I always really enjoy Christmas day. Unfettered by obligations to baby Jesus, I get to do whatever I want. Typically this means convening with all the other Jews in town at Nate'n Al, savoring lox, eggs, and onions (mmmm!) and vintage waitress snarkiness, after having waited an hour for a table. It's usually the prettiest day in the world, so walking through abandoned Beverly Hills, the air seems crisp and impossibly clear. One year we ran into Rachel's grandparents, who kindly footed the bill for breakfast after her grandpa regaled us with stories of what Los Angeles county used to be.* Other years, we'd see relatives, acquaintances, my family doctor, Larry King.
But this year, we were invited to a real Christmas brunch. Well, actually, I'm not sure if this is how Christmas is typically celebrated, but there was a little tree, so that counts, right? Even if half of us were Jews? Typical LA Christmas maybe? Anyway, our friends were housesitting someone's cozy (and gorgeous) house, which came complete with fireplace and lazy terrier named Gatsby. They made tons of delicious brunch food, along with mimosas and great coffee, and we lounged around in our socks and read InTouch magazine. Got catty about Top Chef contestants, talked seriously about Who Wore It Better, and learned about Kenny Shopsin, the crazy genius behind macaroni and cheese pancakes and a book called Eat Me. It happens that there are a few extraordinarily hilarious characters in the group, so we didn't need much more entertainment than ourselves (well, basketball was on too, but really who cares). Christmas, just how it was intended. Right?
*Rachel's Gramps was a one-man oral history of Los Angeles. He attended UCLA, back when the campus was downtown, and could tell stories about every detail of Los Angeles history for decades back.