Monday, October 31, 2011

Let the Holidays Begin

Elmo and the Count ready to go
Today is Halloween.  For most people it means costumes and candy.  Here in Tirana we've had two Halloween events- one last Friday on the Embassy compound and the other tonight on the Ridge.  Both of my boys were decked out in matching costumes and collected an amount of candy that is totally out of proportion to the number of spots where they trick-or-treated. I didn't dress up and I don't plan to eat any candy.  No matter how much I try, and despite trowing a rocking Halloween party last week, I just can't get into the spirit of the holiday.  Maybe it was growing up in a rural area where trick-or-treating was not feasible.  Maybe it was the case of chicken pox on the Halloween when I was in fourth grade.   I don't know and I can't explain it.  I am just relieved that the whole Halloween thing is behind me for this year.

Halloween does have significance though.  Tomorrow ushers in my favorite time of year.  With Halloween behind me I can focus on the holidays that matters the most to me- Thanksgiving and then Christmas.   To me, these two holidays have a festive air that I wish I could experience all year long.  I have looked forward to these holidays since I was a child and like fine wine, they only improve with age.  Glenn and I met during the holiday season.  Two years ago we were blessed with the early arrival of Sidney on Thanksgiving Day.  I took his birth on my favorite holiday- plus the fact he was born after I had finished baking the Thanksgiving pies- as a sign that he too will love this holiday season.

I love the food, friends, and family that go along with this time of year.  Ok, more than this I might like the organization that goes along with these events.  The holidays are a great time for us Type A's to have our skills shine.  Starting tomorrow I can begin obsessing about my menus, guest lists, and seating charts for the multiple holiday dinners we will host.  Yes I know I will serve turkey but what will I do for sides?  Will I be able to find sweet potatoes and pecans or will I have to find Albanian substitutes?  Will my place cards be miniature turkeys, pumpkins, or both?  How will I get the timing right to get a dinner for 26 on the table at precisely at 1600?  These are the details I wait all year to ponder and for the next 24 days I can work and rework the countless possibilities for executing the perfect day.  After that I will have another 31 days to determine my strategy for Christmas.  Yes, I am a bit obsessed but isn't admitting you have a problem the first step?

Before I begin any of this, however, the Halloween costumes and my lone decoration- a glitter covered jack o'lantern- must be packed away.

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