My Inbox Is As Stuffed as a Butterball Turkey Even If My Stomach Won’t Be This COVID Holiday Season

NOT THIS YEAR!!!! Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The endless fundraising appeals from various political campaigns have (mostly) been replaced in my inbox by Black Friday sales enticements. After I’d reached my budgeted donation amount, I could quickly dispatch to the trash yet another plea for money from candidate so-and-so or SuperPac whatchamacallit. I know what they are selling, and I’ve already bought it.

But thanks to Mr. Google knowing about every whim I have, every question, every random need to browse, much of my digital life is curated by Al Gorithm to tempt me. Can I really afford not to buy that donegal cashmere sweater at 30% off? Do I dare resist the siren song of savings on those (faux) Chanel flats? After all, didn’t Coco herself say that “A woman with good shoes is never ugly?” Must I have that new kitchen gadget — a cookie scoop perfect for those dozens of Christmas cookies I usually bake — from the King Arthur Baking Company? What about a 3 quart InstantPot to nestle next to the 6 quart one already in my cabinet?

And then I (metaphorically) slap myself upside the head and back into reality. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon that requires a new cashmere sweater or admittedly swanky new shoes. I’m not hosting anyone for Thanksgiving, or cooking all the sides to take to my daughter’s house. I’m not going to be having a pre-Christmas cocktail party or a Christmas day brunch or a New Year’s day hangover. (Okay, maybe I will have the last one, brought on by solo drinking, and I’m not talking about that red cup).

Every now and then in year’s past I’ve thought, “Why can’t we just simplify this whole holiday season and cut back a bit on the workload?” Now I wonder what in the hell I was thinking. That workload — the shopping, the cooking, the baking, the cleaning, the hair appointment, the mani-pedi, the endless trips to the corner market to get that one last item needed — it was work but it was also ritual, with all of the comfort that entails.

This year I am not roasting a turkey, not even a breast. With just the two of us, the menu will be very different. Like many people, I’ve decided to pare it down, and also to shake it up. There will still be pie, because who can do without pie. Two kinds: pumpkin and cranberry apple, but baked in smaller pie plates. As a nod to the cornbread stuffing I always make I will whip up some cornbread to go with the main course of white bean coq au vin, a bit of an homage to the bean casserole and fowl we usually devour. 

I’m still going to bake cookies, using that scoop that I couldn’t resist ordering. I can mail them off to the family outside of New York and arrange an outdoor delivery at the park with my New York daughter and grandson. Dan still wants to get a christmas tree, because who can forego the wonderful smell or the nostalgia of decorating it with the ornaments collected/ handmade/ gifted over decades of family life? 

But since New York is hovering on the edge of another step back from what little normal life we’ve had since Phase Four began, I am going to resist with all my might those endless emails goading me into taking advantage of the fashion deals of a lifetime. I’m afraid it will be yoga tights and sweatshirts for the foreseeable future, with a sprinkling of Zoom-friendly tops for those times I need to look more presentable. And anyway, who knows what size I will be after I skip all of the usual holiday overindulgences?

20 thoughts on “My Inbox Is As Stuffed as a Butterball Turkey Even If My Stomach Won’t Be This COVID Holiday Season”

  1. Truly no reason to buy new clothes this season! Well, I am getting a few new pieces of loungewear. 😉 I’ll be going full turkey dinner for the two of us. We’ll make good use of the leftovers. (I love having a freezer full of ready-made meals so I don’t have to cook every night – grateful for microwave ovens!!)

    Have a lovely holiday and fun baking cookies!

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  2. Not sure what’s in store for our tgiving meal, but none of us a fans of traditional starchy foods. It seems like the main course will be Mac & cheese and we’ll build out from there. I hope you find your quiet day perfect and relaxing

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  3. My family’s plans were cancelled as so many others have had to be but we are all well and safe and the food part seems less important. Missing hugs and the informal intimacy is the hardest but the time will come when the weather will be warmer for outdoors activities where we live and our hugging heart contacts will thrive once more. Until then, we remember what was and do our best to find new venues for gratitude every day.

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  4. I also have those emails from companies that want to separate me from my dollars – as quickly as possible. That and the catalogues piling up are the only “normal” evidence of what used to be. So odd still. A mini Thanksgiving will be strange but we’ll get through it. We are luckier than many and thankful for it. And I do agree – one must have pie!

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  5. It is a ritual. Years ago — 1987 — I began a new ritual for Thanksgiving and I’ll probably write about it Thursday or I have already (what MORE do I have to say?) It seems my holiday rituals have changed frequently through the years anyway. Your menu sounds wonderful. My neighbor got a free turkey and is cooking it with all the accompaniments because she is a cook and wants to. I’m making a mince pie. Sometime during the day we will exchange plates. We were kind of hoping for a warm day, but it doesn’t look like we’re going to get that. If we did, we’d make a picnic of it. I hope your quiet Thanksgiving is sweet and wonderful.

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  6. I found my husband seriously considering a pop-up drain cover the other day when I walked by his “home office” computer. They really have his number! I have ordered a barrel of food from a kitchen that trains young people to cook. Since their restaurant is closed, they have reached out for takeout. I will share it with my daughter’s family by carrying it over and waving. I am actually glad not to have to cook this year, but look forward to it when it is again possible.

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