Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Christmas Interview Questions

December 25, 2016

Since it is Christmas, I thought I would break my normal update schedule and post today. While it has been over a decade since I have attended church, I still celebrate Christmas with my family. My stepfather’s family actually gives and receives gifts tomorrow morning which extends our Christmas tradition a little more. Anyway, here are a few Christmas interview questions to celebrate this day of giving.


Do you prefer to give gifts or receive them?

When I was little, I was all about receiving things. However, as I got older and older, receiving became less and less important. I struggled to actually add things to my Christmas list because things became less important to me. Action figures just took up space so I started to float toward comic books, books, video games and movies which are all objects that give you an experience and serve a specific purpose. I still find it hard to ask for anything since I already have mostly everything I need and most of what I might want is boring and cheap. At the same time, giving gifts has become a more rewarding experience. I struggled to pick good gifts for the people I love. I was always desperate for a gift to give because it was required. Now, I have become better at reading people and drawing on my personal connections to them to pick a good gift. Nothing I give is boring or impersonal, it always carries memories of a bit of fiction we both liked or a memory we shared. Now I prefer giving gifts so I can see the reaction and the feeling that I really know that person.


What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

This is a huge running thing on the Internet and among my friends and family. The most popular answer that I have heard is Die Hard as it is loudly proclaimed by my brother. While I love Die Hard, I cannot pick it because it is not actually a Christmas movie. The same goes for my joke answer which is Batman Returns which involves Batman saving Christmas. One of my favorite movies, A Nightmare Before Christmas, has officially been labeled a Halloween movie so that does not count either. I feel the same should be said of Gremlins. I think I would actually go with White Christmas which I finally saw for the first time last year. It starts with singing Christmas songs to the troops in the middle of a really bad war zone. It ends with the main characters putting on a show to save a failing business. It stars Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye among others and has the old Christmas standard White Christmas (of course). It is a kind-hearted movie but it does not fall into the trap of getting too sappy, too sarcastic or too sugary sweet. It has a lot of humor but it also has a lot of touching moments and conflict which, to me, is what the holidays are all about.


What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Musically, I would have to go with the song I posted on Thursday, All I Want for Christmas is You by Vince Vance and the Valiants. Lisa Layne is one heck of a singer and I like the pleading nature of the song a lot along with some jazzy backup from the band. However, it is not a message that resonates with me. I have never had a special somebody during Christmas that I was missing and needed desperately to be with. It felt a little right that one Christmas I was working on A Christmas Carol and could not come home to my family for Christmas but that is not what I want from Christmas. I would have to go with Santa Baby simply because it embodies what I want from Christmas. I want playfulness, I want happiness, I want good music and good secular fun. Obviously, my heart goes out to the Eartha Kitt version because she was Catwoman and that ties into the whole Batman thing from earlier. She also really does well walking the line between playfulness, flirtatiousness and holiday cheer.

And how about a few gifts?

From the WWE for fans of Why I Love Pro-Wrestling:

A little Heavy Metal in honor of my new Dungeons and Dragons character:

And a look at why Home Alone may not be the best holiday film:

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A Facebook Thingy Before Christmas

December 19, 2016

As I prepare for Christmas and cool down from finishing my Fall semester at CCBC, I thought I would post this Facebook thing that I beefed up.  We had snow and then freezing rain on Saturday and it was more annoying than dangerous even though there was a huge crash south of the city.  I am getting excited for Christmas as the presents I bought for people start arriving in the mail.  Posts will continue as scheduled even as I go to Shepherdstown this week.

Four names I go by:

1. Steven

My given name. It means “He who is crowned.” I love my name even though it is often used to for a random name to call lame guys in fiction. However, Eddie Izzard often uses it for a name to call characters and does not mistreat the name. I believe that spelling it with a “v” is the right way to spell it even if Stephen came about first in history.

