Merry Christmas, y'all.
I've always loved this photo I took in 2004 the night that my brother proposed to his now-wife. Memphis experienced a a rare White Christmas and the proposal took place on the top floor of The Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. The ballroom was still decorated for Christmas and with, for some reason, Canadian flags. I have a lot of great pictures from that whole experience, but I revisit this photo often. I've lived my whole life in a metro area of a million souls, something considered "The Big City" by everyone in a 300 mile radius, but still not big by city standards. While I've spent time around Christmas in smaller towns, I've only twice done so in bigger towns: 1996 in Rome, Italy (4.5 million metro area) and 2005 in Boston, Massachusetts (7.5 million metro area).
I mention the photo because it was an odd experience for me: snow and city sidewalks, but in my hometown. Yet the sidewalks weren't busy, because downtown was completely deserted that night. There's no one best way to spend the holidays. It mostly comes down to a frame of mind and your surroundings. So with that in mind, I will issue one of my best Christmas wine recommendations: get off the damned computer and spend some time with friends and loved ones. If you decide to pick up a few bottles for the season, stop in at your local wine shop and be really nice to your retailers. They've been dealing with a lot of stupid questions and angry shoppers, and won't really get a break until January 1. There's over a thousand posts here totaling more thousands of wine recommendations. If you need additional help, smile and tell your retail employee that you really appreciate him or her working during this tough season, and then say, "I need a good [red/white] wine in the price range [whatever you are looking to spend]. I would also be interested in a good sparkling wine in the same neighborhood."
To everyone, whether you come here for the wine or food or cocktails or occasional rambling essays, I hope you have a great holiday season, and fear not, this blog does not take vacations. I'll be back next week with some words about New Year's Eve and Orthodox Christmas and Japan's celebration of construction workers during 手斧初式 on January 4. There's something out there for everyone.
In the meantime, have a great time, and pet your dogs, hug your friends, and go out of your way to be nice to someone that might be having a rough time, like the guy working at the gas station on Christmas day, or the waitress at the Waffle House taking care of those who don't have anywhere else to go for dinner.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail, too,
And God bless you, and send you
A Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year.