I like Christmas.  Reasonably speaking, I like Christmas a LOT.  For someone who is three parts atheist, five parts satanist (little s) and pi parts pagan of various types, it’s practically heresy to say things like that.  But I’m a heretic, too, and an infidel, and it pleases me very greatly to enjoy something that is so very out of fashion with so many people who identify with one or another of the things that I identify with.  What can I say – I’m contrary.  It’s one of my more charming qualities.


Christmas is a holiday that I have quite successfully claimed for myself and my own enjoyment, and generally speaking, most of the Christmases in my adult life have been very good.  Even when I’m a broke motherfucker, usually I have time to make presents for the people I care about, to create something that I will get joy from giving them, and from seeing their joy in being shown that they are important to me.  It’s a very pleasant experience, all around.


One of the things that I have been thinking about lately is how much I like breaking things.  There are lots of things in the world that make very, very pretty noises when you break them.  Glass shatters with a shiver, paper rips apart like dry skin, wood cracks apart with a great deal of sound and fury, stone can shatter or crumble or fracture and all of those create fabulous and thoroughly tasty sounds.  There is a large part of my head that will forever be a fractious cat, pitching wine glasses off of counters to hear the pretty smashing.  Just as cute animals make the tastiest food, so do beautiful things make the prettiest noises when they are destroyed.  There is something viscerally pleasurable about taking something that has been created for the beauty of itself, and ruining that utterly.  Tear it up, smash it, burn it, destroy it.  It’s a very satisfying to create a tiny little Kali dance in a mortal scale.


So, what the hell does that have to do with Christmas?  Patience, patience, and I will draw a map from one to the other.


The lines on the map are made out of tape, you see.  Yes, tape.  I like tape.  It makes me happy.  I may be slightly OCD, and just as with my other tame pathologies, the OCD generally manifests in places that I can control, so that I am not crippled by it.  Tape is one of those places.  Sit me down with a strangely shaped object, a box, and packing materials, and I will be entertained and engaged until I have figured out the Right Way to pack the object.  There is only one Right Way – the one way that marries form to function, that creates a perfect geometry of stability and beauty.  It is Euclidean perfection, total structural integrity, and the absolute pinnacle of both accuracy and precision.  Many other ways may work – they may get the job done – but there is only ever one Perfect Solution.


So, you see, I love Christmas.  I can find the Right Way to pack and decorate each present, creating and re-creating that process of marrying Form to Function to create the perfect package.  Even better, I can give those creations of beauty and near-perfection (because absolute perfection is impossible to achieve, but damned if I can’t get close) to people I love, to enjoy by destroying.


Pretty noises – watching people whose happiness means something to me tear up things I have worked hard to make perfect.  Hearing the sound of perfection destroyed and discarded, often carelessly.  There is an element of masochism in it, because I don’t talk about wrapping packages, and I don’t wax rhapsodic about the impeccable geometry of form to most people.  I give these creations away, knowing they will be destroyed without ever having their worth known.  Pretty noises, made prettier by the sheer ignorant nihilism of the entire process.


It is a strange and very disconnected sort of pleasure.  It makes me love Christmas, that pleasure.  I suppose in many ways it is a melodramatic, overwrought, years-long allegory about my view on life and people – even people who love you will destroy your careful work, and won’t even know it, blah blah blah.  But really, mostly, it’s about pretty noises.  Tiny paper Kali dances, stamping out beauty to get at what’s underneath.  It is pleasing to watch, and refreshing, and gives me a wonderful sense of freedom – because I can give near-perfection away, knowing it will be destroyed, and feel nothing but pleasure in it.


Pretty noises, making crashing sounds in my head, hymns and carols rendered in shattered crystal and steel.  It’s its own prism, refracting and reflecting and throwing pretty lights on the inside of my skull.  Very pleasing.


If there is a moral, it is this: I rail and rant about the people I see casually destroying beauty every day.  Then I perpetuate it, purposefully, in a way that I enjoy and that brings joy to others.  It is one part hypocrisy, one part prism – because there are no inherently evil acts.  Just pretty noises, made important or unimportant by context.