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Monthly Newsletter

December 2011
www.AmSoc.com.br Forum
The Holiday Issue
Page 6: The Angel party 2011
was another great success. See
some pictures and fnd out who
our generous sponsors were.
Giving by giving
Page 11: Find out how your Xmas
purchases can help local ONGs.
Page 12: Enough about presents
already? Discover the festive side
of the holidays in So Paulo.
Xmas in So Paulo
The American Society of So Paulo
promotes friendship by organizing
social, cultural and athletic events for
its diverse membership; encourages
integration with the Brazilian society;
and supports the American traditions
of education, philanthropy and
volunteerism.
Our Mission
The Holiday Issue
Save the date
Save the date
Upcoming AmSoc events
Dec 2nd - AmSoc Xmas party
Jan 28th - Abacaxi bowl
Angel party 2011
AmSoc Annual Christmas Party
Christmastime is here, but its not too
late to start considering what to get for
those folks on your naughty-and-nice lists
who dont live in Brazil. Everyone will
want a little memento from the country,
but another pair of Havaianas in dayglow
colors really wont do.
Therefore, weve put together a little
list of Brazilian-favored items you can
fnd in So Paulo that will at least make
you look like you put a modicum of
consideration into your gift-giving this
year.
For absolute convenience, theres
nothing quicker or easier than stopping at
your neighborhood pharmacy and picking
up one of the tropical toiletries produced
by Granado Pharmcias.
Founded in Rio de Janeiro in 1870,
Granados soaps, lotions, and creams
make for interesting and inexpensive
presents with their vintage packaging and
exotic fragrances such as aa, castanha
do Brasil (Brazil nut), and calendula
(marigold). While most pharmacy chains
and supermarkets in the city carry the
basics, the Granado pharmacies on Rua
Haddock Lobo in Jardins and at the Hyatt
along the Marginal Pinheiros, carry the
full line of Granado products, including
shaving creams, hand- and foot-care
lotions, baby and pet care items, Rio-
themed toiletry bags and accessories, and
gift boxes stuffed with effervescent oils
and soaps.
Another pharmacy quick pick is the
line of boutique skincare products from
supermodel Gisele Bndchen, Sejaa,
which is sold online and at Droga Raia
locations around the city. With a name
inspired in part by the Portuguese verb
to be, Sejaa products, including face
creams and mud masks, contain 100%
all-natural ingredients and eco-friendly
packaging. The fact that the brand is
associated with one of the most famous
Brazilians in the world has to count for
something.
And speaking of high-fashion, for
something a little higher-end that says
Brazil without saying Brazil, consider
the cadre of Brazilian fashion designers
based in So Paulo.
With winter collections being debuted
next month at the twice-yearly So Paulo
Fashion Week, clothing and accessories
from summer collections can be found
online or at the designers local studio-
shops at steep markdowns. Blue and
white skull-patterned t-shirts from
Brazilian Holiday Gift Guide
By Ernest White II, staf writer
Please join us in a beautifully
decorated members home to celebrate
Christmas with your AmSoc friends. To
get you in the mood there will be plenty
of Christmas music, traditional foods
including hot turkey sandwiches, home-
made cookies and brownies (brought to
you by our friend Andy from Beebys
Gourmet Catering), and of course rich
and creamy eggnog!
Friday December 2nd 2011
8pm - 10.30pm
Address provided upon making your
reservation. RSVP is mandatory.
R$60 per ticket
Call the offce until December 1st at
12pm on 5182-2074 or email amsoc1@
americansociety.com.br to reserve your
ticket.
Presidents Corner
By Joe Sherman, AmSoc president
Forum December
2
Lynn Cordeiro, editor and layout
Ernest White II, staff writer
Forum is printed by EGB.
(http://www.egb.com.br)
Views expressed in Forum do
not necessarily refect those of
the American Society board of
governors, members, or staff.
Forum reserves the right to edit
content for brevity and/or clarity.
The American Society of So Paulo
Rua da Paz, 1431 04713-001 So Paulo, SP
Tel: (11) 5182-2074 Fax: (11) 5182-9155
forum@AmSoc.com.br
Forum is published monthly, with
the exception of January and July, by
A
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The year is
coming to an end
and let`s fnish
on a positive
note.
I have always
said that sitting
in an offce in
So Paulo and
reading the paper
on crime, traffc, and corruption is not
what Brazil is all about.
Brazil`s agribusiness sector has
experienced many changes and
impressive growth in the past decades.
I had the opportunity to travel to the
state of Mato Grosso in the past few
months. In 1960, the sleepy town of
Rondonopolis had a population of 22
thousand. Today the city has grown to
200 thousand, an agricultural center
that houses business giants such as
Bunge, ADM, Nortox agrichemicals,
and recently a brewery by Petropolis.
You can fy there commercially these
days!
I started in the agribusiness feld in
1975 and Brazilian soybean production
was about 11 million metric tons.
Soybean production in the US was
42 million metric tons and production
in Argentina was less than a million
tons. Last year Brazilian soybean
production hit a record at 75.5 million
metric tons.
This is impressive when one factors
in the lack of infrastructure in terms
of highways and ports, plus the low
exchange rate. So the soybean crop
grew about 7 times in 35 years, new
land under production in the center
west of the country, Mato Grosso do
Sul, Mato Grosso, Goias, Minas Gerais
and western Bahia. This cerrado
area was considered a waste land for
many years, only suited for cattle
grazing. But with lime, fertilizer, and
modern seed technology it has become
Brazils bread basket.
Soybean production in Mato Grosso
in 1975 was about a half a million
tons, accounting for 4 % of Brazilian
production. Today production is over
20 million metric tons or about 27%
of Brazilian production. So, dramatic
changes in terms of population
movement, new towns sprouting up,
growth in agricultural input sales, etc.
Soybean production last year in the US
was about 90.5 million metric tons, so
more than doubled in 35 years.
The winner in terms of growth is
Argentina where production totaled
49 million metric tons last year, or 49
times the 1975 fgure!
There has also been a dramatic
change in Brazilian soybean export
volume and destinations. Looking at
a shorter time comparison Brazilian
soybean exports in 1997 were 7.8
million metric ton, primarily to
Europe. That year exports to China
were in insignifcant. Last year
Brazilian soybean exports totaled 29.1
million metric tons, and 19.1 million
metric tons, or 66% went to China.
Exports to Europe remain at the same
level of 13 years ago. So China`s
growing middle class has provided a
market for Brazilian soybeans, and
China now accounts for 60% of the
global soybean trade..
If one were to look at the examples
of the corn and sugar cane crops there
is also a positive story. Corn production
has increased to supply expanding
domestic broiler and pork sectors, and
sugar cane to supply ethanol to the
growing fex engine car feet.
