Pizza For Christmas Dinner
Cellphones At The Dinner Table
A woman who had been financially and emotionally abused for years decided to check into a hotel one Christmas. She stayed there for a few days then went back to start divorce proceedings. Are women appreciated for the work they do to make homes happy places?
They normally prepare Christmas dinner and perhaps the word prepare is too restrictive. It can take a week or two to plan the logistics, what to buy and where to buy it, pots or roasting pans to clean or buy new ones, who to invite to dinner, and other details necessary for everybody to have a good time.
Cooks might get hurt if most family members punch their phones during dinner. Cooks also have phones but their work never ends. They keep their eye on the serving dishes and they replenish pumpkin, rice, beans and salads.
Pizza for Christmas dinner might be the future trend, if women continue to feel isolated and under-valued. This is not far-fetched, judging from women's decision in North America and Europe to have one child or none at all.
In the novel, Fiction Ruined My Family, the mother, who used to love cooking, took her daughters to a restaurant for Christmas dinner after the divorce. They were very angry that they opened their presents in a restaurant.
Women who do not have blogs, are not active on Google +, Facebook, Twitter, or in online speciality portals, do not know how to text or take simple photos with their cellphones, feel that isolation even more, because they cannot follow conversation about what is happening in their children's lives.
Granted, there are thousands of men who prepare Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, but it is mostly women who scour markets and grocery stores for the right ingredients, stand behind hot stoves and also wash pots and pans when everyone has driven off to hang out with friends at their favourite Starbucks.
Families differ. Some women are blessed with children who come home a few days before Christmas to help, and do not leave on the 26th of December, but remain behind to clean up and also talk to their parents.
Others are not so lucky. Their kids jet in Christmas Eve and fly back to their lives on the 26th, as if Christmas dinner is a chore.
Pre-Cooked Christmas Dinner
Enterprising women, who long discovered that they don’t have to actually peel, boil, roast or burn anything to demonstrate love for the family, get everything from the local deli in New York, Harrods Food Halls or Woolworths. All they do is to arrange it on expensive platters.
These are women of means, who do not know their bank balance because it is overflowing with cash, or have credit cards with no limit.
Ordinary women feel the pinch at Christmas mainly because of two things:
Budget for the holidays
Preparing Christmas dinner
Feeding the whole family and invited guests costs money, but it would be interesting to find out how many people give their mothers and wives extra money for the holidays. Other families do not because women are supposed to provide a nourishing Christmas dinner out of love.
A good example is what I overheard at the coffee shop one day in November. Eavesdropping is rude. Words of wisdom from mama, but I couldn’t help it. Ears could be like the wind, drifting into places where they are not supposed to be.
This woman and her husband are putting finishing touches to their condo. It is the venue for the family Christmas this year but she is worried that the hubby’s invitation list seems to be growing longer each day.
“There will be 18 people for Christmas and his brother has three sons and you know how boys eat.”
Healthy kids have appetites but that is not the point. She was voicing concerns of most women about the financial side of Christmas and holidays in general. The condo has only two bathrooms but her husband does not want his relatives to book into hotels.
Pitching In Financially
This type of stress is not healthy for women. It is also inappropriate for a time designed for family bonding. There are quite a few remedies to avoid how women like her feel at the end of the year.
Families could deposit an agreed sum into mum’s account, if Christmas dinner will be at the parents’ house or give it to the brother’s wife, to use the above example.
Call it Christmas operational costs which will buy more incidentals like extra coffee, snacks for the kids, juice and toilet paper. This contribution already happens in some families where someone picks up the tab for the drinks, and others take the mother or wife grocery shopping for the mammoth dinner.
What people eat on the 25th of December depends on their culture, religion, financial situation and size of the house where the gathering will be.
The common factor is that it is women who will be doing the gathering of fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish or meat. In some cultures, preparation of special food goes on for days. That is why women need help, and this happens in some families where nieces and aunts pitch in.
There are also female relatives who cannot be bothered. They waltz in Christmas Eve brandishing their Blackberry phones and suit bags trailing behind them. It’s easy to blame them, but why should women be the only ones on their feet all day?
Unless men belong to cultures where it is absolutely forbidden to touch the uncooked food they are going to eat, men can help prepare Christmas feasts. It’s good for them.
Chopping and peeling is good exercise for the hands.
Mixing herbs and spices fires up the nose.
Rubbing the bird with condiments is sensual.
Mixing flour is like a punching bag for your enemies.
Danger of Ignoring Women
The falling birthrate in North America, Europe and Australia is the result of ignoring women and their concerns.
Many things are attributed to the decision not to have children: divorce which leaves women to raise kids alone, difficulty in finding new partners because of body scars from child birth, hostility to pregnant women in the workplace, the cost of raising children and decent housing.
Women brought these issues to the table. Some were addressed. Some were not, so they voted with their bodies and stopped having as many kids as their mothers.
Ziyi Mai writes, “In Spain for example, the total fertility rate has fallen more than 50 percent to 1.48 children per female, which is one of the world’s lowest birth rate.”
Women might also stop cooking Christmas dinner if they think nobody cares, with disastrous results for the home and future generations.