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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Day’

Christmas in the post-War United States

Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me clear up something from Christmas Eve.  I thought Laura and Jim and their two girls were coming to dinner, however, I was wrong.  Last night’s open house also included Laura’s sister Sarah and Jeff, Laura’s friend Sarah and Jim’s parents, Jim and Jenny.  And then, as the evening wore on, a couple came bearing champagne and children but they stayed just long enough to say hello and good-bye. Then two more couples came and about that time, Peter and I had finished washing all the platters and were working through the glasses and so we beat a retreat upstairs where the silence was blessed.

I‘m mentioning the number of people because I assumed that on Christmas Day we would be with Laura and Jim and their family, as we knew it.   Turns out we were going to a huge house and a lot of family and friends.   Supposed to be there at 3:15 and transporting everyone actually required 2 cars and 4 trips.  It does sound bizarre doesn’t it?  You know what the real problem is? CAR SEATS!  If you’re a follower of this blog, then you know about my misadventures in October with the black tractor-trailer they call their car.  The thing is enormous but in actuality only the driver and two adults can ride in the car!  3 kids = 3 car seats.

 Laura and Jim’s house should only be described in superlatives!  First we passed the Guest House and the gardener who was vacuuming up leaves. (I thought seeing the gardener on Christmas Day was unusual).  It was stunning with a wide-open floor plan and a chef’s dream kitchen.  Later I learned that the gardener comes every day and not only cleans up the yard, he also restocks the bar refrigerator and anything else that needs attention.

I met Steve and Amy who are the Captain and crew for Jim’s 106 ‘ boat.  Steve was saying how the boat would leave shortly for the Caribbean where it would remain for the winter months and the family would fly down for some long weekends.  At one point I thought he said something about the boat being out of water for several months and so I asked him who else did he captain for and his response was “No one, Amy and I only work for Jim”.  Welllllll ok then.

 I spotted two men dressed in black and sure enough they were servers and very efficient too.  Some day I’m going to throw a party where someone else serves the food and cleans up. My Trifle was a big hit but I think the pumpkin chocolate tiramisu needed more sugar.

 I walked to the edge of the property backing up to the Intercostal Water Way where yet another of Jim’s boats was stored out of the water.  Across the canal was an extremely wide stretch of property; If this was New York, you would only wonder when will they build a high rise?  This being Florida, chances are they won’t build a hi-rise apartment building but they could build a few houses.  Jim bought the property and has guaranteed his privacy and his view!

 It was getting dark and all of a sudden a parade of naked little girls streamed into the pool  (which is kind of an infinity pool).  They had a blast – who wouldn’t running naked in and out of a pool, shrieking and splashing.   Watching them enjoy themselves is proof you can take pleasure in another person’s fun.

Time to head home.  Try to visualize Ed carrying Fletcher in cradle seat, Chiara, Finley and Frankie in second seat with Juanita driving, Linda seating on the console and me in the passenger seat (which I ‘m supposed to share with Linda).  Our very own clown car la famiglia style!  Getting everybody in was a feat in itself but backing out of a narrow curving driveway that had trees and rock islands proved to be an exercise in misdirection and miscommunication!  Dennis was directing from the front, Joel was in the back guiding us past the rocks and when I looked out the window and saw we were headed towards the rocks, I screamed!  Poor Juanita, everyone was shouting directives…. Dennis, the I’ll take charge guy told Juanita to get out and he would back out.  Mind you the car does have the back up map displayed as well as a beeping system that warns you as you are backing up into an object.

 If you thought that was the end of the evening, you don’t know the Berti’s.  Led by my daughter Chiara, fueled by my nephew Justin and instructed by my son, Joel, we all settled into the living room to play a game.  Well, not everyone-the little girls were put to bed, some of the adults opted for TV and the rest of us (the competitors) delved into Cards Against Humanity.  A modern day board game that involves picking an answer to some really sick questions, which meant the answers were sometimes quite disgusting.  The game is self-described as:   Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends. HO, HO HO, I remember when after Christmas dinner we would all sit down and play Monopoly.  I know what you’re thinking…how dull, times have changed.  HA HA HA, you never played Monopoly with the Berti’s!!

 

 

 

 

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50% Off - Magic Words

50% Off – Magic Words

My first introduction to Boxing Day came way back in the ’80’s when our next-door neighbor at the time, invited us to their house the day after Christmas and told us to bring a gift we had previously received-more than likely one that was not well-received by us.  In other words that tasteless ashtray your Aunt gave you or the unwelcome set of beer mugs each with one of the Seven Dwarfs depicted.  We had such a great time, so many laughs….but then they told us the real idea behind Boxing Day and it went something like this.

The exact etymology of the term “boxing” is unclear. There are several competing theories, none of which is definitive.[1] The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen,[2] which in the Western Church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.
In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year.[3] This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary entry for 19 December 1663.[4] This custom is linked to an older English tradition: Since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.  Source: Wikipedia

In the United States, somehow along the way, Boxing Day has taken on a double meaning.  It seems to be THE day to return BOXES – those presents which neither fit our taste or our bodies.  LONG lines of over-dressed and over-heated customers stand in line to endure the ordeal of returning unwanted or unwelcome items.

Secondly, Boxing Day is a day to rush to the stores and buy MORE items, those many things that are now deeply-discounted.  We are truly a nation of consumers!  As for me, as soon as I finish this blog I’m off to find next year’s Christmas cards, wrapping paper and anything else I somehow found out I can’t live without especially now that is marked 50% off!

What are you doing this Boxing Day?

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