I’m really looking forward to Christmas vacation this year. I am blessed (and hopefully will be in the future) to have a job where my boss is easygoing about giving me time off at the end of the year. My boss is awesome.
For the last few years I’ve had some running traditions that I plan to keep up again this year. Some of this is because it’s Christmas, and some because it’s the only time of the year I really have a chance to do them. But it’s equally true (if not more so) that there’s a big part of me that likes to take things I especially enjoy and turn them into annual affairs, even something like reading a particular book at a certain time of year. I suspect this has a mild OCD component, but frankly I don’t care because it’s kind of nice to have a guiding impulse to do something fun.
Technically my vacation starts Saturday, but I have too much to do for that to count. On Saturday I need to finish up Christmas shopping, which involves tackling a few question marks still on the list. I also need to make a grocery run that same day, unless I do it early Sunday. But Sunday is going to be busy too, Monday of course is Christmas Eve and therefore I’ll be doing a lot of wrapping and watching Christmas movies and preparing a waffle strata, and then there’s Christmas. So vacation really starts Wednesday.
First on my list: I need to watch the extended edition of Lord of the Rings again. This is the best time of year to do that. If I have a LEGO set to put together while I watch, so much the better, but I can also just sit back and relax with good food. I’ve been in the mood to do this all the more since getting LEGO Lord of the Rings for the PS3, and also since watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey this past weekend. (That movie was incredible, and I definitely want to go again.)
Another thing I have to do is make a wonderful cube steak sandwich, for which I’ve already posted the recipe. And I have frozen chicken wings to use up, which means teriyaki wings are on the menu sometime as well.
When I was younger, on New Year’s Eve there would always be a Three Stooges marathon on WSBK, the Boston superstation that was on a lot of cable listings at the time. We collected a lot of VHS tapes of these marathons over the years, and as a teenager one of my favorite things to do was watch a Stooges marathon and make up a ton of popcorn to go with it. Nowadays I watch the DVD collections. I always like to take a day for the Stooges while I’m on break.
Popcorn is a special experience for me, if it’s done right. I like to air-pop it, and then melt on a lot of margarine. Butter will do. My wife complains that this makes the popcorn too soggy, but I love it. I have a good popper now, too: It’s made by Presto and carries the Orville Reddenbacher brand name, and it’s tall enough that most of the kernels stay inside the machine instead of flying out before they pop. Oh yes, there will be popcorn.
This year I have an unexpected bonus that I definitely have to make time for: John Dies at the End will be available through video on demand on the 27th. I’ve loved the novel for years now and the wait for the movie has been excruciating. It’s in theaters at the end of January but on demand this month (it doesn’t make sense to me, but just go with it), and Amazon will have it too. This is a must-watch for me.
Sometime during the break I’ll also want to make time to play some cards. My brother-in-law and cousin-in-law both got me into playing Magic: The Gathering this summer, so it’s only fitting I should spend some time playing cards with them.
Somewhere in there, I also have some book work to do. The Affix needs a teensy bit more editing. It also needs a much better cover, because I want to try to get it out on Kindle Direct by the end of the year. One Woke Up needs a Nook edition so I’ll have to get that setup on PubIt, and I might try to see what it’ll take to get it onto iTunes. The print edition is pending only my approval of the proof copy, which I should have in my hands in a matter of hours.
I have an awful lot of fun to cram into that time, and an awful lot to do before I even get to that point. This is the best kind of stress.