“Your Father and I won’t be coming for Christmas this year” my mother said. “You know your Aunt and Uncle are getting older and your Father and I haven’t seen them in three years. (Long awkward pause.) Are you there?.” she says.
Silence. What do I say? Like any dutiful child, I lied like a rug. I manage to get out something about how nice it will be for Dad and that we are so happy they are able to go. I reassure her that we will be just fine. It’s not like I can’t cook or decorate, after all I am 40 something years old and have run my own household for a good number of years. Who needs them anyway, they will just dirty up the dishes (that I have to wash by hand because they can’t go in the dishwasher).
So I am in panic right now! Christmas without my parents is almost inconceivable, in fact, it is WRONG! It just isn’t done and I felt like calling her right back and giving her a piece of my mind. For the last 15 years everyone comes to my house for Christmas. I get up at 3:00 am, I cook and clean all day, I whine and complain about how hard it is to work, shop, cook and clean. It is a miracle I still have my husband by the New Year. Even so, they could have invited my Aunt and Uncle to join us for Christmas rather than going to visit them. By now, I am very mad and completely irrational. My darling husband steps in to console me, but I am furious, and won’t hear a word he has to say.
So what am I to do, create my own Christmas WITHOUT my parents? Then it hits me, this is my “dry run”. It is time for me to make lasting memories with my family that my children will tell their children and so on and so forth. This is a test, one that I have not studied nor prepared for – and I am afraid of failing. My parents are testing me to determine if I can do it on my own, in fact, they probably already know that I will fall flat on my face. Clearly I am in some deep trouble here and a phone call to Dr. Phil may be in order.
What am I going to do? Immediately I knew the perfect answer, procrastinate. Like an Ostrich, with my head buried in the sand, I will pretend this situation simply doesn’t exist. It will be perfect! Until Christmas Eve and then the kids will jolt me back to reality. Obviously, that won’t work. Again, my ever patient and non-overreacting husband says, “Let’s go out”.
“Out?” I said, “Like not eat here, with the table set and the music playing?” My husband said, “Yes, Out! This way, we won’t have to wash the china, polish the silver, set the table, listen to you complain and whine about how hard it is to work, shop, cook and clean. OUT!” he stated. By now the kids are in the kitchen wanting to know what we are talking about – apparently, our voices were raised. One by one they said it would be fun to go out. They told us tales of other children whose parent’s have gone “out” for Christmas dinner. I know some of these children and they seemed very well-mannered, polite and perfectly well-adjusted. In fact, I know and like their parents very much.
So that is how it was decided. This year we will spend time together having fun (apparently polishing silver and washing china is not fun) and we are to go out for dinner.
My mother called back because she knew I was going to have a difficult time with their decision. I don’t really know if she called back to console me or offer a kind word of support to my husband. At any rate, I’m not mad now. I am really looking forward to a day with my family. Funny, I thought it would be hard to decide where to go but it was a unanimous decision in our household. “Bonneville” was the resounding vote. My husband adores the Fillet of Beef, and all of my son’s praise Chef EJ for the “best burgers they have ever eaten in their life!”
In fact, Chef has prepared a menu for holiday dinner this year and it will be available in addition to our regular menu items from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I am posting a copy of the menu for inspiration, in hopes of encouraging you to create your own lasting memories with your families and friends. I’d like you to think of this as permission to take the time to enjoy your family rather than spending the day in the kitchen. Spend your new-found time putting the toys together, playing with your children, visiting your friends and family, telling the funny stories of years past and enjoying the moment – take the time to create your own memories.
I’m not sure about being on my own this year, but I know that my Bonneville family will be amazing. In fact, the smell of fabulous food will waft through the air, a comfortable chair will be near the fireplace, there will be plenty of great photograph opportunities and good cheer will fill the halls. I suppose it isn’t any different from home.
From each one of us to every one of you, we wish you peace in your hearts, joy in your life and a season filled with traditions both new and old. Happy Holiday’s from your family at Bonneville Hot Springs Resort and Spa!