Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I'm dreaming... of a DARK Christmas.

I don't know about y'all but I'm thoroughly enjoying my Christmas season so far.  

The key was getting all my shopping done sooo early - pretty much right at the start of December AS INDICATED BY MY WINTER BUCKET LIST WAY TO GO, SAUCY!  I have zero stress and have spent way less money overall since holiday shopping is usually a "one for you, two for me" event.  Now I'm spending that money on charity!

And socks.

Not my feet but whoever's feetsies these are remains unknown
I don't know why I'm addicted to socks and legwarmers this season but I am.  Maybe have toasty warm lower extremities is the reason I'm so sunshiney right now.  

That and I'm spending all my not-shopping time crafting and listening to Luther Vandross Christmas music.  It's a recipe for spiritual success, I tell ya.  My preferred Christmas music is, surprisingly, gospel and Tevin Campbell's 'O Holy Night' is my favorite holiday song hands down.  I might be a godless heathen but who can resist a full choir and an early 90's R&B sensation?  

But even Luther Vandross' smooth velvet voice may not be enough for some people.  Look, I get it.  Christmas is not everyone's favorite time of year and it can be a real shit show triggerfest of misery for a lot of people.  It's all about family and money and display and religion and religious display and that's everyone's perfect storm of emotional issues with some crippling financial debt sprinkled on top and you have to pretend to love it all or you are labeled a grinch.  (Probably by me.)  

I'm certainly not immune to my own brand melancholy this time of year either despite my large amounts of glitter and feeling like I want to hug everything.  An overly tacky light show or a nice lady in a Santa hat at Big Lots might reduce me to tears and I'm not 100% sure they're always tears of joy.  

Whatever kind of melancholy or emotional trapeze work we're all doing, it's not all jolly all the time.  Maybe this is why I've been enjoying the recent rise in popularity of another sunshiney Christmas face: Krampus.

In old European folklore, St. Nick came and rewarded all the good kids and Krampus, his horned holiday partner, kidnapped all the bad kids took them straight to hell.  I guess... I don't know where he took them but that's a pretty good guess.  Maybe the South Pole?

Doesn't that sounds a lot more exciting than Elf on the Shelf?  Europeans did not fuck around.  

Every year in the beginning of December some European towns celebrate Krampusnacht where drunk dudes dress up in their most beastly attire and terrorize the streets in a big parade.  Just like baby Jesus would have wanted!  Maybe they were trying to get to the manger but got lost.  

It's like SantaCon but less scary.

I'm liking this live action kind of Christmas terror.  It's the perfect combination of Halloween and Christmas.  It worked for Tim Burton and it can work for us too.

Speaking of Halloween, I also learned recently of the Christmas spider - do y'all know this Ukrainian story?  About how spiders spun webs all over a poor woman's Christmas tree and when Santa (or the Christ child, depending on which version you read) saw the webs he turned them into silver strands.  And that's why we put tinsel on our tree.  True (internet) story.  Spiders are actually a sign of good fortune on Christmas morning so put THAT in your eggnog and drink it.

So maybe the key to an enjoyable holiday that doesn't make you question your worthless existence (if you even choose to celebrate) is to not pretend the sadness and dark places and gross spiders don't exist but instead to embrace them like Santa's other half and maybe give them a parade.  For historical reasons and our own sanity. Like Civil War reenactors but for mythology.  (Probably shouldn't embrace a spider though.)

So that's what I'm doing this year - having a dark Christmas.  It's still glittery and shiny and fun but I'm making an effort to have more balance.

(That's partly because I still have a giant tree all decorated in white and sparkle that I'm not trashing just for a completely goth holiday this year.)

(Just a goth Rudolph.)

Looking straight into your black soul.

I'm highlighting plenty of skulls and horns and fur as part of my dark decorating but I think including quiet, velvety colors and morose Instagram filters will work just as nicely.

Elle Chavez
Perhaps celebrate your tacky, pathetic tree.  Then abandon it in the wild. 


Or don't decorate at all and stare longingly through your neighbor's window and watch their festivities and happy lives like the neighborhood creeper you are. 