2. Steve

I used to hate this shortened version of my name but I have learned to like it. It is so quick and casual. A lot of good friends have called me by this shortened version. However, I now have a friend/family member who goes by Steve and is in the tabletop gaming group I am in. This creates confusion but somehow we manage. I end up being Steve 2 sometimes.

3. Wolf of Words

You are reading this blog right now. It has also become my new gamer tag when I need one. If you see WolfofWords holding a gym in Pokemon Go, that is me. As I explained earlier, the wolf is a part of my family history because my family is crazy. My mom taught us to howl at the full moon because her aunt taught her to do it. I am also devoted to stories and words as a writer, an avid consumer of fiction and a student of the law.

4. KM/King

While I was in New Jersey, I created a gamer tag called Mengi around the time I created this blog. It was created for a game called StarPirates which had a great community. There was a guy in our little group playing the game who called himself LordTyrion and, to tweak his nose, I renamed myself KingMengi to outrank him. I stuck with the name through a couple games and that’s why it appears as my twitter and WordPress username.

Four places I’ve lived

1. Baltimore, Maryland

I love Baltimore. It is the city where I was born and where I have lived for 24 years (not consecutive). I love so many great places in Baltimore and I learn more and more things about it every day. If you keep reading this blog, you will find me talking about Baltimore over and over.

2. Sussex, New Jersey

Sussex is a small town in New Jersey jammed up near the borders of Pennsylvania and New York. Even though it is nearly two hours from New York City, it is still in the NYC Metropolitan area because that area is gigantic. I worked at a theater called Tri-State Actors Theater here and I lived in the back of a framing shop. The place was a little town with a two-block main street surrounded by farmland and mountains. Still, the local children were frightened of the urban dangers it might contain.

3. Matamoras, Pennsylvania

When I first moved up to work at Tri-State Actors Theater, I lived at the owner’s house just over the border in Pennsylvania. At first, I had no car and I was at the mercy of what rides were offered by the people whom I was living with. Once I had my first real car, I remember driving there really late at night. Once, I was driving over the mountain to get home and there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground and I spun out near the top. After I recovered my wits, I continued to drive. I was really stupid sometimes back then.

4. Shepherdstown, West Virginia

In the last few years, my mother moved to West Virginia along with my new stepfather. (Although, not so new anymore.) It is a great place to be as it is far from the hustle and bustle of the city and I never experienced that, even in Sussex. I worked at the house there for two years on several projects for the family business and I continue to visit for holidays.

Krampus (2015)

October 12, 2016

I talked last year about horror during the holidays when I reviewed the charmingly bad Jack Frost. At the time, something was pointed out by the proprietor of The Eye of the Beholder blog. She basically said that horror during the holidays gives us a break from the holiday cheer. She is so right. As far as I can tell, this proud tradition started in the 1970s. However, I always think of my first experience which was the release of Gremlins. This was also the movie that sparked the false rumor that suicides go up around the holidays. I also talked then about my theory about how something good can be turned against you. Taking something wholesome, and making it frightening is a sort of an extreme violation. For a lot of the people, Santa is a joyful man who delights in providing presents to the good children in the world. I really like this and that is why I am eager to spread his gospel because doing so only spreads good feelings. However, some use Santa as a fear tactic to keep their kids in line. They use his excellent surveillance system as a threat, a Sword of Damocles to make kids stay in line and even snitch on each other to simplify a parent’s job. This philosophy also led to the horrible Elf on a Shelf which never should have happened.

Of course, we are not really talking about Santa today. We are talking about his double from the Upside Down and brother (hopefully) from another mother: Krampus. Now, anybody who knows me well knows that I am a huge fan of mythology and folktales. However, please be advised that I definitely believe that Krampus should not be part of the story of Santa Claus. I do think that the story is a neat bit of apocrypha, though. Krampus is part of a rich history that originated in the Austro- Bavarian region of Europe. It figures that Krampus would come from Germany, the same place as the Brothers Grimm and other tales of the Black Forest. However, there is a history of people trying to unnecessarily spice up the Santa tales with dark or regrettable characters. Just ask Black Pete. While Saint Nicholas went from house to house rewarding the good boys and girls, Krampus did the opposite. Krampus beat or kidnapped the horrible kids or so the fear tactics said. Thankfully, we just opted for making kids afraid of getting coal in their stockings.

