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One holiday tradition that’s not the same living in NYC is bringing home a tree. Growing up my dad used to take my sisters and I to a farm where we’d run around in the snow, play hide and seek and eventually take turns sawing down a tree. The time a mouse skittered down while my dad was underneath will forever be a highlight of my memory vault. He’s the only person I know who’s experienced tiny little mouse feet landing on his face and running over his body. At some point we started getting potted trees instead and the joys of tree slaughter were replaced by the satisfaction of watching former Christmas trees grow, finally providing the backyard privacy we so desperately needed for reasons.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

Here vendors line sidewalks with chopped trees all roped up and ready to go, in exchange for $10-15 a foot, which is crazy but for a while it seemed like the only option. Before I lived with MoonPie, roommates and I pulled our money, carried the precious to our tiny apartment and gave our chosen tree the old stray cat I’m gonna nap with you and love you forever treatment.

For a few years, MoonPie and I reverted to the early Jersey tradition and drove a chopped tree home, but lately we’ve ordered ours online because it’s easy and way more affordable. Usually the trees came bagged in plastic and smelling like they just left the ground. Once stabilized they nearly touched our 10-foot ceilings and filled the entire apartment with that woodsy wintry scent. This year our tiny scrawny tree arrived in a box dry, brittle and brownish. Hearts sank at first, but we put it up anyway, covered it in lights and I bought a candle that sort of smells like an evergreen. I’m happy to have a tree at all, but hopefully next year we’ll live near a farm and be able to bring home a potted one.

Carolers in Washington Square

It’s possible this little tree is good luck though. Since it came into our lives good times are on the rise (current events aside).

Yesterday I managed to flip the dog during my yoga routine for the first time. I’ve been trying to do this forever, but it’s one of those moves I started thinking only yogabots could pull off. Basically this is when you go from a downward dog to a back bend without falling on your head or breaking your spine. Rachel Dee posted a handy dandy visual of flipping the dog. After watching her again and again, I realized I could rotate my weight-bearing hand inward rather than snapping my wrist off. Voila! This move feels like a massage – tension melts, muscles stretch and open and my body warms right up. I do yoga constantly in winter because our moody radiators are night owls; they blast around 2 am and that’s all the heat we’re getting for the day.

I’m also blaming our weird tree for my gifts going MIA. Shopping in stores can be fun if you’re in a spendy, people-loving mood, but something about the combination of excessive heat, bright lights, movement, perfumes, price tags and noise makes me want to curl into a ball and roll away. I have about 10 minutes to get in and out before I need an ice pack, which I usually have on hand. Needless to say online shopping is a dream. But this year my one package containing the majority of my gifts was lost thanks to the United States Postal Service. The store refunded me, but those items were purchased on black Friday so the package was worth twice what I paid AND it meant I had to go to stores.

This sounds like a complaint, but actually it worked out okay. It wouldn’t be December without walking around the city past caramelizing nuts and musicians blowing Jingle Bells. Even taxi cabs look friendly, well friendlier, they still might run you over or simply slap you in the face and take your money.

Our shopping adventure turned into a really fun night. MoonPie came with me and it snowed the whole time! Once the sun went down we walked south and stumbled on caroling in Washington Square Park. My feet were cold and soggy so we only stayed for “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Mele Kalikimaka”, which is still in my head and now perhaps in yours. A short walk east to Punjabi Deli and then we hopped on the subway with shopping bags in one hand and the city’s best Indian food in another.

light postFive miles and an Eric Garner protest this morning. This is shaping up to be a weird month.