Holidays

Holiday Gift Ideas

Holidays are just around the corner and since everyone else has come up with his/her “gift ideas list”, I thought I’d share mine (all of these have been tested and approved by yours truly)!  (FYI:  I am not receiving any compensation for these links and/or recommendations.)

WOMEN

(1)  Lagos Sterling Silver “Love Knot” Earrings

(2)  Lagos Caviar Hoop Earrings

(3)  Whole Foods Gift Certificate

(4)  Prepared Meal and Fresh Flowers Delivered by Instacart

(5)  Barefoot Dreams Cozychic Luxe Laguna Jacket

(6)  Greg McKeown’s ESSENTIALISM:  The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

(7)  Museum membership or membership renewal

(8)  Donation to a charity in her honor

(9)  A basket of her favorite jam and/or honey

MEN

(1)  Patagonia’s Better Sweater Vest

(2)  Museum membership or membership renewal

(3)  Donation to a charity in his honor

(4)  Gift card to COMIXOLOGY

(5)  Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep

(6)  Canali Reversible Belt

(7)  Peter Millar Sweater

(8)  His favorite home-cooked meal and movie

(9)  Dinner at his favorite restaurant

CHILDREN

This list does not include gift ideas for children because there is such a range of preferences for parents and children themselves depending on their ages.  But from personal experience, books, Lego sets, and visits to the museums/zoos are always hits!

Holiday Menu

complacency

So, it’s that time of year, again–Passover (and Easter).  Hubby and I are looking to a have a quiet evening and Seder for two on Monday and then are entertaining and hosting the second Seder for 8-10 people next Saturday.  Thank goodness for online ordering and food-to-go.

Everyone knows that we don’t keep kosher.  It’s just never been my belief that the path to salvation is through the food you eat (or don’t eat).  With that said, I am respectful of the high holidays by eating “neutral” foods (i.e., fish, fruit, and veggies, as well as anything else that’s not on the “black list” such as pork and shellfish).  So, this year (which will be my second time hosting Passover Seder [as I have been lucky enough to go to other people’s seders and just sit back and relax in previous years]), I’ve come up with the following menu (with the help of Whole Foods, Lotte, and Charlie Chiang’s):

Ginger matzah ball soup, Chopped chicken liver, Fresh celery (Seder plate), Fresh Parsley (Seder plate), Cut tropical fruit with sliced and blanched almonds,  Coconut macaroons, Chocolate covered matzah, Fresh clementines, Stir-fried spinach with garlic and shitake mushrooms, Hardboiled eggs, (Seder plate), Lettuce (Seder plate), Wasabi (Seder plate), Sashimi platter, and Roasted (Peking) duck

Not traditional (Ashkenazi or Sephardi) Jewish fare, but Chinese American Jewish fare :).  Lets face it–there’s a reason Jews eat lots of Chinese food.  Could it possibly be that (traditional) Jewish food doesn’t quite measure up?

I wanted to write this post today to inspire those who celebrate Passover and Easter (and/or other holidays) to do something different and create your own traditions.  Don’t be afraid to think and step out of the box and be creative and imaginative, and, most of all, be yourself!

Chinese New Year

lanterns

Chinese New Year is on 1/31 and this is the Year of the Horse.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the holiday, Chinese New Year is, in many ways, a combination of Christmas/Chanukah, Rosh Hashanah, Passover, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve.  Gifts are exchanged, often with symbolic meanings (cakes, fruit baskets, etc.).  Similar to Jews giving children gelt (often chocolate “gold” coins) on Chanukah, the Chinese give children little red envelopes of cash on Chinese New Year.  Food, of course, takes center stage during the holiday with classics such as fish, noodles, spring rolls, dumplings, seafood, tangerines, exotic fruits, etc. (all symbolizing good luck and prosperity, of course).

In addition, there’s lots of pre-holiday prep that goes on weeks beforehand.  Growing up, I remember my mother cleaning out the entire house, cars, refrigerator, etc.–all in preparation for a “clean slate” for the upcoming year.  There would also be new clothes for every one, new haircuts, issues and conflicts resolved,  etc.–all before New Year’s Day (which would vary from year to year per the lunar calendar).

All this talk about the holiday makes me think about how I’d like to pass tradition down to my children one day as “[c]ultures grow on the vines of tradition” (Jonah Goldberg).