The movie starts off like many horror movies do by presenting you with horrible people that will most likely be terrorized or killed throughout the rest of the movie. I think sometimes they do this so that audiences feel less guilty about enjoying their deaths later. However, this is set at Christmas and I know how awful family can be around the holidays. You gotta put up with it and it makes zero sense. Also, there is plenty of charm and surprising depth to the characters so you cannot paint them as outright villains right away. A lot of them are dicks. Do dicks deserve to die? No. Do we want to see them suffer a bit? Probably. Of course, this movie is about having the true holiday spirit and how you should remember the reason for the season. Hint: The reason for the season is always celebrating, having fun and being nice to each other for once. Unfortunately, we do that by shoving a lot of people into one house.

The acting is really good. The movie starts out like a slightly darker version of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation so you need some comedic timing. There are quite a few characters which is a little strange for a horror movie. Usually, you have seven or less so that you can mix and match pairings and keep things simple. The biggest names are Adam Scott from Parks and Rec and David Koechner from the Anchorman movies. The writing and direction are great because they really let the characters shine and the horror slowly creeps into the proceedings. They also take a long time to really explain anything but I like that. I don’t need my hand held all the time. On top of the good acting and direction, there are really good visuals. Legendary is known, at least to me, for creating movies with great special effects. (See Hellboy, Pacific Rim, Dark Knight). The stuff they created for this movie is absolutely terrifying. At some point, most of the comedy goes right out the window and we are in full terror mode.

Overall I would say this was a great horror movie. I went in expecting a lot of finger guns and silliness and, while it started that way, it definitely shook off a lot of the comedy. However, it was like they twisted a lot of should have been funny or sweet and turned into a nightmare. It was like the Upside Down version of Christmas. Everything was dangerous and vicious instead of jolly. The writing and direction were on point and I loved pretty much every point in the movie even though I was totally creeped out. They completely connected the movie back to the German roots of the folktale without forcing it. You should definitely check this out. I think it is a little underrated.

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2015

Well, as the title says Merry Christmas. This time of year is difficult to get through for a lot of people.  It’s a tough time and I try to remember how lucky I am even while I’m in the lion’s den.  As Bing sang, I can fall asleep counting my blessings.  Still, it’s not all wine and roses so all I can tell you is that you have to keep fighting the good fight.  Hang in there and you will see the other side and whatever is there.

In the spirit of “fighting the good fight”, I present a video that stars my brother as a bad ass Santa.  It is best viewed on your phone as it is a 360 degree movie.  Check it out.

Rebel Without a Claus

 

Top 11 Christmas Episodes

December 20, 2015

Top 11


11. Scrubs – My Own Personal Jesus

Probably last on the list because it leans heavily on the belief in God and the low production values. It largely deals with how hospitals are one of the worst places to be during the holidays. In the emotional parts of our lives, it can sometimes bring the worst of us bubbling to the surface. A young Catholic surgeon loses his faith while on call on Christmas Eve. He feels he has been proven wrong in his assertion that God watches over all of us. In the end, his faith is restored and we’re reminded that even if you don’t believe in God, you can believe in people. The subplot has plenty of comedy about dealing with people you don’t like but coming together anyway. It’s a welcome balance to the sad but uplifting main plot.

