The old adage you can't please everybody so you may as well please yourself? I did actually have a Christmas once all to myself. It was the best Christmas ever, the family rang up and tried to pretend they were having a jolly holly time. I wasn't buying it for one minute.
Despite what my mother thinks, there is nothing remotly awful about having Christmas on your own. To bust out another quote - Poor is the man who depends on another for his happiness. See? We're back to pleasing yourself basically.
And being a grown up, is about living your life, and making your own traditions, so I've been rapidly trying to shape some of my own. And possibly misquoting my History lecturer, traditions are only ever one generation old. I think it's one anyway. It was an incredibly small number.
I think we've established two clear facts to help us navigate Christmas.
1. Whatever you choose to do, someone will be unhappy, there are 364 other days to make other people happy, make this day yours.
2. Tradition is only one generation old, so basically "it's tradition" is a nonsensical statement and really only applies to that one generation. Therefore you in your own generation can have your own tradition, acknowledge other people's traditions like you would their religions.
This year is a bit weird, both my maternal grandparents have passed away so there is no gathering of my mother's family. In previous years all her siblings came home and it was hell on earth. We had to be at my grandparents house by 9am to open presents, so we can be at the uncle's by 12 noon, we're expected at noon, lunch won't actually be served for another 2 hours at least, or round about the time your ready to eat their furniture.
By 2pm the only thing I've eaten is a piece of toast at 8am, if I was lucky, depending on how cantankerous I was about getting dressed and hoping the immediate family would just leave without me - no such luck ever. I may not have had breakfast at all, and your not allowed to eat anything pre-lunch because were "going for lunch soon". Soon applies even if it's 9:30am.
The one saving grace is you might have got chocolates for Xmas, which you stash in your handbag, and find an opportune hiding place and eat them.
Tip #3: Be prepared by your own chocolate/snack in advance to be sure you will have something to stash in your bag.
Tip #4: Something I read about in Nigella Christmas and wish I had thought of myself years before. In the notes for her recipe for Lychee Martini, Nigella talks about taking some of the lychee liqueur in a small water bottle to tide you over during the school Christmas concert. I don't have to attend school Christmas concerts, but I can imagine a hip flask of something (not necessarily lychee liqueur, pick your favourite) would have been a boon to the chocolates.
Back to the problem at hand, new "traditions" or what to do with your immediate family. My mother has been telling people how weird it'll be this year, there won't be anybody to have Christmas with and since she won't see the family she won't get presents. She saw them last year and they didn't give her presents then either. And having Christmas with us the immediate family? Suppose it is a bit of a come down.
And then there's my Dad, initial plan is my sister and I were going to do a special breakfast, sit around eating, unwrapping presents, eating some more, breakfast rolls onto lunch. More like morning grazing than any meals. My Mum was talking about making the turkey roll the day before, and then just having it cold with salad and people help themselves when their ready. What's Susan going to eat asks my Dad? So I tell him all about what I'm making and my Dad's complaining about the room in the kitchen for everyone to make things. I was oh no, I'm having dinner, I won't be cooking till the evening.
My Dad got in a huff because "surely we can all eat lunch together on Christmas", I was regaling my sister with this tale. She scoffed at this, doesn't he realise were spending all day together?
The current incarnation of the Christmas day menu looks like this:
Breakfast (A long breakfast that kind of heads into lunch territory):
Bagels from Isa's Vegan Brunch - my sister's special request.
Individual Panettones from Hannah Kaminsky's Vegan Desserts
Banana Eggnog Pancakes (No cranberries, but it is raspberry season here so probably fresh berries!)
Skipping lunch, no time to prep that as it will be all eating a long breakfast and opening presents and staying in my pajamas.
Stuffed Thanksgiving Burgers
Whiskey Sweet Potato Mash - 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman
Green Bean Almondine (with a Twist) - Also from 500 Vegan Recipes or Roasted Broccoli
and Gravy, most likely made from good ole' Massel Supreme Gravy Powder. Actually this is my parents new favourite for making gravy, apparetnly it's not as salty as some of the other ones they've tried.
And I may yet make a fruitcake, will post an update later if it gets off the ground.