This is a different Christmas for me, for us. My husband and I didn’t hold our annual party, aren’t hosting any big shindigs. Instead, we’re visiting friends, going to other people’s parties, viewing the neighborhood Christmas lights — like the Balian Mansion —  stopping in at relatives, and enjoying a little snack and chatter, doing a few things for others. This is the first time in years I got cards out to nearly everyone on my list — custom cards at that. I have time to bake my grandmother’s Swedish Coffee Bread, wrap all my gifts with care, hand deliver cards to my neighbors, call friends who are far away. The gift of time, means, intention and enjoyment of all these things is the greatest gift.  Merry Christmas to all! Here’s a reminder of how to enjoy it all…

Holiday Eating
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table
 knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave
 immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare. You can’t find
it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has
10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an
eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me.
Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy.
Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed
potatoes Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat step #3.

 4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or
whole milk. If it’s skim, pass . Why bother? It’s like buying a sports
car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control
your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other
people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s.
You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the
time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table
while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like
frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near
them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center
of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them
behind, you’re never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if
you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have
three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?