I have a Christmas tree in my living room created by my beloved roommate. With the smell of pine in the air. She is gone today to visit one of her granddaughters.
I mix that in with two books by Jonathan Israel on Jews in the 15th Century and his third book on the Enlightenment and the responses to it. Israel had shaped my view of early modern commerce. He is a magnificent historian who has created a new academic world by learning old Dutch.
Reading good material is pure pleasure for me. I take occasional breaks to nap and to cook something for myself. Usually when I am alone the food is simple, on the grill or from the microwave.
I’m going to a Hanukkah party tomorrow night. I usually play the role of head of the family, say the prayers and tell the story of the festival.
My own menorah tradition is to make a new one every year. Nine holes in a piece of wood isn't hard. One year it was in a squash, another year I drilled into rock. I understand the tradition of the seven and eight armed menorahs, but a new one every year stimulates my thinking about the early guerrilla strategy of the Maccabees.
Have a merry Christmas and a happy Hanukkah.