10. Rick and Morty: Anatomy Park

Alright, this one is only this low on the list because half of it is a Jurrasic Park/Innerspace parody. That plot has little to do with Christmas besides taking place inside a homeless man in a santa suit. The title characters (and Jon Oliver) are busy dealing with the strange problem inside Ruben. While all of this is going on, the rest of the family is playing host to Steve’s parents and trying to get along during the holidays. The family in Rick and Morty are pretty disfunctional. They’re perhaps the most disfunctional family I’ve seen in fiction that still stays together. Steve, the father, decides to disconnect his family from electronics for the holiday so they can connect with one another. He’s not prepared for the consequences of his action. The episode teaches that sometimes our family can annoy us and drive us crazy, especially around the holidays. That’s ok. It’s very normal.

9. Futurama – XMas Story

While the episode is largely silly, like most Futurama episodes there’s a deeper message involved. The surface story is about how a Santa Claus robot has gone crazy in the year 3000 and will murder anybody after sundown. Naturally, this is because its naughty/nice processing unit has been damaged. However the episode more expertly deals with two characters who are feeling lonely on Christmas because they have no family. Both of them fail to see that they can always fall back on their circle of friends because friends are our extended family. They also tackle the folly of being selfish especially around the holidays. There’s also a mostly subtle message that possessions are fleeting and no thing can take the place of a kind thought.

8. Boston Legal: Loose Lips

Now, I’ve only seen the first season of Boston Legal but it’s definitely got cynical edge to it that you might think would clash with Christmas. The thing is, beneath that cynical and bitter surface, Boston Legal has heart and that especially applies to its star, James Spader. His character likes to pretend he has no heart and that he’s the villain but in the end he often does the right thing in spite of himself. Christmas is all about that sometimes. Christmas can be the one time all year where we stop ourselves and do the right thing. Not because we’re supposed to but because we realize we want to be good just like Ebenezer Scrooge did. The secondary plot has to do with a confidentiality dilemma when a doctor’s patient may be planning to kill somebody. The main plot is much more Christmas-y and has to do with a Santa who was fired because it was discovered that he cross-dresses on his off hours. The main plot starts kind of comedic but ends up being pretty touching and features one of those good mall Santas.

7. 30 Rock: Ludachristmas

30 Rock was a clever show that was always funny but every episode devolved into insanity unless it already began insane. This is one of those episodes that starts with a lot of crazy concepts and premises and just runs with it. There’s weird amnesia, crazy alcoholic christmas and paper shredders that are easily mistaken for a photo scanner. There is a clash between those who just want to have fun with those who would dictate how you should celebrate Christmas. In the end, maybe it’s not such a good idea to meddle in how other people celebrate as long as they’re responsible and safe. The main story hammers home how everybody’s family is pretty crazy so there’s not much point worrying about the grass looking greener on the other side. It’s best to just live and let live most of the time.

6. Bones: The Santa in the Slush

Bones has always been a good show. Some of my scientist friends might have problems with it but I’ve liked the show because it has compelling characters and stories with a lot of heart. Even the worst episode of Bones is head and shoulders above a lot of other stuff on television. The show has had a long run so it has a lot of holiday episodes to choose from. I had to go with The Santa in the Slush because of the interesting imagery of the episode. It starts with the discovery of a murdered mall Santa and the mission to discover who could do such a thing. Now, these days its popular to depict mall Santas as alcoholic jerks who are just faking it for cash. However, I love a good story about a true mall Santa who loves kids and is sticking it out in the trenches as a true foot soldier for the North Pole. We all want to believe in magic. Whether it’s the magic of Santa or the magic of human kindness, we all want to believe. This is a good story that shows that there are people out there who really believe in humanity and what’s right in the world.

5. Supernatural: A Very Supernatural Christmas

Brothers have history together. I lived in a house (several in fact) with my brothers for 18 years and then spent holidays and some summers with them. Granted, we never had the history the Winchesters had but we went through a lot of stuff together. Even in moments where that’s not being directly dealt with that is the major undercurrent of the show. So how do two guys who grew up experiencing Christmas in motels on the road view the holidays? Both Sam and Dean have had a taste of normal Christmas but that’s gone for them. The episode also deals with various mytholigies that surround Christmas. Some have been forgotten and some were appropriated for use by Christianity. It’s a fun but creepy look at those myths coming to life.

