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Choose the cream

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The nice thing about New Year’s Eve is that it doesn’t force itself on anyone. Christmas, on the other hand, is unavoidable and if you don’t partake in strange rituals on Dec. 25 you are considered a weirdo. But when Dec. 31 rolls around, Father Time won’t slide down the chimney; he is a polite, humble holiday icon who doesn’t ceaselessly promote himself like Santa Claus (or the damn Easter Bunny) or force you to buy anything.

Instead, he provides choice. All over town he has arranged alcohol-soaked festivities for people who like to be around people. For the homebodies he provides a wealth of end-of-the-year television shows. If you choose to ignore him altogether, his feelings won’t be hurt.

If you enjoy this kind of guilt-free holiday, maybe you would enjoy Festivus, “a holiday for the rest of us.” This holiday originated on “Seinfield” as alternative to the traditional winter holidays. Now, Ben & Jerry’s offers a limited run of Festivus ice cream (available at www.benjerry.com and most grocery stores). It’s kind of gross, unless you like the taste of gingerbread, and I never really got “Seinfield,” but anything that promotes holiday rebellion is OK in my book.

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