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Greeting the Season

November 25, 2012 , ,

The feasting of Thanksgiving behind us, we are hurdling down the holiday barrel of laughs toward either a cheery/jolly time or a close encounter with debt and depression. Which do you have at holiday time? Since much of the shared consciousness of holidays takes place on screens now, rather than in person, we can more easily show a public facade of festive fantasy while freaking out in deep desperate disorientation. I personally am neutral. I don’t drive much any time of year, but for the next 5 weeks I will be in my car even less. I do not like all the high anxiety and consumer madness in the streets. There is more distraction than I would like on the road, so I stay home.

My parents used to send out letters in Christmas cards to establish a contact with people they knew around the world and basically mislead them about how happy they were. This copying and addressing by hand, then stamping and sending the revised versions of their lives was an important way they stayed tribal with all the accepted norms they wanted to keep. They lived in a time when the exterior show was of the utmost importance. Not sending Christmas cards would have made them uncivilized. I still have a couple of cards printed with my name on them that I sent to people when I was in elementary school. They are kind of non sectarian, with a picture of a fawn and Happy Holidays. I have never felt the need to send cards or give gifts as a social imperative. The big build up, the relatives crashing at the house, the decorate and mandatory clean up was not my style.

I like to cook special treats that remind me of winter to give to friends and neighbors at this time. I make some spaghetti squash latkes for Chanukah, and all kinds of ginger concoctions. This year I am featuring nuts and everything that I can buy at the Caravan Market. This specialty foods shop right down the street from my home has all manner of goodies and spices from the middle east and north Africa. I can bike there and bring back exotic extreme foods and spices in minutes. They have pistachio baklava, halvah, and Swiss chocolate for sweets. My own version of holiday cheer is a little extra money and effort spent on food and drink. Shopping local for me is fun and easy. I prefer supporting my neighbors in business to trying to find my car in the parking lot at the mall.

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comments

Completely agree with you on the shopping local bit! I did almost all my holiday shopping this year on Etsy, that way I knew I was supporting independent artists and crafts-people.

As my grandparents age, I also realize how important it is to spend time with the elderly who get especially lonely this time of year. Although I don’t live near enough to the grandparents to pop in for a visit, I make a point to call often, and also stop by my elderly neighbors’ apartments with cookies and good cheer:-)

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Jess @UsedYorkCity

November 26, 2012

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