Amanda's View: Gift

By Amanda Knox
 
I suppose it’s a privilege that I’ve never had to rely on Black Friday to do my Christmas shopping. I know some people get a thrill out of competing to collect big on the best deals, but I don’t like to feel rushed, herded through a crowd, or pressured to make a purchase. The only thrill I get out of Black Friday is the thrill of knowing a bunch of black cats are going to get homes that day, because the Humane Society waives their adoption fees. Nope, Black Friday comes and goes for me without much notice. I tend to stay home, digesting leftovers.
 
But that doesn’t mean I don’t get into the gift-giving spirit. Post-Thanksgiving, I feel silly with glee at the prospect of stumbling across perfect gifts for people I love over the next month—unexpected, clever, fun, thoughtful, useful gifts. Gifts that will be just what the recipient wanted, without realizing they wanted it. Gifts that are as satisfying as the end of a Sherlock Holmes novel, or a cup of hot chocolate spiced with chili. Gifts that say, “I love you AND I know you,” but which also give the recipient something new to sink their teeth into.
 

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Amanda's View: Sharing Harry and Fantastic Beasts

By Amanda Knox
 
I’m actually glad Chris was just too old to be into Harry Potter back in the day. Although he was a fantasy and sci-fi nerd who read voraciously and regularly played Dungeons and Dragons, in 1997—when Sorcerer’s Stone was published—he was also fifteen. There were limits.
 

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Amanda's View: Oma's Thanksgiving

By Amanda Knox
 
Oma’s first Thanksgiving in the United States wasn’t much of a Thanksgiving. She shipped off before the end of Opa’s deployment in Germany, alone except for their first child, my uncle Mickey. She spent the unfamiliar American holiday in Seattle with Opa’s mom, and didn’t think much of it, because she didn’t think much of her mother-in-law, who was in the habit of demanding extra rent from Oma at the end of each month. Also, they served raw oysters, and Oma disliked having to pick the sand out of her teeth.
 
Oma’s next Thanksgiving was much better. Ironically, it was back in Germany. My mom Edda was born by this time, on the military base. Another military couple joined Opa and Oma’s little family for dinner, brought the turkey. Oma contributed what has become her signature dish: red cabbage spiced with clove and apple. Opa told her the story about the Mayflower and the Native Americans, and Oma, a history buff, drank it up. This time, the holiday felt like family, and reminded her of Erntedankfest, the harvest festival, when the first wines of the season were uncorked.
 

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