Before Christmas, I posted my annual blog titled “PSA: Not Everyone is Merry.” I hope it helped those who suffer through Christmas and sensitized people who are fortunate to enjoy it.
I happen to be one of the people who love the idea of Christmas, but I am crushed by the reality of it. Someday I may write why but it will take more space than I am given here. Instead, may I share with you one of the ways I survive Christmas?
It’s simple. I take a week off without killing anyone, which translates into I don’t write fiction between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Since I write mysteries, that means I kill no one. I’m not altruistic. I just don’t write well when I am feeling very, very sad. Maudlin is way too happy of a word to describe my writing during the holidays.
So how do I fill the hours if I am not writing and yet attempting to avoid the merriment as much as possible? Although it may sound contradictory, my solution is to binge endless inane Christmas romcoms until my eyeballs plead for me to stop and I risk a hyperglycemic attack. I should be clear. I am not talking about classic Christmas movies. Some nostalgic, vintage, like White Christmas. Others, more modern, like the venerable the Holiday, which I will defend to my death. I am talking about Christmas crap.
“Seriously, who writes this stuff?” I asked my husband who knows better than to answer. I allow him a silent roll of his baby blues and go on. “It so formulaic, it’s insulting. Insipid.” To this, he nods but says nothing. My husband is nothing short of brilliant.
I rant about how most of the movies feature a beautiful, but broken-hearted or unable-to-find-love wholesome beauty who faces another Christmas without Prince Charming in her life. In some of these holiday romcoms, the hero is a real prince. Our girl’s family is disappointed she doesn’t have a love interest to sit next to her at the family table to share the Christmas feast, making her feel even more inadequate. Next comes a variation of plot turns, but the choices are few and unoriginal. Often, the lonely woman will persuade a man she can barely stand to pretend he is her boyfriend just for Christmas. Naturally, whatever pretense or plot turn takes place, the heroine discovers that her fake boyfriend is the true love of her life. He has recognized she is the woman of her dreams.
Repetitive, inconceivable, corny, outrageously ridiculous, right? How can Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. insult the intelligence of their subscribers? I mean, who watches this garbage?
I do. Apparently, so do legions of other saps.
I’ve thought about this a lot because I’m a little embarrassed by my heretofore undisclosed method of beating the Christmas blues away. I think I find comfort in the preposterous portrayal of a perfect Christmas. The overdose of red plaid, perfectly white snow, and bad Christmas songs underscores how ridiculous and commercial the celebration of what was once a religious holiday has become. The movies are so saccharine and silly, they manage to insulate me from what I find to be the hardest day of the year.
So, bring it on – but only for one week, mind you. Because by January 1st, I am back to my old killer self, writing murder mysteries. I wrote 1525 words of a new one on the first day of 2022 and nothing will stop me until Christmas 2022. And only for a week. You can get through anything for a week.