AI: Holidaze

I’m really angry today. If you want to know why, go see what Elyse wrote about earlier regarding AMC being a bunch of douche-nozzles. So I want to think about something happy.

It’s that time of year. The days are shorter, the temperatures are colder, the family is visiting and the bank accounts are draining. I LOVE IT. Seriously. I am the crankiest person on earth most of the year, but when it comes to holidays, I am a festive freak. Especially this year, with Spencer having her “first” of each one, I am trying to make them all extra-special.

Are you a Grinch? What are you making for Thanksgiving? Does it seem like the holidays come earlier and earlier each year? Do you think you’ll get coal in your stocking?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.


Chelsea is the proud mama of an amazing toddler-aged girl. She works in the retail industry while vehemently disliking mankind and, every once in a while, her bottled-up emotions explode into WordPress as a lengthy, ranty, almost violent blog. These will be your favorite Chelsea moments. Follow Chelsea on Twitter: chelseaepp.

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  1. Are you a Grinch?

    Nope. But we are making an FSM tree topper and wreath this year.

    What are you making for Thanksgiving?

    Rabbit, fish (I have yet to see what they’ll have at the fishmonger’s tomorrow), cranberry chutney, pumpkin gratin, GF (but otherwise traditional) sage stuffing, honey glazed carrots, bell pepper salad on greens with goat cheese, GF rolls, and a pumpkin spice cake filled with whipped cream cheese filling.

    Does it seem like the holidays come earlier and earlier each year?

    It seems like there’s bullshit in stores earlier every year. This year it was actually a little late. Last year it started BEFORE the Halloween stuff. This year it seemed to at least wait till after that.

    Do you think you’ll get coal in your stocking?

    I don’t expect to. It’s usually preferred when I’m naughty ;)

  2. Thanksgiving is the time of year I give thanks that everyone else stays home so I can get some work done. Humbug! I think it is awesome when family and friends get together and celebrate whatever it is they feel like celebrating. I think it is ridiculous for entire countries to try to do it on the same day. I think it is twice ridiculous that we schedule two of these insanities during the time of the year when northern hemisphere travel is at its most difficult. To me celebrations should happen whenever the mood strikes and presents should be given whenever you feel the impulse.

    So Thanksgiving will pass me by. Some other week I’ll make a big Timpano and celebrate a temporary reprieve from sobriety.

    As for my stocking, as long as they’re handing out carbon can I have some graphene pretty please?

  3. I love Christmas and Thanksgiving, and they are the only things that make horrible, horrible winter worth going through.

    I absolutely love giving gifts. There’s nothing better than seeing the joy in someone when they get that perfect gift. I love the shopping, the deciding, the planning, and even the wrapping. I’m not normally artistic in any way, but somehow wrapping gifts gets me so excited.

    This is also the only time of year that I get to see some of my relatives, especially as we all get older and have more of our own lives. I love the food even though I’m apathetic about turkey. I’m going to my mom’s house this year (as usual) and I’ll get to have mac&cheese, mashed potatoes, stuffing, biscuits, and pumpkin pie (yes, I love me some carbs).

    The only thing I don’t like is the 24/7 Christmas music that takes over 3 of my 6 preset stations. One already started over a week ago. I actually like some Christmas songs despite the religious lyrics, but it’s the same ones every year and it’s literally 24/7. I don’t see why they can’t just mix a few in with regular music.

    My brother and I have been trying to give each other coal since we were little kids, but so far none of us has planned ahead enough to actually do it. Maybe I’ll get some this year, but probably not.

  4. When I was young, and most of the family was still alive, I really enjoyed holidays.

    But now? Well, I live alone, and I have no family of my own, so it’s really hard to convince myself to do anything for the holidays at all. It seems pointless without family around you.

    Although sometimes I will have dinner with my hanshi’s family on Passover or Rosh HaShannah. I even get to cook a few dishes to contribute to dinner. :)

  5. Are you a Grinch?
    This year. I used to love the holidays. Now, with the stress and drama and weather, not so much.

    What are you making for Thanksgiving?
    Husband made cranberries, I’m making multiple pumpkin pies.

    Does it seem like the holidays come earlier and earlier each year?
    Yes. It’s dreadful.

    Do you think you’ll get coal in your stocking?
    I don’t even know if we’ll decorate this year, and you’re making the holidays earlier! There’s another month until Christmas!

  6. I generally enjoy the holidays. Where I work in NYC across the street from Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center makes it easy to kinda get sucked into it this time of year…big tree, lots of decorations, etc. My family tends to do more for Turkey Day than on Christmas, and it’s usually a mix of typical North American fare and Korean staples.

