Christmas is Over

I love Christmas.

I have a wonderful and loving family that knows exactly who I am and what I want.  I was very sorry to see them return to Chicago this morning.  Christmas is over.  The New Year is here.

But aside from the fact that I already miss my parents terribly, I am not as sorry as I usually am to see the end of Christmas.  I’m even more excited to embrace the New Year.  That’s not because I found 2008 to be bad.  I had a lot of good memories.  The most important of which is I got a new house—my house.  Probably the one I’ll share with my husband, when that day comes, and the one I’ll raise a child in, when that day comes.

Homes, houses and families are tricky words.  They’re always changing, and it’s utterly impossible to keep up with them.  Did I not go home to Chicago for Christmas? Or did my family fly to my home in West Hollywood? Where is my home? Where is their home? Those are questions we both asked a lot this holiday.  I thought my home was Chicago.  And I can’t say when exactly it happened, but I woke up one morning in West Hollywood, and I was home.  It’s been over 7 years since I’ve been home.  I left my family in Chicago in 2001, and I haven’t lived at home since.  But now I’m home, and it’s my family who now doesn’t live at home.  We realized that this where we all belong.  They will move out here when they retire in 7 years.  I suppose this is the halfway point, then.

By now, you’ve all probably recited “Home is where the heart is” about eight times in your head while reading this.  Home IS where the heart is, but heart isn’t always where home is.  For longer than I’d like to say, my heart hasn’t been my home.  I left it out in the rain, I kicked it, I slammed it in a car door, let a dog chew on it, forgot to feed it for a week, got it drunk, lied to it, blew smoke in its eyes and just in general told it to fuck off.  I’m happy to say I’ve moved back in.  It’s keeping one eye on me and the children, but we’re having good times again.

Yesterday, I don’t think my heart and my home have ever been closer.  Ladies and gentlemen, I took my parents and my brother to get a drink with me at the Abbey in West Hollywood.  We laughed, drank 6 martinis among us, talked to my boss (surprisingly in attendance) and got invited by the manager to their New Year’s Eve party.  We then traipsed over to East West for more drinks and carousing.  We talked about Casablanca, finding a decent job, having Blue Moon in a pilsner glass with an orange slice, experimental eye surgery, as well which of my old boyfriends were assholes and which were good to me.  A lot has changed.  For one thing, I’m now proud.  For real this time.

So, what is a family then? This is a word that has proved infinitely more slippery to define in America. (‘Home’ I believe is the sticking point for the Middle East) I have no interest in speaking right now about my anger.  I don’t want to talk about Rick Warren and Obama’s potential backsies on his campaign claim, I don’t want to talk about the economy (here’s a tip to fix the economy: charge people $1 whenever they say ‘the economy’—there’s $2 right there! In the bank!) I also don’t want to talk about Bush’s last day in office…except that I do.  The Abbey’s having a Bush’s Last Day in Office Party Monday the 18th!  Not to become all about the negative, they’re also having Obama’s Inauguration Party the following night.  Woot.

Come with me now on a tangent that will at first appear like a tangent, but then will river flow back into thesis.  Come with me, won’t you?

My least favorite thing about January is how the whole month is pretty much dedicated to “CHRISTMAS IS OVER! Dump your tree!  Take down those lights!  Stop singing!  BACK TO WORK!”  It’s a big jump from Jingle Bells to this.

The day after the Election, November 5th, I had to go to work early in the morning.  I work at Barnes & Noble at the Grove.  I had already awoken to news of Prop 8’s passing.  I was tired, I’d been up all night following the news, what little of it was being covered.  I parked on the roof of the structure, and I heard a man who thought he was alone shouting his lungs out to the LA skyline.  I never found out if it was related.  The Grove was busy preparing for the upcoming Christmas decorations.

In the courtyard outside of Barnes & Noble, there is a tall statue of two angels flying up into the sky.  “The Spirit of Los Angeles” the inscription says.  They are beautiful.  But today, something was different.  The angels were inside a cage of metal bars.  The Grove sealed up the angels in the chimney of a gingerbread house.  For 57 days, I walked past the frosting, the candy, the children waiting to see Santa.  It all carried the bittersweet twinge of knowing the angels were trapped inside, the Spirit of Los Angeles with it.

When Prop 8 passed, within less than a million votes, that temporary cage was erected.  Trapping angels in a candy-colored fantasy of what home is.  That isn’t my home.  My brother and I were discussing the possibilities of time travel today.  The only possibility he can see is traveling forward in time, if one can go fast enough.  Going back is impossible.  If we went back in time to fix the past, the past would be fixed, eliminating the need to go back in time to fix it.  Only forward is possible.

We can’t go back in time, to a time when we asked Santa for gifts.  We must take our gifts.  We can’t live in that gingerbread house.  We know what’s trapped there.  We can’t define marriage. There is too much love behind us now.  I believe that if we go fast enough, we will go forward.

Today, they tore down Santa’s House.  The Spirit of Los Angeles breathed free air for the first time since Prop 8 passed.  January’s here.  Christmas is over.  Back to work.

Christmas is Over

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Written by Adam Sass

Adam Sass

ADAM SASS is a journalist and copy editor for Mediaplanet, which prints in USA Today. His short story appeared in the anthology STARLING SCI-FI: NEW TALES OF THE BEYOND and was nominated for Best Science Fiction Story by Writer’s Digest. He lives in New York City with his husband and two dachshunds.

Keep up with Adam’s pop culture blogging at and on his (over)active Twitter: @TheAdamSass.