by: Ange Concepcion
Christmas season is coming to a close. I couldn’t be anymore ecstatic about it! I’ll enjoy my peppermint bark as you suckers are taking down the decorations!
Before the freshly embered coals are hurled in my direction from your daintily decorated home with stockings over the fireplace, allow me to begin by saying I dig baby Jesus – nothing against him – but I just don’t feel compelled to show my care for others by buying things. My feelings are likely three-quarters laziness and one quarter traumatic childhood memories.
I’m of the school of thought that parts of our personality, fears, and how we experience things in the current moment can be traced to an event or a series of events, usually of the unfortunate traumatic sort but can be kind of looked back with humor and fondness for the good ole’ days, from childhood. For instance, my fear of abandonment can be traced back to the time when my mother was trying to catch a blue line train from Harlem to the Loop. I was six years old and my little legs could not keep up. I was a tubby little kid with poor depth perception running down a decline. You know how difficult it is running as fast as you can without tripping over your shoelaces and helplessly rolling down?
I used to like Christmas. I wasn’t one of those ungrateful kids who got pissed at getting my third pair of gloves for the season – I chronically lost gloves and I still do. We had a pretty festive neighborhood, so my family and I would drive around and admire the decorations.
However, as each Christmas passed, I absolutely hated the painstaking process of taking down the decorations at the end of the season. Our chipped, light-up blow-mold Santa Claus would once again retire back into the depths of our garage. Why couldn’t the decorations stay up? You put in all that work, trying hard not to fall off a ladder in a blistering cold Chicago winter, and then you have to march back into the cold and take it all down. Lucky you if you didn’t have to shovel your way first to forge a path back to the garage! It was completely illogical, especially after my seven year old self was berated by my mother weeks before, exasperated that my short, stubby fingers were such a failure in stringing up Christmas lights on the awning.
I really couldn’t take it anymore. My excitement for Christmas lessened.
When I was fifteen, my stepmother at the time lent me a book she was reading, “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham. The story is about a couple who decide to forego Christmas because they have nothing to show for the thousands of dollars spent on gifts and other Christmas related expenses; they are then looked down upon by their neighbors, including the Boy Scouts trying to peddle a Christmas tree to adorn their living room. Reading this helped validate my feelings a bit about Christmas being more about consumerism than about baby Jesus. I think I gave up buying things for people when I was sixteen or seventeen. My heart wasn’t into it anymore – I felt forced. For a time though, I baked cookies from scratch and gave them to friends just to show some effort was made on my part. I even sent some to a friend in Texas – the first time in a long time I ever made a huge effort to send a present.
Also, I don’t really expect to receive nor do I want any Christmas presents. That’s fair – I’m not giving so I really shouldn’t be getting.
I can’t escape it. Ever. I don’t think I’ll ever be successful in escaping Christmas. It’s my Groundhog Day. So this season, thanks to my RAs, I did make a gingerbread house, decorated a Christmas ornament, and took a picture with our lifesized snowman in a snowglobe. I even hoisting myself on top of a table to reach up and take the decorations down. I did have some fun.
I don’t have a moral of the story for this post – except that ever since I shared my experience to my colleagues as a helpless seven year old bitterly stringing up lights, I’m now known as Angry Ange. I’ve embraced the Angry Ange persona and have created some Angry Ange food recipes. I’ll share one with you, consider it my present from me to you. Have fun taking down the decorations!
Angry Ange Roasted Veggies:
6 yams (different varieties)
10 Brussels sprouts
3 golden beets
3 red beets
3-4 tablespoon EVOO
Recommended ANGRY spice- 1-2 tsp Adobo (onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper)
To make ANGRIER- crushed red pepper flakes
Cube all of the veggies. Throw them angrily into a large bowl, then drizzle the EVOO and Angry spice.
Place in preheated oven, 325 degrees F. Roast for 70-80 min.