All who dislike the holidays or winter in general—the Grinches, the snowbirds, the unreformed Scrooges among ye—are cordially invited to leave this page. You’ll be happier reading about our latest Portland-shot TV show, or Cheryl Strayed’s journey to film, or the drone aircraft that will soon, no doubt, precision-deliver your subscription to Curmudgeon Illustrated.
The rest of us will now spend a few paragraphs celebrating the season that makes us, the Portlanders, who we are. When the rains come and the gales howl, you find out who’s really in around here. Who can rock that Oregon-shorn wool sweater and make it look like cashmere? Who can defeat SAD and motivate to make a cookie bigger than a grown man’s face? Who can convincingly hoist an ornamental tankard of flaming Slavic grog and bellow a warrior’s toast to the gray heavens?
That bodacious cover shot, captured at the post-Soviet hipster restaurant Kachka, captures the mood this month at Portland Monthly. The true Portlander greets winter with a sort of gregarious disdain. Bring forth what misery you can muster, O Atmosphere! We will treat the cold and wet as yet another excuse to gather with kin and comrades to share our favorite seasonal ales. We will convene to exchange lavish gifts and wry witticisms about the tinseled fare offered in the city’s playhouses. It is a season for thinking deep and important thoughts and plotting strange and outrageous feats.
In fact, the excitement runs so high that we mustered a walloping action plan for the season, a menu and manifesto for making the most of these months of celebration and renewal. Consider this feature your inventory of hibernal inspiration—or, if you need to, treat it as a challenge next time you hear someone complain about the weather, Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice, or any other aspect of the season. This is our time. We should make the most of it. Embrace the cold! Exalt the darkness! Splash the puddles!
Of course, if none of that works for you, there’s always Kauai.