Christmas is nearing, and stupid Christmas music is everywhere. Nauseating. I know many people like Christmas, but I despise this Holiday wrapped in consumerism (pun intended). People are putting up the trees a day after Thanksgiving, but it is more of an exhibitionist affair and a show for the neighbors because although the rest of the windows are covered, the tree window is always open. For who? Is my tree better than yours? Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the perks of this holiday, especially time off work. But in truth, it makes me depressed and stressed as I seem to pick up the stressed energy from everyone else.

New Years on the other hand I love. I suppose it is ingrained in me from the Soviet times. It was the biggest holiday full of guests and debauchery. Some presents, fireworks (my dad would bring some military stuff to light, always a big boom), the tree magnificently appearing after the night of the 30th thanks to the parents. It was always a surprise in the morning! Lovely stuff childhood is made of. And then in the eve sitting under the table with your sibling guessing which shoes belong to who and listening to adults drunkenly happy conversations. They were always a happy conversation and gossip. How is it that people who have very little (which we did) find happiness in small talk and everything else easier. And then on the 1st eating leftovers of “Winter salad” (potatoes, pickles, meat, onion, peas and sometimes carrots slavered in mayo — pure heaven) for breakfast and opening the presents. Good times. We looked forward to it the whole year even more than for a birthday. I will never not love it. And that’s what I am looking forward to: getting together with the friends of 15 years, making pelimeni, watching “S Legkim Parom” (a Soviet comedy of errors, quite good), and drinking champagne. Then eating and drinking some more and having the happy conversation. Cheers to that!

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