4. Veronica Mars: An Echolls Family Christmas

Since this episode occurs in the first season, Veronica is very much separated from the friends and family (minus her dad) that she used to celebrate with. This isn’t necessarily a happy episode, especially for one set at Christmas. That’s fine as the holidays are not always so happy and problems don’t just magically stop during the holidays. This episode primarily focuses on the Echolls family’s dysfunctional problems. There is a more lighthearted whodunit trying to figure out who stole the poker winnings from the last poker game with Veronica taking great pleasure in shaking down the rich boys (even her ex). In the main plot we have a much more dangerous mystery that includes cheating, stalking and holiday parties. It foreshadows a lot of stuff later in the series. It’s a good dysfunctional look at the holidays because we’ve all experienced that at one point or another.

3. Leverage: The Ho Ho Ho Job

When your main cast is a bunch of ex-criminal vigilantes who no longer have any family connections, you don’t really expect to have a Christmas episode. However, from its inception, episodes of Leverage are about restoring hope to the hopeless and defending the defenseless. Most of the characters are loathe to get into the Christmas spirit but all they need is a little push from the suddenly cheery orphan thief to try and stop a holiday heist. They take the case of a mall santa who may as well be the real man in red. In the end the crew and even some of the villains embrace the season. It’s a lot of fun and doesn’t delve into the somewhat dark histories of the characters but does show them getting a little light in their lives.

2. Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe

It was hard to pick just one Doctor Who Christmas episode but I managed to whittle it down eventually even though I could probably do a separate list. British shows tend to run a little dark around the holidays and Doctor Who is often not an exception. This one starts with a mother taking her kids to the country for the holidays while trying to keep it secret that their dad recently died. While there is a horror/science fiction plot at work, there is a bigger discussion on the nature of the collision of happiness and tragedy. The Doctor does his best to heal this broken family and in the end I was so filled with joy that I cried.

1. Community: Comparitive Religion

The first season of Community was like a force of nature when it showed up. It was a little more cynical and bitter as the characters were still feeling out their relationship with one another. Still, by Christmas at the end of their first semester they had grown into a tight group that genuinely liked each other despite all of their flaws. However, sometimes it is the people with the best intentions who can cause the most pain. Shirley is a devout Christian and chooses to impose her will and control over her non-Christian friends using motherly guilt. The episode features a pretty even-handed look at how many different cultures in the United States celebrate Christmas because it’s fun and not because they’re Christians. In the end, everybody learns that family means togetherness and that’s way more powerful than any religion in the world. It manages to achieve this message without putting anybody’s beliefs down and isntead preaching peace and the ability to live and let live. It’s a violent but strangely joyous way to celebrate the holidays.

Black Ops Elves

December 21, 2014

Holy crap it’s almost Christmas.  How time flies swifter than an arrow!  I attended another Pointless production and yet again it inspired a little story snippet.  I was so impressed with all of the world building my brother and Frank did that I was inspired to add a little expanded universe, Star Wars style. Also, another reminder to see any Pointless Theater production in Washington, DC or the surrounding area.

