I thought I might go all out with Christmas decorations this year, but it turns out there’s no need. One of our neighbors put out a sign offering to decorate everyone’s doors, so now I come home to a fully decorated apartment building every night. If I saw this in a movie, I’d be like ‘Pfff! That would never happen’, but it’s like the great Mark Twain once said, sometimes truth is cuter than fiction.
In my office building, I get to see a big tree, wreaths with twinkly lights, an electric menorah, and a Kwanzaa altar. I get really giddy when I pass the Kwanzaa decorations because one of the first chapter books I read was about a New York family who celebrated Kwanzaa, and I dreamed about moving here and meeting friends who celebrated it. I still don’t know anyone who does, but maybe this is the year!
Outside, streetlights and lampposts and, yes, store windows are decorated, too; but I am most excited by the decorations put up just because. I do believe that the holidays are about much more than consumerism, and it’s nice to have visual reminders of this. Of course, materialism is a part of these holidays, just like it’s a part of every other aspect of our lives. Hate the capitalism, not the Christmas is the moral for me, though trying to come up with meaningful gifts that don’t perpetuate our current economic system is rough. A necklace made of foraged walnuts might be a nice gesture, but it isn’t particularly desirable, you know?
Devin and I are going to Mexico to celebrate with my big family, under one roof for a whole week! Neat things happen when so many of us get together. One year we spent an entire day painting with watercolors. Last year I ended up watching three Hallmark Christmas movies in a row with my gruffest, most serious uncle. They all had names like Christmas with Holly (Holly being the protagonist, of course). The best part is that the movies were even too cheesy for me (me!), but my uncle stayed up to watch a fourth. It was called Naughty or Nice, and the main character was named Krissy Kringle, you guys.
When I was little, my cousins and I would dance and sing along to this 80s album of Mexican pop stars singing carols. I didn’t realize how nonsensical some of them are until I played them and Devin translated the one about fish drinking river water to celebrate Jesus’s birth while the Virgin Mary brushes her hair with a silver comb. It’s actually really catchy…
Before we leave, I want to bask in all the New York holiday cheer, decorate a little Charlie Brown tree, and maybe even talk some friends into going to see the lights in Dyker Heights! Do you have any holiday traditions? Or tips for things to do in NYC? What are the best stocking stuffers to disrupt the social order, anyway?