Brewing up some holiday cheer

Thinking about the Christmases past.

When my late husband, Ray, was still alive, every December we would acquire a number of bags of various Holiday Blends of coffee beans. It started out simple enough, I like Starbucks’ holiday blend, one of whose components are aged Sumatran beans, but Ray wasn’t a big fan, as he didn’t like dark roasted coffees. So he would pick up a bag of “Jingle Java” which was the Safeway store brand’s holiday coffee.

This escalated over time, as one or the other of us would find other companies offering some kind of holiday or christmas blend of beans while we were shopping. Some years we would wind up with a half dozen or more bags of different holiday blends…

With two coffee drinkers in the house (and regular visits from Ray’s coffee-drinking relatives), it wasn’t too difficult to use up most of the holiday blends before we got too far past New Year’s Day. Particularly the last few years, after Ray got sick and had to stop working.

Ray died in a November, and while I don’t remember a lot about the Christmas right after, I do remember a day late in the following February when I realized I had more than one bag of holiday blend coffee in the fridge, still. While it is possible that I bought a bit more than usual, more likely the fact that there was only me to drink it, and since I didn’t make coffee at home on work days (because I’d drink the free coffee at work) was the cause.

Not that there is anything wrong with drinking a coffee blend arbitrarily labeled “Christmas” in February, but it seemed a little silly. Or possibly excessive.

So, I told myself I would only get one or maybe two bags of Christmas coffee the next year.

I remember a whole lot more about the second Christmas after Ray died. For instance, the first Christmas I had skipped most of any Christmas decorating, mostly because I figured digging through boxes of ornaments and lights we had collected together would turn me into more of an emotional wreck than I already was. I thought the second year would be better. But I wound up bawling my eyes out and having to stop mid-way through setting up the tree that next year until Michael (we had been dating a few months by then) could be there with me.

I couldn’t resist any of the Christmas coffee I found in stores that year. Even the ones that hadn’t been my favorites, because those had usually been Ray’s faves. I would notice the bag, pick it up, then argue with myself for a few seconds because I already had several bags at home. But I’d wind up buying it because, well, because Ray would have liked it.

And Michael cannot stand the taste of coffee. At all. So I still had the problem of not being able to drink that much coffee during the holiday.

In late January, when I still had Christmas blend to use up, I mentioned to Michael that I needed to stop buying so many different holiday blends. He shrugged and said, “You drink them all, right? What’s the problem?”

A few years back, I couldn’t find Jingle Java. I was a little disappointed, but mostly just because at that point it had become part of my personal tradition.

Since then, every holiday season, I have had a more difficult time finding any holiday blends of whole bean coffee other than Starbucks’. It’s becoming difficult to find much variety of whole bean coffee in regular grocery stores, at all. Grinding your own beans apparently was a fad for a lot of people, so there isn’t enough demand to justify the wide variety of whole bean coffee that used to be in stores.

I don’t really need to have all those different kinds of coffee. It’s just something I like. Finding the bags of holiday blend coffee, particularly if it’s one I remember Ray having a fondness for, makes me feel happy. It’s a silly, irrational thing, but there it is.

Last weekend, while Michael and I were out shopping, he endured me spending more than a bit of time looking for some whole bean holiday blends that I hadn’t already picked up this year. When all we could find was one brand of pre-ground, I apologized to him for dragging him around the store for extra searching, since I didn’t really need it.

He shrugged and said, “You’ll use it up eventually, so no problem.”

I suspect when he shrugs with that particular twinkle in his eye, it means he knows I’m being irrational, and he’s humoring me. But I like to think it just means, “I love you” and accept it.

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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. For more than 20 years I edited and published an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live near Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

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