Inspired by this post by White Skinned Goddess who had a lovely and very different holiday from mine.
The 12 gifts of Christmas this year:No Partridge in a Pear Tree
1. NOT having to travel in the crowds and with the delays, no crushing lines with people holding too many packages/bags/luggage. Not getting pat-down by security. Not dragging my luggage down the street, on the subway, on the over-priced rip-off air-train which you should be able to pay for with your unlimited Metro-Card. But of course you can't, you have to buy a $5 card for a 2 minute train ride across the parking lots.
2. No frustrations over money and gift-buying. Usually I just try to buy things that aren't expensive and hope I have enough in the bank to cover it. Usually I don't.
3. For the first time in years, I spent Christmas day without worrying about the work I was not doing. I had time this year to do it later.
4. Waking up Christmas morning and going downstairs to breakfast and finding to my surprise....no fat man with a beard and presents but a skanky hung-over girl sleeping on my couch! Then finding the kitchen is trashed with dirty dishes, wine/liquor bottles, and left-over food.
5. Waiting for the email with the digital pictures of my presents from my Pops and the wife. I asked lil sis to open them for me and send me the pictures. It was nice to have something to anticipate. They arrived around 2 pm and included pictures of the family, the Christmas tree, and their little rat dog. Pops gave me what looks like a very cool Sony discman that even has one of those remote controls. This will make my long commutes so much more pleasant. It's also good for warding off intruding strangers who are are less likely to talk to someone wearing headphones.
6. Getting lots of morning phone calls, especially the one from a young man who was willing to spend the day with me. He neglected his own plans to work, and even came to my neighborhood at my request.
7. Watching that same young man talk to the skanky couch girl for an extraordinary length of time--way beyond what politeness called for and even further beyond anything interesting she had to say. He correctly guessed she was Jewish and they talked about that for awhile as I got peeved.
I thought, "So she's Jewish, good for her. Now he has to talk to her about it, fine... Ok, you've met already can we go now?...He's still talking to her? It took her 10 minutes to tell us her name! Whoo, you began using a different name when you started going to Rainbow gatherings, what a surprise.'
As she warmed up to his attention she got a bit flirty. He kept talking to her and I grew annoyed.
OK, I see how it is, you like me until a nice Jewish girl comes along. Worse, one that isn't 'nice'. You can't possibly think she is this interesting unless you are into her, you hoser. Nice Christmas this turned out--lose a boy to a greasy-haired moocher on my couch because of an accident of birth. . . Oh she's going to Israel tomorrow, that's great....blah, blah, blah We finally left her to go buy some food.
When we got to the store he said, "Oh, by the way, that girl, what was her name? Anna?" "Amy." Well, that's nice of you to pretend you forgot her name. "Right. Amy. She's disgusting." "What?" "Weird too, from California. (like the New Yorker he is he couldn't name the state without derision) I bet she's never worked a day in her life and never will, etc., etc., she's an embarrassment to my people." Ooooh. He knew what I was thinking.
I'm not very quick with these things. It was a few hours later when I realized he had been toying with me. He could tell I was getting jealous so he kept talking to her despite her inanity because my reaction must have pleased him. But, not wanting to be cruel he allayed my fears as soon as he could and as unambiguously as possible. I thought it was all very cute that he could read me so well, liked me enough to like seeing me jealous and yet made sure he didn't leave me worried about it. [WARNING: It was cute once. Don't make a habit of it.]
8. Cooking French toast with the boy who took over the cooking part after I made the batter because I couldn't manage to get the bread from the bowl to the skillet. I was too nervous. So he sat me down and massaged my shoulders while the bread was on the stove. Then he served me breakfast.
9. Taking an after-meal 'nap' that involved no sleeping and lots of yummilicious kissing with his sumptuous semitic lips. He even made my cat jealous because she doesn't like to see other people with her property. (The OPP was me.) She tried to join us and had to be forcibly removed from his back. b. Learning he would tolerate a cat intrusion even though I know he found it disgusting. [I'm sorry, it won't become a habit.]
10. Seeing him grin with contentment as he held my face in his hands and looked at me. I'd never seen him grin in the two and a half years I've known him, he's usually quite the stoic.
11. Checking the time after we finished our take-out Chinese dinner at his apartment in the Heights, where we went because the couch moochers had multiplied and I didn't trust the Chinesefood places in my neighborhood to not serve cat meat. Finding out it was 11 pm shocked and awed us. He asked, "How can it be that late already?"
12. Actually making it to church that Sunday because I had help waking up. This is only the second time I've been since this summer. I still got there an hour late because I dawdled (very nervous about going) and wandered around outside the building lost for 20 minutes. This time church was better than the first time. I met some nice people. And I got one present for me, finding out that a couple I was friends with in Atlanta belonged to this congregation too!
After church I snuck upstairs and found an empty room with a piano. I closed the door,left the light off and played Christmas songs and my favorite hymns for a long time. It began to flurry outside.
This was my Christmas worship. I prayed with my body, heart and mind as I sang the words in my head and played as best I could, pounding the wrong keys with love and gratitude. Knowing I am so blessed and undeservedly so. Thanking God for his goodness to me.
~And no partridge in a pear tree~
The ultimate gift this year: Celebrating the love of Christ simply without the pagan symbols, gorging on rich foods, or material consumerism.*
The penultimate gift: Spending Christmas Day very un-alone.
*Not that there is anything wrong with that. I'll do things traditionally next year.