Keep Calm and Merry On

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love it when, just before Thanksgiving, the massive wreaths and giant candy canes are erected in city streets. I love the unavoidable corny Christmas music (particularly the ever-poppy “Feliz Navidad”) and the smug feeling I get after giving directions to distressed tourists in Times Square. I love sending festive cards and crying during sentimental Folgers Coffee holiday commercials. I love the Salvation Army bell ringers chatting on their headsets and the spicy smell of pine from the Christmas tree farm stationed just down the block from my apartment. I dragging the tree that I purchased from it up all four flights of stairs in my apartment. I love festooning that giant spruce with all of my six ornaments. I love the look on my dog’s face when we finally light the Christmas tree. And I even love it when she tries to pee on it.

Call me crazy, but above all, the part of the holiday season I love the very most is the emotional entropy of it all. We want our holiday vacations to be peaceful and easy, but they always wind up giving the sensation that we’re struggling to get through an episode of the Twilight Zone. Come next week, many you will be entering this zone, and I wish you luck with what lies ahead: the “you just don’t understand me” arguments with siblings, the rehashed family tensions, the relentless, overpriced travel, the gifts everyone agreed not to give but will do so anyways. It’s like a role playing experiment gone wrong. It’s family. It’s home. My advice? Embrace it.

To give you a better picture of what I mean when I say “family” and “home”, check out these raw-hearted essays by Victoria Comella and Reyna Eisenstark:

At first glance I’d say there were about eight people in there eating. They were all sitting alone, chewing quietly as the voice of Andy Williams was piped through the tiny speakers on the ceiling.

Keep Calm and Merry On” by Victoria Comella

Think of it like a movie. Then you’ll see it the way I see it, the way I’ve been seeing it for the past 30 years or so. “Fort Independence Street” by Reyna Eisenstark

And speaking of gift giving, I’m excited to share that at our last show (Wednesday, December 7th), Freerange raised nearly $300 for the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary! All the proceeds from the door are going straight to this lovely organization that provides shelter to cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, and goats rescued from cases of abuse, neglect and abandonment. To all those who chipped in at our fundraiser: THANK YOU for your generosity!

Happy Holidays and New Year. Keep calm, merry on, and we’ll see you in 2012.

As ever,

Mira Ptacin
Founder & Host, Freerange Nonfiction