I have a trifle dish. I only use it once a year, most years, for making the Christmas trifle. I don't know why the trifle is so important -- even taking my Anglophilia into account, why not the Christmas pudding, or the fruitcake, or the roast beef? Actually, I also have a soft spot for the fruit cake, since it's big in Sri Lankan culture, but it is seriously labor-intensive, so it doesn't get made every year. Also, you need to make it at least a month before Christmas and often I forget. My point is, there are many possible dishes I could care about.
And yet, I don't. I only really care about the trifle. It can be a different trifle every year -- it's not the specific recipe. But if I didn't make some kind of trifle, using my trifle dish, it wouldn't feel like Christmas, and I can't explain why. I thought for one second of making a pavlova instead, mostly because I have been envious this past summer of Anne's gorgeous pavlovas, which I find addictive. But pavlovas don't feel right for Christmas, not to me. It's trifle or nothing.
But fear not! The trifle is at last assembled (save for the final layer of whipped vanilla cream and decoration of raspberries, which will go on tomorrow, after it chills overnight (and hopefully sinks a bit)). The first seasonal glass of eggnog is sherried. The children are asleep, and I will take my sherried eggnog to my hot bath, and soak my aching bones.
The trifle's in the fridge and briefly, briefly -- all is right with the world.