Whether or not we celebrate Christmas and its religious meaning, it does give us a time to slow down and reflect. Many businesses are closed or on reduced hours today. Cities and homes are decked out in lights and decorations. There is a hush that falls over many places as the crowds dissipate, even in New York City. I’ll happily take the R&R with time to see friends and enjoy the peace. Wishing you all a lovely day however you’re spending it, and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate this holiday.
Today’s the day! Today, tomorrow, and Saturday my book Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, is available for free as a Kindle download. Just go to the book’s page on Amazon, and you’ll see that the price has been reduced from $4.99 to $0 for these days only. Download it for yourself and to give as gifts to all the readers on your list. Happy holidays from Emerson Page!
Happy Cyber Monday!
I was walking to the Times Square subway from the Bryant Park Holiday Market and stopped short when I saw a set of retail windows that celebrated Artists, Explorers, and Dreamers. I went inside to find an art installation that featured a graffitied subway car, a space scape, and an artist’s work room. They encourage you to go in and snap selfies so Emerson Page did a little photo shoot.
The art installation doubled as a retail popup for online sunglass brand, Privé Revaux. The designer sunglasses are all handcrafted, polarized, and $29.95 in over 100 styles. Now if only all shopping experiences, online and in brick-and-mortar, could come with a side of art, we’d all feel a little more inspired and a little less tired during our holiday shopping.
If you’re in NYC, check out the Privé Revaux popup store at 120 West 42nd Street. Not in NYC? No problem. All frames are also available at https://priverevaux.com/.
American Public Media gave me the chance to wax poetic about my favorite holiday song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, the importance of gratitude, and my love for James Taylor. Here’s a 1-minute soundbite of our conversation.
“You see, life is a very special kind of thing, not just for a chosen few. But for each and every living breathing thing. Not just me and you…Say a prayer for the wind, and the water, and the wood, and those who live there, too.” ~Alfie as told by John Denver and The Muppets
Over the last few days, I’ve spent a lot of time reading and writing. All my life, words (mine and those of others) have helped me through difficult circumstances. Yesterday, I looked to the potent words of one of my favorite set of philosophers, The Muppets. I usually wait until closer to Christmas time to post this poem, but after the week we’ve had I think we need it now. I certainly do. Though I don’t celebrate the religious aspects of Christmas, I do very much hold to the spirit of the season, and its ideals, hope, and light. (And I of course support my friends who do believe in its religious significance.) The poem below tells the story of Alfie, a tree, who by all accounts is one of the most thoughtful beings and who has a particular penchant for believing in the rights of all living things. I hope it brings you as much comfort as it brings me.
“Alfie: The Christmas Tree”
Did you ever hear the story of the Christmas Tree
who just didn’t want to change the show?
He liked living in the woods and playing with squirrels, he liked icicles and snow.
He liked wolves and eagles and grizzly bears
and critters and creatures that crawled.
Why bugs were some of his very best friends, spiders and ants and all.
Now that’s not to say that he ever looked down on the vision of twinkling lights,
or on mirrored bubbles and peppermint canes and a thousand other delights.
And he often had dreams of tiny reindeer
and a jolly old man and a sleigh full of toys and presents and wonderful things,
and the story of Christmas Day.
Oh, Alfie believed in Christmas all right, he was full of Christmas cheer.
All of each and every day and all throughout the year.
To him it was more than a special time much more than a special day,
It was more than a beautiful story. It was a special kind of way.
You see, some folks have never heard a jingle bell ring,
And they’ve never heard of Santa Claus.
They’ve never heard the story of the Son of God. And that made Alfie pause.
Did that mean that they’d never know of peace on earth
or the brotherhood of man?
Or know how to love, or know how to give? If they can’t, no one can.
You see, life is a very special kind of thing, not just for a chosen few.
But for each and every living breathing thing. Not just me and you.
So in your Christmas prayers this year, Alfie asked me if I’d ask you
to say a prayer for the wind, and the water, and the wood,
and those who live there, too.
What do you get for the dog who has everything he needs? The same thing you get for people who have everything—art. I made this paper collage for Phineas to capture his philosophy on life. Merry Christmas, Phin!
Here’s the Phineas Way:
- Join a parade whenever possible
- Don’t be afraid to lead the way
- A first snow is a very happy thing
- Sometimes the best thing to do is sit and be quiet like a yogi
- “How good can you feel?” is a question you should ask every day, and answer
- Share something wonderful with everyone, always
- Fall in love with as many things, and people, and animals, as possible
- There’s cool stuff out on the edge
- Be excited
- Embrace the wild
- You’re perfect just the way you are
- Stay unique
- Learn how to be a good copilot
- You can never have too much joy
- New York is my soul city, and always will be
- Embrace tomorrow, no matter what happened today
- Live color fully, in many different directions
- Sing loud and proud like a bird
- Be unstoppable
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the greatest places in the world to hang around
- I love snuggling; snuggling’s my favorite
- I have one goal: to be the best dog ever. (And, for me, he absolutely is!)
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from the nation’s capital! Everything is calm and bright (and warm!) here, and I couldn’t be happier about this relaxed holiday season. I hope yours is equally wonderful!
I am so deeply committed to the arts in any form for one simple reason: it is the one vehicle we have to take any circumstance, be it joyful or tragic, and turn it into something that can inspire anyone who comes in contact with it. One of my favorite examples of this is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Dickens’s tale makes him synonymous with Christmas. He grew up in dire circumstances, going to work in a factory at age 12 in order to support his family because his father had been jailed for debt. His early personal experience with poverty fueled his passion to use his writing to speak for people who couldn’t speak for themselves. Originally, he wanted to create a political pamphlet about poverty in Victorian England and instead decided to write A Christmas Carol because he felt it would have “20 times the impact of a political pamphlet.” He was right that it would have more impact. What he didn’t know is that it would remain in print for 172 years (and counting!), and become one of the most beloved texts and multi-media traditions of all-time.
So this Christmas, whether you’re listening to holiday music, reading a book like A Christmas Carol, or watching a holiday movie, let’s take a moment to recognize that the tough times we experience have the potential to be turned into something beautiful that could inspire people and help them persevere.
I walked through Dupont with a friend of mine. We were deep in conversation about work when something shiny caught my eye. One of the hotels we walked by was completely decked out in holiday decorations: giant and full wreaths, countless strings of lights, and ornaments galore. With the temperatures in the 60s and the constant bustle of life, it’s easy to forget it’s the holidays. So I decided right then and there to make sure that every day I take in a little Christmas. And once I did, I saw it everywhere – small and lovely store fronts, decorated lampposts, and even on the faces of people making a point to get together and spread the cheer. I hope we all find these same moments every day, all year long. Happy holidays!