Holiday gifts: Nick Foster

Nick Foster and family

Gifts and giving are on most everyone's mind this month. So we're again asking people to share some thoughts on presents, past and present, charities -- and wishes for the next year.

Nick Foster came to the Capital Region from New Jersey. He's a husband, father, sometime
musical theater performer, and former writer of record reviews living in Albany. He is also the founder/organizer of the fundraising event the James T. Foster Memorial Beer + Ice Cream Social (Set to return in 2018!).

He loves the music of Big Star, black-and-white cookies, and continuously adding things to his Netflix queue that he knows full-well he'll never get around to watching.

What gifts would you like to get this year?
With our second daughter due to arrive any day now(!), I really would love nothing more than for her arrival to go swimmingly! Everyone healthy and content... I can't really ask for much more.

But, y'know, if someone happened to get me tickets to Springsteen on Broadway, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

What gifts would you like to give this year?
If I could wave a magic wand, I would make those I know and love free of worry. I think most of us can be our own worst enemies: We're too trapped in our own heads, letting stress and anxiety rule the day. Would that I could, give folks an outlet to relief; something that allows them to put their worries on pause.

Short of having that super power, there was a ton of great new music released this year, and I'd love to put it in the hands of all my friends. Alvvays, Nicole Atkins, Broken Social Scene, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, The New Pornographers... really, I could go on and on. But, they all released killer albums this year. Everyone should hear 'em.

What charity would you like to support?
I have a great deal of respect and fondness for organizations that provide a good or service that most "take for granted." Too often when services are provided to those with disabilities, no attention is given towards hobbies. No effort is made towards the things that most of us do for fun, the things that help us get through the day, the things that make it all worthwhile.

In a way, Life Rolls On is providing these things: they provide adaptive surf and skate opportunities to those living with paralysis and/or spinal cord injuries. Having volunteered at one of their "They Will Surf Again" events, I saw firsthand how awesomely effective their work is. When an individual who's heard nothing but "You can't do that" their entire life instead hears, "Actually, you CAN, and it'll be fun," it's not hyperbole to say that that's life-changing.

What is your most memorable gift?
As a kid? My first guitar. Sure, it was a Sears store brand clunker, but for a 12 year old who just wanted to be Angus Young... you couldn't tell me nothin'.

As an adult? Several years ago, all of us "grown-ups" (me, my wife, her sister, my sister, their respective partners, their siblings) decided that, in lieu of gifts, we'd instead all just meet in NYC for dinner. As adults, we didn't want for anything (any gift we'd want, we could just buy for ourselves), and being spread apart from each other across the Tri-State area, the greatest extravagance we could think of, was just being able to spend some time together that wasn't centered around a wedding, or funeral, or what-have you.

We've been doing it for several years now, and it's become my favorite family tradition. The first few years, before we all had kids, we'd have an incredible meal at Les Halles -- lots of food, lots of drinks -- and check out the tree at Rockefeller Center. Now, we all have kids, Les Halles is closed, and bringing a bunch of toddlers and babies to the city is a task I'm not yet brave enough to tackle.
So, we've had to make some adjustments: adding some kid-friendly activities to the mix, and changing our venues.

But we're still doing it. Sure, of course, we all give "actual" gifts to each other's kids. But us grown-ups: We only meet; we break bread; we enjoy each other's company. And not once have we had to tell one another, "The gift receipt's in the bag, if you need to exchange it."

What is your wish for the New Year?
It would be great if everyone, everywhere, would just not be a total garbage monster to other people. Just, enough with the horror stories. And... blah, blah, blah... if I could shed 40 pounds... blah, blah, blah.

photo: Tracey Buyce

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