Not just Christmas, either: I hated the stupid music, the annoying lights, the fattening food, and more than anything, the expectations.
I tried to bail out of the holidays entirely that year, but my mother is wiser than me. "Don't worry about the presents and all the other stuff," she told me over the phone. "Come and have soup with the family on Christmas Eve."
I love my family. And I love soup. Especially my mom's Carrot-Cauliflower Soup (the recipe is at the bottom of this post).
So I agreed.
I wrapped up the only present I had gotten that year--a cookie jar for my brother with the Starship Enterprise on the outside. It made the transporter sound when the lid lifted--awesome, right? I'd found it at a garage sale back in July, before I hated Christmas.
For the rest of the family, I had nothing. And that kind of made me sad. Because I love my family. And I like giving my family presents.
But I had nothing to give: no money to buy stuff, no food in the house, nothing.
In a fit of desperation, I fired up the computer and printed out a story for each person. Except for my brother--he was going to get the cookie jar.
That night, I was happy to see my family. The soup was wonderful. And when it was time to pass out the gifts, my family graciously accepted the folded up pages that contained stories.
All except my brother. He got the cookie jar.
They opened the stories.
They read them out loud.
They passed them around.
Except for my brother. He opened the cookie jar. It made the transporter sound. Awesome, right?
"Don't I get a story?" he asked.
From that day forward, I have always given stories as holiday gifts.
About ten years ago, I started binding up a bunch of stories into little booklets, so that everyone could have lots of stories. And when I started blogging, I started posting them here: stories, poems, songs, and other funny little things. If you want, you can go find all the stories from past years:
2009 stories BEGIN HERE
2010 stories BEGIN HERE with a poem
2011 stories BEGIN HERE with an original Skookum tale
2012 stories BEGIN HERE with another Skookum story
2013 stories BEGIN HERE
And 2014 stories begin...tomorrow!
Meantime, maybe you should make up a nice big pot of soup, yeah? Here's the recipe:
Cut into chunks about 1" square:
- some carrots
- an onion
- a cauliflower
Sautee all these in butter until the onion is clear. Then, dump the vegetables into a soup pot with
- some broth (chicken broth or vegetable)
Let the ingredients cook together over a low heat for at least an hour. Then add in
- some cream or half-and-half or milk
This will cool the soup down a bit. While it's cool, run the entire thing through the blender until it is a smooth, pretty orange color.
Heat the soup back up gently, and add any of the following just before serving:
- fresh grated ginger
- dried dill
Serve warm, preferably with fresh bread and butter, and a glass of nice wine.