I’m very much in the holiday spirit this season.
Okay, as a young girl I could have been just as eager for Christmas, but I love the thought that as a 24-year-old, I still feel the magic of Christmas. My mom has always said, if it’s not Santa you believe in, then believe in the spirit of him, and what he stands for. When life has been moving as fast and wild as it has this past year, the holidays serve as a time to slow things down, reflect, and be grateful.
This time of year seems to always put things into perspective, as Celine Dion says in her ’98 Christmas album, “don’t save it all for Christmas day…find a way to give a little love every day.”
Without any substantial religious belief, I find Christmas music to be very spiritually lifting, and calming, until I start analyzing the lyrics and questioning life. Some of the music can be quite haunting, “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)” by Amy Grant, for example, as well as “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra of course; and does anyone else thing that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is basically a song about a man peer pressuring a woman after she’s repeatedly said no, and trying to roofie her drink? Like, I can’t even listen to that song anymore: This poor woman is trying to leave, saying her mother and father will “start to worry” and “pace the floor”, she thinks she’s in a “spell”, and wonders, “Hey, what’s in this drink” as she slowly starts to consider staying over, after repeatedly saying “no, no, no, sir.”
Around the holidays, there’s something about the music; the house seems cozier with wreaths hung on the mantel; and the glow of the garland lights set an ambiance of tranquility. The past few years have been more meaningful, too, as I’ve gotten older and am able to give more thoughtful gifts, ones that I pick out and pay for myself; as I’ve come to cherish the moments I have sitting around with my family and talking. My sister and I still wake each other up on the morning of Christmas day and wait at the top of the stairs together before going down. And it means so much to me that we still wake each other up and do this.
In the spirit of the holidays, I’m also throwing a party – now, I’m not usually one to let people come into my home to potentially spill drinks and knock things over and be loud and invade my most sanctuary of spaces, causing my OCD to skyrocket to extreme paranoia. We will see how this goes, but I am making pulled pork in the crockpot and my Bacon-wrapped Jalapeno Poppers.
One thing I do miss is the snow in Keene. I haven’t truly experienced Boston in the winter as much as I would like to yet, what with the Winter Market, ice rink, and strolling around. But there was something about the way Keene’s Central Square looked after it snowed. The whole main street turned quiet, as if my ears were blocked. In the early morning, everything was black and white, as if I was in one of the old photographs in the newspaper taken during a storm. I might as well have been seeing horse drawn carriages. Shay, Alex, and I would trek through the slosh because we still needed coffee and fresh air after only being at work for half an hour, and the snowflakes would kiss our exposed faces. I’m still waiting for moments like that, moments when Boston feels like home.
I’ll feel it occasionally on weekends when I’m out and about doing things, at the yoga studio; getting a coffee at the Starbucks on Memorial Drive after grocery shopping; walking across the Allston footbridge and seeing the sunset skyline. Soon, I’ll be in another apartment though, with a changed routine once again.
On those kind of mornings though, where I can make a tuna melt and listen to Christmas music and Blake watches me from the top of the cabinet like he did in my Keene studio, I sense that feeling of “home.”
For this bomb ass tuna melt, which I made two of on Sunday morning for myself, is inspired by the Chrissy Teigen recipe in her cookbook, but I slather on more mustard, forgot the pickles, and used all Trader Joe’s ingredients!
- Rustic multi-grain bread
- 2 tbsp butter
- Cheddar or American cheese slices
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- 2 cans of tuna
- Trader Joe’s organic mayonnaise, to your liking
- ½ a purple onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard with seeds
- A pinch of pepper, salt
- ½ tsp onion powder
Mix the tuna and mayonnaise to your liking, add in onion, 1 tbsp of the mustard, salt & pepper, and onion powder for additional flavor. Heat a pan over medium. Butter one side of 2 slices of bread, and one of the other sides facing up with remaining 1 tbsp of mustard and add to pan. Place cheese, tuna and tomato slices on the non-mustard slice. Once cheese is melty and bread is toasted, combine and cut in half.