The Christmas Crunch

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It’s a week before Christmas and we are prepping like crazy to get it all done. Since Thanksgiving was so late this year, the “official” holiday shopping season didn’t start until the 29th of November, although if you recall, many retailers tried to get the jump on “Black Friday” by opening on Thanksgiving night.

Anyway, suddenly we are at the precipice of the “Christmas Crunch”, with only six shopping days left. This weekend, most of us will be baking cookies, gingerbread houses, Christmas stollen (again!) and other goodies for Christmas. Pumpkin, apple, mince and other pies need to be baked on Monday. In my family, we make a type of Sicilian pizza, cheeseless, called Sfncone. This is a bread crumb-topped pizza, with onions, garlic, tomatoes and other deliscioso stuff. This will be made on Monday for a part of our Christmas Eve dinner.

And, in between, we all will be fighting the malls, the stores to buy those last minute items for Suzie, Mary and Tony. We will be wrapping feverishly as we are cooking on Christmas Eve, setting the table, and making sure the house is perfect for our dinner guests later. Or, if we are the guests, we will be making certain we packed everything in the car to take to our host’s home.

And, on top of all this activity, we will be checking the weather. My brother, who lives in Florida, has been doing that. How do I know? He sent me a screen shot of the seven day forecast from Tampa, which showed that it will be 83 on Saturday, the first day of winter, and 78 on Tuesday, Christmas Eve. What?!?

That’s not Christmas weather, is it? To those of us here in the snow belt, Christmas weather is snow, or the threat of snow, in the 20s and 30s and a cold breeze in our faces. After all, how are Santa and the reindeer supposed to fly? They can’t take the warmth of Florida, can they? 35 degrees for a reindeer is absolutely tropical in New England or Long Island on Christmas.

And how does the Norman Rockwell or Currier & Ives image work with sun block? Not to well for this northeasterner. And there aren’t too many Douglas or Frasier firs which can be chopped down in Palm Beach or Key West, are there?

But, it really doesn’t matter, does it? Christmas is the holiday about family, getting together to share a great time, whether you celebrate the generic Winter Solstice, the secular Santa Claus or the religious birth of Jesus Christ, for whom CHRISTmas is named.

So, whether you are in snowy Massachusetts or sunny California, Miami, Florida or Miami of Ohio, enjoy the crunch time we will now be living. Because at 9 pm Christmas night, as we kick back to watch yet another showing of A Christmas Story, we can say to our loved one, as Clark Griswold did, “I did it!”

Merry Christmas!

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