Christmas Chronicles IV: The Food

‘Maybe next year we can all just bring carrot sticks,’ I pondered aloud over a game of cards during the annual two-day Johnson Christmas gathering. My brother-in-law shot me an annoyed look: ‘you can bring carrot sticks if you want, but you’ll be taking them home at the end,’ he predicted.

I like sweets and junk food as much as the next person. Maybe even more than the next person. In fact, I’m the person who usually eats two helpings of dessert. But after spending two days near a table laden with four different kinds of fudge, buckeyes, three bags of puppy chow, two different kinds of buttery cookies, potato chips, doritos, tortilla chips, crackers, and more candy than even Santa could hold in his sleigh…..well, it feels excessive. Unnecessary.

I tried to explain my point to my sisters-in-law: ‘I only brought one pair of jeans on this trip, so they HAVE to fit me when I go back, otherwise I won’t have anything to wear.’ My one sister-in-law helpfully suggested I sleep in the jeans; that way they’d be more likely to expand and accommodate my ‘Christmas 5 [pounds].’

Which is definitely one strategy for coping with excess. Along with exercising some good old-fashioned self-control. But when there are buckeyes, fudge and puppy chow beckoning….in mass quantities…even Mother Theresa couldn’t say no.

After we left ‘Candy Land’ (aka the Johnson Gathering) we drove to my mom’s house, where the sweet fare was probably minimal by most North American standards. But not really. As I gazed upon the coconut macaroons, the fruitcake cookies, biscotti and toffee, my mom was talking about the evening meal. ‘I wasn’t going to make dessert,’ she explained (apologized).

I guess you could say she’s lazy. Or not truly committed to Christmas.

And then my sister arrived a few days later, fresh from her in-laws’ house. With about two pounds of chocolate fudge and something called ‘heavenly hash’ in tow. The heavenly hash looked like a lot like fudge…but had marshmallows in it. And because my sister and brother-in-law were coming, my mom had also specially prepared a bread pudding and some lime-glazed cookies.

We were driving in the car today, listening to the December CD sampler from Paste Magazine. Rosie Thomas sang wistfully about how she ‘wished it could be Christmastime all year.’

Umh, I’d have to buy a whole new wardrobe if it was. It’s only been a few days of ‘Christmas’ and my stomach already seems to be sticking out past my waistband.

Guess I’d better wear those jeans to bed. After I do a couple of sit-ups.

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