Holiday time

Forget the war on Christmas and enjoy the gift-giving season; Formal Education self-promotes; and the Bear drops pool tables.

I’m just plain perplexed when it comes to this so-called “War on Christmas” I keep hearing about. Who declared this war? And who on earth is fighting it? Not this Jew, anyway. If I choose to say “happy holidays,” it has nothing to do with dissing Santa and everything to do with the fact that I honestly don’t think most people would truly appreciate a “happy Hanukkah.”

So, go ahead and wish me a “merry Christmas” if that’s how you’re feeling. And if I respond with a “happy holidays,” a “happy Hanukkah” or a “happy hump day,” please accept the well-wishes as just that and not an attack on your religion or holiday of choice.

With that in mind, ’tis the gift-giving season, ’tis it not? Have you made your way through your nice list yet? If not, I’d love to take this opportunity to encourage you to shop locally. For every $100 that you spend at online retailers or big-box chains like Walmart and Best Buy, only $43 stays in the community. By contrast, if that $100 were spent locally, $68 would stay here, according to, a small-business promoter. That alone should be worth it.

You can take that one step further and buy gifts that were made locally as well as sold locally. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out any of the craft fairs or farmers’ markets. Plus, here are a few of my favorite places: Hooker Oak Distillery, Lundberg Family Farms in Richvale, Made in Chico (duh), Maisie Jane’s Sunshine Products, Moody Farms, Nesseré Vineyards in Durham, The Olive Pit in Corning, and Purple Line Urban Winery and Sohnrey Family Foods in Oroville. If you have other favorites, I’d love to hear about them!

Shameless self-promotion A few weeks ago, I mentioned the new metal gate at Formal Education that serves as an homage to the soon-to-be-demolished Beatles mural across Main Street. Turns out that wasn’t enough recognition for Aveed Khaki, owner of the men’s clothing store. No, Khaki decided to go big with this one and put a photo of it on the cover of Upgraded Living, which he also, ahem, owns. For those who aren’t familiar, the upscale lifestyle magazine features “articles” about local people and businesses, paid for by the businesses that get featured. So, it should come as no surprise that Khaki would so shamelessly feature himself on the cover. But it is surprising. Like, wow.

Bye-bye, pool tables If you know me at all, you know I love playing pool. And while it’s been a good, long while since I’d made it over to the Madison Bear Garden tournaments on Thursday nights, I have had fun there. So, it’s a bummer to announce that the Bear has taken out its pool tables, which filled a large room on the second floor. I called over there to inquire as to the future of that room and was told, quite curtly, “I don’t know.” The owner wasn’t in to clear up the mystery, so stay tuned—as soon as I learn more, I’ll pass it along.