Brazil is the leading exporter of
agricultural commodities led by the
soy complex, and followed by meats,
sugar/ethanol, pulp/paper, and coffee.
In 2010 total Brazilian exports were
US$ 202 billion, and the agribusiness
exports totaled US$ 76.4 billion or
38%.
Today Brazil has a well balanced
agricultural sector, not dependent on
single crop, for example as coffee as
in the past. The country clearly has a
competitive advantage with a tropical
climate permitting two crops per year,
ample rainfall, and available land
located outside the rain forest.
So the outlook for Brazilian
agriculture is very positive to continue
to supply the growing world demand
for food, an exciting market. How
about an agricultural tour on our
calendar?
We are fnishing a positive year at
Amsoc having successfully organized
many events; Little League, the AGM,
4th of July, the Vida Jovem night, the
Angel party- to name a few.
I would like to thank the Board for
a job well done and we are looking
forward to 2012.
I wish everyone a happy holiday
season.
Abrao,
Joe
The American Society
of So Paulo
Forum
3
2011
Welcome to our New Members
Welcome the following New Members who joined us recently. We are very grateful for your support!
NAME MEMBERSHIP TYPE CITIZENSHIP COMPANY OR PROFESSION
Will ARREDONDO Single Patron Membership American Enlaces Consulting
Antonio BERNAL & Carolina GALEANO Family Membership American BNP Paribas Brasil
Mary Andriani & Marcelo R. de
CARVALHO
Family Membership American
Charles & Roseli COOKSON Family Membership American / Brazilian
John & Marlia DETAR Family Patron Membership American RoiX
Steven & Juliana EDWARDS Family Patron Membership American Ernest & Young
Andrea FLAMENCO & Luis LORA Family Membership Salvadoran
Daniel & Catherine FURLANI Family Membership American General Motors
Jose & Gretchen GARCIA Family Membership American
Enrique & Kennny GARCIA Family Membership American General Electric
Juan G. & Carolina Casanas GIRALDEZ Family Patron Membership American Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
LLP
Sam & Caty GLEASON Family Membership American Nike Inc.
Scott HUDSON & Lisa ALFARO Family Membership American
Michelle SUN & Peter KELMAN Family Membership American
Gil & Judith Gergel ZANCHI Family Membership American/ Swiss Renaissance So Paulo Hotel
The Choir of the Fellowship Community
Church will present their annual Christmas
concert on Sunday morning, December 11 at
10:30 A.M. The choir is singing a cantata using
familiar Christmas music and carols.
This is a great way to enter into the Christmas
spirit. Marilyn Mangels conducts the choir and is
accompanied by Sergio de Souza at the organ.
The church is located on Rua Carlos Sampaio,
107 and there is nearby parking as well as a
nursery for small children. EVERYONE IS
WELCOME!!!
Christmas Concert
Forum December
4
Brazilian Holiday Gift Guide
By Ernest White II, staf writer
Alexandre Herchcovitch, slinky black
formal jumpers from Lino Villaventura,
and rose-like summer dresses from
Erika Ikezili only scratch the surface
of the high-fashion offerings available
at comparatively reasonable prices,
especially just before Christmas.
One local fashion brand making
waves overseas and sure to be a hit
with any style-conscious gift recipient
on your list is eclectic shoe emporium
Melissa, whose plastic, electric blue
high heels appeared on the feet of rock
starlet Katy Perry on the cover of the
stores magazine, released for the frst
time outside of Brazil this summer in
tandem with fashion monthly V.
Teaming up with Jean-Paul Gautier
and Vivienne Westwood, as well
as developing their own edgy
footwear, the brands offerings
range from teenage-style fats to
sky-high heels to fre engine red
galoshes.
Just down the street from
Melissas ever-changing fagship
store on Rua Oscar Freire, Osklen
produces casual-chic attire for men,
women, and children, emblazoned
with Rio-inspired prints and patterns.
With a line of comfortable board
shorts for the guy whos not so interested
in squeezing into a sunga on the beach,
Osklen recently opened branches
in New York and Miami Beach, but
picking up a swimsuit for your sweetie
from one of the US locations doesnt
count.
If traditional handicrafts are the type
of gift youre after, there is plenty on
offer at So Paulos many sustainable
art emporiums. These shops specialize
in arts and crafts produced by local
communities with environmentally
sound production methods and
materials, often involving recycling
and other re-use processes.
One of the largest vendors of
sustainable merchandise in town,
Casa da Vila, has over 3,000 fair trade
and otherwise sustainable items from
various regions of Brazil for sale at
its Vila Mariana location, a charming
82-year-old townhouse. Choose from
accessories like fowery hair bows
and quilted pillow cushions, wooden
puzzles and terra cotta dolls, kitschy
key chains, scented oils and candles,
wooden instruments, puffs made from
recyclables you name it, Casa da
Vilas got it.
Another sustainable enterprise thats
also good for gift grabbing is Projeto
Terra, a local NGO with merchandise
for sale at its ecologically sound offces
in Vila Madalena. Desk sets for the busy
offce, sturdy kitchenware, innovative
bathroom and home furnishings,
and one-of-a-kind jewelry made by
homegrown artisans round out Projeto
Terras collection.
And for a much more obvious
Brazilian touch, the artwork at Galeria
Arte Brasileira comes from an array
of local communities throughout the
country, produced from the same
varied multitude of ethnic groups
that comprise Brazils tremendously
cosmopolitan social fabric. Paintings,
sketches, wood carvings and statuary,
quilts, hammocks, and myriad other
expressions of Brazilian folk art can
be purchased at the gallery, which has
been supporting local artisans for over
80 years. (For our special on ONG gifts
please read the article on page 11).
For glossier keepsakes, have you
ever considered museum shops for
gift buying? The store at the Museu
de Arte de So Paulo (MASP) on
Avenida Paulista contains coffee table
books, illustrative post cards, and
souvenir prints of artwork currently
and previously displayed within the
museum complement the stores
offerings.
Other museum stores sure to
have interesting, beautiful, and even
thought-provoking gifts include
those of the Pinacoteca do Estado
art museum, located downtown; the
Museu Afro Brasil, Museu de Arte
Moderna (MAM), and Museu de Arte
Contempornea (MAC) in Parque
do Ibirapueras Museum Mile; the
Museu de Futebol, located at the base
of Pacaembu Stadium; and the Museu
da Imagem e do Som (MIS) digital art
museum and Museu da Casa Brasileira,
which hosts items used throughout
history in Brazilian homes, both in the
Jardim Europa area of Jardins.
Another departure from the mundane
would be to take advantage of
Brazils agricultural bounty and
give gifts of coffee or chocolate.
