Local Currents

Abundance Complicates the Season’s Fun



By David Vanderveen

“When is the surfboard menorah going to be up at Main Beach? I can’t wait!” Sarah Vanderveen.


Laguna has a great mix of festivities over the late-December holiday season. We’re just kicking off the eight days of Hanukah as I write this column, and Christmas isn’t far off. Weeks and weekends are crammed with homes to visit and gifts to give. It’s a time when you start to wonder if you have too many friends in such a small town.


The surfboard menorah is a highlight of the season for my wife, Sarah. She believes that she’s Jewish somewhere in her ancestry and also just loves the unique way that the Chabad Jewish Center celebrates Chanukah publicly with lighted surfboard art at the beach.


Last weekend we hosted a Christmas party at our home. It was last-minute and the dress code involved party pants. First we argued over how many people we could invite, then we end up dreading who we may have missed. It seems like you can’t win even when you’re celebrating.


I’m always interested to see what happens when you put a variety of people from different faith traditions, geographic locations and political beliefs in the same room…and then pour them a few cocktails. Typically, everyone gets along but the conversations can get animated and the perspectives are always fascinating.


Carla Tesak, who owns Salt Fine Art in town, was telling me about a new exhibition that she’s sponsoring in early January with Cuban artists and the difficulty she’s had to overcome getting them and their art into the U.S.


The show will feature artists who have been shut off from the rest of the world. Carla described the tears shed by one artist coming to grips with the propaganda and lies told in Cuba. Simply traveling to a grocery store and inexpensive motel was an eye-opening experience. The bounty of American life was stunning to her and very different than the apocalyptical world that the Cuban political establishment feeds their people.


I am looking forward to seeing Cuba through the eyes of native artists and to discuss how the USA looks like from 90 miles off Key West.


The holidays are never easy, but that is part of what makes them exciting. Connecting with a wide array of friends and family, giving to others in a way that you hope is appreciated, and receiving gifts that others value with graciousness can be challenging. I am happy to have these first world problems.


David Vanderveen is a Laguna Beach resident, husband, father and energy drink entrepreneur. His email is [email protected].

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