I went searching for the holiday chocolates. The peanut brittle. The pecan pie. The $75 worth of exotic cheeses that my aunt had brought to town (inexplicably, she forgot the crackers!) The candied nuts. The salami with the peppercorn coating.
The last edible vestiges of a bygone holiday season.
Anything. I would have taken anything. But the cubbards were bare. The snack drawer famished. The refrigerator shelves like salt flats.
The holidays? Officially over. The holiday snack bonanza had gone.
It isn’t when the Christmas tree comes down that I rue the end of the holidays. Not the Christmas lights getting boxed up or the absence of Christmas music played from sunrise to sunset. (Actually, my daughter still does that.) But when the holiday snack well runs dry, the reality sinks in, and I sink into a deep, dark depression.
“There’s nothing to eat for dessert,” I grumbled pathetically to my wife one night, exasperated. “Have we been robbed?!?”
“You’re used to the Christmas cornucopia,” she replied. “Now it’s a wasteland. You’re going to have to cope. Detox. Get some professional help. Maybe eat a carrot.”
What kind of answer was that? For weeks, I had lived like a Christmas king, feasting on teeth-rotting and waistline-expanding delicacies. Now I was ruined.
This wouldn’t do. I couldn’t go back.
My eyes darted around wildly as I tried to make sense of it. A “wasteland?”
No, there had to be something. I stood at the door of the pantry, trying to spot some morsel I missed before. Trying to piece together odd and assorted foodstuffs that might suffice for a sugary treat. There were pretzels. A handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips. A can of condensed milk. Some questionable walnuts. A dusty bag of marshmallows that date back to when we bought the house. Wait a minute, we bought the house back in 1998? Wait a minute, ARE THOSE EVEN MARSHMALLOWS?!?
No matter, could it work? Could it make a treat?
No, it wouldn’t do. It wouldn’t be the same. It might send me to the hospital. There’s probably a special code they use to bill ER visits like this — “Idiot ate questionable goodies post-Christmas.” Insurance wouldn’t even cover something stupid like that.
Defeated and downtrodden, I gave up hope. Not even the thought of the last sliver of crusty cheese that had survived the purge could lift my spirits. Thanks to my aunt, there were no Christmas crackers, either.
So I went back to the sofa and listened to my poor rumbling stomach sing songs about the good old days, when cubbards sagged under the weight of goodies and my waistline could expand exponentially. Goodbye holiday season.