Snowflake Day

It’s no surprise how I feel about Christmas. I mean, there’s other reasons besides what I posted in my last blog. I’m not someone who gets attached to tradition. I’m not a fan of routine. Doing the same thing, every year in and every year out isn’t my bag. I’ve been celebrating Christmas every year for decades, people. I’ve been decorating trees, baking treats, cooking turkeys. When it comes to Christmas, I’ve done it all. Time for some new traditions.

Enter Snowflake Day. This isn’t an original idea, it’s lifted from a cartoon that only aired for a season back in the early ‘naughts. We stole the idea, because that’s one tradition we’re keeping. If the early Christians can steal the idea of Christmas from the pagans, then we can certainly steal this holiday from a failed animates series that features most of the cast from Scrubs.

Snowflake Day is the holiday replacing all other holidays during the winter months. By trying to avoid offending anyone, you manage to offend everyone, which is a win in my books. The story of Snowflake Day tells the tale of Snowflake Jake the pirate. In a quest to make the holidays open to anyone, Snowflake Jake captures all the other representatives of the holiday season and threatens to make them walk the plank if they keep up their traditions. They agree, Snowflake Day takes the place of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

Instead of gifts, you exchange spices. Instead of turkey, stuffing, and gravy, there’s lamb tacos, cocktail weenies wrapped in pastry, and jerky balls. And instead of a Christmas tree, you light up a non-denominational snowman. So we took it the full nine yards. We decided to throw a party and have lamb tacos, cocktail weenies wrapped in pastry, and jerky balls.

Lamb tacos? Easy peasy. Now, instead of pure lamb, we went with a mixture of lamb, pork, and beef, because the flavor of lamb is a potent beast. I went with a straight up Tex-Mex blend of spice to throw in there, garlic, oregano, cumin, and three different kinds of dried chilies. Threw in a little pico de gallo, some fresh peppers, and some home-made tortillas, and you’ve got a tasty taco feast taking place in your domicile.

Cocktail weenies wrapped in pastry. This was the easiest item on the list because it was the one I cared the least about. I took hot dogs and wrapped them in store-bought pastry, the kind that comes in a can and explodes if not handled properly. There’s actually a warning on the packaging, telling you to point the lid away from people, children, and small dogs. Technically, it was the most dangerous dish to make on the list, but I still managed to pull it off without a hitch. Once the pastry is out, all you’re doing is wrapping the weenies. Feel free to insert your favorite tubed meat joke.

The toughest item on the list, without a doubt, was the jerky balls. Partly because I had no clue what a jerky ball was. I could have gone with beef jerky balls, but this presented two problems. One, jerky is drier than sand, so getting it to stick together in a ball would be a challenge. Two, beef jerky is crazy expensive. What happens to be cheap right now is turkey, so I went with ground turkey mixed with Jamaican jerked spice. I purchased a utility turkey and decided to debone it. I’ve deboned a number chickens in the past, so I figured this would be a cakewalk. Two hours later, and turkey gunk in every corner of the kitchen, I had a bunch of turkey with no bones in it. Two hours after that, I manage to grind the meat and mixed in the spices. Turkey jerky balls are now done.

The rest of the party is straight forward enough. Most of the Snowflake Day songs are simply knockoffs of Christmas tunes, so we decided to play MIDI versions of famous Xmas songs (if you’re unfamiliar with the MIDI audio format, it’s what predated the mp3 format. It’s mostly known for being incredibly crappy). Little pirate hats were made for various objects in the apartment, and snowflakes were hung from the ceiling with care.

People came, we exchanged spices, lamb tacos were noshed, and Snowflake Day Carols were not sung. I put a kibosh on that right away (sorry Kat, I’m only willing to go so far for a joke, and that boundary is singing).

Will we be doing it again? I’m not one for traditions, but I’ll honest, lamb tacos are the bomb and turkey jerky balls, although a hassle to make, are pretty tasty. I might do something a little more extravagant next year, with stewed lamb meat done as a curry. So yeah, we’ll be celebrating Snowflake Day again. If you’re lucky, and you’ve been good all year, maybe you’ll hear the YoHoHo instead of the HoHoHo, and Snowflake Jake will bless your home with a bounty of cumin and basil.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Truthfully, if I have the opportunity, I’m going someplace with a beach for Christmas. Tradition can take a back seat for sunshine and sand.

p.s.s. Holy shit, is it a goddamn pain in the ass to debone a turkey. I swear, the turkey fights back. I could have worn the thing like a cape.

The Christmas Blues

Christmas used to bring such joy, back in the day. It truly was, for the most part, the most wonderful time of the year. These days, not so much. I’ve been trying to narrow it down, the last couple of revolutions around the sun, exactly when Christmas stopped being fun, or at least as fun as the season once was.

At first, I thought it might be a nostalgia thing. Like most things, holidays were more enjoyable as a child. Being a kid meant not having a care in the world. You weren’t expected to buy gifts, instead, you just showed up at the tree come Christmas morning. You had to create a couple of gifts, sure, but your teacher was making you do that anyways. My parents were overjoyed to get lousy pottery made with love. Candy also seemed to taste better, I can’t handle it the way I used to. But I don’t think nostalgia is the root of my Christmas woes.

Maybe it’s the stress. The malls are packed with shoppers, and heading out to buy gifts is a nightmare. Everyone is on edge, grinding their teeth at the thought of having to brace the masses in order to find the perfect present for that perfect someone. Can’t be that, though. Not for me at least. Kat and myself are making our gifts this year like we did last year, and I can only see the tradition continuing. Instead of a crappy macaroni card, my mom is getting straight up crappy homemade macaroni.

Why was I feeling burnt out? Why is everyone around me, loved ones, friends, and coworkers, tired of Christmas? I mulled it over some hot cocoa and Irish cream, because nothing helps the blues like alcohol does. I check the calendar and realized it’s only the 14th of December. Hasn’t Christmas been on the radar longer than fourteen days?

That’s because we’ve been celebrating Christmas since November 1st. The day after Halloween, the pumpkins go down and the trees come up. We’re now celebrating the holidays for one-sixth of the year. Christmas is now soaking close to twenty percent of my time. I love a good party. But two months of Christmas music, of shopping, of bright lights. I can’t take it any longer.

Even a month is pushing it. A twenty-five day period to be cheery is tough. From now on, I’m going to start celebrating Christmas in April. I’ll buy advent calendars at reduced price and store them away for three months. I’ll stick turkeys in the freezer and forget about them. Instead of snow, I’ll put on rain boots and go dance in the rain.

Why are we celebrating Christmas anyways? It’s Santa’s birthday, and we’re making the poor guy work? That’s ridiculous. Not only are we making him work, we’re sending him out in the freezing snow (or the blaring heat if you’re down on the other side of the hemisphere). April would be a better time for everyone. Santa wouldn’t have to work his birthday, and delivering gifts would be a lot easier. Not only that, but you can buy all your gifts early on boxing day.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m looking forwards to seeing people, though. Heading back to G-Spot for a couple of days! Woot!