I spent most of my day yesterday trying to travel to the Hamptons, specifically to Amagansett, but my wait time at Penn Station and on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) inspired a weird amount of thought. [I should also probably cite Joni Mitchell as inspiration, because “River” was playing on repeat on my iPhone.]
As a member of the Hebrew persuasion (a Jew, a Yid, one of the Chosen People), Christmas affects me in one of two ways. I know that, depending on when Hanukkah falls, I’ll either spend December 25 celebrating the festival of lights in snow-laden Michigan with latkes and gelt, or else (and more to my liking), I’ll spend baby Jesus’ birthday eating Chinese food and watching a newly-released winter-themed big blockbuster comedy. I can’t quite remember what we saw last year, but the nosh-component of the holiday remains a fond memory. My maternal Great Aunt rented out part of our family’s favorite (almost signature) Chinese restaurant, where we all would have ordered from anyways. This was the perfect event to preface my family’s annual New Year’s Eve party at the same Great Aunt’s home.
New Year’s Eve at my Auntie Phyllis’ is probably my favorite, most routine way of celebrating the New Year. I’ve only opted for alternative plans twice in 22 years. This will be my third time ever missing her celebration. While this particular Aunt has been in Huntington Woods for many years, my memories of her New Year’s Eve parties extend far back to her Southfield house — my Great Uncle’s oversized (by 90s standards) projector screen, the comedy (if you could call it that) of Carrot Top, and throwing store-bought confetti at the stroke of midnight — an hour that felt magical in those days.
The parties didn’t evolve much after their move to Huntington Woods. Maybe they grew bigger, and then there was the addition of the plastic cup disco ball, glowing with Christmas lights. Substitute more mature New Year’s Eve television specials for Carrot Top, and the over-flowing glasses of Champagne and alcoholic libations for confetti — it feels the same to me.
This year is, naturally, a bit different. Instead of flying home to the 313 (read: Detroit — and really, I mean the 248), I’m spending Christmas out in the Hamptons with my delightful cousin Molly. I’m in no position to complain, especially not in, about, or because of Amagansett or Molly’s company, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t even slightly miss the mitten — my dear, pure Michigan. Hell, I even kind of miss snow. My only other New York Christmas weekend option was hanging out with a friend who is in own from D.C. Family was the logical choice in trying to avoid being more than 14% homesick. [<– Don’t ask how I calculated that figure!]
As for New Year’s Eve, I’ll be making my way down to D.C. for Capital-style shenanigans. What that means? I have no clue. At the very least, I’ll be seeing my newly engaged friends, Tina and Mike, an old friend from my B’nai B’rith days, as well as spending some time in the lovely D.C. office of Planned TV Arts. I’ve only had one-ish experience working with the D.C. people (Dee and Hillary), but they are outstanding and so I’m thrilled to be seeing them again so soon.
All in all, the “holiday season” has been kind to Little Kirsch, and even though new York is so wildly different than Michigan, I’m convinced that this is where I belong, for 2011 and beyond.