So Paulos fortune was
made in the coffee felds, and
the country is still the worlds
top coffee producer. Gourmet
coffee shops such as the upscale
Suplicy Cafs Especiais, with
fve locations in the metro area,
and Santo Gro, with six, offer a
full line of ground and whole Arabica
coffee beans in packages of up to one
kilogram.
Or, you can dip into one of the
citys numerous chocolate shops for a
deliciously varied selection of cocoa
confections.
Chains such as Ofner and Cacau
Show offer candies, cakes, brownies,
and other assorted sweets, goodies,
and bon-bons made from Brazilian
chocolate at low- to mid-range prices.
Specialty shops such as Chocolat des
Arts feature high-end chocolate from
expert national producers like renowned
Bahia-based chocolatier AMMA.
So even though it still might be
tempting to pick up a pair of yellow,
green, and blue plastic slip-ons named
for an American state for this years
stocking fllers, you also just might
make your family and friends happier
by offering up a few of Brazils other
wonders.
The American Society
of So Paulo
2011 Forum
5
Alexandre Herchcovitch
www.herchcovitchloja.com.br
Rua Melo Alves 561, Jardins
Tel: 4306-6475
Cacau Show
www.cacaushow.com.br
Dozens of outlets in So Paulo
Casa da Vila
www.casadavila.com.br
Rua Capito Cavalcante 82, Vila Mariana
Tel: 5575-2757
Chocolat des Arts
www.chocolatsdesarts.com.br
Rua Diogo Jcome 360, Moema
Tel: 3044-7431
Galeria Arte Brasileira
www.galeriaartebrasileira.com.br
Alameda Lorena 2163, Jardins
Tel: 3062-9452
Granado Pharmcias
www.granado.com.br
Rua Haddock Lobo 1353, Jardins
Tel: 3061-0891
Hyatt Hotel, Av. das Naes Unidas 13301, Itaim
Bibi, Tel: 5505-0899
Lino Villaventura
www.linovillaventura.com.br
Rua Bela Cintra 1938, Jardins
Tel: 3083-4019
Melissa
www.melissa.com.br
Rua Oscar Freire 827, Jardins
Tel: 3083-3612
Museu Afro Brasil Store
www.museuafrobrasil.org.br
Rua Pedro lvares Cabral, Pq. do Ibirapuera
Tel: 4004-5006
Museu de Arte Contempornea (MAC) Store
www.mac.usp.br
Rua Pedro lvares Cabral, Pq. do Ibirapuera
Tel: 5573-9932
Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM) Store
www.mam.org.br
Rua Pedro lvares Cabral, Pq. do Ibirapuera
Tel: 5085-1300
Museu de Arte de So Paulo (MASP) Store
www.masp.art.br
Av. Paulista 1578, Bela Vista
Tel: 3251-5644
Museu da Casa Brasileira Store
www.mcb.sp.gob.br
Av. Brig. Faria Lima 2705, Jardim Europa
Tel: 3032-3727
Museu do Futebol Store
www.museudofutebol.org.br
Praa Charles Miller 1, Pacaembu
Tel: 3663-3848
Museu da Imagem e do Som (MIS) Store
www.mis-sp.org.br
Av. Europa 158, Jardim Europa
Tel: 2117-4777
Ofner
www.ofner.com.br
20 outlets in So Paulo
Osklen
www.osklen.com
Rua Oscar Freire 645, Jardins, Tel: 3083-7977
Shopping Cidade Jardim, Av. Magalhes de Castro
12000, Butant
Tel: 3758-5035
Pinacoteca do Estado
www.pinacoteca.org.br
Praa da Luz 2, Bom Retiro
Tel: 3324-1000
Projeto Terra
www.projetoterra.com.br
Rua Harmonia 150 Loja 4, Vila Madalena
Tel: 3034-3550
Santo Gro
www.santograo.com.br
Av. Jeronimo da Veiga 179, Itaim Bibi
Tel: 3071-3169
Av. Moema 493, Moema
Tel: 5051-8069
Rua Fradique Coutinho 915, Vila Madalena
Tel: 3034-3164
Rua Oscar Freire 413, Jardins
Tel: 3082-9969
Shopping Cidade Jardim, Av. Magalhes de Castro
12000, Butant
Tel: 3552-7700
Shopping Higienpolis, Av. Higienpolis 618,
Consolao
Tel: 3661 2496
Sejaa Pure Skincare
www.sejaa.com or at
Droga Raia
www.drogaraia.com.br
Especiais
www.suplicy.com.br
Alameda Lorena 1430, Jardins
Tel: 3083-0666
Rua Renato Paes de Barros 198, Itaim Bibi
Tel: 3079-7926
Shopping Iguatemi, Av. Brig. Faria Lima 2232,
Pinheiros, Tel: 3814-8696
Shopping Market Place, Av. Dr. Chucri Zaidan 902,
Morumbi, Tel: 5181-2929
Shopping Ptio Paulista, Rua 13 de Maio 1947, Bela
Vista, Tel: 3262-2870
Brazilian Holiday Gift Directory
Forum December
6
The BIG Angel Party Thank You Page
Every year were astounded by the
generosity of our community. This
years Angel Party took place with
several new donors and the amazing
support of those who have helped us in
the past and were able to do so again.
Thanks to Gerson & Grey, which
transported and safely stored our gift bags before
the party. With 220 huge bags, we cant do the
party without their behind-the-scenes help. Gerson
& Grey at (11) 3817-4787.
ThankyoutoMichael Allegra and the
Grand Hyatt So Paulo, our newest partner, for
the 80 kilos of delicious candy they donated and
for the beautiful spread to make sure each child get
enough sugar to last a year!
Chapel School was fantastic again, and
special thanks to Daniela, Marcia and John for
their gentle guidance in tense moments! Nathalia
and the security and maintenance team were
(yet again) perfect. Thank you Chapel.
http://www.chapelschool.com
Thanks to McDonalds! They donated
lunch for 300 happy children and helpers and sent
along balloon and make up artists to add to the
fun.
Another fun new partner was the
Corinthians Steamrollers football team. (Not
soccer: football as we Americans know it!) Several
of their players taught football skills to our guests
and awarded team shirts to two very happy teenage
boys. http://corinthiansfootball.com.br
The guests wore colorfulT-shirts to the
party, a diferent color for each institution invited.
One thousand thanks to the recruiting frm Michael
Page for funding this. www.michaelpage.com.br.
General Mills donated Nature Valley
granola bars and Hagen-Dazs ice cream. It waas a
real treat to have such delicious snacks. Thank you!
ThankyoutoAline and Carlos Ricardo
for donating Sonho de Valsa chocolates for prizes.
