Seven Deadly Sins may not be the intended message of the holidays, but they popped into my head as I wandered overwhelmed through three rows of romance books looking for a bodice ripper for my favorite 99 year old bibliophile, and former office grandmother. She flies through so many, I was at a loss as to which books might not have already been consumed by her reading mania. Couldn’t believe it – Fabio is still on the cover with windswept blond mane, and chiseled chest, looking perfectly lusty. “DEAR SANTA, PLEASE MAKE ALL THOSE PROMISES IN MY SPAM FILTER REALLY WORK” BTW what happens to all those girls on the book covers? Their clothes get shredded; seriously I’ve run my stockings and caught a hem on my heel, but clothes in tatters? just falling off their bodies? Are their lives that much more exciting than mine or are they just careless about their clothes? Try washing on the delicate cycle for goodness sake.
“DEAR SANTA, I WOULD BE GOOD IF THERE WEREN’T SO MANY @#%^%@$$% IDIOTS IN THE WORLD” The fact that another book I was looking for wasn’t there and had never been there, the book wasn’t carried in-store I was now told (though it had been promised) and that the help (young male) refused to “help” me pour through the books to find the latest romance reads prodded the wrath I try very hard to keep under wrap for the holidays.
“DEAR SANTA, PLEASE MAKE EVERYONE ELSE AT THE PARTY LOOK FAT AND OLD” Change of focus – what should I wear to the party – how could I look great, unaffected by the 12 years since I last worked for Stal-McLane. Black. I’d wear black to look artistic, trendy and because it offers the promise of the ultimate cloaking device to hide a few pounds I might have gained over the last decade plus two. (What a great job the Association to Advance the Color Black in Monochromatic Clothing did to make that a widespread belief or is it a hope?) But time and my wardrobe were limited for finding fancy-go-to-meeting options and every outfit at home is always some how magically coated in white bunny fur, (does my giant white rabbit fling her 10 lb self to the top of my closet when I am gone to let her furry presence snow down upon everything) and my sticky tape lint remover is perilously close to empty. I frantically wondered what the “new” black was this year and came to the conclusion the new black is black! So I’d have to use the painters’ tape if the lint brush ran out. Was I just being prideful?
The lusty moment in the romance aisle was the first hint at what the holidays, regardless of their religious origin, have become: Sin – particularly those seven deadly ones. And a compulsion was born – would I witness the other four before the end of the party day. I expected this to be a simple task as I remembered my favorite parts of Christmases past. And the sins appeared in quick succession.
“DEAR SANTA, PLEASE LET THERE BE A BUFFET OR AT LEAST SEVERAL COURSES, AND ENOUGH FOR SECONDS!” Gluttony – oh ya! The party was at Granite Restaurant in Concord NH. Chocolate molten cake with an extra large scoop of cinnamon ice cream, yellowfin tartare and crabcake BLT, – plus wine, cookies and candy. Got that one covered.
“DEAR SANTA, PLEASE GET ME A KARDASHIAN’S FANCY LIFE” Envy – I played a game at the party, okay it was coercion to prove my theory. I gave everyone at the table a wrapped party favor – all exactly the same except one – much bigger than the rest. Prior to unwrapping I heard the expected complaints – “Why is his so much bigger, why did Bill get a special one?” Might not hold up in a court of law, but worked to advance my theory.
“DEAR SANTA, GOOGLE RECIPES.COM AND MAKE YOUR OWN COOKIES, I NEVER GOT AROUND TO IT” Sloth – the one glass of wine took the edge off my holiday mania enough that when I got home I threw a chicken in the oven for those who had not feasted at such a lavish party and went to sleep without cleaning, writing or making side dishes. Forgot the timer on the chicken too so it was a bit dry; so glad I’d gotten my fill a few hours before.
“DEAR SANTA, I’LL MAKE THIS SHORT – I WANT EVERYTHING” Greed – we all know the kids and adults who want want want and Christmas is a disaster if the appropriate stores haven’t been shopped, the circumference of the tree exceeded by 10 feet of presents and the detritus after opening isn’t a full 3 feet deep. But that wasn’t the case with the holiday party I attended. Greed had been vanquished by generosity, even as my shopping wrath had been vanquished by the pleasure of seeing and being with people I really care about. And that gives me hope for the world. “DEAR SANTA, I’LL BE HAPPY WITH JUST ONE THING…PEACE ON EARTH GOODWILL TO MEN AND ANIMALS”
© 2010 Alison Colby-Campbell