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    Different Christmas Traditions

    So I’m writing this a couple of weeks before Christmas Eve. Back when I was pursuing an acting career in the 1980s and 1990s, I would routinely get roped into working as a waitress or bartender over the Christmas holiday as I never celebrated it by myself. I recall the restaurants being very quiet on Christmas, and we were given extra incentive in pay for the holiday since we wouldn’t make it up in tips.

    When I was living on Barrow Street in the West Village of Manhattan, I lived with my best friend from childhood named Jacques. He was a real Christmas person and every year we would traditionally go out and drag a tree back to the apartment. We decorated it in a very simple style with red velvet bows and white lace bows. As we were decorating the tree, we played classic Christmas tunes. I remember still having records back then and having to flip the albums or change them through the evening.

    Another tradition Jacques and I had was seeing an opening of a new movie on Christmas day every year. We saw some really wonderful films and we often had most of the theater to ourselves, due to the holiday.

    After the show, we would do window shopping along Fifth Avenue. What impressed me the most was a huge red velvet bow around the Sax Fifth Avenue building. Occasionally we would go to Rockefeller Center to check out the Christmas tree and though I was still able to skate and get around, we never chose to go skating.

    To the present day, Herman generally has his family up for Christmas Eve. I’ve often told him if he wanted a Christmas tree to beautify the house I wouldn’t be against it, but he said he didn’t care. From what I remember, they are very messy, need a lot of water, and somehow the house pets all seem to like that water.

    I’m also not sure what my cats, Sam and Sally, would get into with a live tree in the house. Whether they’d try to climb the tree or just knock ornaments off it, it seems a hazard to me.

    On the other hand, when I was living in Southern California, it was totally weird not to have the cooler temperatures during the holiday season. People decorated the houses gaily, but it always seemed out of place as the climate seemed wrong for the season.

    I also spent many days on the beach at Christmas in California. That was a very quiet beach day. I loved having the beach mainly to myself.

    However you celebrate the holiday, best wishes and a happy new year!

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com