What is your favorite holiday memory?
I don’t have a favorite holiday memory. There are so many things I love about the holidays I have had. So many things that are unique.
But, to quote Maria from the Sound of Music, these are a few of my favorite things.
Lights and libations. I’ve always said that’s what I love most about the holidays. (I love alliteration too.)
But there’s more.
I love the smell of warm apple cider, eggnog and rum balls.
I love the warm cozy holiday ambience inside contrasting the crisp cold outside.
I love that there are warm simple moments of joy that are timeless that contrast the hectic holiday busyness and last minute shopping.
I love that once a year we focus our energies to come together in spirit and make a united ruckus.
I love that a favorite moment can be as simple as the first holiday scent that greets my nose softly yet without apology.
I love that scent because it’s subtle and gentle, like a butterfly taking a rest on my nose. It’s joyful, humble and honest. It’s agile, versatile. It compliments different desserts and drinks, and blends with other spices.
It’s the scent of cinnamon and sweetness. When it announces the holidays, I see lights and libations in the distance, and I feel all the things you can only feel during the holidays.
I grew up in Asia where we often had Chinese or Thai food for Christmas dinner. I loved the moment I created my own holiday traditions and menu. Two turkey dinners in two months was too much. Exploring is a fun thing to do any time, why not for holidays? Why not with food?
I loved when we had a multicultural Christmas dinner one year with a big turkey, sticky rice and sweet chili sauce, plus Thai curries and stir fried dishes. That was after the grilled beef tenderloin with olive oil, garlic and pepper rub along with grilled veggies and pasta had been done a few years in a row. Apple crumble, vanilla bean ice cream, spiced rum, whipped cream and caramel in a brandy snifter was a fun holiday dessert for a few years.
I loved how much I laughed when I found out that my friend had gone to a party once where they ended up watching porn after Christmas Eve dinner. Because I found myself doing that too, and wishing there were better plots and backstory and stronger characters to make the sex more meaningful and interesting. I wondered if I could write stories like that and if they’d use them. The rebel in me loved that I was doing that with lights, a libation and the lingering smell of cinnamon and holiday spices. I laughed about how twisted it was that it seemed twisted.
There are so many favorite holiday memories in my crazy life, and I love that the scent of cinnamon and sweetness has been there with me for most of them.
And there’s just nothing like lights and libations to go along with the joyful ruckus of any holiday occasion—whether the lights are strung up or sitting on a cake, and the drink is more apple cider or more rum.
It’s finding something joyful for all the senses that makes a memory go into the favorites for me.