Rhapturous Holidays

Christmas Tree

Will you look at that! According to my advent calendar it’s already the Shitfire! Just 16 more shopping-days! of December.

I hope by now you’ve thrown out that frightening mess you made trying to extract soup stock from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass? You know what I always say: recipes that involve foam skimming are best left to the professionals.

I’m sure you didn’t come to Rhapsody expecting holiday craft ideas, like braiding wreaths of human hair or whatever nonsense is happening over at Etsy. And I refuse to look, but Gwyneth Paltrow is undoubtedly busy at Goop showing us how to trim a tree with garlands of popcorn and blood diamonds, or pressing us to try her Holiday Spice Blend—available in herbal tea, votive candle or suppository.

Why bother with all that when we can gather round the ‘letric yule log in our own cozy salon instead? I’ve made some deliciously spikey eggnog, and my good friend Martin Short is here to entertain the children with Seussy fun and keep them from bothering us.

Some of you replied “Maybe” on the Evite for today’s gathering, because this is your traditional day for addressing holiday cards.

Well, Good For Industrious You, I say!

If you finish them before you run out of holiday zest, you can address mine, as well—they’re right here on the credenza. (Handwritten please. Those Avery labels are so impersonal.) The old-fashioned holiday greeting is time consuming, but I’m wary of e-cards after that incident last year with the jpeg I thought was a cute garden gnome but was actually a nudie of me.

Look, it’s happened to all of us, so you can wipe that smirk off your face.

*   *   *

What is the true meaning of Christmas?

I’m not asking—I’m reading you the embroidered words on my new cocktail napkins.

Aren’t we all tired of the question, anyway? You know the answer: Christmas is a time to celebrate the small but important things we do for each other, like thoughtfully peeling the price tag off a bottle of wine before I bring it to your dinner party, or buying you a “Menurkey” for “Thanksgivukah,” as if I had any practical knowledge at all about your treasured and ancient traditions that my traditions sat on until they could barely breathe.

So to save time, and put this stupid, rhetorical question to bed, I’ve devised an equation that will bring meaning to all our holidays, quick as St. Nick up the chimney. Pen and paper ready? Good.

I want you to tally up all the money you have spent on the holidays so far—ALL OF IT—and divide that by 3. Now multiply that figure by 2.014 and this is the amount you owe to UNICEF.

See? Instant meaning! Who’d like to share her results?


Don’t all jump up at once.

*   *   *

Oh, dear. Not a moment after I made those sneering remarks about crafty things, I unwrapped two beautiful ornaments made for me by friends and said to myself, as I must several times a week, “Rhapsody, aren’t you being a bit of a dick about this?”

St. Nick the Clothespin

(Little known fact: St. Nick was a bishop, and a clothespin, in the 4th century B.C.)

To be honest—and it is not my policy to be—I’m jealous. You see that ornament on the tree that looks like a glittery hairball one of the children made in preschool?

Well, I made it. Last night.

No—don’t tell me it’s special. You’re only making it worse.

The holidays do bring up difficult emotions for some of us. That’s why, like many frustrated liberals, I joined the jihad against Christmas when Fox and Friends turned me on to the idea, but I don’t really despise all Yuletide traditions. There are some less complicated ones I can embrace, like the luminarias of the American Southwest—those tiny imitations of ancient vigil fires, which are said to light the way for the Christ-child to one’s home.

Now, instead of pungent branches of mesquite, they are made of paper lunch sacks holding votive candles anchored in kitty litter, and they light the way to Costco. I love assembling them!

DCF 1.0

These are just like the luminarias we made when I was a girl back in Utah, to spook the Mormons.

*   *   *

We share a sacred trust, don’t we, readers? You depend on me to offer fresh perspectives at a safe, ironic distance from the truth and you, in turn, are the stilts that support my fantastically bloated ego.

Just because we are all fully reclined on these couches does not mean that Rhapsody in Cool should be seen as therapy for any of us. That being said, I will offer the occasional glimpse into my private life, purely for your benefit, and when I do, please pay close attention, and don’t interrupt to ask what any of this has to do with your Christmas celebrations.

I’m going to tell you why I feel so very fortunate right now.

I have a particular childhood memory of being at home, in our living room, at Christmastime, and thinking to myself that I was so happy not to be anyone else, and not to have any other life, because this one was mine and it felt like a perfect fit. I was so grateful I actually cried. It was the first time– though certainly not the last—that I would be moved to tears by my own poignancy.

Rhapsody was a very lucky little shit to have thoughts like that about her home-life, and don’t think she doesn’t know it.

If there is anything I truly want for Christmas, it is for my own children—Brioche and Tannery—to feel such peace and security in being exactly where and who they are. Not every day of the year, mind you. No child should be that smug. But to feel like that some of the time is a gift that I would like to pass along. And I want this for the other children in my life, whom I love very much—you know who you are. Why, I’ve known many of you since you were just a Clomid injection in your mother’s behind!

Now dry your eyes, readers—here’s a cocktail napkin. I’m done with my story, and I see we are out of eggnog as well, so I think that will be all for our holiday salon.

Please take a candle and hum “Silent Night” on your way out.

I’ve left a thousand burning bags of kitty litter to light the way to your car.



Photo credits: Because I am a law abiding person with a healthy fear of of the word “litigant”: Luminarias: Camerafiend at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons. St. Nick: The Rev. Dr. R.W. R.W., if you want your name here, please tell me, otherwise I will assume you’d like to keep a tasteful distance. The German Christmas Tree is, apparently, German, and not under any copyright at all. For reasons that may be obvious.


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