Faux Christmas Eve started in 1991 in Crabtree Dorm at UMass. Elise and I were roommates, and had just finished a very emotional semester (weren't they all, though?) where I had been through an intense whirlwind relationship, pined for a boy I couldn't have, and we had both spent a sememster both performing in a Theatre Guild show and serving on its executive board. We were tired. We wanted to celebrate Christmas together, and so we picked a day to declare "Faux Christmas."
The night before became Faux Christmas Eve. We invited as many as we thought could fit into our dorm room - our mutually nearest and dearest at the time. Peter Fernandez, Craig Doescher, Shawn, Jen Davis, and Allan Maki (and we had invited Ben, who for some reason I don't remember, couldn't make it.) We had a tiny two-foot tree with one strand of lights from the K-Mart at the Hampshire Mall. Snacks consisted of a canister of Quaker cheese puffs, a bag of M&M's (which was a four dollar indulgence at the time), a box of crackers from our dorm store, and on Elise's insistance, a can of squeeze cheese. In our hostessing inexperience, we engaged in a significant debate about whether we should pre-squeeze the cheese onto the crackers, or allow the guests to do it themselves.
We watched Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph, and comforted Shawn, who insisted he had a tapeworm and laid on Elise's bed in his coat, hat and scarf the entire time. Amazingly enough, it began to snow, and we all went outside in the snow and played Volleyball as only a bunch of college theatre geeks could do - without the ball, improvisation-style. The Elise and I made snow angels, and the caption under the picture was..."SNOW, maybe."
It was one of those nights in my life where I felt very securely part of a tribe, a unit, and felt surrounded by loving spirits in every single corner of the room.
Faux Christmas has become an annual tradition, and though it has evolved significantly through the years, that one essential fact remains the same. In the glow of Christmas lights, with the scent of Yankee Candles in the air, my tribe will gather, and there will be loving spirits in every corner of every room.
Faux Christmas has been held in various dorm rooms, twice in Rolling Green (which began the tradition of bringing home-made ornaments to hang on the tree), in several apartments of Patrick's and mine, and here in this yellow house for the past nine years. Guests have come and gone, a book's worth of drama has ensued to ridiculous extents, Ben has read the entire novel of A Christmas Carol aloud once through (to begin again tomorrow), and the amount of vodka consumed over the years would make any 300 pound Russian hurl.
Tomorrow we will bid this house farewell in style. As cliche as it sounds, this house will ring with love and laughter and Christmas Cheer, and I will once again find a moment to connect with many of the people who mean the most to me, and feel filled to my core with gratitude that I can love and be loved by the greatest people in the world - my friends, my Chosen Family. I will miss Elise and Lisa and Craig, but they will be in my heart, I know.
The only original participant who will be here tomorrow is Peter Fernandez, who will come with his fabulous wife and perfect new daughter. He rented a car just for the occasion, and the Faux Mistletoe that he drew for Faux Christmas #2 (which was held at my parents' house in Hull '91) will still be strategially placed throughout the house. We have a special tree for the Faux Ornaments - Ben's yogurt cup and Craig's rubber cockroach and the cross-stitch snowman from this one slutty girl we used to know at UMass - they will all be up there. (Well...not all. There are some that make me sad from people who are no longer part of our lives. I'm not ready for those quite yet.) It's the most bizarre freaking two feet of Christmas tree you ever saw, and I couldn't love it more.
And tomorrow night, for the last Faux Christmas here, there will be snow. Seems fitting.