Christmas is NOT historically about giving. The modern day Christmas has become a frantic race to buy “crap” for people who you think will by you “crap” before the date reaches an arguably, fictitious, birthday in December. Today’s modern American culture has produced a true Christmas in July. More and more each year I hear that people start shopping for Christmas back in the summer. By comparison, people get engaged after dating for less time, spend less time organizing their finances for their tax return and plan expensive family vacations in a quarter of that time. Add to that fabricated days like “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” and the frenzy hits pandemonium status. Major big box chain stores open their doors at 4am. Retailers run sales called “door busters”. Really? That passed Kohl’s legal review? Why don’t they just call it “leg breakers” or “throat slashers”. Saving $10 on a $40 toy that will be played with for 5 minutes before your kids attention moves to the next gift hardly seems worth it. But then again, I don’t have kids.
I am sorry about the rant but I wanted to raise an eyebrow or two, make you think a little and set up a solution to this maddening cultural disaster. When, and if (Mom), I do have kids all presents except one will be edible. I wish I could say this practice is in full effect in my family (Thanks Uncle Doug for the awesome iPod alarm clock) but we are getting there. Giving edible gifts solves a few problems. First, it eliminates thinking about and buying Christmas gifts in July. In fact Black Friday and Cyber Monday will cease to exist as well. Second, You don’t have to worry about the gift fitting or being disliked by the recipient. Watch what they eat on December 23. Go to the market and get that. Simple. Done. Third, No one has ever busted down a door to get into a butcher shop before 100 other people so they could get a discounted piece of meat. On a side note, never buy discounted meat. There has to be a reason why it is discounted and trust me, it is not because they produced too many cows this month at the factory and need to move the inventory. Fourth, It is sharable. Edible gifts promote curiosity, conversation and comradery (we talk a lot about that on this blog). Fifth, and finally, If by some reason you don’t like the gift it is out of your system and life in no more than 24 hours. We don’t like to discuss that on this forum but think about it for a second…..Ahhhh, yep, you got it.
I have narrowed the edible category of gifts down to a simple, easy to remember phrase that applies not only to Christmas but to any gift giving occasion. GIVE MEAT! Meat is universal. Excluding vegetarians, vegans, Hindus, Buddhists, Jainists, slaughter house workers, Seventh-day Adventists, Rastafari, Hare Krishnas, people in PETA and my friend Kevin, who doesn’t LOVE meat?
I have been practicing this for years in our house. The 6 bone ribeye roast above has become the staple gift of Christmas day. The first thing we open is the roast. Everyone gathers around and gawks. Then we dress it up in its Christmas best and get it spinning. As the day progresses everyone is always peeking into the kitchen and checking on the meat. Our olfactory systems are acutely tuned to that first wiff of hot, crisping beef fat mixed with fresh herbs and garlic. With the meat as the king of gifts the turkey is the queen. The royal court changes from year to year but always is made up of an incredible line up of antipasti, casseroles, sauces, dips, bread, and desserts. This year was no exception.
Instead of calling out each dish I felt it better to post the below slide show. It will show all the gifts, both edible and non-edible. Hopefully through the slideshow you can see the joy around the giving of meat as well as the curiosity, conversation and comradery I mentioned earlier.