The wrapping paper has been recycled. The tree’s at the curb and the menorah is back in its cupboard. So what we want to know is this: Is your coffee-mug half full or half empty?
In other words, what did you like a latte? What do you want to venti about? Did you get something grande? Or, are you pouting because you got a skinny, no foam, non-fat, decaffeinated cup of what-the-joe-is-this?
We want to establish an early disclaimer: We loved everything we got. Oh yes we did. All of the stories forthwith were relayed to us by “friends.”
Okay. Wait. Before we recount the holiday highs and lows of others, allow us to confess to our own personal moments of celebratory gluttony, because with every cup of coffee, there’s always a little nosh.
You know how there’s that urban legend about the proverbial fruitcake circulating throughout the world? The story holds that there is really only one fruitcake, and it continually travels from house to house, being gifted and re-gifted again and again because no one actually likes fruitcake.
Well, its journey has ended. Confronted with the fabled cake, along with a wintry afternoon and a nearby fork, we ventured a taste. Thick. Moist to the point of stickiness. Sweet like a maraschino cherry (of which there were many) and gooey like a date bar, it wasn’t that bad. In fact, we liked it. Not just a little. A latte. So let the record show that in 2012, we ate part of an actual fruitcake. If in the future you get one brightly wrapped but missing a little bit, beware. It might not be that fresh. But it’s tasty!
Then there’s the saying, “The kids have eaten us out of house and home.” How true that can be when our teenage children come home for the holidays. But in the confession forthcoming, the home was spared from our kids, but not from us. The house in question had walls of gingerbread, shingles of gumdrops, Hershey Bar windows and green M&M bushes. It’s creamy white icing-covered yard called out to us day after day until we could take it no more. We attacked it late one night and ate it, shingle by delicious shingle. And surprisingly our stomachs didn’t mind that it was a bit stale after sitting on the counter for two weeks. At least, not until we found the note taped to the bottom of the cardboard base that read, “For decoration only, gingerbread house assembled with glue.”
Gives new meaning to the concept of “sticking to your gut.” Still, we liked it a latte.
So what were the bummers? The stale cups of coffee? The gifts that were received with as much enthusiasm as you generate for a tepid cup of Sanka served by your mother?
What were we supposed to say as we unwrapped the United Airlines first-class amenity bag only slightly used by our parents? Hell. We can’t lie. Sometimes a pair of grippy socks come in handy, and who doesn’t like an elastic-banded eye shade? Liked it a latte. Not a grande success, but a keeper.
The following is true. It happened to our friend. She lives out of town, so don’t try to guess who she is. Years ago, working as a young, enthusiastic just-out-of-college gal in a swanky New York office, she eagerly anticipated a holiday gift from her boss. Disappointment abounded when she received an unwrapped, dusty can of paté… old enough to require a key for opening, yet so old that the key was missing. Is she over it? It still grinds her beans.
Another true tale, this one a bit more recent, involves a great gift with a significant caveat. What happens when you travel, via airplane, to celebrate the holidays? Most savvy travelers will choose small gifts that are simple to transport, fit easily within the overhead compartment, and won’t get you arrested when you go through security. In other words, Ginsu knife: bad gift. Pillbox: good gift. Think carry-on.
The same should hold true for the giver when selecting a gift for the out-of-town guest. It’s a nice idea to think about how easily it will pack.
This was not the case for someone we know, who opened gifts well worth receiving but not necessarily worth transporting. As thoughtful as the five large bottles of epicurean sauces were, they presented a problem. Since our friends traveled with no checked bags, TSA would only permit a paltry 3 ounces for the trip home. Anyone want to marinate a single shrimp?
Our friend was faced with the dilemma of having to either pack the gift and check her bags or ship the gift home. Either way, she was faced with a hefty charge. This gift was like drinking from a too hot cup of coffee. You think it’s gonna taste good, but you only get burned.
We want to know what you liked a latte or want to venti about. So grab a cup of joe and join our post-holiday coffee talk.