12/25/09

Amelia Gray

CHRISTMAS HOUSE

Christmas House is an interactive, inclusive holiday home. The House is home to an interactive manger scene, a Christmas tree gift exchange, a holly-hanging singalong, and traditions of the yuletide such as hot buttered rum and various nogs. Visitors to Christmas House are charmed to see such traditions carried out in the spirit Jesus Himself might have intended, had He been a businessman.

Christmas House is a truly participatory experience. If a guest wishes to act as if he or she is the first in the world to discover becoming profoundly drunk on warm egg nog, that is his or her right. If a cast member wishes to tear down the mistletoe and declare that no man will ever understand the sorrow that mistletoe holds in the center of its being, he should act on those motivations.

Christmas House is home to fifty-three poinsettias. One cast member's job is to dispose of these poinsettias in an efficient manner while maintaining the spirit of Christmas. The cast member must bring together everyone she knows, apologize for being a burden, and award the guests one poinsettia each. After their departure, the cast member must remove the leaves of the single remaining poinsettia, place them in a blender with warm water, and create a vitamin-rich paste for her face and neck.

Christmas House is maintained during business hours. Because the countdown to Christmas includes its own unique feelings at various hours, Christmas House itself never sleeps. Shifts run from dawn until dusk and again from dusk until dawn. Cast members must not exit Christmas House during business hours; cots and beds can be found upstairs. Children employed by Christmas House may sleep during manger shifts.

Christmas House sits at the far end of a firing range. At times, a bullet may shatter a window and nestle in an opposing wall. Cast members decorating windows must manipulate the sashes with boughs and hanging garlands while keeping their bodies tucked aside. For the safety of infants working manger shifts, the manger is bulletproof and hidden from the public.

Christmas House is not responsible for injury. If a nog-drunk guest is caught by a stray bullet, he or she must be carried to a location off the premises and allowed to seek medical attention independent to the operations of Christmas House. Cast members at Christmas House are permitted to treat wounds in the spirit of Christmas, for example by compressing a blood-soaked trouser with holly leaves while singing Silent Night.

In accordance with the true spirit of Christmas, all guests and cast members of Christmas House must balance illusion and truth. The tinsel is penance and the figgy pudding is suffering. The Yule log offers no reprieve. Carols are sung but nothing that rhymes is true. The manger is in operation at all times. Individuals doubting the mystery of the season will be escorted from the premises.



Amelia Gray is the author of AM/PM, published by Featherproof Books, and Museum of the Weird, due Fall 2010 through Fiction Collective 2. She blogs at ameliagray.com.

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