it usually comes back around to nostalgia
How is it the week of Christmas already? How is it only and so suddenly Christmas? Two weeks to the new year? Time, amirite?!
Okay, so Sunday’s are a weird day. When I decided that publishing on Thursdays felt like work, and that I’d push this newsletter to Sundays … I don’t know. It felt better. It still does. But, it’s now evening and I have the Sunday Scaries, and I really should’ve booked the full week off of work. My bad. I don’t know. I’m lucky to be in an industry right now that is doing a-okay. It’s been hectic. But at the same time, work has felt ten times worse in being a barrier to any sort of balance in my life. Some semblance of ease in my brain. It’s a 24/7 industry so whenever folks have asked me if I’m “off for the holidays” … the easiest answer is no. Not that it’s necessarily complicated, but hasn’t it been difficult to take actual time off? When the lines between work and leisure is so blurry when you’re at home all the time? When you’re living at work?
Also, to be quite frank, while I am 100% grateful to have a job right now, I feel the need to defend and justify my worries around money. My mom is a caterer. She has specialized in funeral service receptions for the past fifteen years. And, since March? Nothing. When restrictions in Ontario lifted in the summer, she was able to do a few orders for max 50 people. She was able to pivot from platters to individual boxes, but the funeral homes aren’t even doing many food services. Everything causes me worry. My family has me worried. I know so many folks, where the worry about family persists and keeping everyone around them safe is top of mind. I’m in an echo chamber of people who are worried. People who are trying their best. People who are keeping others in mind as they move around in this time.
I truly don’t want this to be the only topic I write on at the top. But, we are so clearly in a moment of history. We are living history, and we’re so aware of it. There’s no denying that 2020 will be written about in the future. It will be recorded in history, and we will tell future generations about this time. Do people realize that they’re living an Important Moment in History while they’re living it? While they’re experiencing it? Will we be able to speak about this time? If our experience is not as traumatic as others’ … will that be the only story that gets told and shared?
What are your go-to holiday movies and/or shows? When do you start watching them? I have no hard-and-fast rules around this. I definitely start the Hallmark-Lifetime Holiday movies early on in the month, when the days are noticeably shorter and you need to escape and have something predictable playing in the background. But, I think I usually wait for actual snow on the ground for my classics (though, as each year goes by and climate change makes it really clear … it feels later and later)—or the week of Christmas, whichever is earlier.
I don’t remember the first time I watched Home Alone (or Home Alone 2), nor Elf. Love Actually, The Holiday, The Family Stone. Scrooged, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Mickey’s Christmas Carol. They’re all in regular rotation ever since I first watched them. It’s A Wonderful Life is the only old one I tend to watch but never really on my own. Little Women (up til now, the Winona version) is now going to be in regular rotation as a Christmas-adjacent film. Remember While You Were Sleeping?
I remember watching The Family Man in theatres with my family. My parents didn’t have to work on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, so we ended up going to see a movie together—whatever family-appropriate film came out during the season. We watched all Lord of the Rings movies together (my dad slept through the end of all them. Especially the third one). I only mention the 2000 Nicolas Cage film with Téa Leoni because I don’t think I’ve watched it since I saw it in theatres. Maybe once since then. No particular reason other than it doesn’t feel like something I want to revisit. Who knows. Maybe I’ll give it a go this week. The other ones I do actively rewatch though usually comes back around to nostalgia as the reason.
I’m always curious as to what one puts on their Christmas/Holiday movie list. Why did it get there? How? Why do you keep watching? Do you still watch ones that used to be on the list?
Last week I took a Zoom cooking class with some friends, and learned to make Jamaican Chicken Soup with Dumplings. It was fun! While a chicken and dumplings is familiar to me, I got to learn something new. New flavour profiles. New ingredients. A new comfort food.
Even when I’m making a larger batch, I’m always mindful of how I only have so much room in my fridge (and belly) for the same meal over and over again. I’ve definitely reached for a bowl of this many a time this past week. Highly recommend a fun cooking class (even if it’s over video) to connect with friends over an activity.
If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been cooking much. I do now have a stocked fridge. So, please hold for upcoming explorations.
I set a goal this year to read 52 books. Of course, this was before the pandemic hit. One would think I’d read a lot more with so much downtime, but it was the opposite. I consumed to escape, and mostly it was watching TV. So, I’m way behind my goal with 25 books read so far. And, I’m okay with that. I’ve come to accept that I don’t care about the number as much, and to push away the expectation that we have to make our leisure time productive. Actually, since letting go of my own expectations at the beginning of November, I’ve finished five books, and I’m already almost done two more (ones I had started awhile ago and just hadn’t finished reading).
I also stopped really tracking my books on social media. For me, personally, it felt performative. I don’t want to have to share everything that I do for me publicly. I share here as a form of performance, for sure. But, it’s tied to thinking about what I’m reading and why I’m choosing the books I decide to read. Even on Goodreads, I don’t really keep my books up-to-date there—I use it to see what others are reading, so I can get more ideas of what I may want to pick up. I like to read to escape, and enjoy my time. If reading starts to feel like work, then where’s the joy in it? Who am I competing against when I set these reading goals and then feel weird about how I perform against others’ progress? I’d rather celebrate my own achievement at carving enough time in my week for my own enjoyment.
Gilmore Girls – Season 2, Netflix
Merry Happy Whatever – Netflix (it’s mostly meh background fodder)
The Holiday Movies That Made Us – Netflix
Home Alone – Disney+