I can't tell you what gifts I received from most of my family and friends during Christmases past, but I can tell you that the year we were served enchiladas and tamales at my aunt's house left us to lie and tell our friends we had turkey just like they did when we went back to school. And that I had never tasted bread stuffing or sweet potato souffle until after I got married.
I can tell you that my sister makes a mean Christmas ham. And that my tio is famous for his buttery mashed potatoes. And don't even get me started on The Husband's ability to work magic with a turkey fryer. Or the bread pudding I'm expected to prepare anytime family comes to stay for the holidays.
It's about the food, people. No matter what anyone says, it's about the food.
I'm not judging. I'm relating. Because every year I've partaken in the Fun and Food and Merriment which, really, don't seem as they would be as much fun if it was just Fun and Merriment. It's about the food, people.
Or at least, it was about the food.
This year it's going to be about what makes me feel good instead of just what tastes good and the memories we will make instead of how many pies I'll be baking.
I've been dealing with an ever-growing list of health problems that I've come to think are mostly related to food sensitivities. I'm currently under the care of a new doctor who is running all kinds of fancy tests and sending me to all different kinds of specialists to figure me and my rash on my rib cage and my hair that's falling out and my inability to lose weight no matter how often I get on the elliptical. I'll probably know more on Wednesday when I see him next. What I already know is that, for some reason, eliminating grains from my diet have, in less than 36-hours, eliminated the rash I've had on my ribcage for over a year and my hair loss seems to have almost completely stopped.
I know the holiday itself and the week following will be a bit difficult with my in-laws visiting, but I'm feeling pretty good about my decision to put my health before my taste buds.
The thought of waiting until after the holiday did cross my mind. I won't lie. One last taste of pumpkin pie. And stuffing. And sweet potato souffle with marshmallow topping. And laughter with the in-laws over jokes and plenty of wine. But instead, I'll focus on the look on Buttercup's face when she realizes that Santa brought Nana and Papa to visit her for Christmas. And I'll smile while my mother-in-law spoils her granddaughter just as silly as she'll spoil our dogs and listen as Buttercup squeals with delight when her Papa lifts her high into the air like he used to when she was a baby.
And I'll remember that Christmas is about so much more than what's being served for dinner.