    And that picture of Cindy Lou Who makes my grinchy heart grow three-sizes…hmmm…does that sound wrong to anyone else?

  7. I love getting together with family and friends for the holidays.

    But I fucking hate the gift stuff with a passion. If I structured my brain more around paying attention to the material goods people mention wanting (that I can either buy or make for them), maybe it’d be much better, but as it is I hate sitting and racking my brain trying to think up something they might want.

    And I hate trying to make a list of stuff I want from my mom or other people. If I see something I like, I buy it! I don’t write it down or anything. So then I have to think about stuff I wouldn’t mind having.

    I’ll be getting myself a smart phone soon. Then I’ll be able to manage such gift lists at all times.

  8. I’m no Grinch and tend to enjoy the holidays, the food, the friends, the family and the drink. For Thanksgiving I’m doing a pork loin roulade that’s going to have a ground turkey, Italian sausage and apple stuffing with French style mashed potatoes made with an obscene amount of butter and a wine/stock reduction sauce/gravy. Friends are bringing the rest of the meal and pumpkin pies are a necessity. And of course holidays come earlier because the older you get the less of the previous year you remember! (Children make this worse and I’m told it gets better when they move out.) No coal for me, but I do enjoy throwing a lump of coal in the fire place when I can find some just for fun.

  9. I hate Xmas. Turkey Day is my favorite. It’s the perfect guy holiday – all you have to do is show up, stay out of the kitchen, watch football and eat.

  10. Probably familiar to everyone, but this really helped to sum up how I feel about the holidays. I tend to like them, and go to church on Christmas Eve with my parents, partially to make peace and partially because I have fond memories of some of the hymns (though, to be sure, my mom’s small town church sings all of them like dirges), but the religious stuff… it’s practically become a joke each year, my brothers and I avoiding my mom reading from Matthew.

  11. @The Central Scrutinizer:

    Is it really that common for men to do absolutely nothing? I mean, I don’t live in a particularly feminist family, but even my brothers will contribute somewhat. And if someone else is hosting, they would never dream of showing up empty-handed.

  12. Am I Grinch? It depends on who you ask. That was one of the truly great things about growing up. I didn’t have to spend time with family if I didn’t want to and could spend more time in the company of friends whose company I enjoy. So I have a few sisters who might say I am a Grinch and countless other friends who would tell you the exact opposite.

    Me personally – I love this time of year. It starts just before Halloween as Fall starts to take hold. The crisp nights, the migrating birds, the changing leaves and everything else; the slow progression of one season into the next gets to me every year and makes me smile. Thanksgiving is actually a bigger deal to me than Christmas anymore. It is the holiday where we still all get together. But don’t get me wrong. I love the Christmas season too. Especially the parties, the chance to exchange gifts with friends (and see how well you did picking out just the right gift) and how (shopping malls to the contrary), everyone seems a little more cheerful and polite to one another.

    What are we making? My wife and her family have divied up the holidays (one sister gets Christmas Eve, M-I-L gets Easter, etc.). We laid claim to Thanksgiving and I think my wife will only give it up at death. She LOVES this holiday! We are doing the full-on traditional meal: one turkey in the oven, a second (auxiliary) breast on the smoker outside, two types of stuffing (traditional and “experimental”), pumpkin soup, homemade bread, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, 4-5 different pies. You name it. Our menu looks like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. We are also taking the origins of the meal to heart (the real origins, not the government/church approved fable) and it is a harvest celebration. Our relish tray is filled with fruits of our garden, the pumpkin soup and pie were made from pumpkins we grew, we went to the nearest orchard for the apples, etc.

    I don’t know if the holidays start earlier every year or not. It could just be observational bias. I think that as we grow up and more and more responsibilities get foisted upon us we start thinking about how little time there is to get everything into the season. Seeing the ads just reminds us of how little time there is and how much Madison Avenue has us all expecting of ourselves and each other. I think that the ads probably started almost as soon when we were kids, but since we wanted Christmas here so badly, we didn’t complain or even notice. It just meant more time to work our parents over for the gift we really wanted.

    Coal? Nah. Not for me. I’ve been very good this year! (Now, if I’m lucky, there will be something naughty in my wife’s stocking – namely my wife.)

  13. I have been rather Grinch-like the past few years, but I think I will de-Grinch myself this year and make with the merry.

    FSM tree-topper – what an awesome idea, I am going to have to go home and get all crafty now.

    @James Fox:
    French Style Mashed Potatoes – obscene amount of butter yes, but such a wonderful taste and texture – and they make great potato pancakes the next day.

  14. Are you a Grinch?

    Absolutely. I’m very, very touchy about Christmas. Last year, I was so miserable from it, I hated leaving my apartment!

    What are you making for Thanksgiving?

