December 25th, 2011



Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

OK, yes, I’m blatently recycling this.  Honestly, I really enjoyed it, and I think of it not so much as recycling used material as regifting something I had last year.  Next year for Christmas I’ll think up something new; this year it’s all I can do to get up in the morning. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!


I dreamed I took my daughter to Christmastown for her present.  We drove past the famous block outside Baltimore that does all the over-the-top decorations.  It was closed – there was a huge gate across the entrance with a sign saying “Do not open until Christmas!”  I had thought people lived there all year.

We were early.

As we approached Christmastown, the car slowed as we neared the White Gate.  There was a Santa statue next to it, beckoning us in.  Up close, by the headlights, I could see the paint on the gate starting to peel.  We went over something like a speed bump just in front of the gate, and as the weight of the car hit it, the gate opened.  As we crossed through the White Gate of Christmastown, our car became a gondola, and we left the ground.

We were conveyed in our gondola toward the only visible structure in the enclosure, the Green Gate of Christmastown.  I glanced at my daughter, whose face was a study in anticipation mixed with doubt.  She held her silence.

The gondola ran smoothly despite the fine cold mist, damp but not yet cold enough to freeze, to snow. 

We were early.

Reaching the Green Gate of Christmastown, we saw it was actually the doors to what looked like a small green shed.  The doors opened inward as the gondola pushed them and we saw Santa, all in white, with red silk scarf and white fur robe.  He reached down and picked up a small green bag, the top of a present just peeking out, and in one fluid motion placed it in our gondola as we rode by.  I realized as we passed that he, too, was activated by the presence of the gondola car.  My daughter placed her present at her feet and huddled against the cold.  The car reached the back of the shed and exited by a final door, back into the cold night. 

As we looked back, she waved a goodbye to the animatronic Santa, who had followed us out.  He raised one hand in a farewell. The look on his face was a testament to his manufacturing, a look that spoke of the ages he’d been there, the millions of times he’d performed his flawless function, the countless presents, the children.  Any machine built to last that long develops a sense of identity, an empathy for those it serves, and those it serves with.   As our gondola passed from his sight, I glanced again at the silent girl beside me.  Huddling against the wet and cold, she shivered and smiled, despite the damp, despite her doubt, delighted that after all this time there was still a present for her.  It came to me why I’d seen that look on the Santa’s face, the combination of determination and recognition, looking not at her but at me, and knowing like-to-like.  I understood now why we had called him Father Christmas, the Pater figure bringing home presents to his children, to all of us. 

I never did find out what was in the green bag at my daughter’s feet.  After all, it wasn’t for me.

My present was her smile.


I hope you enjoy, and for those of you who read it last year, I hope you enjoyed a second tim-a.   ;-)   Merry merry and happy happy.  Now turn off your PC and go enjoy some time with your friends and family!



Advent of Holiday Horror: Song 1

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

And this is it.  Merry Christmas, and thank you all for reading, singing, and moaning along with my pain as we got through another round of holidays.  May your days be merry and bright, and may your ears not have to suffer any more than average until next year.

Here they are again, quickly.  Get it over with:

  • Baby It’s Cold Outside (the Date Rape Song)
  • Christmas Song, Alvin and the Chipmunks
  • Mistletoe, Justin Bieber
  • Happy Christmas / War is Over, John and Yoko
  • We Need a Little Christmas
  • Our Love is Like a Holiday, Michael Bolton
  • Santa’s Beard, Beach Boys
  • It’s a Marshmallow World, Dean Martin
  • Feed the World, Band Aid
  • Jingle Bells, Barking Dogs
  • Dominick the Donkey
  • It’s the Holiday Season, Williams Bros
  • Last Christmas, Wham!
  • 12 Days of Christmas
  • All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
  • I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ for Christmas
  • Holly Jolly Christmas, Burl Ives
  • Santa Baby
  • Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo, South Park
  • Merry Christmas Darling, Karen Carpenter
  • Stille Nacht, David Hasselhoff
  • White Christmas, Lady Gaga
  • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Andy Williams

We close this list, saving, yes, the worst for the last.  You knew it was coming.  You always new.  Do you know, do you know, do you know what’s wrong with Christmas music?   Is it the shoes?

Christmas Shoes.  Look, as my good friend Shrek might have said, no dead chicks in the holiday songs.  No maudlin mommas meeting Jesus allowed.  Grandma, sure, she was killed by a reindeer, coming home from our house Christmas eve, but that’s it.  

I want to buy these shoes for my Mama,
there’s not much time,
I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

Christmas Shoes is the worst Holiday Song in the world.  It’s so bad, it’s actually self-referential:  It’s like listening to Christmas Shoes.   If your momma meets Jesus tonight, kid, he’s not going to worry about what she’s wearing, and you know the only thing she’s going to worry about is Am I Wearing Clean Underpants?  You’re better off buying her some painkillers, really.  Can you imagine her reaction, opening that box?  “Oh, little Billy, thanks for these – they look great!  Too bad I’m never getting up again, Billy.  Could you push this button for me, a couple times, to kick-start the morphine drip again, Billy?  Thank you, there’s a good boy.”   Who wrote this?  Turns out, it was a group called NewSong.  Here’s a hint – how about a new, new song?  Because this one sucks.  Even Gawker says so – and I notice (with some pride, I have to add) that their list overlaps with mine in many places.

Some people call it Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some people call it the Holiday Blues.  We know better.  It’s the Christmas Shoes Effect, and it’s depressing as all hell.  Sad, Sad, Sad.  And, because you didn’t think it could get worse, it does.  Because the video has Rob Lowe in it.  You know, because we really needed Rob Lowe to show us how bad it can get around the holidays. 

So click.  Let me know if you get past the first 30 seconds.   And remember, here at the end of this list, here at the end of the Christmas season, after our orgies of destruction and wrapping paper, that we do this to ourselves.  Each year, we have heard these songs, and we have inflicted them on others – we have only ourselves to thank.

Merry Christmas!