Holiday Guide 2023

Come One, Come All to the Mercury’s HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR!

Welcome the carnage of the holidays with our annual guide—also in print at more than 500 locations citywide!

For the Rest of Us

Six things to do on Thanksgiving and Christmas other than be with your family.

Gifts for Those Who Love to Eat!

Everyone likes food, and here are some local shops that should be on every culinary gift giver’s list.

Finding Family In Unexpected Places

How a spontaneous Thanksgiving gathering gave birth to a new tradition.

The Coziest Cafe Beverages to Warm Up With This Holiday Season

Where to warm up with the yummiest local hot drinks.

The Great Santa Debate

Should you confess to your kids about Santa? The pros and cons of the biggest lie of the holiday season.

The Holiday Brisket Roundup

Where to find Portland’s finest, most tender brisket for your Jewish celebrations.

The Terrorism Trap

In 2010, a young Portlander attempted to detonate a bomb at the annual Portland Christmas tree lighting. Was he a burgeoning terrorist or just a disturbed kid entrapped by the FBI?

The (White) Elephant In the Room

Sometimes a white elephant gift exchange goes awry. Other times, you end up with a portable bidet that can put out fires.

Clocking In for Christmas

Dispatches from job sites that don’t shut down for the holidays.

Your Guide to 2023 Holiday Events in Portland

The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert, The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show, and More

Folks, the holiday season has officially arrived and it’s time to welcome the CHAOS! Busy at work? Well, that’s too fucking bad… because THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE! Got some personal problems and you need just a little time and space so you can work it all out? HAHAHAHA-HAAAAA, that’s rich… because the motherfucking HOLIDAYS ARE HERE!

You gotta endure mindless office parties. You gotta buy gifts for too many loved ones and randos (including the boyfriend you plan to break up with on January 2). You have to navigate holiday get-togethers at your racist Uncle Rick’s house, which comes complete with sanctimonious relatives, screaming children, and unmarked plates of pot brownies. 

In short, the holidays are a nightmare world of pointless busy work designed to put money in the pockets of capitalists, as well as the religious industrial complex. And yet? Okay, fine… it’s still fun and festive. So instead of getting overwhelmed by the tsunami of work and cheer, let’s choose to welcome the onslaught of gift-giving, party-attending, and drunken revelry that comes with the never-ending march of the holidays.

That’s the idea behind this year’s Mercury HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR—which you can also find IN PRINT at more than 500 locations around Portland! What you’re reading right now is a goddamn three-ring circus of holiday fun, featuring essays, advice, food recommendations, a kick-ass gift guide, events to attend, and WOW, so much more! For example….

If you have foodie friends, we have some great suggestions for interesting snacks, condiments, and other delish, non-perishable goods to stick under the tree, as well as the coziest coffee drinks to cuddle with this winter, and where to find the most mouthwatering offerings of that Jewish meat-y holiday delight: brisket!

We’ve also got some sweet ‘n’ salty holiday essays about found families, off-kilter white elephant gift exchanges, the pros and cons of telling your kids about Santa, and a fascinating (and infuriating) history piece on the attempted bombing of the 2010 Portland Christmas tree lighting event—which involved a good deal of entrapment from the FBI!

Plus we’ve got much-needed info on what places will be open on Thanksgiving and Christmas (and the brave souls who choose to work on those days), a poop-ton of holiday events from our resident hot-shit calendar experts, a special “shop local” gift guide jam-packed with all sorts of wondrous (and sexy!) delights, AND a very un-Christian holiday fun page for the younger pagans in your household.

As you can see, the Mercury is determined to show you some fun AND give you a lot to think about this festive, drunken, and unmanageably busy season. So take a breath, tuck into the Mercury’s HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR, and throw your doors open… because ho-ho-ho… it’s time to welcome the carnage!

Yer festive pal,

Wm. Steven Humphrey


Portland Mercury