25 Days of Christmas

This is my 100th blog post. Considering the fact that I’ve had this website for less than six months nearly one of which I spent in Peru deliberately avoiding computers and other forms of technology that would distract me from there here and now (or, there and then), I’m a little bit proud. Yes, writing is a natural state for me, but it does require discipline to sit down and write a blog post every other day, especially when I’m grappling with Book Two right now. Not to mention spending 40 hours per week writing and editing for the newspaper.

To celebrate this milestone, I thought I might pull back the curtain for a moment to reveal a glimpse of things to come. My 30th birthday is in 73 days and, as part of a campaign to help me process the significance of this milestone and focus myself for milestones yet to come, I’ve been preparing two lists for myself: a 30 Before 30 list documenting the accomplishments that have meant the most to me and a 40 Before 40 list of the things I’d like to see and do before the next big milestone. Just to be clear, I’m not one of those slit-your-wrists-you’re-turning-30 romcom Barbies. I’ll admit that the notion of leaving my 20s behind has thrown me for a bit of a loop, but I’m not running out to buy a motorcycle and leaving my boyfriend for an 18-year-old secretary. Mostly, I just view this as an opportunity to take pride in the things I’ve worked hard for, and set my sights on new and distant horizons. I plan on publishing both these lists–the days of and after my birthday, respectively. And a week later, in honor of one of my least favorite holidays (V-day), I’ll be posting a list of my favorite fictional couples (because fictional romances are just so much better than reality). And, you can expect to read a lot more about Book Two, which I’ve only vaguely referenced here thus far. Once I’ve finished the initial draft, I’ll start giving more details about the world, concept, and inspiration.

But, more immediately:

I intend to post 25 holiday-themed blogs throughout the 25 days leading up to my favorite day of the 65101_10101871425046026_1458928609_nentire year: Christmas. Some of these posts will contain practical advice. I’m an absolute nut every day of the year, but my love for the holidays runneth over, leading to such excessive indulgence that those who know me best simply take cover and watch the melee. In some cases, these posts will simply reference some of my favorite holiday moments and photos.

I fully recognize that this announcement might confuse some of you. I’m hardly the Pollyanna type, and it’s fair to ask what use a 29-year-old atheist newspaper editor with no children has for the holidays. If I really wanted to stick with my roots as a hard-nosed cynic with a mouth like a sailor—and how hard I have worked to cultivate this reputation—shouldn’t I be holed up in a closet with a bottle of Scotch, hibernating through the consumer frenzy?

But the truth is, the holidays appeal to the tiny corner of my soul that I’ve tucked away from public view and criticism, the part of me that was born to be a romantic and idealist, that wants above all to be surrounded by bickering aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and parents arguing over who gets the last helping of mashed potatoes. That’s not the reality, or not mine at least. The grandparents with whom I was particularly close are gone, and I don’t have any contact with my extended family. But for a very brief while, some part of me believes that if I try hard enough, buy thoughtful presents, wrap them beautifully, bake apple-pear pies with cheddar crusts (the only thing I can make in the kitchen), sew enough stockings, and watch enough episodes of the Charlie Brown Christmas special, I’ll achieve that holiday magic we all aspire to. It may be silly. In fact, I’m sure it is. But this is the only time of the year that I really don’t care. As an atheist, you might not define me as a person of faith. But the truth is, I believe in many things, and when I commit my faith to something, it’s whole-heartedly and unabashedly. And the magic of the holidays just happens to be one of those things I believe in. Along with books, kindness to animals, equality, and Bill Murray.

This is a coming out of closets of sorts for me. Those who know me best are aware of my affinity for the holidays, but they always regard my enthusiasm with a hint of suspicion, as though my passion for gingerbread and Christmas trees is merely a ruse or very elaborate joke I’ve been playing on them for the last 29 years so that in another 50 years or so, on my deathbed, I can confess that I am allergic to snowflakes and despise wrapping paper. And it was all a lie! Ha, ha, ha, final breath! The truth is, if everyone else gets to walk around thinking they’re so nuanced and complicated then so can I. And I happen to want to like Christmas AND not believe in “god” AND dump all over traditional, conservative values while wearing a sweater plastered with reindeer. Look at me bein’ all complicated and blowin’ your mind.

So prepare to be dazzled. Unless you think Christmas is gross, in which case, maybe stay clear of the blog for a couple weeks, and then it will be back to its usual, Scourge of the Righteous Haddock/ travel/ roller derby/ Scourge of the Righteous Haddock routine. Or, beginning Dec. 1, you can give me a chance to change your mind. Enthusiasm is contagious, and before that first “bah humbug” leaves your lips, allow me to state my case. I’ll be speaking on behalf of Santa Claus, the much-put-upon Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, Snoopy (of course), Mr. Ginger Bread, elves, snowflakes, sugar cookies, stockings, wrapping paper, carols, and, most importantly, childish wonder.


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