Archived Story

Overlapping holidays never overstay their welcome

Published 8:20pm Thursday, November 18, 2010

Next week is Thanksgiving and just a couple of days later, the first day of Hannukah.

My holidays are overlapping and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.

jessicaConsidering both holidays are centered around groups of people dealt incredible inconveniences, (the Native Americans who likely regret that seemingly innocent dinner invitation to the pale faces and the Maccabees who found themselves fighting super savvy armies with sticks) I suppose how I feel about it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Still, I don’t know how I feel about it.

Oh, but I can feel it. The joy of the holidays. That sweet, syrupy joy that feels a lot like when you’ve eaten too much candy and become incredibly sick to your stomach.

The holidays are always so distressing for me because they symbolize the stark difference between my wants and wills.

What I want to do is create an incredibly intricate menu of for both holidays with an agreeable amount of time in between, print them on thick, textured paper with little handmade decorative accents and throw a fabulous intimate gathering where all my close friends and family will get along swimmingly and spend most of their time discussing how great I am at throwing holiday parties.

What I will do is dream about this over food magazines while I sit in a Starbucks shopping the Internet for gourmet foods that can be shipped fresh overnight.

I will bake up whatever seems easy, likely ruining one or two recipes and vowing never to make them again, settle on my “never fails” pumpkin bread and drop loaves off randomly to friends and family for the next few months until I get the feeling they’re too polite to tell me they are sick of it.

Oh the joy.

What I want to do is decorate my place with a tasteful arrangement of home accents for each holiday.

What I will do is spend entirely too much money on anything I see that looks cute. Or vaguely cute.

Or whatever, how can you not buy a $3 spray painted stick of silvery, glittery, Styrofoamy decorative ball things?

None of it will really look tasteful but I won’t care.

More twinkle lights, I say.

I love the idea of varied traditions on the holidays. I want to experience them all, the sweet potatoes with the marshmallows, I’ve never had them but I hear people can’t go a Thanksgiving without them — what’s that like? I once was given the chance to experience Christmas morning, getting up and lugging presents over to a friend’s house where we set them up under a tree. When we opened them up, it felt a lot like Hannukah, only really early.

For all my love for the holidays and such it occurs to me that I have never actually stopped to take stock of what I’m thankful for. I think lists of what we’re thankful for can be a little cliché, but nevertheless… I’m going to take a shot.

I am thankful for family and friends and twinkle lights. For good coffee and my American Politics professor who taught me basically all politics are based on are emotions and lobbyists. I don’t know if that was his point but that’s what I got out of the class and it took a lot of the pressure off.

I’m thankful for music and Bill Gates. I am thankful for work, which “did for the trouble what gin did for the pain,” as the writer Joan Didion once said and for salt that breaks down the ice. I am also very thankful for food and water and pajamas. And warm blankets. For the power of celebrity telethons to ease the pain of natural disasters and for passports.

And most of all for hope, for faith and for laughter.

The holidays … they always come around too fast and they never last long enough.

Jessica Sieff reports for Leader Publications. E-mail her at

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