for the Month: December 2011
I was interested to know what my colleagues celebrate, what holiday traditions they might follow, and who decorates their homes, so I started asking around. See some of the wonderful responses & photos I received after the break.
For my last “human interest” post of the year, it was decided (I was late to the meeting, okay?) that I should poll some fellow Abram-ites regarding their proudest accomplishments for 2011.
Santa’s bag of presents can be a very mixed bag. Some gifts please, others are just okay—and some are so disappointing you wish you’d been given a lump of coal, instead. And the same can be said of the Christmas ales that so many craft breweries present at this time of year.
Wanting to sample a few of this season’s seasonal brews, I went to the Super Saver liquor store in Pennington, New Jersey, just a few miles from my house. This unprepossessingly named shop has, hands down, the best selection of beers I’ve ever seen—well over a thousand, most available by the single bottle. The guy doing beer duty that afternoon enthusiastically shepherded me around, pointing out the Christmas ales—there must’ve been thirty—and urging me, basically, to try them all. Mindful of my holiday-besieged wallet, I haphazardly chose three.
‘Tis the season to be merry and a merry night it was at our Abrams Annual Holiday Party. This year’s party took place at La Nacional. Located on 14th and 8th Avenue, La Nacional is a restaurant within the Centro Español, an establishment that is the “last vestige of one of the largest Spanish enclaves in New York that was affectionately referred to as Little Spain.” The space was the perfect setting for a very social evening, which included some amazing tapas and the best paella I’ve ever eaten! Here are some snapshots from the evening.
One of my favorite things about the end of the year is reading all “best-of” lists that come out. I love getting ideas for books to read, TV shows to watch, movies to see, etc., which led me to the idea of enlisting my colleagues help in making a best-of list of our own. I give you the ABRAMS employees’ best non-ABRAMS books of 2011 (and some from before 2011) to give or read:
For those of us easily won over by sentiment, the Holiday Season is a time of overwhelming emotion. Whether it’s nostalgia, joy, or a soul-filling sense of love, the Holiday Season evokes reactions in all—and especially me. I know I’m getting a bit weepy over here, but the best part about a city like New York during this time of year is a palpable attitude shift that begins as soon as decorations are hung about the streets. Walking down 7th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn (the place I call home) is a whole different experience than it was a month ago with lights strung across the street and all the local businesses doing their part in transforming the street into a festive play land.
The holiday season is finally here! A time for festive parties, baked goods and philanthropic acts. Also a time for deranged last-minute shopping trips, crazy family dinners and awful traveling experiences. It’s a mixed bag! And that’s okay to admit. As Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Ryan Woods show in their new book from Abrams Books for Young Readers, The Twelve Worst Days of Christmas, sometimes accepting the inevitable insanity of the holidays is what makes it fun. With this in mind, I have compiled a list of some of the least favorite presents Abrams employees have ever received. Enjoy!
Head over to the STC Cooks blog to learn how to make Dark Salty Caramel from Good Eats 3: The Later Years by Alton Brown!
I’ve never been a fan of big crowds. I avoid holidays like New Year’s Eve and Halloween in New York City like the plague. I don’t go to nightclubs with names like Le Bain, or Cielo, or the Boom Boom Room (yes, that is a place), and instead will always choose the small bars around the corner from my house… if I even leave the house at all. It’s not that I’m boring or a misanthrope, but after spending more than the first half of my twenties working in the bar scene I’ve come to really enjoy my personal space.
That being said, the notion that I, a 28-year-old Brooklynite, would stand in a sea of thousands to watch someone plug in the world’s most famous Christmas tree seems like a bad joke. But there are some things in this world that will make a person do even the most out of the ordinary things. Holiday spirit? No. Turkey-induced hysteria? No. This is a force far greater than all of us, the one person that can make us reach inside ourselves and do things we never thought were possible; who brightens the corners of our hearts with every song he sings. His name is Michael Bublé.