In my former life as a pastry chef, Christmas was always hell. Lots of eighteen hour days. When I worked at the Il Fornaio commissary, it was nothing more than a warehouse with refrigeration units and ovens and it didn't have any windows. I'd arrive at work in the dark and went home when it was dark and it was a little crazy-making. Not to mention the bone-chilling exhaustion, let's not forget that. One memorable Thanksgiving holidays I made 279 pumpkin pies. That was on ONE day alone. It was years before I could even look at a pumpkin pie without feeling slightly queasy and many more years before I could actually eat a slice of it.
But I made some very good friends when I was cooking. I'm shouting out to Kate and Michael and Toni and Norman. Lots of people I've lost track of over the years, but these four I'm still in touch with to varying degrees and am so lucky to call them friend.
Christmas now isn't nearly as hectic (THANK GOD!), and this year it's sad because my MIL died the year before last and my step-father died this year and there are now permanent holes in the emotional landscape.But we have traditions that carry on and my mother is cooking up a roast beast and my children are both home for the holidays and the world is as right as it can be right now.
My best wishes for the holidays. May you read a ton of really great books in 2014!