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Sharing Warmth this Holiday Season: Recommendations from California Humanities Staff

The California Humanities staff look forward to this holiday and our winter break. To learn more about how we enjoy spending our leisure time, we asked a few members to share something they do that brings them joy, comfort, or relaxation. Below we share our recommendations. Happy Holidays!

Program Associate Kirsten Vega, a history fan, recommends viewing the BBC documentary series Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm! In this series, historians and archeologists spend a calendar year working like farmers of the past. Their dress, cooking, festivities, gardening, and technology are all told in wonderful technical detail and with much mirth and cider! This series streams on Amazon Prime.

Communications Manager Cherie Hill recommends an additional Amazon Prime series. Solos, a science-fiction series, features different characters sharing intimate monologues based on their lives and relationships. Cherie says, “When I watch each episode, I feel as if I am at a theater within the comfort of my own home.” Notable actors include Uzo Aduba, Morgan Freeman, and Constance Wu.

Renee Perry, our Operations Manager, says that her favorite thing this time of year is baking. “When it is finally winter, which is a real season, even in California, I like to bake.” Recently she found an Armenian Coffee Cake recipe that is not super sweet, which is something she likes in a breakfast pastry. She recommends it because it can be a two-day project, which she finds nice and contemplative as we go into the dark part of the year. Click here for the recipe.

For some holiday films, Project & Evaluation Director Felicia Kelley looks forward to revisiting some of her favorite holiday movies, including It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Fanny and Alexander, and A Child’s Christmas in Wales. She also plans to check out movies that she’s missed–Mon Oncle Antoine, Tokyo Godfathers, Santos Peregrinos, The Holiday, The Shop Around the Corner, and Joyeux Noël.

Julie Fry, President & CEO, listens to music – often on vinyl, the ultimate comfort-inducing listening experience – 365 days a year. While writing this, in fact, she’s listening to Oakland’s own Tower of Power. However, this time of year finds her pulling out the holiday music, which includes a 1965 compilation album of seasonal music standards performed by “great artists of our time” including Barbra Streisand, Pablo Casals and Mahalia Jackson.

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