A Very Modern Christmas

The hospital is dotted with Christmas trees: plastic green triangles, some tall and some small, in lobbies and resident rooms and offices. The lights twinkle, golden tinsel glitters, and little angels top the trees. And yet, every posted sign or printed document reads, “happy holidays!”. Easier that way, I suppose. Covers the lot.

Shopping in the neighborhood, I notice that rows of neat little Christmas trees, in shades of pale gray, are standing upright in oblong concrete planters lining the sidewalks. In summer, the planters hold flowers in every color imaginable. Now, in winter, the Christmas season, bright lights are strung around the oddly ethereal trees, shocking pink and blue and purple to contrast with the dove gray branches and silvery bows. From a distance, it looks like an 80s dance floor.

We will have our annual Christmas potluck lunch at work next Monday and food from every corner of the planet, seemingly, will grace the table. Freshly made hummus and pita, spicy fragrant curries and rice, baba ganoush sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, sesame noodles and eggrolls, home made Filipino Pancit, southern fried chicken, red beans and rice, pierogies, baked ham and chicken and salad and cookies and cakes. Well, that’s some of what we had last year I think. We’ll see about this year. The potluck menu rotates because, in a busy teaching hospital like ours, the staff rotates a lot too. It’s a very nice event and a chance to catch your breath during a busy work day, wish others well and a Merry Christmas, and remember just why it is that you chose to practice medicine. You wanted to help people and you wanted to do it in an environment that is warm and nurturing.

4 thoughts on “A Very Modern Christmas”

  1. Thans for this. Those Christmas potlucks (we have one in our department, my husband does in his) do reflect both ethnic and regional heritages – the way certain recipes spread out is like the way music does, and these are ways we can be as inclusive as we want while being as true to our roots as we can.

  2. That’s a very clever point, Ginny: the Christmas potluck as an example of the American “melting pot.”


    – Madhu

  3. Although I do like the overall idea of a potluck symbolizing a “melting pot” that is not what I think of at Christmas. For those of us who celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, it isn’t so much about “us” as it is about “Jesus” and his birth.

  4. Thanks for your comment, JPS!

    I thought about that, too, as I was writing up the post. Perhaps I should have written, “A Very Modern Holiday Season” or something like that. I suppose I am describing the secular manifestations of an important religious holiday for Christians. Or just describing what I see around me.


    – Madhu

Comments are closed.