Thursday, December 24, 2015

Palm Trees and Water Skis: Caribbean Christmas, You've Got Game

Christmas Candy Necklace

Sweater: Mossimo, Target
Jeans: Mudd, Kohl's
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Nordstrom
Sunglasses: Michaels

No, I'm not jetting off to a tropical island this Christmas, just wearing a tropical sweater.  This men's Mossimo ugly Christmas sweater from Target was certainly effeminate enough on its own (badass beach bum snowman notwithstanding) without me adding a necklace.  Not that I really think this sweater is ugly.  But then, my barometer for such things is somewhat dubious, "bigger is better and gaudy is good" being my personal mantra, and not just during December, as The Little Book of Christmas Joys author H. Jackson Brown Jr. intended, but 365 days a year.

Speaking of Christmas books, I read a really excellent one just yesterday called The Book of (Holiday) Awesome by Neil Pasricha.  You know how glass-half-full, feel-good reads can sometimes go down kind of -- icky?  Well, this one doesn't.  It's sort of like The Little Book of Christmas Joys but for a new generation of those in need of Christmas commiseration -- a generation with a sense of humor.  Keenly yet kindly, it captures the weird cocktail of awkwardness and wonder that is the holidays.  Also, it's catchy, and a lot of it rhymes.

It's long been a dream of mine to set up Candy Land on a table at Christmas -- and not play it.  (The relevance of this will, I promise, become apparent in the very next sentence.)  This snippet from The Book of (Holiday) Awesome, entitled "Nailing the perfect move in a board game on Christmas Eve" inspired me to do it already:

"Holiday time is board game time.  I think it's because there's just something quiet and old-fashioned about opening the dusty closet and pulling out the old family favorites from yesteryear.  With ages spread across the spectrum, board games are a great equalizer." (44)

Yes, the holidays are a time for getting together and giving back.  And I don't just mean returning that hideous housecoat from Great Aunt Irma (although The Book of (Holiday) Awesome offers ideal advice for handling just that situation under the entry "When the gift receipt is already in the box.").  As the Little Book of Christmas Joys suggests (really, its wisdom is boundless), "make a friend of an enemy this Christmas (entry 209)," "welcome a new family to your neighborhood with a plate of Christmas goodies (entry 225)," and/or "Let a child decorate a small Christmas tree just the way he likes for his bedroom (entry 192).

Because Christmas is, as they say, for children.  And crafting.  And oh yeah, trees:

Your Christmas tree is a microcosm -- nay, a mini-mascot -- of your Christmas, and, in a sense, of your life.  (That's why The House Without a Christmas Tree is so chilling.)  As is how you decorate it.  Do you put on tinsel a strand at a time or toss handfuls of the stuff willy-nilly?  Was it a much younger you, or maybe your daughter, who made that pine cone and yarn contraption dangling from a strand of multicolored (or white or blinking) lights?  And who's the needlepoint/ceramics/wood carving enthusiast, Eagles fan, or world traveler who decked the boughs with bits of DIY, menacing birds, or miniature scenes of the Mediterranean?  All of that stuff tells the story of you, and in my opinion, the more madcap the motif, the better the story.

On that note, have a very merry.

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