The Spirit of Christmas
The author, Christmas 1968
After pondering on what the Spirit of Christmas means to me for several days, my memory was eventually jogged by nothing more complex than a smell. Arriving at my office one Monday morning to find they had decorated the lobby with a tree and other decorations, I was immediately struck by the strong smell of fresh pine needles. Suddenly it felt like Christmas was just around the corner.
Christmas in my homeland, England, always felt more real to me than it does here in my adopted City of San Francisco. Maybe it's the chill temperature and the outside chance it might snow. Maybe it's the fact that British Children leave a cheeky glass of sherry and a Mince Pie for Father Christmas instead of the far less intoxicating milk and cookie that the American kids believe Santa prefers. I am surprised the youngsters here aren't complaining more often that they get the wrong presents. Surely the old boy in the red and white bobble hat must be drunk to the point of comatose by the time he crosses the Atlantic?
Since moving to the US, despite trying hard to forge my own traditions, Christmas has never felt quite right for me. Although a part of me longs to be in the bosom of my family for this grand, once a year feast, most of the things (crackers excepted) that are typically found at a British yuletide lunch have always failed to impress me . I don't care much for turkey, I detest brussel sprouts and as a kid I found every manner of vegetable abhorent, except for the delicious roast potatoes which, along with the bread sauce and the gravy, would have been the only things on my plate had my mother allowed.
I didn't fare any better when it came to dessert. My lifetime aversion to raisins, sultanas and currants meant mince pies were out and the christmas pudding, burning with blue flames after being doused in brandy, was nothing more than an interesting spectacle. Hic, hic. There go the Brits, adding alcohol into the mix again. But talking of spirits, all is never lost on that count if your mother made it up to you with a good old sherry trifle. Maybe that's what I need to whip up for myself this year, to bring back a little bit of seasonal essence to my Bah! Humbug-heart.
This musing was taken from an interview with Andrew Barrow that first appeared on Slashfood.
PS There is nothing bah humbug about me when it comes to supporting this good cause. Have you made a donation to Unicef yet?
|Archive Alert! On this date in 2004: Small Shed Flatbreads in Mill Valley.|
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