It has been zero days since my last heartburn.
Welcome to the holiday season – a stretch of calendar days where people of every culture have at least one day set aside for gift giving and eating. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, I am in a constant state of satisfaction and regret. Should I be eating all of the foods? At once? YES AND YUM.
I’ve got five distinct things I need to eat and do during the holiday season in order to feel like I’ve fulfilled my traditions. And they all somehow lead me to a night of rolling around in bed with stomach acid burning in me. But what a way to go, right?
Here are all my biggest holiday indigestion offenders:
1. Die Hard + Leftovers
If Die Hard isn’t your traditional Christmas season movie, I don’t know if we can be friends. I can only watch Die Hard after Thanksgiving, late at night, and usually once I see that it’s on TV, I go warm up a bowl of leftovers and watch. Watching it on cable TV (instead of Netflix) is a tradition of mine: I watch the edited television version because then when it’s on, it catches me by surprise. Oh sure, eventually I watch it on DVD so I can hear more than just “yippekiyay [SILENCE]” but I like to start the season with it on cable.
Usually Die Hard shows up on television right after Thanksgiving, so I grab a bowl (always a bowl, never a plate), and put in mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey and whatever vegetable we’ve got. I give it a lathering of gravy and into the microwave it goes.
If Christmas is, as Hans Gruber says, “the time of miracles”, then watching Die Hard while plowing through a bowl of leftovers is my holiday church service. It’s at least holy. I mean, Karl, Franco and Fritz end up with holes in them, amiright?
2. Video Games + Christmas Cookies
Remember when you were a kid and Christmas break meant that you could stay up late and play video games? I don’t need to remember this because I still do it. Having days off work means that you can find me logged into Xbox Live later in the night playing Destiny, Call of Duty, Halo, or Rainbow Six Siege. And usually around midnight it’s time for every cookie in the house to get in me. Unfortunately, hunching forward in my gaming stance while mowing cookies is heartburn waiting to happen.
Cookies are plentiful and delicious during the holiday season and everyone wants to give them to me. And I oblige. They’re all scratch-made, and different colors and flavors and some are shaped like people, and I’m pretty sure one of them even had bacon on it. Oh god, I just want to talk about cookies with you all day long. And video games. My stomach hurts.
3. Tamales + Netflix (and Chill)
You know a tradition that immediately reminds me of the culture-rich community that surrounds me in California? Christmas Tamales. But instead of “making it a Blockbuster night” (R.I.P.), these days, we just pick up the equivalent of a Coleman cooler full of tamales from a local Mexican restaurant and Netflix a movie back at home. Sure, tamales are available year-round, but maybe it’s the colder weather, or maybe it’s the holiday-themed red- and green-sauced tamales, I don’t know. But they’re delicious and you can put down like 10 of them before you even realize that you haven’t pressed “play” on Netflix yet. What movie were we even going to watch?!
But you know what also has no chill? Eating 10 tamales. They sneak up on me and get my stomach acids working like a concrete mixer. There’s literally no human way to pace yourself with delicious Mexican food. And there shouldn’t be.
4. Board games + ALL of the Snacks
You’d be surprised; ask a totally rational group of human beings if they want to eat a whole bag of Chex Mix and no one will agree that it’s a good idea. But you sit people down in front of the fireplace with a board game and put out never-ending bowls of Chex Mix and an hour later, two people have stomach aches and I’m asleep in my recliner getting man-parts drawn on my forehead.
It doesn’t matter what you put out; Chex Mix, chips and dip, mixed nuts, cheese and crackers, a bowl of lightly salted broken glass, or a can of Manhattan style fish buttholes. You don’t even need to be embroiled in a bitter land battle in Axis & Allies (where each turn can take a half hour). A friendly game of Cards Against Humanity can make you start reaching for something salty — though depending on which cards are being played, “salty” might be the last flavor you’re looking for. Awkward.
Amirite? I don’t know why we don’t make fudge year-round. Do you people even know how easy it is to make fudge? There are really complicated recipes out there on the internet and they’re great too. But you can simply dump a half bag of chocolate chips into a bowl with a can of condensed milk and then microwave it for two minutes (TWO MINUTES Y’ALL), pour it into a Pyrex and put it in your fridge to set for two hours. THAT IS IT. You can take that basic formula and add some instant coffee to make mocha fudge. You can add nuts. You can crush up candy canes and mix them in. You can sprinkle shaved coconut over the top. You can pour the mixture on top of a pan of flattened, pre-cooked cookie dough and then you’ve got fudge cookies. The possibilities are endless.
And so is the indigestion after I eat all of the fudges. I have no regrets.
Pepto Bismol gets my eating habits and actually sent me products as part of their #PinkRelief campaign to sooth my man-tummy. Also, disclosure! They paid me for this post, but the stories and opinions here are all my own. If they weren’t, then why does my stomach burn?
What kind of holiday eating traditions do you have? Do they leave you with stomach acid, indigestion and a general sense that — while you don’t regret eating what you ate — you could definitely use some relief?