    I’m not cooking Thanksgiving, but my aunt has requested that we all bring something to make her life easier. So I’m baking pumpkin cookies (yes, they are good!).

    Does it seem like the holidays come earlier and earlier each year?

    Yes. I heard a Christmas song on the radio on November 1st.

    Do you think you’ll get coal in your stocking?

    Nope, because I’m a Jewish atheist!

  15. @catgirl: I do all the cooking and happily. But the joy for me is having holiday guests head into the kitchen to clean up after the meal while I enjoy a Scotch. And I usually start cooking for Thanksgiving the prior weekend anyway to reduce the bother the day of.

    @Murphy: I usually do my own mashed spud creation that involves a lot of roasted garlic and goat cheese, and yes some butter, but thought it was time to try something different. Different also means no turkey this year as well.

  16. I despise Christmas. Probably due to the forced niceness of it all. Being pleasant to people who desperately need to be told off because “It’s Christmas” gets to me. It would probably be many times worse if I worked retail.

  17. I love almost all holidays! I love having extra days off to visit with family, eat copious amounts of delicious food and give presents!

    As a Canadian, we already had Thanksgiving, but I made some pumpkin pies. I’m looking forward to hosting my first Christmas dinner this year, and am already planning what I want to make (the biggest turkey around!!). I’m obsessive about finding the perfect Christmas tree (our hunts often last for hours, with mom and I scrutinizing every tree on the farm, marking out “possibilities” and making dad traipse all over hell’s half acre with the bush-saw). The tree is decorated with a collection of ornaments symbolizing important events of our lives – the first house, my first Christmas, the acquisition of a cat, etc..

    It used to seem like the holidays hit earlier every year, but honestly lately it seems to creep up on me faster all the time. When all your shopping has to be done on weekends (and most of it out of town), by the time you hit mid-November you realize that there are only 5 weekends left before the guests arrive, and you have to cram in 2 weekend trips to visit family, an office Christmas party, and a mound of baking… ack! So it’s probably a good thing that it’s revving up now… I’ve got so much to do!

    I won’t get coal unless I don’t get any stockings made! I’ve always spent Christmas in my parents home where all the stockings are kept, but this year I’m hosting and I don’t have any stockings here! *adds another thing to the list*

  18. Are you a Grinch?
    No. I love getting together with family and enjoying the holiday spirit. But! I think lots of people should cut back on their holiday spending. Before buying everyone and their uncle a gift, think about the fact that they might have too much crap already. Before buying another decoration with flashing lights and tinny music and an USB connector, take time to consider whether that’s really what you want the holidays to be about.

    What are you making for Thanksgiving?I live outside the Thanksgiving zone and I’m hopeful that it’ll stay a non-exportable American holiday.

    Does it seem like the holidays come earlier and earlier each year?
    It doesn’t seem that way, it’s a fact. I retaliate by not buying anything from mid-November to the very last moment before Christmas.

    Do you think you’ll get coal in your stocking?
    No. For two very good reasons. 1. I’m a seriously nice guy. 2. We don’t really do Christmas stockings in Norway.

  19. I usually don’t feel very grinchy.

    For Thanksgiving, I’m providing the world with an enormous repository for leftovers. My stomach, of course.

    Yes and no. Yes, they seem to be hurtling towards me at incredible speed because we are almost half-way through, which I think is deceptive because it all started so early. Or maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, and time often seems to pass too quickly. On the other hand, my favorite kind of gift to give is something I’ve made myself (which I usually don’t have time to do, but was going to make an attempt this year.) But I’m rapidly running out of time. This year’s plan was a bunch of Shaker-style firewood boxes (plans from a woodworking magazine, but very similar to one Normie made), but I haven’t even made the prototype yet.

    A few years ago I made a whole bunch of Pirate Chests for all the kids in my life

    I wouldn’t mind a lump of coal in my stocking as long as it’s Clean Coal (TM)*

    [*]Clean Coal is a registered trademark of Big Energy, Inc. Any confusion with the concept of “clean” is purely coincidental (but intentional.)

  20. @Murphy: I melt/heat the goat cheese (large CostCo size package) in a pan with about 2 cups of milk and add a head of soft roasted garlic and then liquefy with an immersion blender before adding to the potatoes. Some butter is required because the goat cheese is pretty low in fat and that’s not allowed during the holidays. The combination of roasted garlic and goat cheese is magic IMO.

  21. Somewhere beyond a Grinch, usually. (You might try the BlackAdder Xmas special for some idea and a few laughs)
    Coffee, acorn squash, and veggie patties. The usual.
    Just a bit. The bleeping xmas decorations were out in some local stores before Halloween.
    Coal? Eh, whatever.

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