The latest – and seemingly most profitable – crop from the North Fork are Christmas trees. Every farm, every random piece of land or every parking lot, has a bountiful harvest of Christmas trees for sale. There are the usual balsams and frasers along with the usual accouterments of wreaths and “roping” and even “grave blankets.” I hadn’t heard of the latter until today- and anyone who is in a state of similar ignorance on the subject, a grave blanket is holiday greenery cut to the size of a grave although there are greenery grave blankets in the shape of crosses as well. (You can make one as well: there’s even an instructional website to guide would-be grave blanket makers through the entire process.)
I haven’t bought a Christmas tree as yet- though I was hoping to have had one in place before my friends came to dinner last night. Alas, the festive dressing of my house was limited to lights and a few Santas and reindeer (not as tacky as it sounds, I promise). We had a potluck dinner- though as my friend David pointed out, “Potluck is usually a term used when a lot of people are contributing, not just a few.” I contributed salad, side dishes and wine (a lovely Costaripa Rose Spumante from Lombardia and a rich and unctuous 2005 Dave Ramey Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay) and my friends contributed a terrific main course of shrimp and fennel as well as truly dangerous peanut butter macaroons.
‘Potluck’, by the way, is thought to have come from the word “potlach” which means ‘giving’. It certainly seems appropriate to ‘potlach’ this holiday season with everyone you know.