It's Christmas time in the city

I love the whole hoopla around Christmas.   I cannot get on board with the uber granola crowd and while I respect that they consider growing a tree in the back solely for the purpose of using it as some sort decorated pagan symbol of winter (cause PC says you cannot call it .. come closer so I can whisper a Christmas tree)  and wrap granola bars in recycled hemp for presents.  I for one want to buy my tree, have someone hoist and tie it to the roof of my car and then put it up in my house as a Christmas tree with pretty, shiny wrapping paper and bows on the gifts underneath.   I know the reason we use an evergreen is closer to the granola crowd's explanation but I like to bring my pagan rituals inside when it is cold enough to see my breath outside.  Should this change to say decorating palm tree on beach outside in the future then I will do it with fruity cocktail on side.  However, they are wrong when they say this is not about gifts.   If you are going to combine the tree ritual from BC you might as well know it was all about party, gifts to the gods and each other and loads of wine and debauchery.  I know, I know the baby Jesus ... that's coming, keep reading.

I also would like to tell you the "reason for the season" but even that is murky combo of Christian and pagan rituals and for this girl who is a non-believer the reason for the season is to decorate, take a moment to share kindness with a stranger and go bonkers with decorations.   I also love gifts - love love love the whole gift giving process.  I know materialism blah blah blah - once again this year I am not recommending spending way beyond your means but I do like gift giving.  I like the whole hunt for the gift that fits perfectly for each recipient, the pretty way they are wrapped, using my new wonderful tags from Hampton Paper Designs (which are stunning to the point that it will pain me to actually put on gifts and see them go) and then seeing the people open and fill with happy moments when they see the gift.  Conversely I want to get up and be able to pop the person upside the head who says these things more once as they open a present " oh you shouldn't have" - umm really yeah I should have because that is what we probably gathered together for along with a nice meal.  "This must have cost too much" - if it did you bringing this up just reminds me that you think of my financial situation in dire terms (unless said gift is say a BMW then is it cost wayyy tooo much) or you want to know what the going exchange rate is for it.  Any obvious over examination of a product - looking for fault in front of me will not fix whatever you find and since you are somehow related to me I will have to watch those lips pucker in distaste once again at my gift as you ooh and aah and the utterly tasteless thing someone else bought you who you obviously prefer to me.  Yes that is someone I know - at one point I was going to play to get even and just try to out-ugly the other present but even that could not draw me into .. shudder Walmart.  Do not get me started on why Walmart is my idea of the Death Star run by someone infinitely more sinister that Darth and the Emperor.

The other part of Christmas that I love is the city - love the way it is decorated, even with the masses of tourists people are a little kinder (this in New York may just mean that they sigh loudly as they have to navigate these tourists rather than they usual descriptive way we have of sharing our disapproval).  I could walk the city streets pretty much at any time but at Christmas with the lights and the pretty windows - Saks are usually my favorite.  I love walking up to seeing the Christmas cake-like fountain lit up and there is always enough time to look at the Tiffany windows and unleash my inner Audrey Hepburn.

I even like Christmas music - all kinds from the magical voices of the Vienna boys choir to Darlene Love and even Rob Thomas telling me about a NYC Christmas.  However, I will say I have been known to get weepy at some of the more religious carols .. the thought of a young couple driven from their home, shunned by their friends and family, threatened by death to find shelter to give birth to their baby just makes me well up.  I also know how that child's life ends and whether you think of him as messiah or just a prophet who celebrated Hanukkah before he became "reason for the season" it is a tragic story.

The countdown has begun - time to start wrapping, rapping a little Christmas in Hollis too (what you can take the girl out of Queens but a little Queens never leaves this girl), and putting the final touches on the gifts.  The tree is up - so my holiday cards arrive closer to being New Year's cards - and I am enjoying the city every day and with my family more often than usual.  Oh did I mention we are a Hanumas family so there are also dreidels, latkes and gold coins for 8 days all over this house - we totally get our celebration on during this time of year in this house.

"City sidewalks, pretty sidewalks, dressed in holiday cheer..."


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