The Holidays are always hard when you don’t have the luxury of family nearby. Friends that are always around during the year have their own obligations to attend to, and the last thing you need is to make yourself invited to someone’s home because of pity. Unfortunately, I’m one of those to whom ‘going home ‘means taking an intercontinental flight – which becomes impractical for obvious reasons.
Ever since my ex-wife and I parted ways in 2003 (I wrote about that holiday season years ago, so I’m not talking about it here), I have come up with several creative ways of spending the holidays in a manner that is satisfying.
The first memorable occasion was in 2005, when Renata and I were already together. At the time, we had a network of single friends who had nowhere to spend the Holidays with, so I organized an alternative Thanksgiving party in our old Staten Island apartment (incredibly, now that we live in a much larger space, we haven’t had many of these get-togethers). I cooked an all-vegetarian meal and everyone brought booze – I remember a close Irish friend who unloaded a backpack with a half-gallon of gin, a half-gallon of vodka, a liter of Southern Comfort and asked me, “I’ve got my booze – what are YOU drinking?”
We also did Christmas parties during those years – the last being two years ago – but it wasn’t as fun as the ones we had for Thanksgiving, where as many as 10 people from 8 different nations would come and partake on our small bounty.
The last time we had those get-togethers was in 2006, but I can’t really remember much of that last one (no, I did not pass out). From 2007 onwards, we have taken the opportunity to enjoy a short vacation get away to warmer places, such as Santo Domingo (twice) Ft. Lauderdale and more recently Myrtle Beach, when we spent time at our recently purchased time-share with friends from our building.
I continued doing Christmas until 2008, when one member of the group I had brought together raided my CDs, complained about the music I had put on (jazz Holiday music) and generally made an ass out of himself. Since many people do not know how to behave when they come to other peoples’ homes (one guy that used to come to our home always asked to change the music – something I never did in his place), I gave myself a moratorium on Holiday parties in our home. At least for now.
As for that group of friends from previous years, most of them paired up and started spending the Holidays with their new extended families. Others moved out of town or even out of the country or drifted away for a reason or another. But Holidays remain fun — though now we organize our Christmas parties in other peoples’ homes… no stress at all.
So Happy Holiday Season for All …. I guess