Life (Or Something)

No Snow, No Christmas


The general consensus is that it can’t be Christmas without snow, but when I was younger, it wasn’t Christmas without three things: Christmas Eve bingo with my mom’s side taking shots if they lost; my aunt’s salad with mandarin oranges, candied almonds, and the dressing she’ll never give me the recipe for    Christmas Day, Dad’s side; and the aunts and uncles themselves with their flocks of giggly children.  And then    completely sheltered from the corruption of Christmas: the Christmas-morning stockings with my family.

One needn’t look much further than one’s Facebook timeline to see the corruption.  We broadcast the materialistic bits of Christmas: the jewelry, the gaming systems, the name brand.  We use emojis to blow indirect kisses at what? the people who got them for us or the objects themselves?

This Christmas Eve, I cradled a red Solo cup of watered-down tea and read Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman while my uncle, grandma, and mom gathered around a laptop to look at pictures.  There was no crowd of aunts and uncles, no shots or bingo.  I fell asleep on the couch around 8 or 9, and my grandma and uncle left soon after (though not before the annual wrapping-paper war).

Christmas Day, I showed up early at my dad’s mom’s to make pizzas    something I’ve missed since I left my pizza job for an internship in what was going to be my field.  My aunt, uncle, and their daughter were vacationing in Florida, so it was just my pregnant aunt, her boyfriend, and her two children.  There was no salad, but there was chaos.

It’s like no one’s really excited anymore, as if the fact that there’s no snow takes away our abilities to at least pretend that we like one another or care about one another’s excitement.  Maybe it’s just me    because I’m almost 20, and my family’s practicing shunning me because I’m tattooed and leaving computer science to chase a dream, but I’m really doubtful.  My aunt couldn’t get excited for the three-year-old who’s going to be referred to as her oldest daughter soon, when she unwrapped enough play food to feed her all of her guests and stuffed animals for years.  I couldn’t get out of my bad mood for being forced to go to church.  My dad refused to put Max (featured in “Spare Part“) in another room, so he wouldn’t jump on my family as they came in carrying food, and I gave my grandma the Christmas Eve gift of ammunition to fire at him.

The only tradition that held this year was the great stocking dive: my mo    Santa fills two four-foot stockings with snacks and knick-knacks, and my 14-year-old brother and I essentially have to climb inside to reach the chocolate bar at the bottom.  This came on Christmas morning with my mother, father, and brother.  I woke up from a nap at midnight and made coffee at 3am.  Around 6, I woke them up and made a fresh pot.  They rubbed their eyes and trudged to the living room, but once the coffee hit our tongues, we were laughing and making faces at my mom’s camera.  My brother and I modeled each item while she snapped pictures, her own gifts still wrapped in front of her.  We tore into chocolates and Bazooka bubble gum boxes and passed them around.  I ripped open a bag of pistachios and held them out with eyebrows raised.

Our mouths had opened for the coffee and stayed open for the conversation, laughter, and food.

The day after Christmas, I woke up at 5am and settled into my chair with my journal, my laptop, and the bag of pistachios.  By the time 7:30 hit, I had a few more pages added to the screenplay I’m working on and a pile of shells from pistachios consumed.  My mom got out of bed and turned on the coffee machine.  We both glanced out the window.  There was still no snow on the ground, so who knows when Christmas will come.  I know where to find happiness.


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