Quick Guide to a ‘Not-so-Christmassy-Christmas’

I’m not a fan of Christmas but even I know that Christmas this year SUCKS! I mean, what’s Christmas without the Christmas markets, groups singing carols, without being able to gather with as many friends as possible to have a drink and share special moments? It's still a consumerist holiday.  But seriously, this is a really different Christmas and there isn’t much Christmas spirit going around. That’s where I come in. Strap yourselves in and get ready for Neo’s quick tips for celebrating a ‘Not-So-Christmassy-Christmas’.

Tip one: Don’t!

That one was another joke. Maybe I should be a comedian instead of a c-class writer. Anyway, enough with the funnies.

Now for my REAL tips on celebrating a ‘Not-So-Christmassy-Christmas’.

1. Go green with a Grinch themed Christmas Movie Marathon.

Something that should already have been considered without me having to type it out. One of the biggest ways to get into Christmas is by getting into the spirit of Christmas (whatever that is), and what better way than by binging on Christmas blockbusters?! And who better to be the icon of that marathon than the Grinch himself?! 

After all, just like the Grinch stole Christmas from Whoville, Covid stole Christmas from us. It is amazingly fitting.

If you’d like to be a little less jolly, throw on anything with the brilliant character of Ebenezer Scrooge. That’s my kind of Christmas

2. Grocery store fishing for halászlé

This one is for those of you who plan to have a Christmas lunch with the few that you know. I know it’s an international tradition to make meals that remind us of home to share with our foster families, but how often do we think we include the signature Christmas dish of our new home? We rarely do, and it should change. 

A traditional spicy fish soup, this is PERFECT for having a wholesome meal that not only encompasses the meaning of Christmas (loads of food) but, with enough paprika, will keep you warm on that 7:30 pm. hurried walk home.

For an extra fun time, have two or three friends over and cook it together. For a bit more Hungarian to your Christmas dinner toss a bottle of pálinka in.

Staying on Hungarian holiday foods another suggestion for a more Hungarian Christmas is taking a crack at making a Poppy Seed dessert. You may be asking yourself “O’ Great and Wise Neo, Master of the Written and Spoken Word, Keeper of Durags, what are poppy seed desserts?”, which is a great question. Lean in close for the answer. It’s a dessert with poppy seeds in it.  A great suggestion is mákos retes, a rich poppy seed strudel.

In Hungarian beliefs, poppy seeds bring good luck and fortune in the new year and if we’re being honest the world needs that for 2021.

Find an apron, whip out some flour and whisks, buy three or four bags of poppy seeds, and get to baking.

3. Make Mu-Mu-Mulled Wine.

Speaking of local alcoholic delicacies, Hot wine should not be forgotten. Just the smell of this stuff alone is enough to fill your home with a loving and welcoming aroma. I mean, cinnamon, citrus, maple syrup?! SIGN ME UP!!!

All you’ll need is a fairly large pot, a few ingredients and a couple of friends over to soak up the cinnamon scented love.

Our beloved Google has recipes for both alcohol and non-alcoholic drinkers so nobody will feel left out. Who needs eggnog, am I right?

4. Play Among Us or anything online

If you have the unfortunate stroke of bad luck and are in quarantine for Christmas, don’t despair. Rally your friends around a fun game of Among Us on either your phone or your pc.

Throw that Christmas spirit out the window by sowing distrust and suspicion into your friend group by killing your friends one by one and lying to them all with the end goal of being the better Imposter (I mean you could also be a crew mate but the fun is in killing on the game, not trying to survive).

Or any online game. Or try video-call them while having dinner, they can prop a phone up at the table and make it like you’re a cyborg. All it takes is a little imagination.

5. Be Together.

This year has been BRUTAL, and that’s putting it lightly. So many of us have taken losses, big ones, small ones, but losses nonetheless. For a lot of us this may be their first Christmas away from home, or their first without a loved one they may no longer have. So be kind to each other (always, but  especially now), be warm and sensitive. Help each other.

Give to each other love, patience, friendship and food.

If you can, hold those you love close.

If you can’t, text them or call. If you feel it's safe to gather with a few friends, do so. If not, find someone you trust and gather with them. Being together has more to do with a feeling than being in the same physical space. Keep in mind that despite what you may feel, you’ve all done your best this year, especially under the circumstances. You’ve held onto your academics, mental and physical health, friends, family and loved ones as best you could. That is enough.

For this fifth tip, Be Generous, Be Kind, Be Safe and Be Together.