By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
Are you feeling less festive this holiday season? The holidays seem out of place this year. They seem awkward, and the whole vibe is different. It's an awfully strange time, and people don't seem able to take the holidays seriously. The greenhouse effect is also in full swing. All our new boots and coats are useless. I believe that people are thinking about other things, like, "Who am I?" and "Where do I fit in?"
Given the uncertainty of the economy, how much will you be spending on gifts? The arts exist in a world of their own. I do dance music for a living and it has been a positive form of escapism for a lot of people. That's meant plenty of work for me. For as many people who reacted to the World Trade Center by staying home, the same number of people have dealt with it by going out to party. In terms of spending, I'm not really into the commercial aspects of the holidays. What do you want for Christmas? I'd like to fall in love. I can't buy that. I'd like to meet a woman who I could fall in love with and who could fall in love with me. I've wanted that for awhile, but this Christmas, it would be particularly great.
Are you feeling less festive this holiday season? Yes, I am. The vibe on the street is also very different from other years. I think that people are trying to get into the holiday spirit but it's not there yet. My birthday was last week, and I a became a United States citizen yesterday. I don't really know how to celebrate any of it. Yesterday I saw a huge sign that said, "New Yorker, Do Your Part. Go Shopping". After all we've been through lately, and that's what we're supposed to do to get through it?
Given the uncertainty of the economy, how much will you be spending on gifts? I'm self-employed. This year I lost my job in the dotcom industry and I had to sink a lot of money into my new jewelry business in order to get it up and running. It's nerve-racking to have gone into business within weeks of the World Trade Center attacks. I am seeing people buy my jewelry as a kind of splurge. I've also started to believe my friends the conspiracy theorists who believe we're at war because it's good for the economy. What do you want for Christmas? World peace, for my friends and family to be safe and happy, and $50K worth of jewelry supplies.
Are you feeling less festive this holiday season? I'm feeling very festive. I'm trying not to let the events of September 11 stop me from living. I've already started my Christmas shopping, in particular for my eight-year-old niece. She wants a portable CD player and all kinds of different Barbie things. I took her to the Toys 'R' Us in Times Square where they have a two-story Barbie house inside the store. It's amazing.
Given the uncertainty of the economy, how much will you be spending on gifts? I'm going to spend as I normally do, even though I know how many businesses are downsizing right now. It's uncomfortable. I have a job and that's good, but my company's in the process of downsizing too. What do you want for Christmas? Peace, love, and happiness. On a girl level, I'd also like a tennis bracelet, a delicate one with diamonds.
Are you feeling less festive this holiday season? I'm really the wrong person to ask. As a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center I'm going to be returning to my home in the former Soviet Union. It isn't a question of patriotism, but of the very apparent levels of toxicity downtown. I live near enough to the site to be bothered by it. I suppose if there's anything good to come out of September 11, it's the potential for greater accord between the U.S. and Russia, although seeing Bush and Putin together makes me think of the the prince and jester.
Given the uncertainty of the economy, how much will you be spending on gifts? I'm saving all my money to go home. What do you want for Christmas? What we all want for Christmas. Peace. To get rid of all desire. I don't need art supplies because I'm not that kind of artist. Maybe a new video camera.
Are you feeling less festive this holiday season? No. I usually start getting psyched right around Thanksgiving, which for me is a family time. Just a minute ago, I was thinking about our holiday party. We recently decided to downsize it from uptown with a bill of about $1500 for twenty people, to a BYOB in Chinatown that will end up costing around $20 a person.
Given the uncertainy of the economy, how much will you be spending on gifts? I've decided not to spend as much. I've allocated a certain amount for presents and I'm sticking to it. I haven't begun my shopping yet. Two paychecks from now, I start. What do you want for Christmas? I told my boyfriend I wanted a Neti Pot. It looks like a genie bottle and you use it to clean out your nasal passages. I'm into yoga. I want that and a Dr. Andrew Weil meditation tape. I told him not to spend more than fifty dollars on my gifts, but I don't know if I'll be able to stick to that myself. When it comes to buying for him, I can easily spend five or six hundred dollars.
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.