When I was in middle school and high school, we went to a church that put on an outdoor Live Nativity pageant every year. It was a big damn deal. Probably a third of the church members were involved, whether performing or making costumes or narrating or wrangling the five dozen kids and sheep and donkeys. The costumes, props, and set pieces took up the entire attic of the enormous Victorian house that was the parsonage once upon a time. The pageant ran two or three days, multiple shows of about an hour and a half, and afterwards there was an enormous party at the TGI Fridays one of the members owned. For a kid who loved theatre, Christmas, and TGI Fridays, it was the single most awesome way to get into the Christmas Spirit.
It also involved an ass-ton of glitter, which is why I liked it.
I spent the vast majority of my years in the Live Nativity as an angel in the Heavenly Host that announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds watching their flocks by night. The angel group, mostly made up of little girls, was led/choreographed/rehearsed/wrangled by the Head Angel, widely considered (by me, which is the only opinion I am concerned with) to be the Archangel Gabriel. It was also one of the choicest of all the roles for teenage girls, right up there with Mary and a dancing girl in Herod’s court. As Mary was usually played, for reasons unknown, by a much tinier girl than me (I’m 6′ tall and broad of both chest and shoulder), and did not get to wear any glitter at all, and the dancing girls also wore no glitter, and also were only in one brief scene, I felt my choice to stick it out until I got to be the Head Angel was the correct one.
Not only did the Head Angel get to be the star of the announcement scene, which was easily the most spectacular bit of the entire spectacular extravaganza, but she also got to stand on top of the stable (or behind the baby Jesus if she so wished, but I usually sent the little angels down to do that because it was just so fucking precious) for the entire end, looking fantastically pretty and covered head-to-toe in sparkles while the narrator joyfully intoned from Isaiah over the loudspeakers and everyone gazed reverently at Baby Jesus, by which I mean they gazed reverently at the Head Angel, because for fuck’s sake, how could they not? Her costume was made of lamé and tinsel, and had elastic fucking sequin trim. And the glitter. I must have used a pound of that shit at every performance.
I tell this story for two reasons. One, it’s Christmas Day, the gifts are all opened, the kitties are asleep, and I’ve got nothing to do but watch Die Hard and try to decide if I have the energy to get up for more cookies. Second, I want to provide some context for what you’re about to see.
The Radically Tacky Christmas Wreath of Comfort and JoyTM is a work in progress. I’ve had it for a couple of years now. It was pretty horrible to begin with, a red and green concoction of cheap shiny plastic that I got at God knows where, but then I started adding shit to it. Gold tinsel. Plastic icicles. A hideous and slightly stinky faux-velvet ribbon. And this year, candy-cane colored straws and a sleigh-shaped ornament, because that’s what I had to hand. Next year I’m thinking googly eyes and a nativity scene made of Legos.
So in the spirit of Christmas, which for me will always mean as much tacky, sparkly, glittery shit as I can squeeze into my house and onto my person, I present this creation, which may be the masterpiece I spend most of my life perfecting, a la The Lord of the Rings or Once Upon a Time In America or perhaps even Monet’s Water Lilies.
I hope your day is full of sparkles and joy.