Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

Getting in Your Face About the Holidays by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Breakfast Blend. It’s December!

By Julie

Thanksgiving was great. Busy as hell and totally not busy at the same time. Never made it to the freezing cold parade, which is a big deal here in America’s Hometown, but me and the boys went to the Lego store to celebrate Ben getting an Academic Excellence award and Sam just being awesome. Had gourmet grilled cheese, listened to Christmas songs and were generally goofy together. And having everyone together for Turkey Day was lovely. We truly were all able to forget all of our troubles just be happy together with Gramma and Grandpa. It was fantastic to hang out the entire day at home on Black Friday and even have Tim home until noon. That has NEVER happened. Then the kids and I blew off the rest of the weekend at book stores, toy stores, the park, an awesome off-season drive down to Cape Cod and watching movies. Perfect.


First off, if you’re one of those ball-busting I can’t wait until it’s all over folks, good for you. Don’t ruin it for everyone else. Take a kid’s name off the tree at the mall, buy the kid a coat and a toy and shhhhhhut up. Nobody WANTS to be miserable…. make an effort not to be. This isn’t me being preachy, this is me demanding a good time.

My demands of having a good time get me in trouble. For instance, we are poor. Still buying Christmas presents though. Still adopting a kid or two for charity. Still bring the kids out because it makes them happy. Still got a tutu for Penny Watson’s Holiday Book Bash this weekend in Needham, MA. Because screw it. This was the hardest year of my life, and that’s saying something. I don’t generally say I had a bad DAY even, let alone a bad year, but hay-zoos, I’m not in denial. Regardless, bad circumstances won’t determine my future, and they sure as hell won’t determine my present. I live like I’m on a constant sitcom that may turn into a tragedy at any second. But it’s never dull and I’ve accomplished something by living through it some days. And at the end of that day I still am surrounded by lots of love.

When you’re aggravated about shopping, snow, your bank account and all the things you don’t have, remember the things you do have and the things you could make happen. Remember what Christmas means to YOU. If it means nothing, change it. Make everything mean something. What else are you doing here?

(I don’t mean you, Greg. What are you doing here?)

In the meantime, come drink with Kristen and I and 40 other authors this Saturday if you’re in town.


Love Your Snowpocalypse

TODAY’S BREW: Anything hot.

By Julie

I loved Kristen’s post yesterday, and so today I shall expand upon it. BEHOLD AS I EXPAND UPON IT.

Kristen and I grew up together in a lovely apartment complex that boasted of a kickass pool, tennis courts we used for roller skating in, endless woods to get in trouble in, and hundreds of homes to trick or treat at. Summers there were pretty fantastic. We spent all day at that pool, tormenting the adults and life guard, rain or shine, ordering subs there, blaring the radio and playing cards, and treating it like it was our home. I’m sure everyone just loved that. A band of nightmare girls taking over their pleasant sunbathing experience.

This love of our childhood summers spurred Kristen to write SEASONS IN THE SUN.

Well, I am a lover of winter. The flip side of our summers in the apartment complex were the amazing winters. Going out on your cookie cutter balcony after a fresh snow to yell to your friends on their matching balconies. Bundling up, meeting a bunch of hooligans outside, and starting your snow adventures. It felt like we always had a mountain of snow then, to kick around, have snowball fights in, build snowmen, and just plod through to each other’s apartments. Because there were so many of us kids, we had amazing Christmases. First of all you got to see dozens of Christmas trees, so you felt like you were always visiting family for Christmas, even just hanging out at your friends’ after school. And on Christmas day after opening presents we’d all run from one apartment to another, playing with each other’s new goodies and just being together. It was such an incredible feeling, to have a community like that. We all were like family, and our families took care of each other.

Also, we had this hill. It was really 3 hills in one, and it was HIGH. We’d pile a few of us in each sled to make sure we got to the end of it, where there was a boulder that launched us into the air. Catching wind was great until you slammed either into the apartment building in front of you, or into the bushes in front of the bottom floor window. And if it sucked for us, you’d better believe it proably sucked for the residents of said apartment. Note: Kristen once sprained her arm on this hill and kicked in a headlight out of anger.

Behind the apartment complex was basically a cliff. It was probably some 50 feet high, and covered in trees. But we managed to forge a path down it, a thin one that really was treacherous, but served our purpose. Our purpose was this: to take advantage of the ice slick that it became in the shade of the trees every time it got cold, and propel ourselves down it on our asses until we hit the ground next to the street below, or a tree.

