A Blogazine, based out of Park Slope, Brooklyn, that features fun and interesting articles. Topics include: parenting, society, real estate, career, style, spirituality and more. Written contributions are always welcome!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Home for the Holidays

By Molly Osmond

A few years ago my mother visited me in Brooklyn the weekend before Christmas. She spent an afternoon in Park Slope, walking in and out of the shops on Fifth and Seventh Avenues. “It’s interesting to see how differently people shop in the city,” she told me, “At home it’s all in the malls.”

Which, after eleven holiday seasons in New York City, I have come to take for granted. To me the holiday season means Christmas trees for sale outside of drug stores and dry cleaners, it means lines out the door at the butcher the day before Thanksgiving, it means only buying as much as you can carry, it means stepping carefully on sidewalks slippery with wet leaves while balancing the wine, the fixings, the 108” tablecloth you need just that one time, the hostess gifts, the candles, the pie box in your arms.

My quintessential New York holiday moment is not even mine; I think of Harry and Sally dragging her Christmas tree home along the snowy street and then I think, How could anyone NOT love New York?

The first year I lived in New York I spent Thanksgiving at a dinner party in Chelsea hosted and attended by a slew of theatre actors and then spent Christmas alone which wasn’t fun but wasn’t awful, and that holiday season (at least, in my mind) solidified my connection with the city. The first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner was two apartments and a lifetime ago, in a garden level floor-through with low ceilings and Harvest Gold appliances. My parents shipped not only my holiday china (which my mother and grandmother had dutifully started me collecting when I was 15) but an actual table: it belonged to my dad’s mother and arrived via UPS in the biggest box I’ve ever seen with one broken leg which still wobbles and is being held together with packing tape and good will.

That table has been through many moves, three with me alone. It currently resides square in the middle of my tiny kitchen and I’ve looked at it and wondered, What this year? It’s a big question, my first holiday season as a single person after five married years.

I’ve had countless conversations – arguments even – about the holiday season and how (really, where) to spend them. When I was married there were two families in two different time zones and then there was me, who inevitably wanted to stay local, reaffirming that bond which was forged back in 1997, wanted to cook and drink wine and enjoy the quiet and walk down the neighborhood streets peering in brownstone windows and enjoying the density of the city and the depth of its celebrations.

I think of holiday shopping in my favorite shops, of that hot-then-cold-then-hot-then-cold-again thing that happens with all of the in and out; I think of groups of friends crowding around makeshift tables giving thanks via wine, board games, more wine, I think of trying to hail a cab on Christmas morning, I think of calling my family with the time difference in mind, I think of lights strung on fire escapes, I think of the park on the day after Thanksgiving and then I look at my rickety dining table and know that I will be home for the holidays. I think, how could anyone NOT love New York?

Molly Osmand writes about life on
her blog Les Cadeaux and occasionally
writes about food on Slow Cooked.