That was a crowded game!
Editora IPEP donated nearly 100 books.
Were excited to see children exposed to literature
and able to help each institutions growing library.
Thank you! http://www.ibep-nacional.com.br.
Thanks to General Brands do Brasil
for individual boxes of juice for our guests. It really
hit the spot all that sunny afternoon.
Gold and white was the color scheme
this year as Sheila Moura of Ofcina de Festas
decorated Chapel School with hundreds of gorgeous
balloon sculptures. www.ofcinadefestas.com.br or
11-4992-8009.
ThankyoutoYamin Chiang for the cute
Chinese umbrellas she donated for prizes. The little
girls loved them!
Thanks also to Pete Lawlis for his
donation towards our prizes for the sports
competitions!
Major thanks to PepsiCo do Brasil
which supplied us with soft drinks. There was
nothing left when the day was done!
We have a few thousand fabulous
photos of the party thanks to our amazing team of
photographers: Robin Bregman, Richard and
Miranda Salazar, Pilar Ruiz DelaTorre, Tina
Smith, Heather Queiroz, Marie Louise Miller,
Erin Hooley, Leslie Reed and Jos Lizrraga.
Cipolatti donated a lovely Christmas
tree and two red thrones for our Santas. The
party isnt complete without Cipolattis beautiful
contributions. www.cipolatti.com.br.
Habibs donated 80 pizzas to feed guests
and workers throughout the afternoon. Delicious!
Order Habibs at 5696-2828.
General Motors do Brasil donated 250
caps, T-shirts and cloth bags for kids to carry their
prizes in. Thank you for everything!
Malu Felsberg donated several trays of
delicious brigadeiros. Its a treat the kids love. Thank
you!
Thank you to Alcoa. They made a large
cash donation which we used to buy the hundreds
of toys, sunglasses and candy given away as prizes.
The Graded Cubs and Boy Scouts had
the difcult job of hunting down every piece of
trash on the entire Chapel campus and making sure
it was put in a trash can. Thank you!
We love our two Santas and Santa
Helpers. Thank you Alan Blau, Ricardo Rubeiz,
Rachel Jaquery and Julia Bandeira!
The gift bags each child received at the
end of the party were the fnishing touch. We
thank all the 220 gift bag sponsors and cash
donors for their much needed fnancial support,
clothes, shoes, toys, candy, wrapping paper,
labeling, plastic bags and most of alllove.
A huge thanks to the 225 amazing
volunteers who worked all day in the sun, testing
out long-unused muscles, bending, hugging,
wiping and caring - each wearing a red T-shirt and
a huge smile.
Finally, the Angel Party Planning
Team was incredible. You know who you are
you were at monthly meetings, slogged through
countless emails, drove many miles, made many
phone calls, hit many shopping malls, analyzed
many Excel spreadsheets and did all of the work
behind the scenes. To those not part of the team,
it sounds painful but well do it all again next year,
with great enthusiasm. Why dont you join us?
The American Society
of So Paulo
2010 Forum
7
2011
The BIG Angel Party Picture Page
Here are just a few of the hundreds of pictures snapped on November 5 during the 2011 American Society Angel Party. It
was a fun day of bright sunshine, hamburgers, candy, ice cream, fying footballs, dancing dogs, Brazils Justin Bieber, plenty
of laughing and eating and lots of presents from Santa Claus for our 220 guests.
Thank you to everyone who made this happen! You made a difference. Happy Holidays!
Forum December
8
Lights, Lights, Everywhere!
Its that time of the year again and
to me, it truly is the most wonderful
time of the year. Family and friends
get together on Christmas Eve for
a gastronomical feast and exchange
dozens of gifts, forgetting all the daily
problems and focusing on having a
good time.
Every house and public landmark
gets decorated with millions of lights.
Everything is bright and beautiful!
And even though we dont have snow
in Brazil to complete the picture, I am
here to tell you where you can fnd the
best displays of Christmas decorations
and light shows around the country.
Ill even tell you where to fnd snow...
well, kinda!
Christmas in Brazil is one of the
biggest parties of the year. In Rio de
Janeiro there is a tradition of setting
up a foating tree
in the Rodrigo de
Freitas Lagoon which
is considered the
worlds largest tree,
with 82 meters high
and illuminated by
2.8 million Christmas
lights, 26,000 meters
of illuminated hose
and eight moving
lights.
The novelty is
that the decorations
- angels, stars and
musical notes - were
created and designed
to be very similar to kind you would
fnd on your Christmas tree at home.
The public can see the tree until All
Kings Day on January 6, when the
structure is taken down.
In So Paulo,
the largest city in
Brazil, the focus is
on the malls that
compete for best
decoration. If you
are interested to see
beautiful displays
you do not have to
go any further than
Shopping Patio
Higienpolis and
their wonderful
carrousel and the
true animated
masterpieces of
Shopping Iguatemi.
In addition, the streets are illuminated
and each year they excel in bright
decorations, providing tourists and
locals with a magical spectacle. Pay
a visit to Rua Normandia in Moema.
For six years now, Rua Normandia is
a symbol of Christmas in the city of
So Paulo. With just over 100 meters,
the street has 36 gift, decoration and
fashion shops and it becomes an entirely
decorated and illuminated boulevard
that also includes a fake snow shower
that defnitely looks like the real deal.
Every year, thousands of people go
there and take their kids to enjoy the
charming decoration of the street.
And of course dont forget to head
up to Avenida Paulista (see below) to
see the banks putting up a marvellous
show.
By Melissa Harkin, AmSoc member
Real
Estate
creci 103627
Release Residencial & Commercial
Itaim Bibi ,Brookiln, Jd. Paulista , Vila Olimpia, Santo Amaro .....
Sale & Buy Residencial & Commercial
Itaim Bibi , Moema , Vila Olimpia , Brooklin , Jd. Paulista , Panamby,
Morumbi , Higienopolis ,V. Mariana , Santo Amaro ......
Rental Commercial Office
Agent
Sonata
sonata.consultoria@gmail.com
55 11 7515-1213
Diana Yoon

nglis
spaol
ranais
Portugus
Con:ulin_ in :
The American Society
of So Paulo
2011 Forum
9
Picturesque towns such as Campos
do Jordo in So Paulo State and
Gramado and Canela in Rio Grande
do Sul are also beautifully decorated,
this time with a more European
touch.
The big highlight in Gramado
and Canela is Natal-Luz, the name
given to the display of lights and
decorations in both towns with
brilliant decorations made from
recycled materials with great visual
impact.
Both cities are entirely decorated
with lights and are wonderful if you
feel like you need some old-fashioned
Christmas spirit! Gramado even has
the City of Santa Claus opened for
visitation year round.