I actually preferred this to sledding. I destroyed a crap ton of pants doing this, much to my literally poor parents’ chagrin, but I managed to hide several of these pairs in our cookie cutter closets.

The danger of this mission would be horrifying to a parent today. I will take a picture next time I go that way to show you the insanity of this. I don’t know how we even thought of it, but ye gods did I enjoy it. We always took care of each other, even though we might beat the crap out of one another later, and made sure we got out safely to bombard one of our clan’s homes for cup after cup of hot chocolate.

Memories like this are what turned me into a lover of snow and cozying up with people you love in the graying day to watch MTV, sitcoms and movies and read or write some stories. (ahem. How the Undead Duo began.) Winter to me was always the time I felt the most loved. The time when I felt the most togetherness, and comfort. I’m sure it had something to do with why RUNNING HOME takes place in the winter woods of New England, at Christmas.

I wanted this book to feel like the home I always had, full of extended family that you put together yourself. Holding the book in my hand now, it feels like something that grew up with me, that was always inside. The memories it evokes of baking, hot chocolate, colored lights at dusk, that waiting for Christmas morning that fueled every word out of your mouths for a month, it all poured into this book.

SO Very Pretty !

THAT time of day. When sledding is all over, and you’re headed home.

So while Kristen says let’s celebrate summer this winter, I say let’s celebrate winter this winter. Remember all the things you loved as a kid about that first snow, and feel free to hide inside your layers and gloves and hats. When you’re shoveling, think of that feeling when you sit under a blanket that night with a hot cup of cocoa with a loved one, and a good book. Go to a warm bed and dream of what little bit of danger you can get into the next cold day. I’ll be you can wait for summer to come after that.

Christmas for Everybody

Today’s brew: Still seltzer. Bubbles make me happy.

by Kristen

You might not know this about me, but I will cry over just about anything. When a song comes on my iPod that reminds me of something good or bad, and especially commercials. So when I saw this Kohl’s commercial, of course I bawled.


It got me to thinking. Julie always adopts a kid off of a tree, and I’ve done it several times as well. Not only is someone getting presents who might not have otherwise, it feels damn good to do it. I always wind up going overboard. Last year, my little girl needed pajamas, but I wound up buying her an outfit as well. I’ve had a blast buying for little boys in the past, too.

Old people love me. It doesn’t matter how rocked out I am, senior citizens always seek me out and come talk to me. They’re fascinating. Look of pictures of people in the 60s, trailblazing, being free. Or those gorgeous 1950’s pinups.Those are today’s senior citizens. At one time, these people were just like us. I’ve spent more than my fair share of time visiting nursing homes, and I can never help but notice the people who never have anyone come and visit them. My heart breaks about it. So I thought, is there any program like the adopt a needy kid, but for seniors that didn’t have anyone?

I’m still in the middle of doing research, but in my area, so far, the answer seems to be no. This breaks my heart. I don’t care how old you are, not having anyone to celebrate Christmas with is the worst feeling in the world.

(There is an “adopt a senior” program, in which you send a check every month to cover the cost of meals on wheels and such. This upsets me, too. Could you imagine needing this program and not getting it because you can’t afford it?)

Kids believe in Santa, and it’s important to make sure they have something on that day. But Christmas is about goodwill towards others, no matter how old they are. We’re all going to get old someday, if we’re lucky. Hopefully we will be lucky enough not to be forgotten.

Why I Love the Christmas Stuff You Hate

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate Cappuccino and Christmas cookies because breakfast.

By Julie

I’m sooooo annoying. All those things people get irritated with at Christmas time, I LOVE THAT SHIT. I try and I guess I see why people get annoyed with the holidays, but honestly, I can’t get annoyed with them. We miss people at the holidays, of course. I wish my Dad (who I lost the week before Christmas at 16) was here to celebrate with us. He would have loved our family, and my kids would have been obsessed with him. There are plenty of people I miss dearly, but I’ve trained myself this way; those family members would be pissed off beyond words if I boo-hoo’ed about Christmas when they can’t be here to enjoy it themselves. They’d want me to appreciate everything I have, which is so much.


These are the things that piss you off and make me giggle with glee. Glee giggling, if you will. I will tell you why.

