Christmas Freak

The merriest corner of the Internet

Month: January, 2014


Am I the only person left in the world who still likes airports? I find them festive regardless of the season, and no one can convince me otherwise. I like taking off my shoes before entering the x-ray machine because it gives me an excuse to show off my socks. I like duty-free shopping, and how at any moment I can pop in and buy a Toblerone the size of my arm, and if I start eating it a few hours later while waiting at my gate, no one will look at me askance because anything is fair game at the airport. I like wandering the terminals, searching for the cheapest bottle of water. It’s important to challenge one’s brain from time to time. I even like the food. In the airport, it’s less about quality and more about quantity–the best treat is the one that takes the longest to eat, thus keeping you occupied. I try to get as many small, individually wrapped items as possible, and eat them over an extended period of time, treating them like hors d’oeuvres. But most of all, I like seeing entire families forced to sit together for hours on end, their luggage piled around them like gifts, the floor scattered with chips and spent Cinnabon boxes. Togetherness in its most raw form. Isn’t that part of what the holidays are all about?



Puff Pastry

A culinary down comforter.

Christmas Tree Graveyards



Auld Lang Syne

Though traditionally played on New Years, I think of it an honorary Christmas song, and one of the few holiday tunes that doesn’t elicit groans when I play it this soon after December. I like how it’s both sentimental and optimistic, as if to say: Go forth into the dawn! Don’t look back! There’s a whole year of Christmas ahead of us! Here are my favorite versions, which I listen to as a playlist, Auld Lang Syne all day and night:

Andrew Bird. Auld Lang Syne sung on the front porch with a banjo and a fiddle.

Mariah Carey. Auld Lang Syne as the national anthem. Then breakdown! Auld Lang Syne in the club.

Sufjan Stevens. Auld Lang Syne sung by bonneted 19th C American settlers and a chorus of their rosy-cheeked children. You can almost hear them knitting a quilt in the background.

Jimi Hendrix. Nostalgic electric shredding.

Beach Boys. Auld Lang Syne harmonized around a bonfire, with a classic spoken interlude from Denny Wilson.

Vitamin String Quartet. A traditional instrumental version, best listened to at night, the lights low, the flatscreen playing a recording of a crackling fire.

Patti LaBelle. A quiet, doo-woppy Auld Lang Syne, sang as though it’s the last song of the night before closing.

Put on Darlene Love’s Winter Wonderland

and feel yourself being transported to the holiday tree-shopping montage in your own personal romantic comedy.

The Polar Express

was horrifying. Whoever decided that it was appropriate for a) Christmas and b) children must have been grinching hard, because this is the bleakest holiday film I’ve ever seen. The kind of Christmas movie Arthur Miller would have made if he’d been asked to adapt “Death of a Salesman” for children, starring uncanny valley robo-kids whose expressions are only slightly more bewildering than the knowledge that each character is actually Tom Hanks jumping around in a bulbed unitard.


Wrapping Paper Ball


The most versatile sport. Wrapping Paper basketball is a classic, an across-the-room giftbox as the hoop. Its close relation, Wrapping Paper dodgeball, uses the unconventional sofa cushion as a shield. A quick game of Wrapping Paper hacky sack can be played solo or with a group. Ditto for juggling. Though my personal favorite is Wrapping Paper kickball, which requires little to no coordination, and seems to go on for days after Christmas, the stray balls gathering dust beneath the radiator. There’s nothing more satisfying than sliding across the carpet in a pair of wool socks and kicking a knot of wrapping paper out of your way as you go about your business.

I’m not a sports person, but this time of year makes me wonder if I could be. I’m thinking Superbowls played with crumpled paper tied with twine, March Maddness hoops swapped with garbage bins and brown bags from Macy’s, Stanley Cup players padded with bubble wrap, their suits stuffed with packing peanuts, their visors made of that awful plastic packaging that encases electronics. Even trash is festive on Christmas.

New Socks


 The little Christmas secret I keep hidden beneath my clothes. Shh!

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