No matter what your take on Christmas and the holidays is, I believe that there resides a universal connection between all of us here in the North. It may be a culmination of the colder weather, decrease in daylight hours, pressure of these times that brings us to these times. Yes, the air of unity and family, and the festival of lights are certainly pseudo magical in their own right, as are the tie-ins for some of religious and spiritual celebration, but when I speak of pressure, it is one that can overwhelm the senses and shock the soul.
Pressure to meet expectations of family and loved ones. Pressures laid out by the media to fuel the capitalist system that supposedly benefits us all. Pressure to evaluate and re-evaluate self, so often punctuated with hard to hold up resolutions. Yes, the world is a tough place at times. Tougher for some than others. And the onslaught of the holidays can so readily serve to magnify these pressures. For the elderly, the poor, the homeless,and the sick, the holidays, as I am sure you already are aware, can be an extraneously trying period that puts the struggles of life in the forefront of perception. Even for those who don’t resign themselves to such troubles, the emotional, financial follow-up to the celebratory times can leave the synapses a bit fried heading into the remaining three weeks of winter’s stark doldrums.
Sound depressing? Maybe a little. Maybe it’s because I, like so many, am spending this Christmas and New Year’s alone. Don’t get me wrong, I am taking advantage of the time to pull some extra shifts at my wonderful beertending gig. Moreover, I am allowing myself the personal time to mentally breathe and take in some me time. This everyone should experience from time to time.
For those out there who are spending the holidays by themselves, remember, you are not alone. Okay, you are alone. I didn’t have a follower to that first line, but try to enjoy yourself and your independence. Take some time to reflect and soak in the world around you. Heck, drink a beer, watch a movie you love, do something that makes you happy or at least feel in a meditative state. Indulge yourself.
For those who are spending holidays with family and loved one (or even those, like the cliched notorious in-laws, who you are not so fond of), remember, that is a special and important task as well. Sometimes hanging out in a holiday setting with a cast of obligatorily arranged humans is not the seemingly ideal scenario, remember, this will can serve to make the other times be more appreciated.
Whatever your holiday status is, the strategy or lack thereof, take it all in and treasure it. Before you know it the season will be spring and the weather will be warm. This cycle of life will roll on, and hopefully you will too, growing and learning with each day. So what does this have to do with beer? Beers is everything. The rest is just details.
Angelo grew up in Maine and is proud to call New England his original home. Cascadia is now his home. He fell in love with great beer in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.
He has been a correspondent for the Portland Tribune's Guest on Tap column, LivePDX.com, and has been featured in publications such as Beer Northwest and PDX Magazine. Angelo also has a great interest in independent music, and has been a booker and organizer for shows around the Portland under the name Pop Tomorrow! Angelo garnered much knowledge regarding beer from his experiences homebrewing, working at Belmont Station, Pyramid Brewing, Upright Brewing, By the Bottle, Beer Revolution, Olde Depot Public House, Falling Sky Brewing, Cascade Brewing, and from many many knowledgeable, passionate, and loving people along the way. It is Angelo's mission to bring "infotainment" and "edumation" to the readers of this website. If you have any questions or comments, or would like to contribute, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org