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Holiday Guide

Adjusting the Season-ing

City Paper’s Annual Holiday Guide

Photo: Sam Holden, License: N/A

Sam Holden


Sometimes we have trouble knowing how to take the holidays. It’s tempting to just sink into a vat of gravy and football games and fruitcake and mulled whatever and giftwrapping and champagne and marinate in the shiny, happy version of the celebration. And sometimes, like this year, as whiffs of pepper spray, partisan bile, and economic flopsweat swirl in the air, it’s hard not to want say eff that to all the happy and the merry and the auld lang syne, to brood on how the candlelit cheer of season often doesn’t extend far beyond the comfier hearths.

Eventually, as we usually do, we find a bit of peace-on-Earth between burnished holiday joy and steely reality. Celebrate what there is to celebrate—family, friends, and good fortune, if you’re lucky enough to have them—but don’t ignore the fact that life could be a lot better for many of us, and look for ways to make a difference. Especially at this time of year, but ideally in January and February (when many programs that assist those in need need a donation or some volunteer time even more than they do before the holidays) and throughout the year. Look for a way to make the world we live in—or just the block you live on—a little better. Who knows, maybe next holiday season it’ll be easier to outright celebrate.

As always, City Paper offers a few thoughts on holiday celebrations via our annual Holiday Guide. Raymond Cummings offers praise to the humble greeting card, while Michael Byrne sings a hymn to singing with other people. You’re probably gonna be sick of turkey within a week, which oughta make Van Smith’s case for the oyster as a Chesapeake holiday staple all the more persuasive. Meanwhile, City Paper cartoonists Dina Kelberman and Ben Claassen III gift-wrap some holiday comics. And what would the Holiday Guide be without the gift guide and the Holiday Guide itself, a massive compendium of seasonal stuff to do? We hope it all fits, ’cause you can’t take it back.

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