Remember When I Was Too Depressed To Blog At Christmas?

Okay, depressed may be pushing it.  More like unmotivated, living entirely off of roommate Chris’ leftover Christmas cookies, nocturnal and treading the waters of impending despair.

Sorry, I just can’t not be dramatic.

But anyway, I finally downloaded my Christmas pics today from my camera, and since I’m just sitting here at work dreaming about my (now totally awesome and no longer despairing) future, I figure I’ll post.

The blurry nature of this first pic has a lot to say about the energy of the night before the annual holiday extravaganza.  Tradition #1: Wassail.

For a few years now Karen and I have been making this most heartwarming of traditional drinks to serve as the tastacular centerpiece of our gathering.  It’s an ancient, English version of grog or mulled wine involving sherry, brandy, baked apples, and about a brick’s worth of delicious winter spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, alspice, brown sugar…).

And here’s your medieval factoid of the night: the word wassail (as in, here we go a wassailing la da dee dee dee dah) comes from the Old English expression wæs hæil! or wæs þu hæil! meaning ‘Be in good health!’

From experience, we know to make it the night before and then leave it on the stove to mix and mingle for the party the next night.

In addition to wassail making and a continuous dance party, we “nogged the eggs” early and also baked a pie and some other goodies.  It was a good old-fashioned food party.

The next night…

A handful of old-time friends came over and we set out the buffet composed primarily of Chris’ cookies.  Every year he makes enough for all of us to be diabetic by Easter.

If we have one thing to be proud of this year, it’s the way we divvied up gifts.  We made a cut-out of a Santa hat and stuck it to the tv.  Then, we put in Jurassic Park.  Everyone picked a character, and the idea was, when your character “wore the hat” you got to pick a present.

Still with me?

Now, most people thought carefully about their choices, picked a person based on screen time and, considering everyone’s intricate knowledge of the film, proximity to the hat’s location.

Some of us, however, picked characters based on badassitude and awesomeness.  For example, I was the T-Rex.

It was a riot cheering on everyone’s characters and saying all the standard quotes (“clever girl…”).  By about half-way through the movie, most gifts had been distributed.  Except for mine, of course.

But you know that end scene when the velociraptors are chasing everyone through the main building, and then they climb down the bones in the atrium and just when everyone’s about to be alive when they eat you, the T-Rex appears out of freaking nowhere and saves them?

And you know how the last shot you see is the T-Rex roaring, and the banner “When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth” floating down in front of him?

Well now imagine, to a chorus of observers shouting “Wear the hat!  WEAR THE HAT!”, he roars…. RIGHT into the hat!

It was so gratifying.  We are so awesome sometimes.

The gifts were fun in themselves, of course.

Chris and Karen both ended up giving each other cups/mugs with moustaches on them.

And you know what, this isn’t the first time moustaches were given at Hanukkah Harry before.

Did I forget to mention we call our holiday party by that name?  Hanukkah Harry–the fake holiday gift-bringer we made up 6 years ago as a gesture of goodwill to Brandon, the one Jewish roommate who during the Christmas season was constantly under a barrage of our out-of-tune Christmas carols.

And so you have it–a brief glimpse into the strange holiday traditions of my outstanding group of friends.  We are strange–and we love it.  Merry Christmas!

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~ by Rachael on January 30, 2011.

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