Please! Don’t Do It!

These people are NOT going to the mall later.

I am so dismayed by the practice that has been evolving over the last few years, that is, stores being open on Thanksgiving itself.

I worked for a (very) little while last year, when things were rather desperate, in a retail store.  When it came to light that I would have to work Thanksgiving night, I just about cried.  Actually, I actually cried. What is becoming of us?  A time to celebrate and commune with family and friends, with no presents or “stuff,” with a meal that can be quite  inexpensive to prepare, that is a quiet time to just be, and we want to go to the mall.  Stop it!  Go on Friday.  Or, better, on Saturday.

What do you need so badly that you must cut short your and your family’s and the store clerk’s Thanksgiving? Even if you do desperately need an off-brand flat screen TV at a ridiculously low price, you know that you are going to have to stand in line and then throw elbows like hell to get one (and still maybe not get one!). You do know that, right?  So please don’t do it.  Think of the people who have to work in those stores, who have no choice and can’t quit their jobs because they have to work on Thanksgiving.  Moms or dads who have made a feast for their families, which is quite a lot of work, and then have to go to out to their jobs at 8:00 at night.  It’s not right.

Let’s get back to being civilized, family-centric people who don’t do things like act like a horde of barbarians for some crap at Target or Walmart.  Please.  Stay in and enjoy your family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Happy New Year!

A large, rollicking party, loud with noisemakers and awash in champagne, like something Nick and Nora Charles would attend?  Or a quiet evening by the fire, watching Ryan Seacrest and trying not to miss Dick Clark (but at the same time wishing Dick Clark would just let it go, when his infirm self shows up at the end of the show) and having a glass of dry sherry at midnight?  Hard to say.  New Year’s Eve is tricky.  If you go out there are always expectations of romance and revelations, both of which seldom appear.  And those expectations often seem to turn New Year’s Eve into a disappointment.  Then sometimes you just get together with a couple of friends, some spaghetti, and some champagne and you end up dancing til three o’clock in the morning.  So yes, I think New Year’s Eve is tricky.  For me the key is minimal expectations so that I’m sure I won’t be disappointed, but I also leave room to be pleasantly surprised.

Usually we have fondue for a late dinner.  But this year, with semi-adult children coming and going, and not being sure who will be here when, I’ve opted out of the cheese-fest.  Leftover fondue is never a good thing.  So this year we are going with the aforementioned spaghetti, along with meatballs, sausages, and garlic bread.  And the alcohol may or may not flow–we’ll just see how the evening goes.

When the children were little, I would make a two layer cake for dessert.  Then I would cut up a few 3 x 5 cards into four pieces, and write a fortune on each piece.  Fortunes don’t need to be elaborate:  “the tooth fairy will visit before the summer’s end” or “you will meet a new friend who will become dear to you” or “great luck, happiness, and wealth will soon be yours” (may as well think big).  You get the idea. Wrap each fortune in foil, and then punch a hole in the foil-covered card.  Tie a piece of curling ribbon to each fortune, leaving the ends about eighteen inches long, then curling the ends.  Put the first layer of the cake on a plate, level the top, and frost the sides and top.  Lay the fortunes on top, with the ribbons sticking out, draping down over the sides of the first layer. Place the second layer on top, sandwiching the fortunes between the two layers, and frost the sides and top of the top layer.  Now you have a cake with colorful, curly ribbons sticking out.  Take turns gently pulling out fortunes and reading them aloud.

We’d also do M&M fortune telling (apparently I’m big on fortune-telling).  Take a handful of M&Ms and reveal your future.  Red: self-confidence;  blue: wealth;  orange: love;  yellow: geekiness (can be cancelled out if you also have red and blue);  green: wishes (make a wish for each green one you have);  brown: health.  It’s kind of fun, very easy, suitable for all ages.

Now of course New Year’s Eve tends to be somewhat alco-centric, and I’ve been seeing a lot of hangover cures online.  You do know there are no hangover cures, right?  Time is the only thing that really cures a hangover, and prevention is the only way to buffer the after-effects of your debauchery.  No, I’m not saying you have to have a dry New Year’s.  Rather, there are a few things I have found, through some rather unscientific experimentation, that help you to survive the next day, because there’s nothing worse than that feeling of being afraid you might die of your hangover, and also of being afraid you won’t.  First of all, water is the biggest key.  Before you even start to party, have a bottle or two of water.  Start out hydrated and it won’t be so hard to keep hydrated (the hangover headache is mostly due to dehydration).  Eat.  Regularly. If you are going somewhere where a proper meal is not on offer, have a peanut butter sandwich before you go. At bedtime have a snack and another bottle (maybe two) of water.  A couple of spoonfuls of honey at bedtime is, for some reason, very helpful.  And then Advil.  I take four, but you should probably stick to the recommendations on the bottle as I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.  So the bedtime regime is a snack, water, honey, Advil, more water, then bed.

I’m not even going to remind you not to drink and drive because you are not an idiot and wouldn’t do anything that dumb.

So it might not be a New Year’s Eve Nick and Nora would relish, but we’ve had a stressful year and the idea of some quiet revelry is very appealing.  Next year will be better than this one–good riddance to 2011, hello 2012!

Happy New Year!

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