Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Christmas Story from Holiday Hell

The best of times or worst of times, the holidays are always truly inspirational. They’re either inspiring us to pull down boxes upon boxes of decorations and lights from years past or turn off the front porch lights on carolers, hit the ignore button on Aunt Lillian’s phone call, and hope to god Uncle Ned is too drunk to make the festivities this year.

I’ve had some amazing Christmases and experienced the truly horrific as well. I have at least three stories about Christmas trees at my parent’s house falling over and once being intentionally pushed onto my brother. (He wasn’t sharing.)

I’ve had holidays where the decorations were all fixed just right, there was hot cocoa and apple cider, a feast for three days straight and I was surrounded by all those I love and cherish and no one fought. I’ve also had a Christmas that I spent alone.

I’ve also had the mediocre holidays where everything went perfectly fine and as we’re rapping up the festivities my dad remarked that my brother came out looking like a water baby and my mom punched him for it.  

My experiences have left me with just enough to look forward to Christmas every year, hang lights, decorate a tree, and do a whole lot of baking. This year, I even picked up seasonal scented Airwick air-fresheners for the house. (Apple Spice). My experiences have also left me with just enough humor to deal with the not so successful holiday. So as they say in B-list dance/cheer movies, bring it on.

Holiday happenings also make great stories, non-fiction or fiction. I want to encourage everyone reading this to take a stab at their own holiday story by offering an excerpt from a story I starting writing last year. I titled it, “The Weather Outside is Frightful.” It’s about a teenage boy named Leham whose apathetic outlook on the holiday only begins with the burden of enduring his mother’s fanatical Christmas spirit that dawns every inch of their two-story four-bedroom home. After their community is rampaged by an overnight blizzard, he awakes to find himself stuck indoors with his parents, twin younger siblings, and all his visiting relatives (including Uncle Stan whose past three girlfriends have all been named Heather). The story is Leham’s first person account of dealing with Christmas Crisis, complete with sarcasm.

To keep its authenticity, I’ve decided to work on it a little bit each year during the holidays, so who knows when it will be finished. But here’s a small excerpt of the story’s beginning:

        One Christmas my Chihuahua died.
        I’d come home from football practice (I was the mascot) to find him lying legs up and stiff on the hard wood floor.
       The bowl of red and green M & M’s was empty.
      The only indication of their existence was a few chocolaty smears on the inside of the glass bowl and pathway of chewed red and green bits leading to Chico.
       At first I felt sympathy. He was a victim of my mother’s holiday hell. But further reflection on Chico’s death resulted in my seeing the true nature of this tragedy. Chihuahuas are picky eaters, and as long as I had known Chico (and I’d known him his whole life) I’d known him not to stray from this typicality. And like all dogs, Chihuahuas have impeccable intuition. So I can only infer that Chico sensed what was coming, yet again, and needed a way out.
        The M & M’s weren’t an accident. They were intentional. They were Chico using my mother’s weapon against her.
        Demolish the M & Ms, convulse, barf, and crap all over the holiday rug before you leave the mark of death all over the obnoxious Christmas tree skirt that started it all. Well played, Chico.
         Well played.

If anyone has any humorous Christmas stories to offer, I’d loved to post them here (anonymously if need be). Email them to me!

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