The brightness of the lights is also
one of the highlights of the celebration
in Curitiba. The Christmas spirit is
contagious throughout the city, and
the program is spread to various parts
of the city. The Christmas festival
runs from December 1 to January 6,
with choir presentations at Palcio
Avenida always on Wednesdays,
Fridays and Saturdays at 9pm.
However, nothing
of what I mentioned
compares to what the
capital of the country,
Braslia, does in terms
of visual impact.
E s p l a n a d a
dos Ministrios
with the two tall
congress buildings
is surrounded by
beautiful lights, truly
bright necklaces that
can be seen from far
away. The highlight
is Brasilias TV Tower, which is
transformed into a giant Christmas
tree.
Theres also the Christmas
Serenade, a group of students from
the University of Brasilia (from 200
to 300 students) that walk around the
city at night ringing bells and calling
people to the streets to sing joyful
songs with them. The most-requested
songs are Eu pensei que todo mundo
fosse flho de Papai Noel, Dorme a
Cidade and Cavaleiros Reis.
These are just some of the most
beautiful Christmas displays around
Brazil! Gather the family and go visit
one of them! Not only will you have
a wonderful time but they also make
for great family pictures!
Merry Christmas and a Happy
New Year to Everyone!
Melissa Harkin runs a translation
company called Melissa Harkin
Translations www.melissaharkin.
com contato@melissaharkin.com
(11-8428-8714)
Fellowship Community Church
The Welcome Place since 1921
Phone (11) 3253-7609 www.fellowship.com.br
Sundays
09:00 am - Walking in Faith Classes (English and Portuguese)
10:30 am Worship Service (English only)
06:00 pm Culto em portugus
Conveniently located on Rua Carlos Sampaio, 107 Bela Vista
Just a block and a half from the Brigadeiro Metro staton on the Avenida Paulista
Forum December
10
Christmas: a time for joy and
generosity, a time for family reunions,
a time for eating panettone and
decorating the tree. But Christmas is
also used to launch the worlds largest
marketing campaign. Year after year
stores, companies and their advertising
agencies try to lure consumers into
spending more money with them than
on any other day during the year - all in
the name of Christmas.
The focus of Christmas has long
been changed from celebrating the
birth of Jesus to the more secular theme
of gift giving.
Since even though the shortened term
Xmas originates from the use of the
Greek letter chi to represent Christ
the mention of Christmas has now
been generally replaced with the more
generic and inclusive term holidays
by corporations.
Still, the laic imagery of Santa
Claus and the religious iconography
of the Nativity coexist uneasily in
contemporary society. On Christmas
eve churches display scenes of
the birth of Jesus while Santa
permeates the exhibition
elsewhere, mainly in large
scale shopping centers.
Traditional Christmas
imagery often shows a family
working together in putting
ornaments on the tree and
in wrapping presents while
humming carols.
These Victorian images
infltrate our conception of Christmas,
which dates from the 1800s.
Both Clement Clarke Moore in
America and Charles Dickens in
England wrote their famous holiday-
themed stories in the middle of that
century, but the more critical factor
was that industrial productivity had
developed to the point where it needed
mass consumption to accompany it.
Thus, the commercialism of
Christmas that we know today emerged
in the Victorian age and extended to the
Modern age.
As advertising became more complex,
it included inherently Christmas images
as holly and mistletoe and by the 1920s
these were linked to the promotion of
products.
In 1931, Coca-Cola commissioned
artist Haddon Sundblom to draw images
of Santa taking a swig from a Coke
bottle. Sundbloms Santa is currently
the defnitive image of a jolly, plump,
grand-fatherly Santa dressed in a red
suit trimmed with white fur. Never did
he portray religious images of the birth
of Jesus, the true origin of the holiday.
The materialism of Christmas derives
from the dual nature of the gifts given:
the physical thing bought in a crowded,
garishly decorated store and the vehicle
of affection that expresses sentiment
within a relationship. The institutions of
marketing that infltrate our lives have
promoted Christmas primarily as a time
for shopping and if you live in the US
or in Brazil, commercialism pervades
the celebration: Department stores and
other institutions do a disproportionate
part of their annual business during this
season.
Today it seems few seem to stop and
think of what we are celebrating while
they rush through shopping centers to
buy the latest and greatest products
that have been pushed onto their minds
since October.
But no matter how you celebrate
Christmas, the coming of December
25 also evokes nostalgia for tradition.
The lyrics to the famous song Jingle
Bells immortalize bells, children, and
singing as the necessary components of
a perfect Christmas.
So think about this, think about
the wonder of Christmas, how you
remember it as a child and try to forget
about wrapping paper and gift receipts
just for a little. Your celebration will be
that much richer, I promise!
Christmas Advertising
By Isabella Freyre
The American Society
of So Paulo
2011 Forum 11
Gifts That Keep On Giving
Going home for the holidays and
want to bring back something special
and Brazilian? Have guests who want
to bring back an interesting souvenir?
Or do you just want to add a funky
new item to your personal collection?
You can do all of the above, and do
good at the same time by purchasing
arts and crafts from
local Brazilian
nonproft organizations
and social enterprises.
The variety, quality
and sophistication of
handmade goods has
improved considerably
over the years and today
Brazil offers some of
the most charming, fun
and original artisanal
work in the world.
One can buy
handmade home
decoration, bed and
bath items, handbags,
candles, toys, you name it, at a decent
price, both in high street shops and
online. Unlike buying your Christmas
gifts in large department stores,
when you buy from artisans and their
representatives, your money goes
directly to supporting their livelihoods,
their families and maintaining important
cultural traditions in Brazil.
The number one online provider of
high quality artisanal goods is Rio de
Janeiro based Rede Asta, a nonproft
which provides capacity building and
general support to a select network
of 38 productive artisanal groups,
comprising over 700 artisans in the city
and state of Rio de Janeiro.
Rede Asta sells their unique products
through representatives with catalogs,
like Avon or Natura, online through the
site http://www.asta.org.br/produtos.
php or by telephone (21) 2560.5356,
with delivery to anywhere in Brazil.
Astas vision is that responsible
consumerism can be used by citizens
as a powerful tool for economic and
social inclusion.
Asta offers products ranging from
Rio-themed decorative throw pillows
and swimsuit cover-ups, to handbags to
cheerful foral fabric covered notebooks
and pencils. They even sell greeting
cards and handmade cloth bags to wrap
your presents in.
Another option, here in So Paulo,
is Tekoha, also a nonproft which
sells and distributes
handmade goods made
by communities of
artisans in fve Brazilian
states.
Tekoha has a physical
store on the second
foor of Caf Ekoa, Rua
Fradique Coutinho,
914, in Vila Madalena.
