Sunday, December 16, 2012
Holiday Preparations and "Alias"
Holidays can be stressful, but I am determined not to feel that way this year. Instead of traveling, going broke, and feeling overwhelmed, how about we remake the holiday season into being all about cookies, television, and pajamas?
There is no reason to get worked up about the commercials with the big bow on the Lexus in the driveway. What I like best about the holidays is someone walking up to me and handing me a jar of homemade granola - simple, thoughtful, not expensive. Check out my post about homemade Christmas gifts last year. I also like cookies - lots of cookies. Check out my Edward Hopper cookies I made last year (am I the only person who Googles "art history inspired holiday cookies"? the search results are not impressive). Also, check out my post about the cookie exchange I organized last year at my former workplace. But - enough about last year!
We received a Miro sculpture on loan at my new job, and there is something about it I really love. I could stare at it all day. So for the staff holiday party, I wanted to make a way for that the sculpture to come to the party! You'll notice I failed at some key elements - like, the pitchfork. I made meringue pitchforks, but they were breaking very easily. Then, I bought some Twizzlers right before the party and thought I could drill them in, but then the heads started breaking off. So no pitchforks for most of my cakepops. You'll also notice the white sticks. I wanted to cover the sticks in black duct tape, but I couldn't find any at Michael's. Check it out:
There are many small, thoughtful things you can do for all kinds of people in your life. Some ideas for this can be a jar of chocolate covered espresso beans (which I wrote about on From Scratch Club) or a bag of homemade mini pies (check out my post about those here):
I'm going to a cookie swap tomorrow, so tonight I am making cinnamon bun cookies. Check out the recipe here. I still need to make the icing, but they are looking pretty good I think:
And on that note of the holidays being more about television, let me tell you some ideas I have about the show "Alias". You may want to sit in your pajamas over the holidays and watch it all on Netflix. I am up the the last episode of Season 4 (it is nice to accomplish things in your life). The show brings up some interesting questions, like is Sydney Bristow a feminist figure? But, I think what it makes me think of most is the role of work in modern life. Of course, she is unique in that her job involves lots of exotic international travel and the craziest, most varied wardrobe known to man, but I think many aspects of Sydney Bristow's life can be considered universal. Look at how much she gives up for her career over the course of the show - her friends, her academic dreams, her fiancé. Sure, she dates Michael Vaughn, who the college version of me thought was a real heartthrob, but she seems to end up suspicious of him at various points in the show, and he got married after only nine months of her being missing. In season one, she has a normal life and the contrasts between her spy life and her regular life are played up and make for interesting drama and comedy. But for most of the show, her entire life is her career. After season one, she has no outside friends. Sure, she has the weird coincidence of working with her father, sister, and alternating rescuing and chasing down her mother, but she never has relationships again like she did with Will and Francie. She gets to fight for what she thinks is right in the world, wear very sharp looking suits, and work in a chic office - but I have to say it seems to suck to be Sydney Bristow. Or perhaps it makes you think that your work relationships are very important - that they aren't just extra relationships you are forced to have, but in fact some of the most central relationships in your waking hours. That is depressing I know, but that starts to be the message the show sends. You better like what you do for a living, because you might not get to do much else. I think the show also plays into a fantasy of living vicariously through her - who wouldn't want to know every language in the world, beat up bad guys on a regular basis, be that beautiful without seeming to care about your looks much, and feel like you are really making a difference in the world? Nevermind that you could die at any moment, you don't have any outside interests, and you don't really trust anyone in your life. What a fun show to watch!
Anyways, here is to taking it easy this holiday season and not letting society, Martha Stewart, or anyone else make you feel like you should be doing anything different.