(Photograph by Joel Benjamin)
Holiday Survival Guide

'Tis the Season?

OK, so a financial meltdown crashed our holiday party, but has it crushed our spirits? We decided to find out. Standing at the corner of Dartmouth and Newbury streets in the Back Bay, we asked this question: "Are you looking forward to the holidays more this year than in previous years?"

By Elizabeth Gehrman
December 7, 2008
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"My world is so crazy right now. I opened a restaurant Thursday and am going on my honeymoon Sunday. I haven't even thought about the holidays. My wife's family is coming from upstate New York, so I think we'll just have them at the restaurant. I can't even think about cleaning my house."

Dennis Cargill, 39, Restaurant proprietor, Boston

"I am looking forward to them more because I'm a new grandmother, so I'm excited for my daughter's new family. Economy-wise, not so much, because I'm an actor."

Jackie Davis, 42, Actor, Boston

"Oh, I always like the holidays. We go to Florida between Christmas and New Year's. And I look forward to the stroll on Charles Street."

Fred Rogers, 67, Retired salesman, Ashland

"I am looking forward to them. My daughter will be coming home from school. She's in her second year at BU. We look forward to her being around. We brought the dog to visit her because she missed the dog more than me."

Kathy Allen, 53, and dog Lacey, Window designer, Baltimore

"My family is in Africa. I haven't seen them for a long time, and I miss them more on the holidays. I've been here five years and two months. I'm counting the days. I'm going to get my citizenship, then maybe go home to see my parents."

James Dhal Latjor, 28, Singer and valet parker, Everett

"I just had my first baby, so I'm really looking forward to the holiday. He's 14 weeks, Zachary James. It's unbelievable -- best feeling in the world. Year-to-date right now I'm probably $20,000 behind where I was last year; there's been a huge drop-off in overtime. But we will dig deep."

Patrick Sheerin, 40, Utility contractor, Hull

"We always do the same thing each year. My husband's sister has a holiday party. This year we have a real loss. Her husband passed away, and he was the patriarch of the family. But we have a large Italian and Irish family, so we'll make it fun. We have the children and so much to be grateful for."

Marie Crocetti, 75, Retired graphic designer, Boston

"In light of everything bad that's been going on this past year, it'll be nice to do something that'll make everyone a little more happy."

John Hickey, 26, Paralegal, Everett

"Probably a little bit less. The whole economic situation makes it a little tougher. I got laid off about a week ago, but that emphasizes family more, rather than the material side of it, so that's definitely a plus."

Jeff Wharton, 26, Online marketer, Boston

"Not many people have money nowadays, so it'll be kind of like a little dull. I don't have money to buy presents either."

Amanda Gannon, 16, High school student, Boston

"I'm really looking forward to them. It's a time of change, and I think people are going to make the extra effort to make the world better. I'm trying to spend a little more this year than last year to make the economy go forward. I heard a very good expression: Invest in friends, not funds."

Vina DePaolo, 36, Restaurateur, Boston

"It's the first year I'm not going to be able to get home. I have a new job, so I'll be working a lot more than I have been. I look forward to after the holiday, when it's the off-season. I'll go home and travel then."

Donta Simmons, 25, Retail manager, Brighton

"I'm looking forward to them, because Boston rocks during the holiday. It gets all glittery and lighted up. It's awesome. They do all the Christmas trees in different neighborhoods, and it's nice to see all the neighborhoods come together to celebrate."

Nicole Lydon, 17, High school student, Dorchester

"I'm apprehensive. Challenging times, new president, world at risk, so Christmas this year will probably be a little more restrained than usual. I'm not trying to kill the Christmas spirit, but it takes the patina off the holiday."

Joe Gschwendtner, 61, Accountant, Denver

"Not really, because last year was the first time for me staying in the United States and having Christmas. This time, I'm going back to my country."

Shoko Shiraishi, 22, Photography student, Boston (from Japan)

"Definitely Christmas will be more expensive this year, with the financial situation. But the kids look forward to it, regardless."

Misko Ivcevic, 41, and daughter, Nina, 4, Software company project manager, Brookline

Elizabeth Gehrman writes the On the Block column. Send comments to

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