Belated Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays (or, for those whose winter holiday hasn’t occurred yet, an early Happy Holidays)! Rather than another essay or bit of research, I thought I might share some thoughts…
I’ve always been a fan of the various holidays throughout the year, and by most measures I succumb to the commercialism of them. I like the costumes and candy of Halloween, the lights and presents of Christmas, the chocolate and baking of Easter, and all the BBQs of the national and civic summer holidays. Every year I hear people complain about how commercial everything is, and quite a few (angrily) wonder why we can’t just remember the point of the holidays.
While I might not be “remembering” the religious point of the holidays, I think I’m “remembering” the important part. Each holiday, to me, is a chance to get together with family. All of our lives are so busy all the time that it’s nice to have a day or weekend marked out as being “family time.” (Halloween is the holiday that utilizes this the least, but then I’ve always viewed it as the chance to reconnect with my inner child and reaffirm my creativity 😉 )
I have fond memories of visiting all my grandmas and some aunts/uncles on Xmas Eve. We’d take our wrapped presents for them over and get their gifts to us in return. We’d sit and talk (well the adults would) and eat cookies and milk. Then on Xmas Day we’d have a family dinner either with just us, or with members of my mom’s family. On Boxing Day we’d do the family dinner with my dad’s family. It was nice, and a chance to hang out with my cousins.
Easter was more just my immediate family, but it was also more fun. Especially as we got older, my parents found interesting ways of sending us on the Easter egg hunt. One year we each had to follow a string as it wound all over the house to get to our basket. Another year we had riddles and puzzles we had to solve. In hindsight I know a lot of that stemmed from the fact that if individual eggs and chocolates were hidden around the house then one (or more) of the pets would steal some of them and make themselves sick. Baskets wrapped in plastic were much safer. Plus, it ensured that each of us girls got an even share of the candy. (Honestly though, my favourite “treat” was the stuffed animal we got every year)
Summer BBQs are just awesome, so I hope I don’t need to talk about why I enjoy them 😉
Now that I’m older (and have discovered a love of baking), I especially enjoy the chance to make interesting food items. I’ve made dice cakes, watermelon cakes, dragons and castles, bacon sugar cookies (they don’t taste like bacon, just look like), a variety of pies and cheesecakes, chocolate dice, breads, popcorn balls, and other deliciousness. There are the traditional baking goods, obviously, but these fun ones are just too tempting for me to not take the opportunity to make them. I feel like I was meant to be one of those old fashioned grandmas with a hundred grandkids… as I like to make so much stuff lol
It’s actually quite interesting how you can define a character in relation to food. Do they like to eat? Cook? Bake? Do they overeat, under-eat, or eat just enough? How does eating make them feel? After eating a big holiday meal, do they feel guilty? Satisfied? Sick? Relaxed? Anxious? Bloated? Just exactly full?
How does their relationship with food affect how others view them? Does it affect their relationships with other people? Even without getting into all the different types of disordered eating, food and how a person relates to food, can have some serious implications in their life.
I come from a family where a large portion of my family members are either overweight or have struggled with their weight. On the one hand, they’re understanding about loving food, but on the other they can be surprisingly judgmental about overeating at a meal. On the flip side, if I skip a meal (generally because I’m not hungry, or I got caught up in something and forgot), I get a lecture about taking better care of myself.
My point being, you can show a wide range of character traits, and inter-character relations by talking about/describing how food impacts each character. I don’t think there is a single group of people for whom food does not play an important part in their lives. Lack of food and all that goes along with that counts. Maybe once we develop food cubes or some other easy to eat food product that is perfectly designed to provide everyone with exactly the right amount of nutrients, and is available to everyone with no person or group of people going hungry… Maybe then food will not be able to describe and define us…
But it’s time for me to do some baking for the Boxing Day meal… Hope everyone is having a happy (and yummy) holiday!