Our Night Before Christmas by William Bradley
December 19, 2014 § 8 Comments
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Brevity‘s Holiday Smile contest nipping at your nose:
While I assemble the Christmas Eve lasagna, layering the ricotta and the sausage and the sauce onto the pasta, you’ll open a bottle of Rioja and pour us each a glass. Outside, the moon reflecting off the snow will turn the whole world blue, and the night will be silent. But inside, we’ll either be watching a holiday-themed television special—A Charlie Brown Christmas, Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas,Woodland Critter Christmas—or we’ll listen to holiday-themed music—The Pogues’ “Fairy Tale of New York,” John Cale’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s “Little Drummer Boy/ Peace on Earth.”
You cook more of our meals than I do, but I’m getting better about doing my part. I’m not the world’s greatest husband; too often, my callousness, my selfishness, or my neglect has caused you to shout, to slam doors, or just cry alone. But this year, my New Year’s resolution is to make you smile at least once a day. That shouldn’t be too hard, if I’m mindful. And I need to be mindful. I’ve been thoughtless too often in our 12 years together.
My family always did a Christmas Eve fondue when I was growing up. Your family made sugar cookies together. But this is our tradition—red wine, my lasagna, Christmas-themed pop culture. We’ll exchange gifts in the living room, take pictures of the cat in his Christmas bow tie to post to Facebook so all of our friends will remember that we’re dorks. And then we’ll eat by candlelight, get drunk slowly, laugh a lot. I love you more now than the day I married you, and it’s moments like these that remind me to be grateful. That’s the true meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown. Peace on Earth. Can it be?
William Bradley‘s work has appeared in a variety of magazines including Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Utne Reader, and the Missouri Review. He has a new chapbook out from Urban Farmhouse Press, Tales of a Multiverse in Peril!, and some Christmas Eves his nose glows so bright red from the wine he shares with his wife that he has been known to guide Santa’s sleigh.
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