Where are you spending the holidays and who are you celebrating with?
I think this year I’m going to be spending the holidays close to home. I live in Brooklyn and I’m lucky enough to have some really lovely friends that are walking distance, so I know we’ll be together this year – and I’m looking forward to it. This season I’ll be celebrating Christmas and First Nation People’s Day. More so observing on that day and aiming to be thoughtful. The holidays have shifted since my mom passed 14 years ago – I don’t really celebrate in the same way. I try to just take the time to be with self and be with loved ones and be thoughtful – as thoughtful as I can.
What does “just enough” look like for you this holiday season?
This holiday season - and what I’ve been lucky to discover over the past few years - what’s been just enough has been to just be present and to feel content in being present during the holidays. I used to get a lot of anxiety around the holidays after my mom passed because I was so fixed on how I wanted it to go, so I just adore and appreciate being able to be present and with loved ones or spending time on my own for the holidays.
What’s your ideal holiday celebration scenario?
This season my ideal holiday celebration scenario just involves being with close friends and family in a small intimate group and watching movies, creating art, and enjoying one another’s company with no rush. No rush to finish things or get something done at a specific time – just as relaxed and real as possible is ideal.
What’s the one thing that you absolutely have to do for it to feel like the holidays?
There’s definitely a couple traditions that are from my childhood growing up with my mom that I still feel very attached to. Cornish hens stuffed with stuffing that has raisins in it and a really gaudy Christmas tree with lights that sing a tune. And then turning off all of the lights in the house and just laying there cuddling and watching the lights play is my favorite thing to do. As well as being late to get your tree…
Any holiday traditions you’ve moved away from over the years? Why?
Over the past few years, I’ve moved away from Thanksgiving and from calling it that – I tend to say First Nation People’s Day – or being thoughtful about Indigenous People, especially on this Day. And usually I use this day to learn more about how I can be thoughtful, helpful, and ideally a non-oppressive individual to First Nation People.
Can you tell us about your most vivid childhood holiday memory?
I have such vivid memories of Christmas Eve after my mom and I would dress up the tree and it was covered in tinsel and the lights would have just been plugged in and they would play four songs on rotation. I would just lay in my mom’s arms and she would tell me stories about her childhood and young adulthood. It was my favorite time of the year. I just got to learn so much about her and we got to be super close and it was just the sweetest time.
Do you have any unusual or quirky holiday traditions?
Although I don’t celebrate the holidays in the way that I did growing up, I still have some quirky rituals and traditions. One of them is getting my tree late – which in New York is not such a big deal, you can find a tree anywhere – but, in Boston my mom and I would wait until the very last minute and the adventure of finding a tree and then throwing all of the lights and ornaments at is my favorite. I don’t like a perfect pristine tree – I kind of love an ugly tree. It’s just so sweet!
Any final thoughts or parting words?
Final thoughts I’d love to share are an affirmation and it goes “I am, I am, I am. Beautifully, exquisitely, and to the maximum me. Asé, asé, asé, and so it is.” Cheers, happy holidays.
Credits: Photography courtesy of Karina Sharif