This holiday season will be lonely or different for many as the COVID-19 pandemic forces us to celebrate from a distance. And while a year off from holiday work parties may be welcome, staying in the spirit solo gets harder as Christmas and Hanukkah get closer.
Kendal Norris is used to creating seasonal vibes for crowds at her Mason Jar events, but she knows how to bring the party home, too. Known for pairing local cannabis products, chefs and music to reflect the time of year, Norris is hosting virtual Mason Jar events during the pandemic. She always has a few tips ready for a tasteful holiday celebration, with or without cannabis, so we asked the party planner extraordinaire how to get the most out of winter and weed smoke at home.
Westword: Mason Jar does a great job of pairing seasonal festivities with cannabis use. When you look at winter, what seasonal aspects match well with cannabis?
Kendal Norris: My vision of winter is always infused with all things holidays. They say we have two seasons in the South: summertime and Christmas. The holidays are my favorite time of year, so it's easy to get excited about decorating and pondering this year's Christmas morning casserole. Winter is the time to go inward and get cozy — and cannabis, with a little kushy couch lock, lends itself to this soft, dark time. Don’t be afraid of those heavy indicas this time of year: Go for it, and melt away the worries of the world, along with the white chocolate and peppermint in your mocha.
How much of a damper has COVID-19 put into cannabis-infused holiday celebrations and cannabis-friendly events in general?
Well, I’ll say this: I would think twice before I share a joint with a random person at a concert, dinner party or holiday celebration — and unfortunately, none of those are really even things right now. That said, the door is open for innovation, and for a group of creatives to produce products that allow for a safe way to do this. I, for one, miss sharing a joint with strangers.
We've had to pivot, like most, and figure out a way to bring our community together. Currently, we are putting together a series of virtual events — “Mason Jar Unpacked” — beginning January 28 with G-Love, Organic Alternatives and The Regional restaurant. Tickets are on sale now with the password “Unpacked.” Go to masonjareventgroup.com or visit any of our social sites to learn more.
Your curated goodie bags for Mason Jar events are always a fun representation of new and interesting products. Let's say you're curating a cannabis stocking stuffer. What are you putting in it this year?
Oh goodness, how fun! Okay, just like with a goodie bag, you want this to be well-rounded — something from the main top-five categories of products. A topical: I love Mary Jane's Medicinals salve. This product actually saved my blistered feet on a backpacking trip last summer! I also love Escape Artist lavender body cream; the smell is divine. A concentrate: Green Dot Labs' fine cannabis extracts holiday release, Lemon Wreath, [is] yummy with scones and an espresso in the morning. Flower: Where to start? I’ll tell you what I am enjoying at the moment is from Peaceful Choice Dispensary, and it’s called Spray Tan; it's sweet and gassy, perfect with earthy root vegetables.
If this person is very special, I would include the Sessions Goods bong from 420Science.com.
Then, an Edible: Sweetgrass Kitchen’s Pumpkin Pies, if they have not been scarfed up already. I also like Wyld's CBN Huckleberry gummy, for those long winters naps. And, finally, the wild card: ’Tis the season, so I would choose an infused drink. Find a recipe from your favorite mixologist, pair it with your favorite spirit or sparkling water, package it together, and give it as a gift all on its own. I love Oh Hi’s CBD Pomegranate Sparkling Seltzer with gin. Shaken, not stirred, naturally!
What are some cannabis pairings or dishes that evoke the holiday spirit to you?
If you are with a group of family and friends, I doubt everyone is cool with it. However, if you want to broach the subject with Aunt Betty, display your favorite CBD product with some information tastefully placed alongside it, and make it available for people to see and add into a cocktail or soup if they so choose. If you don’t have a current CBD product you are loving, try Onda. The Immunity blend, especially this time of year, is my go-to.
What are some simple, low-cost ways to class up my holiday festivities or family gatherings?
Candles! The holidays are all about lights, so don’t be afraid to spend too much time at Home Goods smelling candles. Get something cozy, like a Pendleton blanket (and use it all winter long), and add some fairy lights everywhere. BOOM: winter wonderland.
What's your go-to cannabis-and-Christmas movie combo?
Funny you should ask, because my husband and I sat down to watch a holiday movie last night and ended up with All Is Bright — a dark comedy, in stark contrast to the title. I love the classics like A Christmas Story, and this year I am pairing it with a sausage-and-fennel Christmas casserole, glass of Veuve with a little OJ (just for color) and a perfectly rolled cone from my friend Terry’s COVID harvest.
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