Illustration courtesy of Chris Piascik

The evening before Election Day, the house was full of welcomed quiet. The TVs were off. And after a glass of wine, Steph was on her way to bed.

But as she walked past Ben’s room, she heard sniffling. She cracked the door and understood he was still awake.

“What’s wrong, honey?” she whispered.

He rolled over to look at her, and Steph saw he’d been crying.

“Everyone is so angry,” he said. “I’m afraid what might happen tomorrow. I’m scared, and I don’t understand why this is happening.”

The presidential election, she thought. If it was a scary time for adults, it could be a terrifying time for children. She’d never thought how it might be for a 9-year-old who’d never really paid attention to a national election until this year.

She entered the room and sat on Ben’s bed.

“I think you’re old enough to hear the tale of the Trumpusnacht,” she said, caressing his forehead.

“The what?” he answered.

“More commonly called Trumpus,” she began. “It all started with Uncle Sam …”

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Timmy’s eyes opened. He’d heard something … something out in the hallway. He’d heard footsteps. Could it be?

He rose to sitting, clutching his blanket. His head was just inches from the ceiling, because his was the top bunk. Below, David still slept.

As quietly as he could, Timmy lifted the covers and jumped to the floor. Then he crept to the door and slowly turned the doorknob. The wooden door groaned a little as Timmy pulled it open. He tip-toed into the hallway, his slippers muffling footfalls on the hardwood.

Timmy turned left then right. The footsteps had gone left, he thought, toward the activity room, where the Christmas tree stood.

He concentrated to maintain a lingering silence as he moved toward the end of the hall. When Timmy reached the room, he saw the figure’s shadowy outline. He couldn’t make out much in the darkness, but Timmy thought he could see a plump belly and beard. His mind added the red suit and hat, the black boots. Could it be Santa? If so, Santa was just standing and staring toward Timmy. More »

I don’t mind hip hop. I really don’t. In fact, I like some of it.

But blasting “All of the Lights,” by Kanye West, over and over again is inappropriate for a Christmas display. Delmar’s done it anyway, though, because Delmar is inconsiderate.

He has multicolored icicle lights strung along his gutters, and from what I can tell, they surround the entire house. Plus, he has LED snowflakes, also multicolored, hanging intermittently with the icicles. These lights flash, fade and twinkle with the music, which is streaming from an open kitchen window. “All of the Lights,” over and over again. The entire light show is on repeat.

But he also has animatronic snowmen and reindeer staked in his lawn. The snowmen slowly wave and lift their top hats. The reindeer slowly bow and lift their heads. The movements are completely out of the time with the frantic music. It’s creepy. Plus, he has a sequential light display against the right side of his house that displays a spinning ballerina. I suppose Delmar would argue it has something to do with “The Nutcracker,” but it seems more like some random decoration having nothing to do with Christmas. More »