Letter from the Editor
I love Christmas. I find it significant to ceremoniously promulgate this now, after years of meeting people who claim that they don’t. These people don’t necessarily hate Christmas; they just don’t love it. On the record, I’ve had small triumphs in converting the cynics of my generation into gratuitously wallowing in the warmth and sparkle of the holiday season. I reckon my evangelical fervor has been too inspiring (or annoying, in some circles) for them not to find the need to believe. Some of them would readily attest to how I reek of snowflakes or pineapple-glazed Christmas ham. For the majority of you who are wondering, here’s how I do it.
First, I give an unsolicited review of related literature. Nothing too Dickensian, of course, but the more easily digestible, such as Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris. It’s a slender volume of hilarious Christmas-themed stories, including “SantaLand Diaries,” an account of the author’s job experience as an elf. Another favorite of mine in this collection is “Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol,” theater reviews from a critic who condemns the “shoddy production values and dry, leaden pacing” and “inattentive shepherds” of some middle school Christmas productions. If “Christmas Means Giving” or “Dinah, the Christmas Whore” doesn’t put skeptics in the holiday mood, I move on to my second plan.
I recommend watching old episodes of Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen on the BBC. Arguably, no better gospel has been invented since the original nativity story. Nigella, her voice deep and her speech stirringly eloquent, can convince anyone that pomegranate seeds are “glorious” and that Christmas minced meat pies have to be star-shaped. Her “spruced up” vanilla cake is molded from a baking tin shaped like a cluster of pine trees, and Let it Snow begins to play as soon as she lets an unabashed dusting of powdered sugar fall on its peaks. To quote the unfailing Mrs. Lawson, you can never be too kitsch for Christmas.
When I’m feeling particularly industrious and have time on my hands, I make Christmas mixtapes (or recently, mix-flashdrives) for friends and the occasional stranger. The base of my holiday mix are “Christmas with the Rat Pack” songs, with some instrumental tracks from A
Charlie Brown Christmas and a Kanye West song or two thrown in there. While my friends play my Christmas mix-tape in their cars or rooms, I also suggest a change of cold weather clothes, just to make the whole experience more legit. Jasmine Curtis-Smith wearing a fur coat on our cover this month is a good example. I never got to talk to Jasmine much about her opinions of Christmas, but after suggesting she put on some heavy pink fuzziness on a humid night, moments after we’ve had Korean ramen served in a stone pot, I figured bringing up snow might dampen her morale. As I would later learn, she’s a lot tougher and more gung-ho than most give her credit for.
There is a line from the Roberto Bolaño poem, La Francesca, in which the heroine describes a love “as brief as the sigh of a guillotined head.” (It sounds more handsome in Spanish. Un amor
breve como el suspiro de una cabeza guillotinada.) I guess that pretty much sums up how I feel about Christmas. Every year, I ache for it to last longer, long after it’s over. How can I not? It’s the most beautiful time of the year. And props to you who detected that Justin Bieber lyric.