We asked our website staff to contribute writing inspired by the holiday season and the things they celebrate this time of year. Using different forms of art, music, and literature as inspiration, they have created short works of fiction to spark your holiday imagination. From our staff to you, happy holidays!
Here. This one has your name on it. There you go.
Oh, this is wonderful, thank you all.
This is just what I wanted! How did you know?
Who has empty hands? Here, Mother. This one is for you.
There’s too much paper here, I’ve lost my new gloves in this mess.
There, this one is for you. Oh, and this one too. Take them both, why don’t you.
Oh, no! I didn’t see you open that one, I so wanted to see your reaction.
Hey, careful, I want to save that paper.
Here, I think this is for you. There’s no tag, but-
Everyone, lean in! One, two three!
Ow, my hair, you’re squeezing me half to death.
Is Grandma in? Can you see her in the photo?
Are we about done here? There can’t possibly be anything left unopened.
Why don’t you kids start putting all of this in that bag? We’ll start on breakfast.
“Meanwhile,” said Mr Tumnus, “it is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long, and we shall both catch cold if we stand here talking in the snow. Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?”
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
Every Christmas Eve, my mother reminds me how grateful I should be that I don’t have to eat fish. Other Catholic countries get around the no-meat-before-the-holy-day rule with sumptuous shrimp or lobster dinners, but in Poland, the obligated dinner is . . . carp. To be clear, I’ve never tried carp, but I’ve heard plenty of unkind descriptions from my mother. Apparently, my Babcia always did her best, but there’s little for the artist to do when the material is less-than-stellar and anything spicier than black pepper is simply unheard of.
According to legend, the tradition only halted when my Canadian uncle-to-be came to stay one Christmas, and my relatives seized hold of the opportunity to suggest to Babcia that perhaps for this year, carp shouldn’t be the main dish. Solely in the interest of preserving my aunt and uncle’s engagement, you understand. Wouldn’t want to scare him off.
That was several years ago, and as far as I’ve heard, they haven’t had carp since. Moral of the story? Nearly land-locked countries shouldn’t be Catholic.
It’s okay to lose your body
Around the holidays
Just, forget where you left it
Knowing it’ll turn up later
Probably unwanted but still important
And while it’s gone
That little bit of distance
The space between
What is there and what is good
The cracks In the pavement you slip through
Falling deep below the earth like unwanted snow
And you see a distance
While you watch
Something unimportant but wanted
That turned up on an old VHS tape
Forgetting that they are less alive than you are
Remembering that, around the holidays,
It’s okay to lose your body.
Once when I was younger,
How old, I’m not quite sure,
Simply younger than today,
My family flew to New York
In November’s last autumn hours.
I blame it on my age –
Old enough to not wait
Up for Santa, but young
enough to shake wrapped gifts –
But it felt like Christmas
Long before December came.
Eagerness and spirit
Mingled in frigid air
As I stepped off the plane
And into a city larger
Still than any imagined
In the longing, distant gazes
Of a young suburban dreamer.
That whole week long,
Despite the sound of carols
Drifting from weary storefront speakers,
An old tune, with brass choirs
Singing loud a swinging beat,
Stayed relentlessly stuck in my ear
Proclaiming in boastful assurance
The promise of the town given in chorus:
“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,
It’s up to you, New York, New York”
And still, I remember
Fondly that winter spent
In the town that never sleeps,
Where massive trees make news,
And department stores have parades.
I wonder now where those days have gone.
I miss my eager hopes and high spirits,
When I wandered through decorated streets
Believing “New York, New York” could be a kind of carol too.
Coming out of Mezes Hall, having just finished my last final of my first semester of college, I pulled out my airpods and quickly pressed shuffle on the first playlist I saw. The song was called “Girlfriend In A Coma” by The Smiths, I liked the band, but had never heard of the song before. I mindlessly continued my walk to the bus stop on Guadalupe St. with a cold and piercing wind blowing, hoping to scar my face. The song continued to rumble on in my ears and I honed in on that very fact hoping to distract myself from the brutal cold. The song had a very happy, comforting and triumphant sound, reminiscent of the holiday spirit – everyone glad to be around one another and in a collective spirit of elation. I never really focused on the lyrics, despite how sad and contrasting they were to the actual sound of the music. I finally made it to the bus stop and took a seat at the cold bench when the song hit the chorus – a solo of jingle bells and sharp violin strokes. At that moment, I lifted my chin from my chest and looked up into the sky with the still brutally cold wind blowing at my face, proud to have finished my first semester of college and looking forward to going home and sleeping the entire Winter break.
Skylar Epstein :
Lucy Van Pelt : Here he comes! Attention, everyone, here’s our director.
[Charlie Brown enters, while everyone applauds]
My dad considers himself the director of our family christmas, and as such he takes the Christmas decorations in our yard very seriously. Since the early 2000’s we’ve had the cast of Peanuts cheerily painted on plywood cutouts. For years, my dad would set up all of these cutouts in a neat ring around the great tree, and our yard was the picture of a Charles Schulz christmas – until my brother and I realized that one of the trees in our yard had a fork in it that was perfectly sized to fit the Marcie cutout.
Charlie Brown: It’s not about what’s under the tree…
Maybe so, we said to ourselves…maybe it’s all about what’s on top of it.My dad initially rebelled, talking about how really, Marcie would be lonely up there, and how really, she wouldn’t understand what we were doing and neither would our neighbors.
Lucy Van Pelt : Listen, all of you! You’ve got to take direction! You’ve got to have discipline! You’ve got to have respect for your director!
But my siblings and I (in all of our elementary school ingenuity) had reimagined the christmas spirit as the spirit of creativity, and we campaigned and cajoled until Marcie was (hilariously) treed. Now, my dad silently puts the Patty cutout in the tree every year even though my siblings and I, who were the main instigators, don’t live at home anymore.
Charlie Brown : Good grief.
Her hair splayed across the wooden planks, she shut her eyes, soaking in the golden sunlight. Orange, lavender, and a slew of other colors painted the sky. With every breath, the freshest air her lungs had ever tasted filled her body.
She was visiting her cousins in Florida for the holidays, for the first time in her life. They were blessed with a giant pond in their backyard and their own personal boat dock. As soon as she stepped onto it, an unexplainable peace washed over her. As if just the sight and smell of all the surrounding water was enough to cleanse everything wicked from her soul.
For the next two weeks, the majority of her days were spent out on that dock. Writing, listening to music about beauty and love and everything good about the world. No holiday trip had ever compared to that, and she doubted that one ever would.