Happy Holidays from the Bunker!

Christmas Palms.jpg Slow blogging time as many of the Mutineers are traveling far and wide to celebrate the holidays with loved ones while I am stuck holding down the fort with only Rajni to keep me company. I would like to take this time to wish all of you a Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Here in cold bunkers of North Dakota, holiday seasons pass rather uneventfully. Many books will be read. Movies will be watched. Rajni the monkey may toss a turd or two. And I suspect, with the cold weather, staying warm will be high priority. Maybe because the holiday season passes mutely in our home, I’m curious, how are you spending your holidays? Any particular foods or drinks that remind you of this season? Any fusion traditions that come up this time of the year? Or have you fought the snow storms and are spending your holidays in a warm tropical vacation spot? I’d love to hear how you plan to spend holidays.

From our bunker to yours – stay warm, safe travels, and wishing you and your family all the best for this holiday season!

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

19 thoughts on “Happy Holidays from the Bunker!

  1. Dear Taz, I wish you a Happy holidays (from a Copt). I know it kinda feels lonely. But don’t worry-if you post something, there is this silent mass(which includes me) who will read and enjoy it! And a Happy New Year as well. I don’t particulary like holidays so I usually do something I would otherwise not have done with the free time it affords me.But then i live so far away from my family…….

  2. I had the few friends, those not going home, stop by for cookies and cocktails. They admired my multicultural tree lit by Hanukkah-colored (read: blue & white) lights with other representative ornaments while sipping on chai martinis next to my diya-lit Ganesha icon.

    I enjoy the secular Christmas–at home we used to do a meal that was totally fusion. Had to have some sort of Indian food for my grandpa, so our plates would have roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and Hyderabadi bhagare baingan (spiced eggplant curry).

  3. We’re at the (decidedly non-desi) in-laws’ house for the holidays, but with my (decidedly desi) parents in tow. They are enjoying the festivities (“Rum cake is delicious!” “The decorations are so pretty!”). In order to balance out the Christmas festivities (and twinkly lights?), we all pile in the car to visit the St. Louis Hindu temple tomorrow.

  4. Taz: Any fusion traditions that come up this time of the year?

    Christmas for me is all fusion and confusion. Here’s my humble contribution.

    A Christmas Letter from a DBD DAD

    Your mother and I decided to learn Christmas as one learns a foreign language. You were fast approaching the auspicious American milestone called “The Baby’s First Christmas,” and we felt guilty that we would have nothing to give to you. We already knew we would have to deny you many other rites of passage – sleepovers in homes where the men were live-in boyfriends, summer camps with near Third World living conditions that your mother would never expose you to, a first date in high school, perhaps even the post-prom party, the horrors of which were always reported in our hometown paper, a typical American major in art or comparative lit, and heaven knows what else. Raising a kid in America has never been as easy as getting ahead at work or business.

    But we were not going to deny you the traditions of Christmas. This was, after all, America. All traditions could be acquired.

    So we found ourselves in the Seasonals department of K-Mart picking out our first tree – plastic, of course, and just under four feet, a starter tree for simple, Christmas ignoramuses. Ornaments and lights were hastily thrown into the same cart, and within the hour, I was assembling the baby’s first Christmas tree. The branches fit into the little holes on the trunk just fine. However, the quality control at the Chinese factory had made sure that half the lights would never blink. The manual with numerous grammatical errors had no troubleshooting section.

    We had heard that cookies and milk had to be left by the fireplace for Santa. Since food was your mother’s department, a job she still does with such abandon that dinner guests always leave with tons of filled yogurt containers, she made sure that Santa was left at least a dozen cookies and a glass of whole milk, not the two-percent. We gift-wrapped and arranged all your presents around the tree, and eagerly waited for Christmas morning to turn you loose on a mound of beautifully wrapped packages. When that fateful morning came, at age 7 – months, that is – you were just as clueless about what to do with gift wrapped packages as we were about Christmas. The video shows you drooling all over your gifts, and I mean, literally.

    As years went by, we all got better. You started to leave us your increasingly expensive Christmas Wish List one day after Thanksgiving – Pokeman, NOW CD’s, iPod, to name only a few. The family graduated from plastic to spruce. Your mother even learned to make that awful, milky substance called eggnog. The fireplace mantle sported gargantuan red stockings with our first names on them. Although you had no grandma’s home to go to for Christmas, we frequently went to friends’ homes or invited them over. The house was always filled with good cheer. We were now becoming an assimilated American family with deep seated Christmas traditions going back, oh, at least a few years.

