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Eating It Up

Devour the holidays, one course at a time

By Hilary Berg

The holiday season is upon us. This time of year, centered mainly on Christmas and Hanukkah, might be compared to a multi-course meal.

Editor's Note

Hilary Berg has been the editor of OWP since 2006. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s in journalism. She and her husband own a seven-acre vineyard and winery called Roots.

Directly after Halloween, the “hors d’oeuvres” begin. Most people have not yet arrived except for a few go-getters; they are not shy about devouring the holiday early, hanging lights and pulling out trunks of decorations for another annual deployment. Other guests slowly emerge, but the initial “diners” set the tone, awakening the rest of the group to “the most wonderful time of the year,” a phrase those early birds embrace to the fullest, extending the holiday to almost two months — retailers approve.

With the majority of guests now present, “supper” officially begins with the first course, a “salad” of greens and reds — and other hues, too, depending on your color scheme and affiliation. It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Decorations are hung and cheery, clever store displays can no longer be ignored, no matter how hard you resist.

The second course represents the following weeks, the countdown to the Big Day. Holiday radio stations blast classic songs — on repeat — and a hunger for the “main course” grows stronger. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of food with festive treats at home, at work, at school, everywhere — proudly, I have never refused a Christmas cookie.

When the “main course” finally appears, some are already full of holiday cheer, but others have successfully paced themselves all season. Either way, hopefully the “star dish” is as magical as anticipated. Great effort went into its execution, and appreciation is, well, greatly appreciated.

Finally, guests linger for “dessert,” eating leftovers for days, while continuing time with family, for better or worse. All are awaiting the year’s final celebration, New Year’s Eve, the icing on the cake, the cherry on top.

By the end of the “dinner,” all feel exhausted, many craving routine to return. Some even vow to take a break next year. But time heals, and the holiday season has its way of seducing — and inducing a long winter’s nap, especially after such an epic “meal.”

Now, eat up! Happy holidays!

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