Visitors can have a
fresh tropical juice or
enjoy a coffee while
perusing the selection
of handmade goods for
sale.
Alternatively, one
can visit the Central Artesol showroom,
located on Rua Pamplona, 1005 (4th
foor) in Jardim Paulista. For who
doesnt want to brave the So Paulo
traffc, you can buy Tekoha goods
online at www.redetekoha.com.br .
Like Rede Asta, Tekoha also offers
capacity-building and support to its
artisans so that they gain valuable skills
and beneft from their participation in
the network.
The organizations mission is to
help communities generate their own
income and thereby make a concrete
contribution to the eradication of
poverty.
Some of the products offered by
artisans in the Tekoha network include
original corporate brindes to distribute
at corporate events such as colorful
pencil holders made in the Amazon
and bright cotton Christmas ornaments
made by teenagers in Pernambuco.
In addition to a wide array of crafts,
Tekoha also offers handmade food
baskets stuffed with delicious organic
jams, juices, cookies and teas.
One company that doesnt neatly ft
into the defnition of social enterprise
or nonproft, like the examples above,
but which provides income generation
for over 300 renaissance lace artisans in
the northeast of Brazil is Fatima Rendas
with its headquarters in Recife.
Fatima Rendas is a family company
in the market for over 30 years still
headed by its founder Maria de Ftima
Xavier Mergulho. The company does
not yet have an online store but perhaps
you have walked by their stores in
airports such as Guarulhos, Congonhas,
Salvador or Recife and admired the
intricate, hand-sewn, lace designed
womens and baby clothing, lingerie,
handkerchiefs and table accessories.
The extremely high quality comes
with a price, but you will walk out of
the store with an original piece of art
which will not only please the receiver
of the gift but that also contributes to
maintaining this unique Brazilian lace-
making tradition alive at the same time
contributing to the socio-economic
development of over 300 households
in the northeast of Brazil.
The benefts to buying artisanal
products, according to Alice Freitas,
Executive Director of the Instituto
Asta which created Rede Asta are that
the sales immediately and constantly
contribute to the artisans income
(thereby) improving their families
quality of life and recognizing the
producers as entrepreneurs and talented
artisans.
So when you head out to do your
Christmas or souvenir shopping, buy
something beautiful for yourself and
do something beautiful for others!
By Jennifer Iverson, AmSoc board member
Forum December
12
Board Bio
Ruth Hollard
Executive Secretary and member of social
committee
I have had a very cool life so far, and I
have a feeling its only just beginning.
I was born in Pennsylvania, where I
had a idyllic childhood- playing in the
woods, climbing trees, making forts,
sledding with my 2 brothers, reading
books.
When my dad decided he wanted
to play golf year-round, we moved to
southern Louisiana. From then on,
we lived and breathed LSU (Louisiana
State University), shrimp, crawfsh
boils, mardi-gras, LSU and more LSU.
When I was 18, I was a foreign
exchange student in Austria for a year
with AFS and it was the best year of my
life! I lived with an Austrian family
in a village tucked into the Austrian
alps and skied, iceskated, sledded, and
partied all year.
After thus being bit by the travel
bug, I returned to Louisiana where I
enrolled at LSU in International Trade
and Finance.
During my junior year, I decided I
wanted to learn French, so, much to
my parents dismay, I took a semester
off and ran off to Provence to restore
medieval ruins and learn French.
It was a fantastic experience and
not only did I learn French quickly
through total immersion, but I also had
the incredible experience of helping
to restore medieval ruins using the
original building techniques and tools.
(As a mother, you never know when
you might need to build a perfectly
vertical stone wall without mortar )
After graduating from LSU, I headed
to Switzerland to work for Citibank on
an AIESEC traineeship.
We trainees skied and traveled
almost every weekend and when I
visited Paris for the frst time, I had an
incredible feeling that this is where I
needed to be.
Just two months after moving to
Paris, waiting for a ski train at the
Gare de Lyon train station, I met my
French husband Patrick. We married
in Louisiana and after 10 more years in
beautiful Paris, we moved to So Paulo
with our 3 children for what was to be
a 3-year assignment for my husbands
job.
The 3-year expat stint turned into 4
years, then 5, then 6, and then after our
4th child was born here, we decided
to aquire Brazilian nationality and put
down roots.
But life isnt always the way you
plan it to be, and in 2008 I embarked
on a new journey, this time as a single
mom. I decided to stay in Brazil so the
kids could be close to their father.
But being a single mom without
having any family within 10,000 miles
was a challenge.
One of the things that helped me
through this period was the fantastic
group of friends I made through being
on the American Society Board. I can
honestly say that many of these board
member friends I consider to be my
family here in Brazil.
And not only did I make loads of new
friends but I also was able to re-connect
with my American rootswhich I had
unwittingly buried during two decades
abroad. It also flled a void in my life,
and that was the sense of community
that I had never been able to replicate
in Paris nor in So Paulo, before joining
the board.
So if you are new to So Paulo and
looking to make new friends, or an
old-timer wishing to re-connect with
your American roots, please consider
being on a committee or joining the
board.
For me, it made So Paulo feel like
home.
The American Society
of So Paulo
2011 Forum
13
Cougars win 3rd Softball Championship
Over two weekends in November,
AmSoc hosted their annual softball
championship. For the third year in a
row, the games were held at the sporting
complex CT Yakult, in Ibuina.
Six teams participated with 80
players in total. The frst weekend
comprised of a round robin cycle
to determine the seeds for the Final
rounds two Sundays, which matched
the undefeated AmSoc team against
the fourth-seeded GM, and the Cougars
against SMAB.
AmSoc nudged GM 6-4 in a tensely
played game in which GM had the bases
loaded in the bottom of the seventh
and only 1 out before AmSocs
defense stymied them. On the other
side, the Cougars won decisively by
completing their 3 straight shutout
5-0. Then in the fnals, the frst inning
set the tone when the Cougars lead off
with a HR and 4 more runs in the top
of the frst. AmSoc squad battled back
in the bottom of the frst with 2 HRs
and 3 runs, but it was not enough to
overcome the Cougars solid hitting
and felding, winning their third title
14-5. Ed Rajah won the tournaments
MVP award for his superb pitching!
On November 18th, on an absolutely beautiful
golfng day, the 6th Challenge Golf Cup took place at
the Guararpiranga Golf & Country Club. It was a highly
competitive and tensely played golf match, as always,
but being a Best ball Scramble format, everybody said
they had a great fun. And the score card (seen below)
proved so, for of the 8 groups that competed, the team
score was AmSoc 4.0 and St. Andrews 4.0. However,
St. Andrews retained possession of
the Munro Cup for their fourth overall
victory based on a tie-breaking lower
total team net strokes of 643 to 656.
