Friday, December 12, 2008


Everyone is a Grinch This Year

At my husband's company holiday party, I overheard a woman say that everyone is a Grinch this year. Christmas can't get started. The economy is in shambles, stores are now putting new, luxury merchandise straight to 70 percent off rack thereby robbing it of mystique, Thanksgiving came late, there are no presents under the tree. Most of us don't even have our trees yet. Etc.

In fact, we have only one holiday card so far and when I pointed this out at the party, everyone around me agreed. They had only one holiday card apiece as well! It has been difficult to get into the spirit. It's also oppressively dark and when the sun starts to set, I think, "Already?"

And yet, I try. It isn't fashionable to love Christmas, but I do and always have. I like lights and music and making things. The dining room table, where all non-writing related projects live (until it is dinner time, and even then on occasion), looked like this over the weekend; knitting projects, cookies and Christmas cards underway.

I've finished my baking, and managed not to give myself a colossal headache this time; no trips to the ER for strong painkillers (knock on wood). Next week I have a tea-party and I hope that most of the cookies will have disappeared by then. Over the weekend, I have my annual high tea at the Waldorf with a very special group of people. The Nutcracker comes later in the month.

I've been craving the opera lately and tonight went to see the divine Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson sing in Thais. What a treat. The plot, though predictable, is quite true in a way, with Thomas Hampson unaware that he is in love with Thais until, of course, it is too late. When the subtitles translated Hampson's woeful, "I love you," as Fleming insisted she saw the gates of heaven opening before she slumped dead in a chair erected on some kind of altar, the woman behind me began to tut. "Too late," she murmured. Fortunately, most things in life aren't so do or die, and I was able to take in Fleming's stunning and sensually beautiful voice --and the Christan LaCroix dresses -- in stride. And so, I'm trying to fill up the dark days with busy, happy, bright things.


Greetings from a voice from across the decades, ok, a decade. I came across your webpage via my colleague, Alex Chee. Congrats on the book! Graywolf is a great press. Best wishes for the holiday; it's one to be even more thankful for what we do have.
Hi Marie,

I'm bringing the kids to NYC next week to see the holiday lights (actually it's mostly for me to see the holiday lights) and would love to see you and Gordon while I'm there. Not everyone's a grinch this year. I already emailed Gordon with the details. Hope to see you soon.
Robert! Oh, it's so lovely to hear from you! How are you? I think I've managed to accidentally take my "contact me" button of this page, but please do get my email from Alex so we can correspond properly. I remember you very fondly and hope that you are well, and that knowing Alex Chee means you have escaped Kaplan to do something interesting and worthy of your talents. Thanks so much for your note.
Matt--Kids are always the perfect antidote for Grinches and we'd love to see you. I remember all those discussions about having kids or not--I bet you are having a wonderful time and are terrific parents. and I am a complete sucker for decorations, so you won't be the only one marveling at the windows. Thanks so much for getting in touch.
I'm working to enjoy Christmas this year. The past few years I haven't done much for Christmas, just the usual decorating. My husband isn't much of a holiday person so it's hard to get into the spirit at home.

Last year I got everyone Christmas-y at work--I decorated a lot and it inspired a lot of decorating. Doing the same thing this year. I've also been going to concerts and things, and tonight I saw A Christmas Carol, the musical!

This is going to be my big Christmas baking weekend. Cookies galore! I'll be making the ones you've pictured, and hopefully more... :) There's a pressed cookie I make shaped like a little Christmas tree that gets dipped in white chocolate and decorated with red and white icing.

To kick things up a notch this year, I'm finally hosting a holiday party. It's not going to be an elegant dinner or anything--instead, it's a cookie and gingerbread house decorating party. That will be next weekend, and I can't wait!

So, obviously, I love Christmas, too :) It's my favorite holiday!
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