Tag: Christmas


PSA: Not Everyone Is Merry

 T’is the season to be jolly for many, but this is a public service announcement to remind those giddy with gift buying, tree decorating, and stocking stuffing, Christmas for many is agony.   For 35 years as an attorney practicing family law, I have personally witnessed the anomaly of Christmas. I wonder how a 24-hour holiday has managed to dominate our calendar beginning not before Thanksgiving as we once lamented, not before Halloween as we once complained, but now coinciding with the back-to-school frenzy. With four solid months to prepare for one day during which we are perfectly happy sharing a Martha Stewart feast with our television ready family, how is that so many of us fail to find bliss in Christmas?   It may have to do with money, or the lack of it. I am always swarmed by requests from clients in the fall to return to court for unpaid child support and alimony. For families who have been reconfigured into what society considers untraditional units, although they probably outnumber those considered traditional, Christmas is particularly challenging. During the season of sharing and caring, bouts of who-gets-the-kids-for-Christmas-this-year fill courthouses with shouting matches and an underlying profound sadness that Christmas will never be […]

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What's on Your Christmas List?

‘ Tis the season for Christmas music, sacred, popular, cloying, and migraine-producing. The selection ranges from Wham!’s “Last Christmas” to “O’ Holy Night” performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with plenty in between. One song, in particular, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” seems to have spawned more spoofs and puns and plays on words than there are Salvation Army kettles at the mall. I recently participated in an Author Takeover to promote the Christmas anthology, The 12 Slays of Christmas. I read a P.D. James short story called, “The 12 Clues of Christmas”. I’ve seen ads on social media (and in my email spam folder) for “The 12 Deals of Christmas” and “The 12 Gifts of Christmas.” All in the same week. Everyone is familiar with the plethora of gifts offered over the twelve days from Christmas Day to Epiphany. And whether you believe the gifts have religious symbolism or the song’s just a festive, musical version of a memory game along the lines of “I’m going on a trip,” you have to admit, a) it’s a pretty hefty haul of loot, b) it’s fun to spoof. We Missdemeanors decided we could come up with better gifts than partridges and colly birds. No […]

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We Wish You an Eerie Christmas

 I attended a candlelit Advent service at church last night. The Women’s Spirituality Group led a beautiful, peaceful service that celebrated women’s voices. We listened to readings that honored the contributions of women to church life, sang hymns of preparation for Christ’s birth, and prayed for peace in a nave bathed in the soft glow of candles. In the midst of fellowship and music and candle glow, my thoughts turned to murder. The stillness and darkness of the scene made me think it would be a perfect place to set a murder mystery. Advent and Christmas are popularly associated with merriment and cheer. Holly and bells and reindeer and elves bring joy. But Christmastime has a darker side. Christmas Day is only four days after the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Winter is long and cold and dark and dangerous. Poem and songs memorialize the bleakness of the solstice day, also known as Midwinter. Ancient Romans celebrated solstice at the Feast of Saturnalia characterized, according to one source, by “debauchery” in addition to feasting and gift-giving. The classic Christmas story, “A Christmas Carol,” is a ghost story whose plot hinges on terrifying specters putting a man in fear […]

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Reflections on holidays past

 My favorite Christmas memories are about being with my family. My parents always created a magical time of year, complete with sparkly tree, days of cooking favorite sweet and spicy treats, and, of course, gifts on Christmas Day. There was usually some project that took more time than anticipated and probably drove my mother crazy as we commandeered space she needed to do the real preparations for guests. Two projects that I remember in particular were making pine cone wreaths – incredibly messy – and creating all sorts of gingerbread projects, including the one pictured here.    When I was a child, my mother’s cousins hosted a party on Christmas eve that to my young eyes was the height of sophistication. Technically I viewed the main event from the children’s party in their ‘rec room’. I have such clear memories that there must have been a lot of peeking and dashes into the main party to ask my parents a question of great importance. Looking back, I think that this was a heroic feat on their part the night before Christmas day – when they also served an amazing dinner for many guests! I lived in a small town and have fond […]

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Oh Christmas Tree?

 A photo of FLOTUS’s White House Christmas decorations—a phalanx of up-lit, bare-branched white trees lining a black-tiled corridor illuminated only by a few pendant lamps and the lights on an equally dark Christmas tree at the corridor’s far end—generated lots of reaction on social media. Responses pretty much evenly split between “love it” and “hate it” (although I know of one person who said, “at least it’s different”). Many assumed that politics informed the reactions because, hey, everything is about politics these days. Right? Wrong, in my case. I voted “hate it” not because of political affiliation but because of—scary trees. I don’t think hip or trendy when I look at the photo of stark branches emitting an icy vibe. I think, “When are the flying monkeys going to attack?” “Where’s the Snow Queen hiding?” Jack Frost? The Abominable Snowman? Snow White’s wicked stepmother? The cast of an M. Night Shyamalan movie? Notice a theme? Forests, the woods, places filled with scary trees are places where evil lurks and bad things happen. They are not locations of holiday merriment. “Little Red Riding Hood”. The Princess Bride. “Hansel and Gretel”. The Blair Witch Project. The Cabin in the Woods. Deliverance. Do any […]

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All I Want for Christmas–Is Something to Read

  I’m not really a grinch. My occasional forays into humbug-land notwithstanding, I love Christmas. The season creates in me both a sense of nostalgia and hope for the future. I look back on the past with a conveniently fuzzy memory and long for the way things “used to be” while looking forward to the coming year with hope for the way things might  be. I also admit to indulging in my fair share of schmaltz and sentimentality. I’m streaming Christmas carols on Spotify as I type this. I break out the Lenox Christmas china and the Christmas-themed guest towels and ooh and aah over Facebook posts featuring puppies, kittens, and other small animals sporting bows and Santa hats.  I also watch Christmas movies. At least, I used to. I’ve been disappointed recent holiday cinematic offerings. Too many “find a fiance by Christmas” flicks and too few “save the orphanage/feed the hungry, homeless man/save the neighborhood from a greedy developer/bring joy to my elderly, neglected neighbor” flicks. Of course, I can re-watch the classics. I own DVD copies of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” But I wanted something I hadn’t seen before that didn’t involve Christmas kisses, dates, or weddings. Netflix let me down. Not […]

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Give in to the humbug–once in a while

  Peace. Love. Joy. All words we associate with Christmas, a time of year when millions the world over celebrate the birth of Christ or the arrival of Santa. A time when people look forward to gathering with loved ones to share holiday cheer.    But Christmas isn’t so merry for many. A lot of us suffer from the Christmas blues. I don’t mean clinical depression, a medical illness that demands professional medical attention, or the sadness and grief many feel during the holidays as they remember lost loved ones or deal with family estrangement or cope with being alone and lonely during a time of year second only to Valentine’s Day for its emphasis on being with “someone special.” I mean that blah feeling some of us suffer when all the holly-jolly becomes too much to bear. Joy overload. We hit a wall where we don’t want to hang one more ornament on the tree, put up one more string of lights, or stuff one more stocking. We crave home décor that’s not red, green, plaid, or emblazoned with whimsical woodland creatures. If you’ve ever envisioned hiding the Elf on the Shelf in the garbage disposal—head down—with the switch on—you know what I mean. We conceal these […]

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