–     –      –

The plane rocked a little in the wind again but nobody grumbled.  We were all once rookies and, when we were new, our stomachs would have lurched with the sudden movement.  Now we had been at this business for a long time.  Of course, it only took a month or two to become a hardened warrior.  That was what we were.  Hardened warriors in service of the Claus family though we never had any contact with the big man himself.  In fact, it’s been six months since I had seen the North Pole.  I found that I didn’t even miss it even more.  They say that you can’t go home and that’s true especially if it doesn’t even feel like home anymore.  This cargo plane feels like home or whatever shelter we bed down in for the night.
My name is Cowan Tinsletree but they have come to call me Silent Night which seems to fit a lot better.  Most elves are born to work towards the making and distribution of presents.  When you’re a kid that’s exactly what you want to do the same as all of the other people you grew up with.  My gifts didn’t lend themself to making presents or any part of the usual elf business.  Whatever it was that the older elves saw, they predicted I would be a good soldier.  I never there was a North Pole Black Ops and now I was the best sniper in the squad, capable of hitting almost any target with projectile weapons.
The newest recruit had only been with us for 68 days but she actually fits in pretty well with the team.  didn’t fit in back home either.  Gwenevere Snowfuzz is the only goth elf I have ever met and boy did she grow up frustrated.  That frustration led to her firing, arrest and deportation out here to the world.  She broods a lot and keeps to herself but in the middle of some missions I swear I’ve seen her smile.  It’s not the friendliest smile but probably more than she got back home.  She prefers to keep things close and personal when it’s time to fight.  Her blades barely flash before a target drops.
Halo Startwinkle rarely talks and when he does, it’s barely more than a word or two.  His chief job was piloting the plane which he seemed to really like to do.  He got a kind of serene look on his face even if the plane was under heavy fire.  It was actually pretty inspiring to see somebody love their job so much.   In a pinch the guy could handle a weapon pretty well but he didn’t like to do it and, of course, he would never say why.
Harmony Ciderhearth is a very charming and handsome elf.  From what I hear, he was too charming as he may have gotten too close to the Clauses and sometimes when that happens you have to go.  There aren’t a lot of choices when you’re exiled from the poles but who knows why he chose this life.  I do know that he enjoys the missions a little too much.  I was born to do this but it’s not like I exactly want to but Harmony would pick this over just about anything, I think.  He is currently our expert on magic and is a strong practitioner of Christmas magic.  We couldn’t be as fast or stealthy as we are without the same magic that Santa and the rest of the elves use for more peaceful means.
The final member of the current squad actually got here before I did.  When I left the North Pole for good, the wound he left was still pretty fresh.  His name was not allowed to be spoken and severe penalties were still being given out for talking about him.  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sat in a corner of the cargo bay and puffed on a cigar, the lit end almost mimicking his glowing red nose.   I still don’t know what he did to deserve this punishment  but I’m glad he did it.  There is nobody I’d rather have at my back when the shit hit the fan.
Our mission this time was clear.  A laboratory in the human world was attempting something that none of us would have ever thought possible but they were too close to completing their task.  The Syro Corporation had somehow recovered the remains of the beloved Frosty the Snowman based on the townspeoples’ accounts of his last known whereabouts.  Our squad had actually been looking for his silk hat for a while now with no luck.  We hoped it had not fallen into the wrong hands.
Three days ago we got word that satellites had finally gotten a shot of the hat in transit to Syro Corp headquarters.  I had a feeling that if they tried to resurrect Frosty, the results would be catastrophically dangerous.  Our superiors must have shared my belief because here we were about to engage in a daring raid of their laboratories.  Operation Thumpity Thump consisted of three objectives.  First, the retrieval of Frosty’s remains so that a proper burial could be performed.  Second, the recovery or destruction of the silk hat so that this particular Christmas magic could never be used again.  Finally, we needed to destroy their hard drives.
I said a silent prayer as the cargo door opened and everybody but Rudolph and Halo grabbed a parachute.  We are the Elf Black Ops Squad and we were not here to be on the nice list.

Christmas Memories

December 26, 2009

I didn’t get to have the family Christmas this year because work kept me captive.  It wasn’t pleasant but it’ll never happen again if I can help it.  So instead of rushing from one family gathering to another I took the day off and tried to relax.  Between phone calls from family I thought about the Christmas memories.  That’s where Christmas is this year, in that Palace of Memory.  Here’s a few selected memories in no particular order.

