The 12 Days of Christmas
By Kathi Macias –
I love Christmas. In addition to the wonderful celebration of Christ’s birth on earth, I love the feel of Christmas, the sounds of it, the smells of it—and above all, the tastes of it.
And that’s the problem. As much as I love Christmas, I also fear it. It’s a sort of love-hate relationship, as I wrestle with sugarplums dancing in my head (though I haven’t a clue what sugarplums are!) and calories not just dancing but taking up permanent residence on my mid-section.
Seriously, I go into the infamous twelve-days-of-Christmas season (which really lasts the entire month of December and beyond for me) each year determined not to overeat. I never last beyond the middle of the month because that’s when the need to bake takes over.
“Aren’t you going to make sugar cookies with sprinkles for the guys at work?” my husband asks.
I love sugar cookies with sprinkles—and it’s for the guys at work! How can I say no? The first day of Christmas has officially arrived.
No sooner do I finish those cookies than my husband says, “It would really be great if you could add some walnut brownies to the plate—you know, for the guys at work.”
Yeah, I know. Those poor guys must be starved. One Texas-sized batch of brownies, coming up! And day two of Christmas is under way.
Day three, and I’m determined to eat salad—a spritz of lemon juice in place of dressing. (After all, I had to taste those sugar cookies and brownies to make sure they were okay before I sent them to the guys at work, right? Now I have to make up for it.) But then I see the note on the bulletin board at the clubhouse where we live, asking for donations of pound cake for the annual delivery to the nursing home. How selfish can I be? Some of those elderly residents might not get cake except once a year at Christmas! Who am I to deprive them? (On the plus side, I was so full from sampling pound cake and licking the bowl and beaters at the end of the day that I skipped the salad entirely.)
The fourth day of Christmas requires peanut butter cookies for a neighbor, while day five entails pumpkin pies. The sixth day—halfway there!—has me trying my hand at apple strudel (one of my favorites, so I make two—one for me and one for everyone else). The fudge on day seven nearly sends me over the sugar edge, so I tone it down a bit and make bread on day eight (which, of course, must be eaten warm with lots of butter). By day nine I try making a jelly roll. If the first one turns out crooked, I just eat it and make another one. (Practice makes perfect!)
Who am I making all these treats for, you might ask? The guys at work? The nursing home residents? Absolutely not! They got their goodies, and I blame them for getting me started on this baking frenzy anyway. I’m now going to all this effort just to fill the freezer “in case company drops by.” And in all honesty, we have grandkids who can eat everything in that overloaded freezer in one sitting, so my reasoning isn’t completely faulty.
I devote days ten and eleven to various kinds of candy, all of which are delicious, but by day twelve I draw the line. “No more baking,” I declare. “No cookies, candies, pies, or cakes. I’m done.”
At that point last year, my husband smiled. “That’s great. You deserve a day off. And here, I got you something special while I was in town yesterday.” Tears popped into my eyes as he laid the three-pound box of chocolates on my lap (a lap which was considerably larger than it had been before the onset of the twelve days of Christmas), and he was touched at my emotional reaction.
“Wow,” he said. “I knew you liked candy, but I didn’t expect you to be so happy you’d cry about it.”
Indeed. Once again Christmas had moved me to tears. The next move would have to be to the gym to work off the effects of all that baking. But I’d learned to survive the twelve days of Christmas, and I suppose I’ll do the same this year.
Have a blessed Christmas, dear friends!