After talking with some fellow moms at work yesterday I discovered that we all have the same type of nightmares about Christmas. They include, having guests show-up and the turkey is raw because the oven stopped working, finding out that the cat peed on the presents, forgetting to buy something for someone on the list, showing up to a party wearing nothing except an ugly Christmas sweater, etc. We all know that Christmas isn’t about the presents, food and decorations. We’re not that ignorant or shallow, but there is an unholy amount of pressure to create the perfect holiday memories for families. I don’t think this is limited to moms either, I hear lots of spouses, sisters, dads, aunts, uncles expressing the same worries. But maybe we’re all just approaching this from the wrong angle. Instead of trying to re-create some glorious Christmas past, that never really was, (nostalgia isn’t what it used to be) maybe we should just embrace the mistakes, the mediocre and downright awful parts of the holidays.
In our Christmas letters we should reminisce the time the tree fell over because drunk Uncle Ned fell into it when he tried hitting on the visiting neighbor. Reading about that would be far more entertaining than hearing about someone’s straight A student or trip to the Bahamas (when I hear about the latter, a secret part of me chuckles at the thought that they might have picked up bedbugs in paradise). Did I type that out loud? Anyway, here are some fine examples that celebrate the darker side of Christmas.
Most of us here in North America Know next to nothing about Krampus, but he’s been partnering up with Saint Nicholas in Europe for a long time. The legend goes something like this: In the first part of early December St. Nick and Krampus venture out to visit the children. St. Nick leaves presents in the shoes of good boys and girls (Dec. 6th, St. Nicholas Day), while Krampus carries rusted chains, birch sticks and a sack to frighten the bad boys and girls. He doesn’t just scare them though, he beats them with the sticks and has even been known to carry off children in his sack and dump them in Hell. And as if the story isn’t messed up enough, it’s traditional to feature people in Krampus costumes (see above picture) walking around during parades, etc. to scare the children. Oh holy! That’s enough to give grown ups nightmares. I can’t imagine being a kid and seeing this.
Dicken’s classic story has been done to death over the years. I’m so sick of this story and it’s many renditions that it’s one of the few times I’ll actually turn off a Christmas show. The Commedia Beauregard created and performs a version that I’d actually like to see though. Not only are the actors dressed as Klingons, but there is a unique twist to the story as well. Scrooge is a wimp who must become brave or else Tiny Tim will be brutally and savagely killed. The only drawback (imo) is that the play is performed in the Klingon language. I hate subtitles.
I don’t think God would mind us enjoying a little dark levity to help us through what has become a stressful time for many. After all, if he didn’t have a sense of humor then why did he make the llama or the platypus? Cheers!