I remember being in the Christmas pageant at Grace United Methodist.  I was a shepherd one year and I felt proud even though I was one of maybe five shepherds.  I don’t remember the actual performance.  It must  not have been too bad and I have a tendency to sort of black out memories of being in front of crowds.  The next year I was given the part of Joseph.  It was probably because nobody else wanted it but that didn’t matter to me then or now.  The chance to have an important part overpowered my stage fright.  I remember walking up and then ducking into a side room with “Mary” where she was handed an actual baby.  Jesus might have been a girl that year but nobody could tell the difference.  I just stared at that baby.  It kept me from looking at the crowd and hey, Joseph was probably staring at the kid and going “Holy crap, that’s God’s kid.”  That and handing out cigars to kings, shepherds and farm animals.

Croissants are very tied into Christmas for me.  Nobody wanted to cook on Christmas morning.  I mean what with getting up and getting everybody together nobody ever wants to work over a stove. (Although my mom cooked last Christmas. Thanks mom!) So we’d get croissants which was something we could all get behind.  Croissants and pecan rolls.  Run them through a microwave or a toaster oven and they’re hot and taste extra fresh.   I think about that sometimes when I bite into a croissant.

I remember how our various cats would react to Christmas trees.  They would freak, of course.  Imagine defining a tree as being an outside object and then encountering it inside.  That’s how I always thought of it.  Hanging anything on the lower branches made it a target.  Those crazy cats would bat at anything they could reach so the unbreakable stuff was all for the bottom branches.

Christmas trees were always interesting.  They couldn’t be put up without everybody in the family there. Even if the last family member would not arrive until the 24th, the tree would sit outside in the cold and wait.  My brother and I have been sent twice at the 11th hour to get a tree.  One year my brother and I went out on the 23rd and found the sorriest tree we ever did have.  It was the last tree on the lot and the nursery was glad to be rid of it because it meant they could go home.  Turned toward the wall it wasn’t that bad.  Last year we were sent on the 24th on another tree search.  We couldn’t find a tree after three stops so we gave up.

I look forward to next Christmas where I’ll make more memories.  Hope everybody had a Merry Christmas.  While mine was not nearly what I wanted, it wasn’t that horrible.

Christmas is Coming!

December 6, 2008

Christmas is Coming!

I love Christmas.  I really do.  I know this must be a shocking confession.  I’ll give you a moment to adjust.  Okay, moment over.  I’ve loved Christmas all of my life.  However, the love hasn’t been continuous. 

When I was a kid I loved Christmas like any other child of my ilk.  I mean what Christian-raised kid didn’t bounce off  the walls thinking about Santa coming?  It was hard to sleep on Christmas Eve and I mean incredibly hard.  Even if it was Santa it was still a strange man set to enter my house.  Clearly my quirky paranoia developed at an early age and let’s face it, the Santa thing is a bit of a weird social custom.

Like most teenagers I went through a rebellious phase where I could barely stand my folks.  So as you can imagine Christmas and other family-oriented holidays were needlessly rough around the edges.  As you can imagine I’m also regretful about those times.  Around then Christmassy stuff like carols and decorations would annoy me.  However it would really only annoy me if I saw or heard it before the last week of December.  I can’t tell you why because I don’t really know why.  Perhaps it was part of a Christmas metamorphosis. 

At any rate, I believe it was Christmas ’03 when the magic of the holidays finally reemerged inside of me.  I was studying at Rutgers and the trials and tribulations of being a theater major were taking their toll.  Christmas was closing in and I was too tired to get excited about it.  It was some dim break off in the future somewhere that didn’t feel real yet.  However, as part of our Stage Management class our teacher invited us to attend A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden.  I took a train up to the city and stepping out of Penn Station at any point in December is magical.  New York City does Christmas up right.  I started to get a little excited.  Then the curtain rose on the show and I could not stop smiling.  I even saw it a second time that day. (Hey, it was free so why not?)  From then on I think I resolved to embrace Christmas. Afterall Christmas is about being nice, having fun and being of good cheer. Why not, right? Why not, indeed.


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