So, here it is, the day after Christmas 2016, and you’re probably wondering how my holiday went. Well, I didn’t do too much on Sunday. The reason for that? For only the third time in my life, though the second time in five years, I spent Christmas Day away from my family. The reason for that is that my family had to reschedule our Christmas Day get-together as my little sister’s daughters had to spend the weekend with their father/her ex-husband (every other weekend, he gets to be with them, and Christmas weekend just happened to be his next turn). And since my other sister and our mom didn’t clue me in on any of their plans for the day, I didn’t make the 2-hour trip and instead stayed here in Madison.
Our family’s get-together and gift-giving is now set for this coming Saturday afternoon (December 31). The delay is good for me, I feel, since though my gift shopping was pretty much complete before Christmas Day, I want to see if I can get one more meaningful present for my nieces (“meaningful” in that they should get good use and inspiration from it). The delay will also allow me to collect my bearings and deal with the conservative elements in my family. I’ve always fancied my stepfather as one who will listen to any AM radio station — i.e. any hate-spewing, tall-tale-telling talk radio station — while he does his job as an over-the-road truck driver, and who wouldn’t hesitate to converse with others about all those tall tales he hears on said stations.
The thing is, though, that the rest of my family (at times, even Dad) are the type who would check their political biases at the door for the sake of coming together as a happy (or close to happy) family during any holiday or other familial get-together. I’m wanting to do the same, yet this godawful year has driven something deep inside me that wants — nay, needs — to take a stand and say, “No, Dad! Do you realize how dark our collective future is about to become? Do you know who you are actually mocking when you brickbat anyone who doesn’t hold the same conservative viewpoints you do? Do you know you could be talking about your own stepson when mocking anyone who may be LGBT?” (He has never known that I dress up as Allison.) For the sake of keeping everyone happy, I hope and pray that our get-together doesn’t go down that spiral. Because any form of politics, even in its nastiest forms, have no place at a holiday get-together.
So, what did I do on Christmas Sunday? Well, I spent the morning typing up my previous post about Hanukkah, and spent the afternoon and evening watching basketball and football on TV. Yeah, not real thrilling. And I did feel rather lonely the whole day. I certainly hadn’t been in the holiday spirit. The nastiness of the year played a part, for sure, but so did my avoidance (unconscious or otherwise) of any holiday music. So, while I did hear a few renditions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (unfortunately) and some of “Sleigh Ride” (including two in the same JCPenney at the same time), but amazingly (and thankfully) not one note of “Wonderful Christmastime” or “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”
But at least I made an effort to get out of the house AND take part in a holiday event AND try to converse with others. How so, you ask? I had heard from a LGBT-oriented Facebook page about a luncheon at a Methodist church downtown. This church, which I had never ventured to before, has a reputation of being being open-minded and welcoming to everyone regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, or (key here) gender identity or sexual orientation, as evidenced by the quilt you see to your right. The church’s Christmas luncheon on Sunday was part of that openness, with the church throwing their doors and their lunch hall open to anyone, Methodist or otherwise.
So, at midday, I drove downtown, walked a block to the church, followed by pure coincidence a local TV reporter lugging her camera and tripod (because, well, feel-good stories don’t take a holiday on Christmas), went inside, took a number… and waited for about 10-20 minutes. Because the place was jumping. Yeah, there were a lot of people there, due in no small part, I’m sure, to the fact that the event was FREE! And who doesn’t love free food, right?
When a seat opened and I was allowed to enter and sit down, it was a rather friendly, non-denominational atmosphere. The holiday atmosphere was rather modest overall: Santa was there with his big, booming “Ho!Ho!Ho!” (Wow, what a voice on that man), and the nativity scene in the corner was elegant but rather low key in notice, as was the acoustic guitarist playing Christmas carols and other tunes. Let’s just say there were more hairnets worn by the volunteers distributing the food than there were Santa hats on everyone else. Oh, and speaking of food, it was okay; they offered turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans among other things.
As for conversation? Well… I was seated at a table alongside 8 other gentlemen, all older than I was, all with full beards and scruffy attire. Judging from their appearances, perhaps these men were those who appeared to be down to their last dime and/or don’t have a permanent roof over their heads. (Kudos should be sent to this church for giving them comfort on such a wonderful, glorious holiday. Heck, I was half-tempted to join in and help them out as a volunteer, me being the kindhearted person I am.) But to these tablemates, I and my not-perfect-but-not-scruffy (male mode) attire may have seemed like a turn-off. I’m not sure why they were hesitant to talk to me, feeling comfort instead in talking to each other. One of them was talking about a documentary he just watched on TV, pronouncing the word as “doc-u-men-TARE-ey” (I had never heard that word pronounced in such a way before). There was no discussions about LGBT issues or what else, nor was there talk about politics (thank goodness!) other than another gentleman who sat down just before I was about to finish and leave who was wearing a “NO ABORTION!” button on his coat and wasn’t hesitant to spew his pro-life beliefs. *ugh* As I noted above, if there’s one thing Christmas Day can do without, it’s politics.
Despite all that, and despite not catching a glimpse who appeared outwardly LGBT, it felt good to be with someone on Christmas Day, even it was in a room full of strangers. Did it give me a bit of good cheer? Just a little bit. It made me miss my family a little bit more. But at least I texted each of them Happy Christmas wishes.
What also perked me up was an “overnight visit” (*wink wink*) from Santa. Apparently, Santa knew I have a thing for anything cute and in leather. And while I wasn’t specifically wishing for something in leather, Santa obliged just the same.
That, folks, is a just-above-knee-length patent faux leather skirt that Santa must have found at H&M and did so at a reasonable price (the $29.99 price tag was still affixed). The only other patent leather item that’s ever been in my possession has been a large handbag I found at a former neighbor’s rummage/moving sale several years ago. That bag will go nicely with this skirt, which at a size 8 is rather snug but feels and looks oh so sexy around my waist.
I actually had been contemplating during the day to venture to one of the LGBT bars on Christmas Night, and perhaps wearing this new skirt from Santa or another dress I bought for myself earlier this month (pics of that are coming soon, I promise). But the Christmas Day weather here in Madison was rainy and quite blustery, which got me to thinking that Male Mode Me should go instead. I mean, everyone of any type is welcome to a drag show, right?
And then I learned that George Michael had died.
We all know that 2016 has been a rotten year, especially when it came to talented, famous, and inspiring people leaving us far too soon. George Michael was all three: He was talented for certain; he was famous for being, well, talented (I’ll just leave aside his being famous for being unfortunate British tabloid fodder); and he was inspiring for being an out-of-the-closet role model in his later years (and being so without apology). But he was talented first and foremost, either as part of Wham! or his productive post-Wham! solo career (although that was not without litigation). His death (on Christmas Day no less) leaves those like me who are part of the LGBT community, those who also like me grew up in the 1980s, and those of any age and identity who appreciate catchy and well-crafted pop sad and in mourning. Yeah, going to a drag show at a bar and knowing that a shared sadness about losing a gay idol as important as George Michael would cast a pall over the proceedings is not fun.
So, a lonely Christmas Day made more lonelier by George Michael’s death ended with me turning in for the night just before 10PM. And instead of happy Christmas carols, my mind was filled with “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” and “One More Try” and (yeah) “Last Christmas” and anything from Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. Here’s hoping your Christmas Day was a fine one, that you are having a nice Boxing Day if you celebrate it, and that we venture together into the next 365 days without experiencing any more collective sadness than we need to.