Recapturing the Holiday Spirit


Thankfully, @msg made me put up a tree this year. Hopefully it will help get me back into the holiday spirit.

I returned from the Thanksgiving holiday well-rested and bursting with holiday spirit. Armed with a list of tasty treats, homemade gift ideas, and holiday meals that would make visions of sugarplums break dance in your brains, I was prepared to load you up with stories, photos, and recipes that hopefully would inspire you to jump on the holiday train with me.

But the day after I returned, a friend of mine, Josh Levine, was killed in a tragic accident. Within an instant, my heart was broken and the holiday spirit was sucked out of me. Josh was a husband to my friend Ann, a father of two adorable babies, a son, a brother, a friend to so very many, and an inspiration to all of us – especially to me.

A few years ago, Josh and Ann moved to Sag Harbor full time, leaving the city and the corporate world behind to live a slower paced life and follow a dream. Josh went from selling land (he was in real estate) to cultivating land – working on a farm in Amagansett.

I know first hand how scary it can be to one day start out on a completely new and foreign path, but he did it with such an eagerness and dedication – and you could tell that he was so happy. In times of complete frustration over the past nine months, I’ve often thought about Josh and Ann’s new life. Their bravery to be the first of us to trade it all in and go for it gave me the courage to continue on this unknown path I find myself traveling. I wish I’d had the chance to tell him that.

Bruce Buschel paid tribute to Josh in today’s NY Times in a touching piece that more eloquently describes both Josh and our immense heartbreak over losing him. It’s funny because I’ve always thought I was the kind of person who would cook their way out of a tragedy. But it turns out, I’m not. I’m the kind of person who wants to sit on the sofa and stare at the wall. I’m still cooking for clients and contracted engagements, but it takes all of my energy to do so, leaving nothing for Christmas cookies, homemade gifts, and holiday cheer.

But this weekend that all changes. Whether I feel like it or not, I’m getting myself back into the kitchen, dusting off the stand mixer, and promise to ice anything edible. I may not be able to cook my way out of a tragedy, but let’s see if I can cook my way back into the holiday spirit. Fingers crossed for a Christmas miracle.

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