Holiday Monsters

Now that the turkeys are rattling chains with Jacob Marley, the holiday season is in full swing. In New York, where everything except apartment sizes are on a grand scale, the period between the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Times Square ball dropping on New Year’s Eve, is always a frenzy of wild energy. This year, with our wounds from Super-Storm Sandy still causing pain, there’s an uncharacteristic vulnerability in the air. I’ve seen all too many people lose their tempers, burst into tears or storm away in a huff at minor provocations.

I’ll admit that I started to cry when I read a New York Times story about Kenny Vance losing his home and huge collection of music memorabilia. Who was Kenny Vance? I didn’t remember the name either, but somewhere in my distant early childhood memories the group “Jay and the Americans” are part of the soundtrack. (Here’s the link if you’re interested:

What’s my solution? Monsters. We need some new holiday monsters. We need a monster that can embody our fears or, more likely, simply distract us from the reality of recovering from a historic storm in the midst of serious economic challenges. The fiscal cliff is scary, but it doesn’t have a MONSTER face.

I know that we already have the Grinch stealing Christmas, but that’s just for kids. Kids have lots of traditional holiday monsters. A few years ago I was in the Netherlands and Santa Day (December 5) landed on the Saturday of a Tango weekend at El Corte (my favorite Tango destination). My Dutch friends told me all about Black Peter and how he kidnapped bad children, talking them to Spain to become slaves. I quizzed local dancers for nuances of the story, but in the cold December nights of windy Nijmegen, more than a few longed for sunny Spain.

So, let’s come up with some grown-up holiday MONSTERS. I’m not sure how I feel about a credit card that screams (loud & hard) when you use it, but it’s certainly monstrous. Perhaps a dreidel that spins out of control on a path of monstrous destruction? Tequila worms migrating to Champagne bottles? Any thoughts?

Share your holiday monsters…


  1. Apparently there are a lot of gods who specialize in storms, but none that really grabs the imagination. Maybe you should invent some kind of hybrid monster that embodies all our fears?

    • Candy

      Yes, I’m with you on that. Putting a face on anything makes it real. Of course, a face on an enemy makes them more human and less “other” but monsters with human faces are great in fiction. The power of a vampire is in their almost-human-ness. A monster that embodies the stress and craziness of the season could be a good monster to toss crumbled wrapping paper at!