At last, some good news.
Yes, COVID is raging. And yes, the economy is cratering, the ship of state tossing like a toy in a tempest, the helm spinning, our traitor president jabbing a sharp stick at our nation's weak spots while his fan club cheers his every crime.
And yes, we're suffering through it all isolated, hunkered down, locked down, shut down. Our holiday traditions, every other year counted upon to light the winter darkness, now under a bushel, dimmed, mothballed, neglected. Christmas gatherings? Forget about 'em. Office parties? Not this year. One of the highlights of my existence, the big Hanukkah beer-and-brats blowout? During which there always comes a moment when I gaze out over the festivities, the gathered throng, all happy and loud and having fun, with my friends and family all talking and laughing and quaffing, and think, "Yes, yes ... this is it, life."
Next year, those of us who make it.
I'm sure each one of you has your own loss: no ski vacation, no over-the-river-and-through-the-woods-to-grandmother's-house-we-go. No wassailing. No whatever it is you look forward to.
But you know what hasn't gone anywhere? You know what is still right here, right where it belongs, right where it always should be? What stands astride the culture like a colossus, drawing us together? Eli's Cheesecake, whose advertisements appear begin today for the seventh consecutive holiday season.
I'll confess. My faith wavered. With everything going on, and the economy creaking under the gales of disaster, I didn't even approach my friend Marc Schulman to ask about advertising this year. I figured, he has done his share. Don't bother the man. He must have worries of his own navigating the economic doldrums without puffing into the sails of my little vessel as well. I thought I owed him that.
And then, amazingly, his marketing folks reached out to me. Hey, the good people there said. Our holidays won't be merry and bright without our supporting the important, democracy-propping, hearts-lifting, minds-informing, chuckle-inducing good work done on everygoddamnday.com, well, every goddamn day.
I made a phone call. It turns out, in times of duress, Americans turn to the comforting cool deliciousness of a perfect wedge of Eli's Cheesecake.
"People are really happy to order online," Marc Schulman told me.
True, certain sectors of his business empire are down—airlines for instance. Restaurants. But supermarkets like Jewel and Mariano's?
"Definitely up," Marc said. "We are pretty busy."
Plus a way for you to say, "Hey Neil, thank you for all you do. I so appreciate your continual, 365-day-a-year, hamster-on-a-wheel effort that I actually flopped my fingers on the keyboard and ordered a cheesecake."
If you think you're familiar with the classics — plain cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate mint cheesecake — this year there are all sorts of new items: Ruby Jubilee Cheesecake, to mark Eli's 40th anniversary, Christmas tree-shaped Cheesecake Dippers, and dark-chocolate enrobed Happy Holidays Cheesecake. You can't go into the Eli's factory, the way my lucky boys once did, years ago, and decorate your own cakes. But you can — I would say you must — get Eli's DIY Dessert Kits and bring joy to the kiddies in your world by letting them festoon their own delicious treats.
Otherwise, consider the specter of your small ones, now grown, which they certainly will be one day, wheeling on you, "You mean you could have ordered us DIY Dessert Kits for us, and you didn't?! But why, papa? Why?!"
Not a risk I would be willing to take.
I believe my point is made. Faithful readers know that I do not burden you with demands. The blog is ad-free the rest of the year. But Eli's goes above and beyond, particularly this year, and we need to reward their faith in God, America, me, EGD and what it represents. I hope you'll consider giving yourself, or someone you love — or, ideally, both — that greatest gift one person can give another, the gift of Eli's Cheesecake. Happy holidays.