What to do this Christmas week(end)

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A commemorative ornament for a dumpster fire of a year. Photo: Kate Hooker

What up, everyone? Are you guys ready for a really weird Christmas? I’ve been receiving holiday cards in the mail all week, which feels almost normal (leaving aside the fact that I have freakishly organized friends), but then I notice that the children beaming at me from my fridge are suddenly looking a lot older and I remember it’s been almost a year of this life. I spoke to my bff in California for an hour last night and realized that this is the longest I’ve gone without seeing her in decades. When I had to go to the eye doctor earlier this week because my contact lens supply is dwindling, I was overcome with jealousy when he informed me that he’s already received the first round of the vaccine. It simply can’t come fast enough, especially now that there is a new strain of this thing ravaging the UK, which sort of feels like the kind of plot twist that would end up on the cutting room floor because COME ON. But, at least for now, there’s nothing to do but wait our turns, wear masks, and limit contact with the outside world until your number is called. It doesn’t mean that it’s not bizarre as all hell, though. 

For me, this week has been about working like crazy at my day job, baking a batch of Christmas cookies and eating it all myself, obsessively tracking packages online, and watching Murder on Middle Beach in its entirety on HBO while wrapping presents. I also lugged a dwarf Meyer lemon tree, festooned with an optimistic lemon Christmas ornament as a hint of what I hope is to come, to my love’s place in Queens earlier this week. I think he was a bit taken aback by his present, and I’m not sure he’s yet as convinced as I am that it will be fun to figure out how to keep a citrus-bearing plant alive through the winter in an NYC apartment, but I’m pretty confident that he’ll get there. 

Like a lot of people I know, I read this account of an accomplished journalist and seemingly reasonable person who threw away her career and her marriage to date—of all people, and apparently unbeknownst to him—Martin Shkreli (!) with horrified fascination. I also enjoyed this list of 20 words and phrases that defined 2020, and was happy to see that my least favorite term, the repulsive “viral load,” did not make the cut. My sister and I ate a delicious outdoor dinner at Lot 2 in Greenwood Heights, made comfortable in spite of the chilly night air due to their impressive hot toddy menu and a burger that never disappoints. We also ordered a preposterous amount of frozen soup dumplings from Yaso Tangbao to be devoured over puzzles and other pandemic-approved activities this weekend at my mom’s house. My cookbook club, which hasn’t met since February, has been very active on group texts lately, shooting off pics of homemade Christmas cookies and other treats that we’d much rather eat together in person, which has been a fun diversion. I also watched Seth Meyers’ comedy special from last year, Lobby Baby, on Netflix and recommend it if you need some funny escapism. 

While I’m cooking for my family this weekend, I plan to listen to lots of podcasts, and this list of the 20 best of the year seems like a good place to start, as does this collection of Ira Glass’ favorite episodes of This American Life, compiled in honor of the show’s 25th anniversary. I also like the idea of attending the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus’ first-ever virtual holiday concert, or maybe even venturing out to Prospect Park for the Caribbeing Holiday Market, which features locally-made crafts and other last-minute gift possibilities. I’d love to walk to Pratt to see the outdoor sculptures on display by Grace Knowlton, a groundbreaking female artist and friend who died over the weekend. And there are a few things on our pandemic winter bucket list that I’d like to check off.

I wish I had more even more suggestions for your holiday weekend in Brooklyn, a luxury I fully took for granted until March of this god awful year. What’s infinitely more important, however, is that wherever and however you find yourself celebrating Christmas this time around, you are in close contact with people you love (if not in person) and safe. Best wishes from all of us at Brooklyn Based for a healthy, relaxing, and happy holiday, and thank you for reading and supporting us this year. Please hang in there, everyone, it will get better, and we will be here for it. 

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