Holiday cheer + hot sauce, coming atcha:
Renee Sylvestre-Williams demonstrates how to make a Trinidadian treat, pastelles.
Denise Balkissoon wishes she wasn’t so tortured about Christmas, but she is. “My Muslim relatives began to make the religious pilgrimage to Mecca. They became much more devout, and there went half my presents. Meanwhile, my Christian, Hindu and agnostic relatives realized that the size of our family was bankrupting everyone. There went the other half….Soon, putting up the (fake) tree just seemed like work. One year, we decorated a plant in the hallway instead.”
A half-Jewish Jew, Justine Purcell Cowell just wants in. “How I marveled at the sweaters and make-up that emerged from their magical trees. (And oh, how I borrowed those sweaters, how I shared in the joy of that make-up!)….Hanukkah is not Christmas. It’s the compensatory holiday that Jewish parents give to their children. ”
Also in is Navneet Alang. He’s going to kick back and enjoy a white Christmas. “Mad rushing to get presents? Check. Grand Christmas feast with a turkey and all the trimmings? Check. Indulging in icewine and gorgonzola in front of the fire like they do on those Food TV specials? Super-gluttonous, you-best-believe-it check. Yeah, when it comes to late December, we are the Christmasiest Punjabis this side of a… Gurdwara at the North Pole?”
“I don’t blame my parents for not lying to me. How were they to know that was what parents here did? Who would assume the truth — that the population of an entire continent could knowingly be partaking in a conspiratorial deception employed to manipulate the mass psyche of their very own offspring?” Shed a tear for Simon Yau, whose parents never encouraged him to believe in Santa Claus.
Kelli Korducki highlights the Christmas differences between Gringo and non-Gringo Catholics. “At my maternal grandparents’ house…another dozen or so relatives insisted we eat yet again, open more presents, and watch Spanish-language Christmas specials that inevitably featured some combination of music and buxom dancers dressed as either sexy Santas or naughty elves. A couple of hours later, my brothers and I would be ripped away from Telemundo‘s hypnotic gyrations and herded into my parents’ minivan—overtired and sugar crashed—to get to the church in time for midnight Mass.”