I love Christmas.
I LOVE it.
I love it the same way boy racers love souped-up cars with LED strips, or the way crazy horse people love horses with braids. It is a strong, evergreen, slightly irrational love. Every year I get tingles of excitement when I decorate the house. I shamelessly sing* along to Christmas carols at home (and sometimes shamefully in public), and I often have to pull over to fully absorb the giddiness the comes over me when I see a particularly overdecorated house.
Each December I pick a colour scheme for the tree and go all in. Last year was metallics; gold and silver and twinkling warm white lights. I strung up silver snowflakes made of wood and placed a garland on the mantelpiece to keep the stockings company. I had a “_____ DAYS TO CHRISTMAS!” board where I’d rub the old number off each morning using the side of my fist before using a piece of chalk to write in the number of days left.
I also love to cook, but it isn’t the same kind of love. It isn’t the pure, blind, uncomplicated love that I have for Christmas. The kitchen is a bit of a mixed emotional bag for me (I’ll probably go into this in a future post), and yet it’s one of my favourite rooms in the house.
…Or at least it would be, if it were actually a room and not a space the size of a broom closet.
Off the top of my head, here are a few of my feelings on cooking:
UPSIDE: I love cooking and baking, I find it really relaxing, particularly if I am stressed out about something in particular.
DOWNSIDE: My kitchen is miniscule. Tiny spaces and large hot baking trays make for inevitable burns. Burns are, needless to say, not relaxing in the slightest.
UPSIDE: I love to scrape all the cake batter from the bowl before putting it in the dishwasher (I obviously eat it all).
DOWNSIDE: I eat so much raw cake batter I generally feel sick for hours afterwards.
UPSIDE: I feel actual heartwarming joy when I feed people.
DOWNSIDE: I bristle at the slightest hint of being taken advantage of, so even though I like cooking, I don’t like being expected to cook. It’s a fine line and where exactly the fine line is tends to depend entirely on my mood.
UPSIDE: I love to cook with other people.
DOWNSIDE: I hate to cook with other people who get wound up and stressed about things, or who get sick of it halway through and decide to half-ass the meal in a way that makes me twitch. Also, as I mentioned earlier, only half of a human being can squeeze into my kitchen at any given time, so cooking with other people in my kitchen can get quite… intimate.
Regardless, my feeding foibles are about to be inconsequential, because this year things will be different for both my Christmas and my kitchen.
I won’t be at home, for one. In a lazily planned, then hastily planned, then stalled, then not so much planned as suddenly-thrust-upon-us turn of events, the kitchen and bathroom will be undergoing a much needed makeover. Since we only have the one bathroom and a kitchen is a fairly necessary component over Christmas, we will all be moving out for the foreseeable future. That means no tree, no snowflakes, no fairy lights, no glitzy tablecloth, no Christmas candles, no gingerbread house, and no stockings. Maya, Oscar and we the people will need to pack up our clothes and out cat trees and relocate until some all-too-distant date in January.
It’s not the best timing, but it does have a few things going for it:
- Any fluttering concern for my glass baubles in the paws and claws of two very playful kittens is no longer relevant, since they (baubles, not cats) will be staying boxed up until next year.
- The kitchen will soon(ish) be able to comfortably fit more than half a human being, which is very exciting since currently a great portion of my cooking and baking time is taken up spinning slowly in circles looking for any relatively flat surface on which to precariously balance things.
- The sooner it starts, the sooner it’s done. Presumably.
- It is forcing me to be a lot more organised than other years**.
Having said all that, I feel conflicted about this lack of Christmas in my home. I have to mentally smack myself down every time the giddiness rises up within me. I wind up having short, cyclical conversations with myself that leave me feeling flat and defeated.
‘Maybe I’ll pull out the-‘
‘You will NOT!’
‘But it’s no harm to just-‘
‘Perhaps one single-‘
‘Inner voice, I will strangle you with a length of tinsel, so help me God.’
I am fighting my own Christmas spirit.
Let’s hope I can get through this strange holiday limbo with my Christmas cheer – and my sanity – intact.
*I use the word loosely.
**This is stressful and if I think about it for too long it makes me want to roll myself into a blanket burrito until the new year; I am not an innately organised person. At the end of each school year I would open my locker and immediately be buried in an avalanche of loose A4 pages. I would then have to dig my way out of this mountain of paper before hastily shoveling it into plastic bags and making it dissapear before locker inspection. Were they notes? Were they important? Who can say?