Save the years when Christmas is all about gifts (aka childhood), I’ve never considered myself much of a gifter.
Don’t get me wrong — I absolutely love giving gifts. Making someone else happy is probably the best feeling in the world.
But after I went through college and learned that I had to learn how to support myself, I realized how trivial it was to be grown up and making lists of things that I wanted other people to buy for me.
Because, you know what? Things are just things. If they were that important to me, I should be able to buy them myself.
That’s just my opinion, anyway. To each her own.
I’ve always been a fan of doing things myself. Making my own lunches, designing my own invitations, and growing my own vegetables — these are things I’ve been into lately.
For the past few years — basically, since I started supporting myself — I haven’t been so much into giving or getting gifts. Gifting season often gets out of hand; and I realized so much when my family set a ten-dollar limit to Christmas. Children were the exception, and there were and still are only two. For the kids, we go crazy. But for the grown-ups, we keep it simple.
It basically converted Christmas into the family’s cheap booze exchange, which I have no complaints about whatsoever. When I only have a few days in California, I either drink it with my family as fast as I can, or fork over a few bills to check a suitcase filled with wine back to DC, where I drink it with my friends over homemade dinners as fast as we possibly can.
Despite the facets of gift-giving getting ridiculously out of hand, I think it’s safe to say that the feeling you get after giving a really good gift is one of the best feelings in the world.
This year is the fourth Thanksgiving I’ll be spending away from home. I’ll be thousands of miles from my family, just three hours ahead, but part of going off on your own and not looking back means taking some things into your own hands.
Thanksgiving will be at my house this year. This will be on the menu. I recommend it.
Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Mustard Dressing (adapted from the New York Times)
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (my favorite whole seed version)
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound brussel sprouts, fresh
2 apples of your choice — the tart ones are best
1 shallot, finely diced
If you have a food processor with a shredder, then trim the ends off of your brussel sprouts and just shred away. For those of you like myself, you can just chop them up. The easiest way is to first slice each sprout in half, and then, starting at the top of the sprout, make skinny horizontal slices until you reach the end, at which point, you can just toss the end of the sprout in the trash.
Also finely dice your apples, and the shallot. Toss them in a mixing bowl, and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it all up.
Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl or a mason jar, and stir or shake until completely mixed.
Toss the salad right before serving, or let it sit in the dressing for about 30 minutes to make it more of a slaw. Dress with some pretty apple slices, and enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving dinner.