By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Are you feeling less festive this holiday season? I don't know. After my L.A. fiasco, where I spent a couple of useless years in California without getting any acting work, I returned to New York and within two-and-a-half months the World Trade Center was destroyed. What it did was make me much more appreciative of my family and friends. As an actor, you have to go where the work is, and I haven't always been able to devote time to the people I care about. Now I just want to go see friends from school and go south to see my mother.
Given the uncertainty of the economy, how much will you be spending on gifts? The only thing I plan to spend money on is traveling. Othewise I won't spend any more or less. What do you want for Christmas? I'd like for people to think critically. To really analyze what they're being told. Marching for justice is a waste of time. The only way to effect social change is through boycotts. You have to be the one holding the dollar. The Montgomery bus boycott worked because the bus company lost money, not because they cared about a bunch of black people being on the bus.
Are you feeling less festive this holiday season? The weather has been so warm that it feels more like summer than winter, but I don't think there's any city as festive as New York around the holidays. I'm sure that it will begin to feel like Christmas as we get closer to it. I think New Yorkers will want to focus on kindness this year. I myself haven't felt that festive, particularly because my father is a journalist who is now reporting from Pakistan. I spoke with him the day after Thanksgiving and he's due to come home in four weeks. Maybe his return will be my Christmas present.
Given the uncertainty of the economy, how much will you be spending on gifts? I have a couple of jobs, one of which is in a restaurant. I haven't seen any reduction in my tips, because the restaurant has continued to do well even after September 11. In terms of spending, I'm a college student so money is always an issue. What do you want for Christmas? I want more time. I don't have enough of it. I feel like I need to really devote some time to thinking about my future and about my relationships. That seems very important right now.
Are you feeling less festive this holiday season? Yes. Actually, I'm not feeling at all festive. Between the World Trade Center, the warm weather, and the anthrax, I think I feel like a lot of New Yorkers dolost. My grandmother died around Thanksgiving, so that holiday was meaningless. Everything seems mixed-up and chaotic. I myself have been wandering around feeling totally unscheduled and disorganized. The energy of the city is dead. I think people are exhausted. And scared that what is coming next is so unclear.
Given the uncertainty of the economy, how much will you be spending on gifts? I really am not feeling connected to Christmas. The weather is so odd, it feels as though we're getting ready for the summer, and that we skipped the winter altogether. What do you want for Christmas? Usually, I have five million things on my Christmas list, but not this year. It's all too hazy. Actually, I might like a puppy. Something sweet and fresh.