North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

December 18, 2013

Danielle Cater: Presents, food, family important at Christmas

Danielle Cater: Presents, food, family important at Christmas

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

NORTH JEFFERSON — Have you done all of your shopping? Have you hung all of your stockings? Have you trimmed your tree? Have you checked all of your lists... twice? You’re quickly running out of time to mark off the important things for this festive season and if you don’t watch out, this year it will pass right by you.

I know what it’s like to shop for Christmas presents on every lunch break in the week. And I know how it feels to have you children change their desired Christmas list six times in a day.

But don’t get too wrapped up in these things. The presents do matter, believe it or not. I know that we try to put on the facade that it doesn’t matter about presents at all, but the fact of the matter is that Christmas has some emphasis on the presents and if we didn’t get any gifts for our four babies, I can guarantee we would have eight pouty lips on Christmas morning. But the season isn’t just made up of the presents.

I’m hoping that most of our readers are mature enough to realize that the presents are not the main purpose of Christmas. But I know there are some women out there who will be angry little bees if they don’t get the boots or the necklace that they asked for. I also know a number of men who will be grumpy little elves if they don’t get the gun or four-wheeler that they asked for.

But for the most part, we can rule out presents as the main purpose of Christmas.

What’s another reason people love this time of year? Oh yeah, the food. Man, you really can’t beat the food you get between Thanksgiving and New Years. It’s practically impossible not to gain weight during these weeks. You can stay slender, but it’s definitely torture to do so. I would rather pay for it at the first of the year and enjoy the good home cooking that’s being handed out.

I, personally, love cooking for the holidays. Just this past week I made a caramel pie and mocha fudge brownies and brought them to the office. We feast off of our snacks every afternoon around 2 p.m. and you can bet there is a mid-morning snack on most days also.

Not only do you have to beware of the foods you cook in your own kitchen (because you know you HAVE to taste test them), you also have to beware of the food you eat at all of the holiday parties and gatherings. There is constantly ribbon cuttings and grand openings and lunch meetings around our office and most are accompanied by deliciously, horrible-for-you food. I use to say that our office was haunted by a spirit of obesity, but I’m pretty sure that’s a personal demon that I just bring into the office every morning and take home with me every night.

Don’t be too hard on yourself while dieting during this season. It’s just plain wrong to try to hold back for the next two weeks, but after that, get back on the wagon and count those carbs or calories or whatever it is that you choose to do about your own, personal weight loss.

So we have established that Christmas is not only about presents or the delicious food that abounds during this season. What else could this holiday be about? Oh, I know, what about our family and friends! Yes, there is nothing much better than sitting around a living room or kitchen table right after you’ve eaten a big, family dinner and talking to the people who mean the most to you. Whether it’s reminiscing about how Uncle Jack body slammed Aunt Bobbie Sue into the bushes by the front porch in 1986 or talking about how much everyone hated, but still ate, Aunt Ethel’s homemade fruit cake, or remembering how Grandma always just sat in her rocking chair smiling and watching her family do their Christmas routines, there is something to be said about memories with our families. This is the perfect time of year to put away any differences that may have come between members of the family in the past year and reconnect with the people who help to make the holidays so merry and bright.

If you have problems with a member of your family, be the one to swallow your pride this year and make the holidays better for everyone by burying the hatchet and bringing the family back together. No one likes an awkward gathering, so do your part not to be the problem. Nothing on this earth is more important than your family, or at least it shouldn’t be.

This column next week will tell what the real purpose in Christmas is (as if you don’t already know), but for this week, be thankful for the presents and food and family that make Christmas everything that it is to you. If you go back through your memories, I can guarantee that some of the your fondest ones include these three things around Christmas time.

You’ve got one more week to get your home, presents, food, mind, heart and body prepared for Christmas ... good luck!