Every year it begins earlier and earlier. Our society seems content to leave it up to Wal-Mart and Macy's to tell us when the holiday season starts. This year, I think it was somewhere around the end of July. Well, I've decided it's up to me from now on, I'll decide when the holidays begin.
The end-of-the-year holidays to me mean spending time with friends and family and remembering what may have been forgotten throughout the rest of the year, the really important things in life. I have decreed that the holiday season henceforth will begin on the day we make the Zanone Family Ravioli, and that was this weekend. So, actually, the holiday season this year was set in motion on the day when my sister said, "Let's make the ravioli on Saturday, Nov. 10." And we did. And we had our friends over just as we did last year to help and to visit and talk and laugh. And just like last year, they did a great job putting together the pieces that make a meal worthy of such friendship. I thank them and my family thanks them.
My family spends a lot of time with our friends on a weekly, often daily, basis, but there is something about this time of year when the closeness feels concentrated. I don't know if it's the weather or the food, but having a house full of people feels even better than it does the rest of the year.
The temptation, of course, is for me to declare the holidays earlier in the year the way Mattel does and have everyone over in the heat of August to work and sweat into the pasta, but it just wouldn't be the same. I need the crispness in the air, I need the richness of the Chianti and I need these people around me as one year tapers and the unknown looms ahead.
[Thank you, Chip, for the photo. Thank you, Elizabeth, for the wonderful gravy. Thank you, everyone, for the wine!]