Lebanon Reporter

Columns

December 24, 2013

Eschewing the traditional Christmas dinner

Every major U.S. holiday involves foods that are traditional. Growing up, I could always count on the following:Easter ham with scalloped potatoes and bunny-shaped cake for dessert.

Fourth of July brought grilled burgers and Grandma’s potato salad.

Thanksgiving is, of course, the glutton’s dream of Turkey with all of the trimmings.

Christmas, though, has always been a bit confusing for me. I honestly don’t know what constitutes a traditional Christmas meal. We always made the trek from Tennessee to Indiana for the holidays, and spent Christmas day gadding about between grandmothers. We ate Christmas dinner twice every year, and yet, I can’t remember one single item from the menu. The only way I can reason this out is that I must have been more excited about gifts than food.

One would reasonably think that someone who has been a mother for 22 Christmases would be adept at preparing a traditional dinner. But early on, hubby and I decided we would not run our young children to and fro, opting instead to relax at home. So, much to the chagrin of my mother, we stood firm in our commitment not to set foot outside of the house, except to pick up pizza.

On what turned out to be her last Christmas, mom pleaded with me to come. It was her first year to host the family gathering, as my parents typically still spent their day between the homes of their mothers. The torch had been passed, and mom was going all out to make it a classy affair. She even brought in enough tables so that no one had to hunch on the end of the bed with their plate. My aunt was bringing real silver, and mom had collected enough solid white Corelle to create beautiful place settings. She was counting on me to bring a seven-layer salad, but I steadfastly refused.

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