Just say no to bah humbug spirit

December 3, 2019 — by Preston Fu

Just four or five years ago, Christmas lights and decorative icicles hung from the roofs of every house in the Saratoga Legends neighborhood just across the street from Saratoga High. Many of them also had well-crafted light-up reindeer, Santa sleighs or snowmen on their lawns. 

Yet during last year’s holiday season, only three or four of these 14 households continued this long-lasting tradition. Many are unlit at this time of the year. Decorations in downtown are also starting to decrease in quantity and quality.

Holiday spirit is declining, and none of us are better off because of it. 

It isn’t all that hard to combat the problem. Just installing a few lights or a nice winter wreath can make all the difference.

After all, holidays in general are still thriving in the U.S. Even away from their home country, many Indian-American immigrants continue to proudly celebrate their festival of lights, Diwali. In doing so, they have developed a sense of unity and friendship within the ethnic community.

In fact, the scale of their celebration has grown so rapidly that popular travel locations such as Disneyland, Times Square and even the White House are drowned in these bright October festivities each year. And it will only grow in the coming years as this group increases its presence in the U.S.

The popularity of Chinese New Year, too, has increased greatly in the U.S. In 2018, former Gov. Jerry Brown even declared it an official holiday. Due to China’s growing local and global influence, Saratogans have become more curious about foreign cultures and holidays and less about what they had grown up celebrating.

Meanwhile, Los Gatos, which has fewer Indian and Chinese residents than Saratoga, is still adorned with festive Christmas lights and sported Halloween props in October.

All of this is in contrast to our neighborhoods, which seem to  become more dead each holiday season, based on houses’ exterior decorations.

Resisting this decline is not much work for any one person. Put a Christmas tree up in your home and invite some friends over. Make a warm, rich cup of hot chocolate and play some holiday music. Above all, just say no to the bah humbug spirit.

 

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.

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