St. Andrews wins 4th Challenge Golf Cup in a tie-
breaker
Softball Championship 2011
Team W L Pos.
Cougars 6 1 1
AmSoc 6 1 2
SMAB 3 3 3
GM 1 4 4
US Consulate 1 4 5
Alphaville 0 4 6
HR Derby 2011
Batter Team HRs Pos.
Alex AmSoc 3 1
Matt Cougars 2 2
Rich Cougars 2 2
Jef AmSoc 1 3
Silvio SMAB 1 3
Munro cup being
awarded by
Conrad Munro
GMs captain Shawn Ryan batting
The Cougars
American-Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Heloisa Garman, Psy.D. U.S.-licensed Clinical
Psychologist (covered by U.S. health insur-
ance). Bilingual, with extensive private practice
in Chicago and former therapist at the Family
Institute at Northwestern Uni. Treats individu-
als, couples, and families. Specialized in anxi-
ety, depression, cultural issues, and adjustment
disorders. Call Dr. Garman at (11)7179-9723 or
3898-2330 or send an e-mail to
hcbgarman@aol.com.
For Sale -
2008 GM Zafira Expression
2.0 Flex engine automatic (mint condition),
ABS, airbag, alarm, on board computer, cruise
control, digital air conditioner, power steering,
antivandalism insulflm protection. 7 seats,
78.000 KM, single owner, all maintenance done
at dealer, new brakes, tires, oil change with fl-
ter, kept in covered garage. Price R$ 41.000,00.
Please contact Eileen Tasso 11-5644 5482 (h)
Sale: Hyundai Santa F
I am selling a Hyundai Santa F 2007/2008,
black, gas. Plate fnal 0. Sole owner. 54.000
Km.
Contact: Renato Opice Blum (11) 2189-0061
Personal Trainer
I will come to your home, offce, or workout fa-
cility and create an exercise/ftness program tai-
lored to your health concerns, ftness goals, and
schedule. For adults and children, individuals
or groups. Sessions in English, Spanish, or Por-
tuguese. For more information please contact
Daniela Franco at (11) 9739-6191 or dsf29@
hotmail.com.
Argos Dog Kennel

Traveling? What about your dog? Argos Kennel
Hotel could be his second home in the coun-
try. Food, water, and shelter with lots of love
and personal care. No lonely kennel for him,
but our home and the freedom of a spacious
garden. Fetch and carry service. English and
French spoken. Call Jean or Christiane at (11)
4661-1430 or (11) 7143-0837 or send an e-mail
to jean.chris@uol.com.br. Embu Guau, SP.
Math and Science Tutor
Former Graded and Chapel teacher, with 25-
years experience, tutors Math, Physics, Chemis-
try, and Science for all levels, including but not
limited to the IB, IGCSE, SAT-I & II, AP and
Brazilian vestibular. Elementary and middle
school students are also welcome (all subjects).
Call Fernando Knijnik at (11) 9134-6700.
American-Licensed Expat Psychologist
Richard Morhaime, Psy.D., offers skilled psy-
chotherapy for children and adults. He also pro-
vides complete diagnostic evaluations in Eng-
lish for children with academic or behavioral
diffculties, featuring individualized recommen-
dations for school and home. For more infor-
mation, contact Dr. Morhaime at 5538-0099 or
9669-8057 or visit
www.expatpsychologist.com.br
American-Licensed Psychotherapist
In this busy and ever-changing world, people of-
ten feel stressed and overwhelmed with no place
to turn. Psychotherapy/counseling can provide a
safe place to receive professional guidance and
support. Brief or longer-term therapy offered
depending on your needs, goals and expecta-
tions. Services: individual, couples, child/ado-
lescent. Certifed to conduct Adoption Home
Study for American Citizens. Contact: Pamela
Wax, MSW/LCSW at 5051-5988 or 9656-2106
or send an e-mail to pamwax@gmail.com. Lo-
cated in Moema.
clASSifieDS
Forum December
14
Housing
Furnished apartment for rent
Vila Nova Conceio. So Paulos Best place
to live. Near Ibirapuera Park. Modern building
with sports facilities, heated swimming pool,
three bedrooms (one suite), a living room with
terrace, complete kitchen, maids bedroom and
bathroom, big service area, two parking spaces.
Fully furnished with all appliances. Call Alex or
Eliane at (11) 3849-7085 or (11) 8635-7788, or
send an e-mail to alex@caboverde.com.br.
Looking for apartments
Looking for furnished, fully equipped apart-
ments in So Paulo. Offer management, pro-
motion, purchasing, remodeling and decoration
services for your property. We will rent your
fat to foreign tourists & executives visiting the
city looking for alternative accommodations.
Highly experienced specialized international
group. Contact: Paola B. de Estrada 9210-2201,
paola@apartmentssp.com or
www.apartmentssp.com
Apartment for rent near Graded
Apartment for rent/sale: Lovely duplex for fam-
ily moving to So Paulo. 2 blocks from Graded
School, hardwood foors, designer kitchen,
plenty of natural light,ready to move in. Please
contact Jessica at 11-6076-3263 or jespadas@
imoveisnopanamby.com.br. Also have other
apartments in the Morumbi/Panamby region.
English and Spanish spoken. Imoveis no Pana-
mby.
House in a charming condo
For rent / sale: Lovely house in Vila Amrica
Condominium. Located just a few minutes from
shopping cidade jardim and ponte morumbi.
So Paulos best place to live. 4 suites, Offce,
Adega, Outside gourmet station, Air condition-
ing, 4 autos parking.
Contact: Roberta (11)8256-9543
A classifed of up to 350 characters costs
R$55 for AmSoc members and R$80 for
non-members. To place a classifed please
call (11) 5182-2074 from 8:30 a.m. until
1 p.m., or send an e-mail to AmSoc1@
americansociety.com.br.
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Forum does not check all of the advertisers
appearing in this newsletter. We urge you
to use these services; however, thoroughly
check prices and services prior to fnalizing
any service or purchase agreement.
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The American Society
of So Paulo
Enjoyed this publication?
Become an American Society Member and get a
free Forum subscription!
For more than 60 years The American Society of So Paulo has worked to establish a strong
network for expats living and working in So Paulo. Join Today!!!
Visit our website at www.amsoc.com.br and fill in our on-line form
or call the AmSoc office at 5182-2074
2011 Forum
15
cAlenDAr
Learn more about this months AmSoc events (highlighted) at www.AmSoc.com.br.
December 2011
02 Friday AmSoc Annual Christmas Party In a beautifully decorated members home, with all the traditions of Christmas. Cocktail: 8:00
pm-10:30pm.