Perhaps delight in your garden variety death and decay.

But if all that ain't your bag just enjoy some blackened jewel tones and dulcet sounds of Luther Vandross and drink egg nog spiked with Fireball until you black out.

Saffron cinnamon wreath (yum!) via Call Me Cupcake
I would like to eat this until I black out as well.  I've never cooked with saffron but even if it's terrible a satin ribbon can do wonders.

It's all about the lighting.  

Skimbaco Lifetyle
And snuggles next to the lighting.

Khado Photography
I am kinda feeling this wintery picnic idea (don't question the green grass).  It's like a Dutch still life brought to, um, real life.  It's full of dying flowers and skulls and pewter finishes and candles but also a yummy festive feast!

Lara Jensen millinery works
Merry Christmas, sad Dutch girl!

[MS sidebar: after I had collected all the images for this post I discovered the photographer above, Lara Jensen, was inspired by 'vanitas' or Dutch still life paintings for this collection and photo shoot.  Zing!  I like synchronicity.  It makes me feel like I'm not crazy.  Or crazy in the right ways.]

So a momento mori/vanitas holiday it is!

Beth Kirby of Local Milk
I don't remember art history that well but I think everything in a still life meant something... skull is mortality (thanks overpriced college degree for that stunning deduction!), rotting flowers meant something... timely?  Citrus meant something too but I'm choosing to be blissfully ignorant here and celebrate citrus for its seasonal charm instead.  #pomanders

You know what else has seasonal charm?  Crocheted ornaments from your memaw starched so stiff they could be used as ninja throwing stars.  I love them. I'm not sure how Krampus feels about them but I think he'd approve.

Do you see the yule goat on the right? here
Actually, I'm not sure how I got from Krampus to Luther Vandross to Dutch still life to your memaws talents but it all makes sense in my head.

More satin bows...  For some reason these limp bows are making me exceptionally happy and/or sad this year.  Or am I the only one that is projecting picking up some emotion here kinda like crying at the nice Christmas lady at Big Lots?  It's a weird time of year.

Regardless of your feelings about satin bows, cheers to making all our lonely, depressed, overtaxed, overfed and undervalued moments have a little color.  It's our holiday prayer this year.  

Who do we pray to?  Krampus, obvi.

Soho Interiors
Or to the Pinterest gods that all our crafts and saffron bread wreaths will turn out divine.

Go home and get your dark on.


  1. The Elf on the Shelf is maybe 100 times creepier than Krampus, right?

    We are journeying to your region of the world for Christmas, so I skipped the tree this year--not really into the idea of the cats being basically alone with the tree for almost a week.

    1. Elf on the Shelf is creepy as shit and I don't know why... maybe it's how actively the parents have to keep a lie going for so long? There's a difference between Christmas myth and Christmas deception...

      Yay the Southland! Holler if you're nearby! At the very least enjoy some delicious biscuits!

  2. ugh, i think the comment form just ate my comment. sorry if you're getting it twice, though. basically what i said was that we just started watching this movie every year at christmas (last year we started), this finnish movie called "rare exports" and it is totally in line with this whole "dark christmas" theme you are exploring in this post. and as it was described in the top snippet on rotten tomatoes (the only spoiler-free snippet): "What ensues is a wildly humorous nightmare - a fantastically bizarre polemic on modern day morality. RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE is a re-imagining of the most classic of all childhood fantasies, and is a darkly comic gem soon to be required perennial holiday viewing."

    1. UGH you've sold me I MUST watch it! What's better than dark comedy but CHRISTMAS NIGHTMARE dark comedy?! Amazing. Thanks for the heads up and sorry about commenting - sometimes it can be a real pain in the ass so thanks for putting up with it and blessing me with your thoughts!

  3. DOILY DEATH STARS! Merry Christmas motherfucker! *slice*

    This is my new favorite thing. Along with bad kids being dragged away by Krampus. Thanks for the flashback to my Art History courses. Surely there is a murder thriller where the killer arranges the bodies like a Dutch still life?

    1. I would totally see that movie! See above comment for other Christmas nightmare recommendations.

      Slow clap for doily death stars, btw. ; )