Dec 222011
Christmas in America: Happy Birthday, Jesus

They say Christmas in the U.S. begins the day after Thanksgiving, on Black Friday. Consider, then, for a moment, the people whose devotion to Christmas extends into much of their year and whom Jesse Rieser has photographed for his series, “Christmas in America: Happy Birthday, Jesus”: Beyond the glowing green and red lights, past the shimmering silvery tinsel, around the fragrant pine boughs, another Christmas lingers, a Christmas of contradictions. This Christmas is complex and at times, uncomfortable. It’s awkward and sometimes bleak. But it is also sincere and celebratory, colorful and creative. […] Continue reading >

Dec 202011
The Soup That Is Christmas

The American Christmas table is different from the Slovak one: no fish, no potato salad, no bobalky, but, most importantly, no kapustnica. Early on in my life as a transplant, I realized I could live without all the traditional Christmas dishes except for the sauerkraut soup. The holiday connotes a lot of things—the tree, presents (socks!), snow (if you’re lucky), family, old movies—but what really makes Christmas for me is, indeed, kapustnica. As the first course, it brings the family together at the dinner table. It’s the ultimate comfort […] Continue reading >

Dec 152011
Give the Gift of Creative Expression or Livelihood

Over the past few years, Americans have had (the increasingly fashionable) option to give charitable Christmas gifts: instead of buying presents for a friend or a family member, you can give a donation in that loved one’s name or honor to an organization serving people in need. Whether it’s a sign of late capitalism, a backlash against materialism, or a cop-out for the self-righteous, giving someone the gift of helping a person or people neither of you may know is a good thing every time, and especially during the season […] Continue reading >