03 Saturday Christmas Potluck and AGM of
Canadian International Society
For more information visit www.cisbrazil.org
05 Monday Scottish Country Dancing Club Outside Drakes Pub, in the Brazilian British Centre in Pinheiros, at 8 pm.
Please visit www.standrews.com.br for more details
06 Tuesday International Wives of Brazilians:
Cookie Exchange
Bake a few dozen of your favorite cookies, bring them to the Cookie Exchange, and take home
dozens of cookies made by your friends.
07 Wednesday INC Monthly Cofee & Bazaar For more information visit www.newcomers-sp.com.br
08 - 13 The Nutcracker The Cisnei Negro Cia. de Dana celebrates 34 years of existence and success the show The
Nutcrackerof Tchaikovsky. In the foyer of the Teatro Alfa will be Christmas choir presentations. To
buy your ticket visit www.ingressorapido.com.br or you can go personally to Teatro Alfa.
10 Saturday INC Holiday Party Come and join us for a Family Open House. There will be food, drinks and activities. Lets get
together and celebrate with old and new INC friends. Time: 13:00 17:00. Location: To be
determined. The families have to bring soft drinks and desserts.
RSVP before Monday, 5th of December 2011 to activities.family@newcomers-sp.com.br
11 & 18 Sunday The Nutcracker Infant session The Infant Cisnei Negro Cia. de Dana present the show The Nutcrackerof Tchaikovsky for
children. To buy your ticket visit www.ingressorapido.com.br
11 Sunday Annual Christmas Concert at
Fellowship Church
The choir is singing a cantata using familiar Christmas music and carols. The church is located on
Rua Carlos Sampaio, 107 and there is nearby parking as well as a nursery for small children.
Starts at 10:30 am. EVERYONE IS WELCOME!!!
13 Tuesday Jon Anderson Show (from the
Yes Band)
The singer of the legendary group Yes from 1960 to 1970. Jon plays alone, accompanied only by a
guitar and a keyboard playing his great successes. Will be at Citibank Hall.
To buy your ticket visit www.credicard.com.br/citibank-hall
13 Tuesday Jorge Durian in Concert Jorge Durian will make a tribute to Luciano Pavarotti, accompanied by choir and orchestra,
conducted Maestro Renato Misiuk. Jorge Durian was applauded by Luciano Pavarotti, It will be at
Praca Julio Prestes, 16 - Campos Elseos. Starts at 9 pm.
To buy your ticket visit www.ingressorapido.com.br
24 Saturday Traditional Christmas Eve
candlelight service
Christmas story, carols, music and more. It will be at 7:30 pm at Fellowship Church.
Christmas beyond the presents
By Maureen Kennedy Alves, AmSoc board member
I grew up in a large Irish Catholic
family. By large, I mean six children:
Three boys and three girls. Six kids may
not seem like a lot until you consider that
we were all born within eight years of
each other. And there are no twins (unless
you count Irish twins, in which case we
have two sets of them).
Our family slightly resembled the
Brady Bunch in that our birth order
went boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl (with
the role of Cindy being played by yours
truly). Unfortunately, thats pretty much
where the similarities ended. My parents
who will celebrate their 50th wedding
anniversary next year were not cool
divorces; we had no Alice; we lived
in the cold northeast instead of sunny
California; and much to my chagrin, none
of us girls had hair of gold like our mother
and mine was certainly not in curls.
One thing that our house did share
with the Bradys, though, was the chaos
that generally comes with having a
large enough brood to make your own
basketball team with an extra player to
spare. Just as there was always something
brewing at the Brady house, there was
nary a dull moment in mine. We were an
action-packed family and never was this
more true than around Christmastime.
From the frst of December the day
we started opening the little windows on
our chocolate Advent calendar, counting
down to the big day life seemed like
a whirlwind of holiday parties, recitals,
Christmas cookie decorating, shopping,
and putting up the tree. As a kid, I was
aware of the energy of it all, but still, it
just seemed like a lead in, a build-up to
what was to me (and probably every other
kid on the planet) the most important part
of the holiday: Presents.
When the chips were down, what I
cared about most was the Christmas tree.
Or more specifcally, what was under it.
I couldnt wait to see what Santa would
bring me. Not to mention what I would
get from my brothers and sisters (extra
Christmas presents was my favorite part
of being in such a big family). And lest
you think I was totally self-absorbed
(although, alas, I was), I did at times
think about what I would buy for others
which usually was a toss-up between
a butterscotch Lifesaver storybook or a
giant Hersheys kiss.
Funnily enough, despite my obsession
with presents, when I look back at
Christmases from my childhood, its not
the gifts that I remember. Its not even
the wild frenzy my siblings and I were
whipped into while opening our Christmas
loot. In fact, its just the opposite.
What I remember most were all those
things that felt like the build-up the
rituals my mother and father created
around the holiday that I could count on
year after year. Decorating the tree with
my brothers and sisters. Hanging holiday
cards around the freplace mantel. Eating
a turkey dinner in the dining room on
Christmas Eve, followed by the Kennedy
kid band (complete with a trombone,
saxophone, trumpet, drums and two
clarinets) playing Christmas carols for
my poor parents. And later, midnight
Mass.
What I have understood from this is
the importance of traditions. They are
perhaps the best holiday gift we can give
to ourselves and to our families because
they ground us, make us feel rooted in
a world that is constantly changing. We
may fnd ourselves in Chicago one year
and So Paulo the next, but our traditions
stay with us, providing a continuity that
reminds us our life is part of something
bigger.
As for me, Im all grown up now
and no longer play the clarinet or give
Lifesaver storybooks as presents, but you
can still fnd me following many of the
same holiday traditions I did as a kid.
And Im thinking when I look back thirty
years from now, it will be what I most
remember.
Holiday traditions, So Paulo style
Whether you want to add some local favor to your
traditions or are looking for things that remind you of
home, here are some ideas to help you get started.
Bake it.
Theres no better way to get in the holiday spirit
than making cookies.
Check out www.barradoce.com.br if you need
Christmas-themed cookie cutters. And download
some Christmas carols on iTunes to get you in the spirit
while you bake.
See the tree lighting at Ibirapuera Park.
Okay, so its not Rockefeller Center. But theres an
amazing show complete with music and freworks
that shouldnt be missed. Call (11) 5574-5045 for date
and time.
Hit the ice.
Ice skating was one of my favorite holiday activities
as a child. Luckily, you can do it right here in So Paulo,
in the summer, at Shopping El Dorado in Pinheiros. Call
(11) 2197-6060 for more details.
Deck the halls.
Didnt pack Christmas ornaments from the States?
No problem. Head down to Rua 25 de Maro and youll
fnd all the decorations you need.