Image courtesy of Crockett Row

Like royalty or an “independent” voter, I can have it both ways.

Not content with the uber-bland “Happy Holidays” but also not jerky enough to think “Christmas” is the best of the 14 holidays happening in December (six by non-Christian faiths altogether), I go for the mouth-jamming “MerryChristmasHappyHolidays!” With that, I can broadcast what my (non-Christian) family celebrates (Christmas) while also acknowledging that maybe the person I’m greeting is Jewish or Islamic or Wiccan or whatever else there is. I like covering all my bases.

“Happy Holidays” on its own was fun for a while. It seemed to me to be a great way to piss off the Fox News crowd, who seemed to be whining like the snowflakes they are about the cancelation of Christmas or something. I vaguely remember that, just like how I vaguely remember a lot of things now (thanks, Father Time), including what’s in a canela.


Good thing that, for that, I can refer to our handy-dandy Holidays Issue! On pg. 35 is a killer cinnamon cocktail recipe using locally distilled product. And that’s not all. Our annual celebration of the season is a veritable cornucopia of great ideas and entertaining information. On pg. 29, there’s another kickass recipe, this one for latkes (“Happy Hanukkah,” mother-hunchers), and in the front of the book, we enumerate a few of the local nonprofits that would not say no to whatever you could carve out of your shopping budget and send their way at this time. Now is especially significant. As one of the benefactors says in A Christmas Carol, “We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.”

While you’re gift hunting in person or online, please keep in mind all of the fantastic local music either out now or about to be released. On pg. 41, two of our music writers have amassed a lengthy rundown of upcoming releases from our backyard, including new ones from Son of Stan, Uncle Toasty, BLKrKRT, The Me-Thinks, Arenda Light, Cameron Smith, Phorids, Big Heaven, and so many more. As part of an argument I started 20 years ago when I moved to this town and continue to build on every week in print, why buy major-label music when the homegrown stuff is just as good if not better? And which is always better for the local economy? And your karma?

I know it’s karmically incorrect to just say, “Merry Christmas.” It assumes a lot, mostly that everyone within earshot is a Christian, which is inherently offensive considering that it seems that Christians are largely responsible for the divisive condition of our society today. Saying “Merry Christmas” while couching it in a larger spiritual framework insulates me from a #woke counterattack while getting across my message: Be excellent to one another, now and always. Except Nazis. Feel free to punch them as you please. MerryChristmasHappyHolidays! — Anthony Mariani