p. With Thanksgiving having come and gone, the Savino matriarch has begun assembling a to-do list and, more importantly, a to-give list for Christmas. Last year my sisters and I each received mini-bottles in our crocheted stockings to put in the morning’s coffee: Kahlua, Frangelico, Disaronno and Starbucks liqueur — all recommended. But does waking up to alcohol mean that the innocence of my youth is gone?
p. I have taken a picture with the Macy’s Herald Square Santaland Santa — the real one — every year of my life. I cried at three months, slept at 15 months, cried again at two years. At first, it was cute, and then it was a little pathetic by the time I was around 12, but it hit its full stride of irony at the age of 15. Can I really go this year, and will I need a pre-Christmas mini-bottle?
p. While preparing my wish list for my mother, I realized that a leather portfolio, briefcase and business suit wouldn’t be the kind of things Santa was likely to shove down our non-existent chimney. No, this year there was nothing I wanted that could be wrapped up and put under the tree. It looks like it will be another alcohol-filled Christmas.
p. My father is thrilled.
p. As a senior, I’m only a few months away from hypothetical autonomy — both social and financial. My graduation from the College also marks my graduation from Christmas. As my mother has already told me several times, “This is your last Christmas, Charls.”
p. Am I going to die on Boxing Day?
p. Well, the Christmas spirit of my childhood will, apparently.
p. And nobody seems to be particularly concerned. Both sisters — 10 and 12 years my senior — have been counting down the days until my 21st birthday, and now that the day has finally come and gone, all family traditions are out the window. On my 21st, one sister wrote, “I have been waiting for this day since you were born. Does this mean we can start going to Vegas for Christmas now?”
p. I suppose Vegas would be a refreshing change of pace. Chips in one’s stocking, lots of spiked punch, maybe a Christmas strip-tacular, no presents, no stress. Booze, nudity and gambling — everything my family has been looking forward to for years.
p. We skipped the big family Christmas two years ago. The Savino clan holed up in our beach house with meatloaf (the food, not the singer), DVDs and, again, booze. Apparently, that day can never be recreated again; it was too perfect and too isolated.
p. As it stands now, one sister won’t be around for Christmas, nobody even called each other for Thanksgiving and I won’t be going out for New Year’s Eve. Are the holiday traditions just going to lie dormant until one of us has a baby? I certainly hope not — none of us plans to be knocked up anytime soon.
p. Instead of eating advent calendar chocolates like in years past, I get to tick off all of my essays and deadlines as each day ends. I’m working more hours, scrambling for last minute money for gifts. All for what? Sitting around an empty apartment with gimlets and a “Law and Order” marathon? Perhaps, if that’s what keeps the family together. Sam Waterston can be my new Santa.
p. Perhaps now is the time to make some new traditions: The Savino daughters are looking for a mini-bottle encore, but maybe yours will be different. It could be time to transition pajama lounging into brunch or ordering-in Chinese food. I realize now, under the duress of finals, graduate school applications and senior year, that my yearning for Christmas is just the need to return to stability — as boozy as it may be.
p. So I suppose I don’t need my Christmas tree or even to go home, so long as the Christmas spirits are flowing and my family is around.
p. Charlotte Savino is a Confusion Corner columnist. For Christmas, she’s asking Santa for a leather portfolio, a gimlet and a pony.