As a December special, we have Ashley’s Guide to Holiday Spirit!
WAYS TO LOSE HOLIDAY SPIRIT
Step 1: Return from Thanksgiving break with the beginnings of sickness and homesickness. Going home for only three days was so refreshing, but also reminded me that I had to head back to New York by myself for another two weeks before being able to return.
Step 2: Realize it’s December already and you haven’t done any Christmas shopping. I love giving gifts and picking out gifts for people (that I know well) but when I realized I only had two weeks left in New York (to pick out NY special gifts! Duh.) I panicked, just a little. And my wallet is considerably lighter, but hey, it’s for the friends, right? Right.
Step 3: Have the store you work at be in super-busy-holiday-mode at each shift you go to, even the closing ones. The other day, our credit card machine was down. That was stressful. Each shift is just a blur of ringing up purchases and helping find different wrapping paper and holiday cards and suggesting ribbon and tissue pairings.
Step 4: Miss the Rockefeller tree lighting ceremony… by being a block away. There were literally armed guards and barriers herding the crowds around the block where the tree is, which is also surrounded by tall buildings that block all view. I tried to wait at a Starbucks for an hour to see it after the crowds died down, by at 10pm the barriers were still up and police were still all over the place. Sad. And I didn’t even get a Starbucks holiday cup… SAD.
Step 5: Officially remove yourself from performing Nutcracker this weekend. Unfortunately, my hamstring did not recover in time to perform in Nutcracker this season… which explains why I am home at 1:15pm typing up this blogpost. It’s been a rough few days, deciding to take myself out – I totally thought that I could recover fast enough and strong enough to be able to go on pointe again before Nutcracker, but with four days left before opening night I decided that I couldn’t. The show director pulled me aside Friday to ask me about my injury and reluctantly I had to face the truth and the possibility of not performing. I know that recovering is more important than performing, but it is a little disheartening and discouraging not to be able to perform in my first show in New York.
And so, with my levels of holiday spirit drastically dropping with every sad Christmas season story, I present to you the second half of Ashley’s Guide to Holiday Spirit –
WAYS TO REGAIN HOLIDAY SPIRIT
Step 1: SNOW! And not ugly, slushy snow (because that can easily turn into an item that should belong in the top list) There really is something magical about snow floating downwards from the sky, landing gently on cars and trees and adding icing to the thin branches. It’s not so fun when it’s blowing straight into your face as you’re trying to walk to dance – but as I tried to avoid the little bits of snow hitting my face, I directed my face upwards instead of down and was reminded again that snow can be beautiful.
Step 2: Treat yourself, a lot. Okay, I probably do this way more than I should – macarons from Bouchon Bakery, chocolate chip brioche from Silver Moon Bakery (YUM, by the way.) and treating myself to watch New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker sometimes this week – and trying to add in a visit to the Museum of Modern Art tomorrow. With the removal of rehearsals from my normally packed schedule, I have a lot of free time now. And instead of moping around at home watching TV (although I do this a lot too) I will take a hold of all the Christmas wonders that New York has to offer.
Step 3: Have fun dressing up in layers and boots. Normally I don’t like wearing my Hunter rainboots because… well, because I don’t like bulky things that limit my movement, but lately I’ve been feeling very, very grateful for those rubber monstrosities. And it’s been sort of fun figuring out how to layer long sleeve shirts and coats and scarves and hats, all these winter clothes that I was never able to wear in California!
Step 4: Remember that the Rockefeller Christmas tree will be up for quite a while and still enjoy seeing it in its lit-up glory even days after the initial lighting. All my life I’ve lived just across the bay from the San Francisco holiday sights, and I’ve never been ice skating in Union Square – so I’m trying to take advantage of all the Christmas stuff here while I can. And although the giant tree is dwarfed by even more giant buildings, it’s still pretty cool. It’s big. And lit up. (And also surrounded by tourists.)
Step 5: Create holiday spirit for others. Like I said before, I like giving gifts – and I hope that I was able to pick out thoughtful, meaningful gifts for those that I care about! But this year I also wanted to do something more – I realized that I am incredibly, incredibly blessed, monetarily and also in the amount of love that I receive. I don’t need anything more, really. (Also because the things that I “want” are mostly abstract.. like a job. But, besides the point.) So I decided this year to “give away” my Christmas – I’m asking those that I think will give gifts to me to donate that money instead to the Family Giving Tree, where you can pick a child to give a Christmas toy to. I’m a little troubled by the fact that they use the same picture for all the little girls and all the little boys, but I like the idea – it’s so easy to make a child happy, even if it is through something materialistic… like giving them a toy. If you are reading this and would also like to help out, please consider giving as well!
Again, I’m counting down the days before I can go home again for Winter Break – six more days!