Stealth Holiday Traditionalist

I’m not usually one to uphold traditional attitudes or manners. I will say inappropriate things in mixed company, wear outrageous clothes to stuffy events, rest my elbows on the table. I think it’s because I was raised in a home where being boring was the greatest sin, and you were judged at the dinner table not by your manners but the quality of your conversation. Sometimes we literally sang for our supper.

But no matter how crazy or free-spirited a person is, we all have a side of us that is traditional. You may not realize it right away. But I’ve known for some time that I am a total and complete Holidork. And I’m not just a stickler about one holiday. No sir, not me.

I am a year-round Holidork.

The cycle starts with Halloween. Of course I dress up. If I don’t go out, I host a party. (Sometimes I do both.) I play all the classics like “Deadman’s Party” “Werewolves of London” and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” I make incredibly dorky appetizers like witches fingers in blood, mozzarella eyeballs, carve a mini pumpkin only so it can appear to be barfing out guacamole for our tortilla chips.

Next up, Thanksgiving. I do not fuck around. There must be a turkey. And it must be roasted. Not deep fried, not stuffed with duck and chicken to make a hideous turducken. And don’t get me started on tofurkey. No. There must be a huge traditional turkey which will lurk in my fridge for days after the fact, compelling me to just pick at it late at night at first, then make turkey sandwiches, then turkey soup and finally be so grossed out that I am grateful to toss out the carcass at the end of the week.

This holidorkness reaches a fever pitch at Christmas. My apartment looks like Santa’s workshop, with lights and decorations everywhere and rolls of wrapping paper shoved in various corners. I watch all the holiday classics. I do special Christmas cards. I bake several kinds of cookies, the most famous being my mom’s Finnish Joulutortut. It doesn’t matter that kids used to make fun of their prune-filled deliciousness when I brought them to school parties. I have never experienced a Christmas without Joulutortut.

New Years of course finds me drunk and exhausted in a sparkly dress.

The rest of the year I pick and choose which holidays bring out my inner Holidork:

I make a point of NOT celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, which is for amateurs. But I do celebrate Mardi Gras. I break out the beads and boas, sazeracs, crank up the zydeco and order a King Cake from Gambino’s Bakery in New Orleans, and ONLY Gambino’s Bakery in New Orleans.

Easter is the time for the massive Ham of God (see the turkey description for how that plays out.) I also haul my ass to church. I used to force myself to wear what my mom and I refer to as “Protestant Stockings”. These are ecru hose and are worn under flowery Easter dresses. But one Easter I rolled out of bed after a night of debauched fun with my boyfriend. I was running late, stinking of sex and gin, didn’t shower and pulled up the Protestant Stockings under my conservative Easter frock and ran up Peachtree street to the Episcopal church.

As it turns out, it was daylight savings on Easter Day that year and I was over an hour late. I felt like even more of a whore as I mingled with Episcopalians in Easter bonnets. As I shuffled back home in shame, I noticed the Catholic service was letting out too. I saw a gorgeous mom holding her child’s hand with one hand and smoking a cigarette with the other. Her long hair swayed, unhindered by a hat, her tits were hanging out of her dress…and she wasn’t wearing stockings.

I haven’t worn Protestant Stockings ever since. Some traditions were meant to be broken.


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