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Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is the President of Intermat, Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat recently sold METEOR’S TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael O’Rourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television movie. Visit his web site at

A Subdued March Towards Christmas

Recently, walking past the windows of Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue, I paused long enough to appreciate the effort that had gone into creating the windows in the store. Animated miniature figures decorated Christmas trees and populated a world that looked inspired by OUR TOWN.

In that pause, I realized I was having a harder than usual time getting in the Holiday spirit. And it wasn’t just me. I’ve noticed that most individuals I have observed are having a hard time this year getting going on this Holiday thing. Usually, even in a light rain, crowds collect to admire New York department store windows.

But not this year…

I was on my way to the Algonquin Hotel to meet friends and business colleagues for drinks. The rest of the walk I speculated as to why I was feeling less than Holiday like.

It might be as simple as that I have been fighting a cold ever since I found myself meandering around New York in a heavy rain one day, between appointments, unable to hail a taxi and enroute to meetings not conveniently reached by subway. The chill that settled in that day has yet to depart despite long, hot baths, prodigious amounts of Vitamin C and plenty of rest and fluids.

My personal universe is a bit in disarray. Several clients and friends are having particularly hard business times this year and that has dampened my Holiday cheer. Reports from my friend Christine Olson as she toured India took me back to my own time there when I had to accept my personal inability to change the universe at that moment, though acknowledging a sense of global responsibility.

But I love the Holidays and it is time to shake this lethargy and begin to brighten up my soul. I don’t want to miss the joy of the moment by failing to be in it.

This, of course, is the lesson Thornton Wilder was giving us when he wrote OUR TOWN. So, having been reminded of him by the windows in Lord & Taylor, I am resolving to do my best to face the moment and embrace it.

Today I settled on what I was going to do for many on my Christmas list.

One of the projects I have worked on this year is OFF TO WAR, following the Arkansas National Guard from call-up and we’re in Iraq with them right now. Their families need financial help in sending Christmas gifts and goodies to the men and so, in the name of friends, family and clients I am going to send a donation to help pay for a version of Santa’s sleigh.

While some of my friends and clients are having some difficult moments, I am aware we live privileged lives in general.

We live in relative safety and there are social safety nets for us, porous as we may feel them to be.

I am not stationed in Baghdad, concerned about encountering an IED [Improvised Explosive Device], an acronym for something intended to hurt or kill me.

So, today, I am figuratively slapping myself in the face and saying: get with it. It’s the HOLIDAY Season.

There is magic in the season and I want to place myself in the middle of that magic and celebrate it as it puts its bright, seasonal spotlight on many of the things which are best about us.

Yes, I know it may be hard this year. I don’t think my friends in New York are the only ones who are having a bit of a tough time. The future feels a bit uncertain but I do know that I do have today and TODAY I am going to start throwing myself into the Holiday Season and see if I can spread a little joy.

Go on, spread a little yourself.


If any of you would like to help Santa’s sleigh from Arkansas to Iraq, here’s the info…

Send your donations to:

239th Engineer Co.

Attn: Anita Allen

300 Scoggins Road

Clarksville, AR. 72830