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The Quietest Day of the Year

December 25, 2009

It’s Christmas Eve as I sit here and type, which means Christmas Day is just around the corner. For many people I know, this is a day filled with friends, family and fun. For me, on the other hand, it’s often one of the quietest days of the year. And I like it that way.

Growing up Jewish in the New York suburbs, I often celebrate the holiday the way so many of my ancestors do. Sleep late. Eat Chinese food, watch football, and go see a movie. If I’m awake for breakfast, my friend Fawn and I discovered a number of years ago that IHOP will feed the Jews on this holiest of days in the Christian calendar. Here in Vegas, I see no reason why I won’t celebrate as usual. There’s an IHOP around the corner. Chinese food is nearby (though nowhere near as good as you’ll find in Manhattan), and the Red Rock casino and it’s 16-screen theater never close. Couple that with the fact that I’ve got plenty of booze laid in and money in my FTP account, and I’m good to go.

Such was not the case a few years ago, however, when I spent my first Christmas in Ireland. Dublin isn’t a particularly large city, but there are often people on the streets any time you head out. Combine that with the fact that I lived as close to the center of the city as humanly possible, and I at least felt that there was life to be lived even outside of the pubs and poker rooms that I regularly frequented. Except on Christmas Day.

I knew things were going to be different than usual when I noticed that most of the pubs and bars had closed by 10pm on Christmas Eve. I guess this was so that people had time to go home and change before heading off to Midnight Mass, but the effect of seeing the normally bustling Grafton street area suddenly empty out in the middle of prime drinking time was not something I was prepared for. Still, that was nothing compared to what I woke up to on Christmas Day. It was like the city had been deserted overnight.

I went out for a walk at about 1pm and did not see a single other person on the streets for at least a full half hour. Even the homeless gypsies had found somewhere else to go for the holiday. It was calm, peaceful and just a little bit eerie. The fact that I had no Chinese food, no open movie theaters and very little booze waiting for me at home after my walk just added to my sense of disorientation on the day.

So, while this is not my holiday, I’m happy to be back home in the States where I can celebrate the way Jews (even atheist ones) were meant to. And to my friends who have more family oriented plans, I hope you enjoy a happy holiday.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2009 4:01 am

    So did you hit the IHOP?

    I had carry-out Chinese, myself.

  2. katkin permalink*
    December 31, 2009 9:13 am

    No IHOP – Had to drive my buddy to the airport @ 6am. Hit McDonalds on the way home and didn’t eat again until dinner when I couldn’t find an open Chinese restaurant in my neighborhood. I ended up with take out Thai food that was just kind of meh.

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