needs to return to work the following day, celebrating on the actual day with family coming in from out-of-state would have made for a logistical nightmare. Even if we were the ones traveling, a Monday is not the ideal day for one of the year’s most important holidays. So we’re doing our celebration this weekend instead. Schedules will be loose and the air will be properly festive. The day doesn’t matter. It’s getting together that matters.
I still want our celebration to feel as authentic as possible. Even though it will be a few days early I want it to feel like Christmas Day, right down to Christmas dinner. The original plan was for us to eschew a traditional dinner and go out to a restaurant. That’s always nice to do when family comes to visit, but this isn’t just a visit. This is Christmas, and in our family we’ve always had Christmas dinner at home. So in a move to finally cement myself as a family man and continue treasured traditions, I decided that we would cook Christmas dinner ourselves.
My wife was initially against the idea. She liked the idea of going out and having other people take care of the cooking for us. In making my case for a stay-at-home dinner, I began showing her my ideas from our collection of cookbooks. Once I broke them out and we started flipping through options together, she got on board and began brainstorming ideas with me. Lists were made. Ingredients were categorized. A plan began to form. For better or worse, we were going to do this.
While I’m absolutely thrilled to be hosting our Christmas celebration and making dinner for my family, I’m beginning to feel some of that traditional holiday anxiety. What if no one likes our dishes? What if we monumentally screw everything up? What if I spill something important on my walk from the kitchen to the dining table? Will there be enough room for everyone at that same table? Oh god if something goes wrong no one will ever look at me the same way again and they’ll know that I’m incapable of hosting a major holiday and I will have to leave town in shame and my wife will leave me and I’ll never have the Christmas spirit again and– yeah, I see why people get stressed out at the holidays.
On second thought, this is more nerves than anxiety. Anxiety is a crippling fear. Nerves are the butterflies in your stomach and the uncertainty of a situation that keeps you alert. These are the nerves I always felt before going on stage to perform in plays, host burlesque shows, helm the ConnectiCon Cosplay Death Match, or do anything in front of an audience. It’s the electricity in my soul that amps me up before I’m about to face a challenge, and if I didn’t feel it then I knew something was going to go wrong. I feel that electricity and those beautiful nerves. If this is the Christmas spirit, I’m ready to do this.
Hang the mistletoe in my kitchen and get ready to kiss the cook. Merry Christmas.