Yes, I’m Jewish. Yes, I celebrate Hanukkah. Isn’t eight nights of a December (sometimes November) holiday enough?
No. No it is not.
I love Christmas. This does not mean I love Hanukkah any less. I mean latkas done right are the greatest (I’m a fan of crispy over thick), eight nights of presents rock (even when one of them is ALWAYS underpants—thanks, Mom), and playing dreidel was my first taste of the highs and lows of gambling.
But back to Christmas. Do I love/believe all (or any of) the religious aspects of the holiday? No. I mean cool if you do. But that’s not what I’m here for. Otherwise I’m here for SO many aspects of Christmas. The treats, the tree, the music, the capitalism. I’m down for all of it. This month, leading up to Christmas, I’m going to share with you all the things I love about xmas (including calling it “xmas”). Join me, won’t you? L’chaim.
(Talking About Going) Ice Skating (But Definitely Not Going)
Back in my day, around eight or nine, I used to be a decent ice skater. By “decent” I mean I could do those little cross over moves forward and backward. I’m not claiming I was better than Nancy Kerrigan (cool move, North Kardashian West), but I did alright. I haven’t been ice skating since college, and I don’t intend to anytime soon, but one of my favorite Christmas moments is continually talking about how “fun” it would be to go ice skating. I think about a cute outfit to wear but mostly I’d think about the hot cocoa I’d get as a reward for enduring the act of ice skating. The college skating trip wasn’t traumatizing or anything. We went to Grand Park in Chicago before winter break my freshman year and it was one activity in a night of things meant to make us feel festive and like we were really “taking in” the city. I remember falling on my ass… a lot. Being butt bruised the next day… real bad. I remember not looking remotely cute… in front of a dude I think I briefly thought I had a crush on. All these things are not PTSD worthy. They just remind me how much more enjoyable waxing nostalgic and holiday-spirity about going ice skating is than the act itself.
First of all, it’s cold. I mean sure you could ice skate in Los Angeles, but that wouldn’t feel very Christmas-y. Definitely not if you’re doing it in a t-shirt. You have to be bundled up. Also my balance is awful. I’m just not coordinated. Unlike bowling, which I’m also REALLY mediocre at, with ice skating you don’t get a reprieve from how bad you are at the activity. With bowling you can have a beer and chat with friends and then take your turn. With ice skating you just have to keep going around and around on the ice until everyone feels festive enough. You also have all those little kids, like me back in my skating lesson heyday, that are literally skating circles around you. It never feels good to be laughed at by a child because you can’t laugh back… or if you do they cry and then you just become the jerk that can’t ice skate.
This is why I much prefer getting into the Christmas spirit by being around a rink in D.C. and discussing with whomever I’m with how much fun it would be to go ice skating and we should TOTALLY do that soon before Christmas. D.C. has some fantastic places to talk about going ice skating. The Sculpture Garden Ice Rink is the quintessential spot to talk about ice skating. You’d totally have that tourist in your own city feel. Maybe you’ll even go to one of those museums you also always talk about going to.
The ice rink in Georgetown is also another favorite of mine. Especially since it’s all zhuzhed up for Georgetown Glow with the lights and such. I love going to Farmers Fishers Bakers right by the rink and sitting outside with the heat lamps, under the blankets provided, gorging myself on their brunch buffet or cozy boozy beverages and talking about how much fun the ice skaters are having and we should totally ice skate here soon but we can’t because we don’t have enough time today and the weather isn’t exactly right and I think I slept on my ankle funny. But SOON, we’ll totally do it soon.
Another great spot is the ice rink in Downtown Silver Spring. It’s right by the movie theatre and the promenade where they have the music and the tree and it’s a really easy Metro ride. Ice skating there would be a great activity. You could really make a night of it! And it’s a workout… that’s fun! So much fun. What a noble, virtuous Christmas activity ice skating is. We should really do it soon. But I have some Christmas cookies I just made that I should really try first, just to make sure they’re edible, then I’ll make a date for ice skating with you stat.