I always loved Christmas. The cheer, the celebrations, the pretty decorations, all never failed to put a spring in my step and a dent in my wallet.
I entered the season with an already dented wallet and was shocked when I realized that Christmas was almost here. So last week, after a City appointment and time to waste on a gloriously warm day, I walked through lower Manhattan looking for the weird or the wonderful.
Greenwich Village, Soho, Chinatown, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, not one business seemed to honor the season. Artfully minimalist boutiques with tightly curated wares, all of them looked as they might in September. Twenty-somethings in their versions of holiday attire roamed about celebrating SantaCon, the annual massive bar crawl that would get rowdier as the day progressed.
Tired and sad, I headed towards the subway and found a tree lot unlike anything I had seen that day. It took over a little sitting park and smelled of joy and hope and the promise of glad tidings.
I went home and started decorating the naked little tree in my living room, determined to do things differently this year. I used a fraction of the baubles and decorations amassed over the past couple of decades. I strung fruit shaped ornaments on a tension rod over the kitchen window. I gathered all my lighthouses under the goofy pink tree near the dining table. I set out candles.
I tightly curated.
It would have been easy to visit the Rockefeller Center tree and the famously decorated department store windows, but that gets old pretty quickly. I could have driven through the adorable holiday lights at Jones Beach, with its oversized drive-through displays on an otherwise unused beach roadway. But I joined some friends there last year, all cozy in their little truck, oohing and aahing like a kid.
As I write this, I’m listening to seasonal music, drinking fragrant mint tea to ward off the damp chill. I’ll tie ribbons around the gifts I carefully selected, keeping the recipients’ individual quirks in mind. Then I’ll put away the giftwrap clutter and admire my handiwork. I’m glad I could salvage what’s left of the season of peace on earth/good will towards
men all and be Santa Claus to a few relatives.