Tuesday, December 13, 2011

(Not) Home for the Holidays

I've been feeling very adult/grown-up lately. Why? Because for the first time, I am not spending the holidays with family. I'm not traveling anywhere, in fact. I'm staying at home, alone.

I will wake up Christmas morning in my apartment, accompanied only by my cat. There will be no long security lines or checked baggage fees, no relatives, no drama, no binge drinking, no emotional eating. Well, there might be some of those last two.

It's not that I don't like visiting family -- it's just that holiday visits are always fraught with tension for one reason or another. The idea of an anxiety-free holiday is very foreign to me, but some people tell me they exist. I didn't intentionally boycott the family holiday; it's just that as the winter months approached, it seemed less and less feasible for me to get the time off from work and afford the overpriced plane tickets. Plus, I have a bonafide family vacation to look forward to in January, after the chaos of Christmas: my brothers and I will be joining my mom and stepdad in the Cayman Islands for a week of sun, relaxing, and rum punch. So don't feel too sorry for me.

Thanksgiving usually finds me in St. Louis, with that chunk of family (Dad, 2 brothers, stepmom), but this year, I chose instead to fly to Pittsburgh and spend the day with my best friend Al, who's getting her master's in conducting at Carnegie-Mellon. She invited two other friends to join us and we had an unconventional-but-delightful vegetarian Thanksgiving that included chili, wild mushroom and chestnut stuffing, swiss chard, spinach and cheddar casserole, homemade cranberry plum sauce (my family always cheats with store-bought) and chocolate, pecan & whiskey pie (my aunt's recipe). It was awesome and the only stressful moment occurred when we realized we had to get to a liquor store before 9pm on Wednesday in order to have Thanksgiving booze. (Crisis averted -- a Thanksgiving without turkey, I could handle. One without wine, perhaps what I'm most thankful for, would have been a different story).

Initially, I planned to go to New York and hang with some Jewish friends on December 25, but since I have to work Christmas Eve and can't bear the thought of spending 4 hours on a smelly bus on Christmas Day, I've now decided to just stay in Boston. I have a few friends who will be around. It will be quiet and subdued, I'm sure. But that's ok. I have enough excitement at other times that I'm actually looking forward to a little solitude. All the loud, obnoxious BU students will be home for the holidays and Allston will be a peaceful, civilized neighborhood for a few weeks. That may be the greatest gift of all.

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