    There are numerous pictures and videos documenting your ABD childhood full of Christmas celebration, not that at age 16 you would have any time to look at them. Today is Christmas Day and you are busy packing for a trip to Chicago to see your favorite cousin. One of your best friends – a girl, thank god – is going with you, and a trip without parental supervision is all you two have on your teenage minds. The two of you are even excited about the two hour layover in Atlanta, because direct flights, in your opinion, suck. We have dropped most of our Christmas traditions this year because the chief recipient of them has newfound tastes and hobbies. But your time will come. Some day you will have children, and you will recall your Christmas filled childhood growing up in this great country, and, unlike your DBD parents who had to learn the Christmas ropes, you will know exactly what to do.

    Enjoy your trip, and you better answer your cell when we call. Your know your mother and I do not text.

    Merry Christmas, everybody!

  5. Taz: Happy Holidays. Thanks for holding on the Bunker. Enjoy the sunny weather, while most of us East Coast folks got socked with tons of white stuff.

  6. My daughter is thousands of miles away, so I don’t have to do a traditional American Christmas. A friend is coming over later. We will eat Parsi food (katles, vagharela chaval, khichri, onion kachumbar) and watch Jodhaa-Akbar. I bought a Parsi cookbook and I’ve been experimenting. Haven’t tried dhansak yet :)

  7. Floridian, thank you so much for that letter-it made me cry. That would be exactly what my DBD parents would have written me if they were the letter writing type. Ironically I now live in FL and they are coming to visit me later today (leaving the awful snow of the midwest-thankfully). This is a first for me, to not travel to my hometown and to the tree that mom always puts up with such care even though I can imagine that years ago and especially the year that she was pregnant with me she did not have a clue how to assemble it. Mom always made Christmas special-she always made sure that the stocking were stuffed with something that was not there the night before….and even though my sister spoiled Santa young she would still tell me that santa left the presents in the stocking and I would go along and believe her just to keep her happy.

    Have a wonderful holiday and a wonderful new year-we all need some cheer this next year!

  8. Home for the holidays, and after agreeing to do Thanksgiving at somebody else’s house, we decided to take back the holidays for Christmas. Although some family members are missing, we still did the usual (secular) Christmas traditions : decorating the tree, opening presents, and cooking the big dinner – roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and my annual trifle. So far, all that is missing is the large-scale full-family argument, but the night is still young (amd relatively sober) ;)

    Floridian – thanks for the letter – it was wonderful, and I hope your daughter gets to read it sometime really soon. Your daughter is young, and probably looking to get away from the parents as often as possible, but I hope she realises what a cool dad (and mom) she has.

    Happy (and safe) holidays to everyone., and I hope you all get to relax with family and friends!

  9. Happy holidays everyone. Its like day 14 of snowpocalypse here in Seattle – so between walking a couple of miles to and from the bars with the few friends still around (and falling on my ass) and getting over a breakup, its not been the christmas I was hoping for but whatever, I’m making the best of it or at least giving it a shot.

  10. Happy holidays Mutineers! I hosted my usual Christmas morning brunch for select family & friends… featuring homemade potato masala dosas, coconut chutney, sambhar & gunpowder. Exhausting prep, worthwhile pay-off. And lots of Bloody Marys to perk things up. Its as close as I get to an Asian Christmas living the way I do in San Antonio…

  11. Floridian,

    That was beautiful! Thank you.

    Our House? I’m an ABD married to a DBD Scrooge. But we still have a 9 foot tree with all of the ornaments that I made when I was in pre-school and elementary school. I’m still amazed at how my mom preserved them all.

  12. Floridian..that was so sweet!! Your daughter is lucky to have you as parents. Our daughters are 4 and 8 months, and we (DBDs both) are in the same process ourselves of figuring this Christmas thing out. Just spent Christmas with the whole brood of Gujju in-laws who did the whole tree and presents thing with gusto, albeit with veggie Gujarati spreads on the table! It’s a fun holiday to co-opt when you have kids!

  13. Floridian, long time! Happy Holidays!

    Hope your daughter picked up your calls, or hv u lrnt 2 txt?

  14. Archana, I’m jealous. I grew up around the corner from the St. Louis temple. It’s an incredible building, and I always thought it was somewhat inspiring that a two mile stretch on Weidman could have a Mosque, Synagogue, and Temple all in a row.