My house for the holidays, aka ‘the black gap off Bodwell Road’ – and other holiday musings

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 Decorations this time of year inflate like zombies rising slowly from the ground…


It was on. Shots were fired across the bow.

The first shot came the day after Thanksgiving when the neighbors across the street from us went full-Griswold, stringing white Christmas lights across the wooden picket fence in the front yard and framing the outline of their house—the doors and the windows and the roof[1].

It remained quiet in our little cove off Bodwell until Dec. 1 when the neighbors on the side of us busted out the inflatable Christmas lawn decorations[2] and dressed the trees and bushes with gaudy colored lights in retaliation.

One night while standing on the side of my own inornate home, waiting for my pug Buster to sniff out the perfect spot to piss, the decorations in the neighbor’s yard began to inflate like zombies rising slowly from the ground. I did a double-take, wiping my glasses on my coat, and looked again.

I could’ve sworn there was an eight-foot inflatable Mr. Hankey from the television show “South Park[3].” Upon closer inspection, however, it turned out to be a brownish penguin wearing a Santa hat.

As the weeks leading up to the holiday passed, more exterior lights appeared up and down our tranquil suburban street—with one exception.

Our house is a black gap, a missing tooth among the rows of lighted houses, something I’m sure has not gone unnoticed by the neighborhood’s denizens. It’s not that I’m some kind of Scrooge or a holiday curmudgeon. I’m simply too lazy and indifferent to string lights on my house and trees. Besides taking the dog out [4], I seldom leave the house or, more specifically, my Man-Cave in the basement.

Maybe next year I’ll string up some lights. But likely not.

So here are my December/Christmas musings and my final tribute of 2021 to my journalistic idol Bill Reynolds.

  • If Fox News spent one-tenth the amount of time covering the January 6 insurrection that they do covering the “War on Christmas,” we would be considerably closer to knowing the truth about what happened that day and the former president’s role in orchestrating it.
  • For the record: I couldn’t care less if you say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holiday.” Just don’t be a dick.
  • Most historians agree that Jesus was not born on Dec. 25. Christian leaders at the time had to contend with myriad pagan celebrations on or around the winter solstice, most prominently, Saturnalia, where the Romans honored Saturn, the pagan god of agriculture.
  • Gary Hoey’s version of “Carol of the Bells” is the best Christmas tune ever recorded. This isn’t debatable.
  • How does a snowman make babies? (Answer below)
  • One of the truly blessed things about this time of year is that no one is dieting before New Year’s Day. It’s liberating to watch others stuff their faces as you stuff you own.
  • Reciprocally, this should also make all of us acutely aware of those among us who are homeless and hungry.
  • Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is—and always will be—the finest Christmas story ever penned, and the 1984 television-movie staring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge is the best cinematic version I’ve seen.
  • This year I’m holding a Festivus dinner on Dec. 23 where I will serve meatloaf on a bed of lettuce and oversee both the Airing of Grievances[5] and the Feats of Strength.
  • My Christmas wish this year is for COVID-19 to stop shitting on everything, and for those who are still unvaccinated to, please, reconsider.
  • Snowballs[6].
  • The SNL parody “Dick in a Box” with Justin Timberlake never gets old, but “Best Christmas Ever” makes a run at being just as hilarious [7].
  • I sincerely hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza/Saturnalia/Solstice/Festivus/holiday[8]. Cheers, folks.


[1] In fact, it looks quite nice and classy and tactful.

[2] Each evening as darkness falls there’s a hum of a distant electric pump inflating said decorations.

[3] I had smoked nothing that evening.

[4] Or to grab a beer at Chelby’s Pizza, my second home, where there are, indeed, lights on the exterior of the restaurant.

[5] My wife is refusing to participate in Festivus, claiming that it could take a full calendar for her to list the ways I’ve disappointed her in the past year during the Airing of Grievances. Fair enough.

[6] I’ll show myself out now.

[7] Probably because it is so spot-on accurate.

[8] That is except for the New York Yankees.


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About this Author

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Born on Good Friday was published by Roadside Press in 2023. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: