Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Gift Basket Eating

Christmas eating is a lifestyle that starts the day after Thanksgiving and continues through New Year's Day. Although Christmas Day is indeed  over for now, we are only part of the way through Christmas eating season. That is why it is not too late to share my amassed wisdom now.

Besides, I can recycle this same post  again for next Christmas. 

I am planning to do some additional seasonal Christmas eating going forward. I am planning to eat traditional Haitian meat patties, home-baked Christmas cookies, Belgian waffles, and other delicacies. 

In terms of alcoholic beverages, I am planning to drink a creamy Haitian concoction called Cremasse.  I am going to ask Jeremy to make me a beverage incorporating some champagne he received from work. Jeremy does not like champagne but I happen to love it. I love it so much that it is hard to know when to stop. That is why Jeremy needs to make me a cocktail, where it is only one of the ingredients. That way I'll know when to say when.

This is in addition to the pecan pie I've already eaten, the Chinese Food I have consumed as a nod to Jeremy's Jewish heritage and some icing I ate while decorating cookies. 

Besides the regular Christmas eating that is done with family, extended family, and at Christmas parties, there is another kind of seasonal Christmas eating. It is called Christmas Gift Basket Eating.

Other names for this same phenomenon include Client Christmas Gift Eating, Harry and David Eating, Hickory Farms Eating, Artisinal Assorted Chocolates from Brooklyn Eating, Secret Santa Gourmet Gift Eating, Holiday School Fundraising, Silent Auction Winnings Eating, Someone's Mother's Friend's Christmas Cookie Eating,  Starbucks Gift Card Eating, Duty Free Shop Specialty Foods Eating and Leftover Conference Room Party Eating.

This is precisely the category of seasonal Christmas eating I strive to avoid. This is based on a seminal set of incidents that happened to me while standing  in our kitchen  during the Christmas season of 2014.

Jeremy and his colleagues received several Christmas Gift Baskets at work. As was customary, Jeremy and the colleagues divvied up the goods. The colleagues Jeremy works with do not like sweets at all. Don't ask me to explain it. That is what Jeremy told me and I have no other information.

Jeremy brought home all manner of confections. I was in no way tempted by the Biscotti. Those are very dry.

At first, I was fine when it came to the Kettle Corn, butter cookies, honey roasted nuts and Toffee.  But as the Christmas season got rolling, it stirred up a lot of feelings. Some of these feelings were difficult. Then I began to eat my feelings.

The Christmas gift basket foods  were there for me when it was time to eat my feelings.

I did this a couple of times. But here's the thing. I like to stay close to my ideal weight range even during the Christmas season. At the very least I don't want to yo-yo. If I kept eating salted caramel nut clusters I wasn't going to be able to do this.

That is when I asked Jeremy to hide the Christmas Basket Gifts. In addition, I told him to never bring home Christmas Gift Basket items again.

These foods  are an unnecessary test of my will power. I asked him to either consume what he wanted at work or put things in the conference room there. He was welcome to tell his non-sweet eating colleagues that this was my request.

This worked out beautifully in 2015. Something bad happened at work one day and Jeremy ate his feelings there by consuming several delectable sounding items from various gift baskets and eating some stuff from the conference room too, but it was only that one time.

I have escaped the Christmas Gift Baskets from Jeremy's workplace. But I am preparing to gather with extended family. Although I can't be sure, it is quite traditional for extended family members to bring all manner of Christmas Gift Basket items  to generously share with everyone, or to get it out of their own homes, depending on how you look at it. 

It is one thing to sample something an extended family member baked or prepared. It is one thing to home cook a special-occasion meal. It is one thing to indulge or even over indulge on these things.

But when it comes to what amounts to holiday food clutter, I am attempting to draw the line. 

I leave you with one memory that surfaced not long ago. I was a recent college graduate, having landed myself a plum job working as a studio manager for an excellent and rather glamorous established photographer.

The woman had exquisite taste. I did not but pretended that I did.

A messenger arrived with a client Christmas gift for my boss. I signed for the package. Inside was a large tin, divided into thirds. It contained plain buttered popcorn, caramel corn and cheddar corn.

This is hideous, my boss said to me. I agreed with her. The truth was, it looked pretty good. My boss placed the tin, festooned with a horse drawn carriage evoking the 19th century, on the counter.

By 3:00 that afternoon my boss and I were actively chowing down on the plain popcorn and caramel corn. Over the ensuing days, several stressful things happened at work, and we both ate our feelings from the tin every afternoon. 

Neither one of us particularly loved the cheesy flavor, but once we finished off our favorites, we made short work of that too.

I like to think nostalgically of this story because of the way a client Christmas gift no matter how impersonal, how tacky, or how initially unappreciated will eventually wear you down and win you over. I'm also thinking fondly of the days of yore, days when I was able to eat everything and anything without gaining so much as an ounce. 

You might also enjoy:
How I Became Matronly
Willpower And Compassion 

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