The Party’s Over (er..excuse me)

Having never hosted a Christmas party before, I was quite naive about the collateral damage left in its wake. I’m not talking about property damage (We’re Lutherans. We don’t have those kind of fun parties, at least not without copious amounts of beer and Polka music). I’m talking about physiological damage.

First, there’s the complete disregard to anything resembling a balanced diet. This collapse of gastronomic order is exacerbated by the well-meaning guests who leave all of their food behind (because they know what will happen if they bring it home). Suddenly, you’re rationalizing having bar-b-qued meatballs before bed and eating cheesecake for breakfast. “They left all this food behind. I don’t want it to go to waste (as it “goes to waist”).”

Second is the complete exhaustion. You went to all of this trouble to prepare the house for guests. In my case, there was painting walls, moving furniture, and hanging paintings and light fixtures in addition to the usual cleaning-like-you-actually-care chores. So once it’s all over, your body acts like it’s finished some sort of marathon, and you pretty much just drop.

Other than the physical movements required by your employers/customers in order to get paid, there just ain’t a whole hell of a lot of physical activity going on between Christmas and New Years. This condition is perpetuated by the first condition. With all of the leftovers that need to be eaten, there’s simply no need to actually cook anything. And if a dish doesn’t fit in the dishwasher, it ain’t gettin’ washed. My dish drain still has the clean dishes from Christmas in it.

And for those of you who went to the gym right after Christmas, you either left your ill-gotten gain at some other poor sap’s house, or something is seriously wrong with you. Normal people were snuggled up on their couches in the jammies they got for Christmas, yelling at their favorite football team and making fun of the dorky New Year’s Eve Parties on TV (or at some party, trying to pawn off their food to the host in a gesture disguised as generosity, when it’s really an act of self-preservation).

I can totally understand why Americans are fat people, and my take on that phenomena is actually a positive one. We are a culture that shares our affection and generosity of the human spirit with food. Celebrations are characterized by the traditions of certain foods, most of them decadent because the expression of joy is a decadent feeling. In my neck of the woods, it is rude to have someone over to visit without putting out a plate of something (commonly referred to as “coffee”, but there’s usually enough food to qualify it as another meal…oh, and served with coffee).

As the nation as a whole, we’ve been through the ringer this last year. I think we deserved those last couple weeks to party and turn into sloths in a gesture of joy and camaraderie. If nothing else brings us together, the excesses of the holidays will.

My wonderful husband made bean soup from the last of the ham left in the fridge from Christmas. We finished it up last night. I finally went back to the gym yesterday (even though I really REALLY didn’t want to). So I guess things are returning to something that resembles normal. My brain’s finally ready to get back to work. My digestive system may need a few more days to recover from all the rich food. Good thing it’s just the two of us in the house…and there’s nothing flammable around. Take a Tums and have a happy 2013.

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