  1. CROWDED MALLS. Appreciate that everyone at the mall is there for the exact same reason as you. For once, everyone is in this together. Have a sense of fucking community! Smile at the angry shoppers. They smile back, I swear to God. At a store the other day, where my kids ran around like jackasses, I had no fewer than 6 people tell me how nice it was to see us enjoying our kids, and one old woman said how nice it was to see someone happy. THIS SHOULD BE THE HAPPIEST FUCKING TIME OF YEAR. LOOSEN UP.
  2. ALL THE NOISE, NOISE, NOISE, NOISE! I have a crippling anxiety when surrounded with all things hot, bright and loud. And yet, Christmas parties at Tim’s Aunt Terri’s house, where you get all 3 in spades are one of my favorite things. I know what I’m getting with this Hutchings Family Event, so I have time to mentally prepare and remind myself that the weirdness and hilarity that will ensue is worth any amount of anxiety I could suffer. THIS IS ALL OF DECEMBER, FOLKS. Mentally prepare for it. And remember what you love about it, why you celebrate it at all.
  3. DEBT. Fuck it, it’s only money. You’ll make more.
  4. SO MUCH CHRISTMAS MUSIC, ALL DAY, EVERYWHERE YOU GO. People, singing “Santa Baby” is getting as old as the sexy cat costume at Halloween parties as far as Reasons To Be Slutty go, but screw it! Drink a shit ton of spiked cocoa and sing that whore song everywhere you go. Did I mention I drink before Christmas shopping? Me and the husband both do, and I do it with any friend I get to go with me, too. Hit the bar before you hit the mall, and every Christmas song hits you right in the heart as you buy those socks and underwear for Uncle Mike.
  5. TRAVEL. Hate holiday traveling? Don’t fucking go anywhere. Whether that be to your sister’s house down the street or on a bona fide plane trip, don’t go if you don’t want to. How hard was that? Oh, you have to? Go in your pajamas. I haven’t gone out on Christmas in Real Pants since Christmas was invented.
  6. WRAPPING PRESENTS UNTIL THE WEE HOURS. Get over yourself. Put on The Grinch, spike the coffee, spread your shit out all over the floor, eat all the chocolate, make a couple of prank phone calls, wrap like a fool, and then maybe have some kind of sexual encounter on the wrapping paper scraps. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so bad with that prospect.
  7. DECORATING THE CHRISTMAS TREE. A) Make mimosas. B) Do it as you watch The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. C) Throw away ugly ornaments. D) Wear long sleeves so the branches don’t stab your arms off.
  8. MAILING CHRISTMAS CARDS.  It’s expensive, and time consuming, and so I don’t do it, generally. Does this make me suck? No one has ever told me so, therefore I assume I am okay and will still go to Heaven.
  9. IT’S COOOOOLD. Put a fucking sweater on. You knew all along it was going to get cold, Scroogey Motherfucker. Snow and cold are how you know it’s Christmas. Shut up about it. You complain when it’s hot, too. OH MY GOD, THERE’S WEATHER OUTSIDE. Yeah, don’t go out then. See how easy that was?
  10. IT’S ALL SO COMMERCIAL. This one is my favorite. Christmas is commercial. I LIKE IT. There’s a commercial for peppermint scented Angry Birds volleyball nets, and your kid HAS to have it, and he gets all giddy every time the commercial comes on. SO FUCKING GET IT, PAY AN EXORBITANT AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR IT, WATCH HIM ENJOY IT LONG ENOUGH FOR YOU TO TAKE THE PICTURE, LET HIM STEP ON IT TO GET TO THE NEXT PRESENT, PLAY WITH IT ONCE THAT YEAR, AND THEN DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN NEXT YEAR. Not everything has to have a fucking purpose and be used to its fullest extent. Sometimes it’s okay for your kids to get the thing that doesn’t matter just because they really want it and it’s your kid. CHRISTMAS IS THAT TIME. Make his half-assed wish come true. No kids? Buy that incredibly stupid thing that costs too much money for that friend who won’t get it for themselves. Buy them that thing YOU want, then keep it. IT’S OKAY, IT’S CHRISTMAS. Drink it off, fools! Commercialism is fun at Christmas. It’s part of the package. Enjoy the damn package. Stop overthinking it. Sure, the true meaning of Christmas isn’t about buying a cashmere sweater for your boss so she won’t fire you. But the meaning of Christmas isn’t about obsessing over the shit that you don’t like, either. Get over it. Embrace commercialism.

Again, I realize I may be annoying for loving all the things that piss you off, but once again, nobody has ever told me so. That makes me right. Have a wonderful Christmas whether you want to or not.

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