George Costanza had Festivus and Seth Cohen had Chrismukkah. Not every family has a clever name for their holiday celebration (and if you know my family you should be INCREDIBLY shocked that we don’t), but every family has their own way of celebrating. Now yes, as I have said before I am Jewish and I celebrate Hanukkah. When I was younger, my sister and I would have our 8 days of presents laid on our matching living room chairs. We would carefully determine which gifts to open on which day, debating over whether to open 1 biggie or 2 smallies that night. But the Robin family also celebrates a little Christmas too. No tree (to my dismay) but always a little gift and a special family day to celebrate. Every family has their own idea how how to celebrate during the holiday season and in my lifetime I have had 3 different versions of a Robin Family Christmas.
Version 1: “A Very Broadway Christmas”. Since we were home during Christmas break and had no particular plans on December 25th, my parents would take my sister and I into Manhattan to see a musical. Katie and I would wake up Christmas morning to find whatever show’s playbill we were going to see taped to the sliding glass doors of our kitchen. After a breakfast of salami saucers & eggs or pancakes & fruit cocktail (David Robin classics) we would head into Manhattan to catch the matinee. Maybe we would drive passed the tree at Rockefeller Center or the windows at Barney’s, but something about spending Christmas on Broadway felt so glamorous…like I was the real live Eloise at the Plaza or something.
Version 2: “A Very Sunny Christmas”. Once I began college, we started going away over December break. For the first year, we tried out some ridiculous resort outside of Puerto Vallarta. There was a mall and a zoo inside the complex and well…that was the end of that place. The next year we went to the relatively (at that time) unheard of island, Anguilla. The water was crystal clear, the temperature wasn’t unbearably hot, the hotels got all of the New York local news feeds, and it was packed with celebrities in hiding. After our first off-roading adventure stalking Kevin Bacon & family after Christmas dinner, we knew this was how we were meant to celebrate the holidays!
Version 3: “A Very Jewish Christmas”. Just like you’d assume, this consists of a movie and Chinese food. When I started working, it was not always easy for me to get vacation time when my family would be celebrating Robin Family Christmas Version 2(and meeting Bill and Hil Clinton without me). If that was the case, I would usually move myself into my parents’ Upper West Side apartment for a week of pet sitting and testing out new take out restaurants. Luckily for me, their apartment is down the block from THE BEST movie theater in Manhattan, Lowes Lincoln Square. I would spend the days leading up to the 25th dissecting the movie schedule; trying to come up with the best movie viewing formula. Do I eat lunch before or is popcorn and soda my meal? Do I have time for a double feature or will the dog need to be walked? If I do a double feature do I go from funny to sad, or sad to funny? And will I have enough time in between to find a good seat?. I know, I’m a nutjob! I also suffer from INCREDIBLE movie-seat-placement anxiety and try to get to the theater as early as possible to get optimum seatage. Once all of this is figured out and I battle the other neurotic UWS’ers (because we ALL have the same crazies), I take out my US Weekly and wait the 30 minutes in my seat for the previews to begin. After, what seems like the most stressful movie going experience of life; I go back to my parents’ apartment, change into a different pair of sweats, and order low mein & egg drop soup from Empire Szechuan. Nothing says Merry Christmas like the taste of soy sauce! Yes, this version doesn’t really SCREAM family, but as a Jewish New Yorker, I know this is what my fellow “tribesmen” are doing and I feel like I’m part of a family on a different level.
I’m lucky enough to have also been able to participate in some of my friends’ holiday traditions. My friend Casey’s family has an annual holiday open house party at their home in Westchester. No joke, the minute you walk into this party you feel like the holiday season has wrapped its arms around you and gave you the warmest hug of your life. Between the homemade lemon squares from her mom (who may be one of the most impeccably dressed women I know) to their heartwarmingly charming family toasts it’s hard to leave the fete. My friend Amy and her family get together for two weekends in December and make…wait for it…HOMEMADE CHOCOLATES to give to their friends and family as holiday gifts. I’ve always heard tales of the chocolate making, and this year I went during weekend 1 and helped make centers for some of the truffles. Decked in matching “Chocolate Elf” t-shirts, this family has NOTHING on Santa’s elves-they are a well oiled machine and it is literally amazing to see in person.
Cheeseball as it sounds, the holidays are about family-bottom line. No matter what holiday you celebrate, when you celebrate it, or what you call it-as long as it fills you up with love that is all that matters. This year (thanks to a pre-scheduled blog posting) we are already in the thick of celebrating Robin Family Christmas Version 2. From a lounge chair under a palapa in Antigua, I raise my sandy bottle of Corona to you and wish all of my blog readers a very Happy Robinmas (YES!! WE HAVE A NAME!)!!!