Isaw my first Christmas ad this week. To most people- myself included- it’s just too soon. Many jokes have been written about holidays being advertised too soon, so I will leave that to the professionals. But the ads hold another significance for me. It signifies the start of the Holiday Madness here at the Farmstead.
Everyone suffers from this malady to some extent, worrying about things like who to invite for the big holiday meal? Who sits where? What do I give my boss for Christmas? Should I stand in line for three days to make sure my kid gets this year’s must have toy that will be obsolete before I pay for it? Ohhh, we’ve all been there. But for us, the madness takes on a little bit of a different form. Not only do we own a meat company, but as many of you know, we also own a Christmas Tree farm. So while we are taking reservations for the couple hundred turkeys we will sell, we are also making the farm ready for Christmas. And getting our Holiday Reservations page ready. And dealing with shipping several hundred trees from Oregon to arrive at the same time we begin the maddening task of making sure everyone gets the right size turkey they ordered. You get the idea…
So last year, we started a new tradition in our family. We actually go out for Thanksgiving dinner. For years we have had as many as 30 people for dinner at my mom’s house, and for the past several, I did a lot of the cooking. I actually enjoy the cooking part. I actually did a New Years Eve party at a friend’s house a few years back where I cooked 18 dishes for about 20. Some were as simple as bruschetta, and then there was the whole grilled salmon. But that’s another story altogether. As usual, I digress.
The point is that we are a different family now. I like to think we are better for it, now that it is Laura, the kids, my mom, my aunt and me. These are the people that mean the most to me. So it makes sense to forgo the eight hours of cooking time and go see our good friend John Ash instead. It was Laura’s idea last year. I never would have thought my mom would go for it, but it turns out I was the one who balked at the idea. I really don’t like changing traditions. But at the end of the day, it saves a lot of stress. We take a limo and the scenic route. Everyone gets to eat what they want. And there are no dishes to be done!
My point in bringing this up is that we should all do a little bit to keep the holidays as stress free as possible. I know that in our family, we used to put a tremendous amount of work and stress into a meal that turned out to be not as big a deal as we made it out to be. The important part was being with the most important people in your life. And the less stressful it is, the more you will enjoy that time. I still cook for Christmas, and we all enjoy that time together just as much. But when we are at our most fevered time of year, that 4 or 5 hours at Thanksgiving is a perfect respite. So keep it simple, folks and don’t forget what’s really important!