Thursday, December 21, 2017

Holiday Homofun, and Ho Ho Hos

Ah, the holidays. They're almost over, but I feel the need to share the fun as the year winds down to the last few days. Among my new favorites are Christmas book trees, and the guilty pleasure of cheesy straight Hallmark TV movies that always have a happy ending, but require a subsequent dose of 'gay apparel' as a tonic.

First up; alternative trees made of books. They stack nicely, inspire more book gift-giving, and are catastrophe-proof if you've got cats.

My own recent tree proved amusingly autobiographical. You can tell a lot about a person by what they read. Actually, I chose books for their colorful topics and shape and size.

You can see hundreds of tree book pictures online, mostly as libraries. The trick to keep large ones from collapsing is to stack them carefully, in a circular pattern, obviously, but with a large object inside to build the books around it. 

More tips are HERE. Of course, decorated trees precede the Christian holiday, but they've been good at appropriating pagan rites for centuries. Today, (December 21) is Winter Solstice, the original reason for the seasonal festivity.

But let's not get into a theological debate. What of holiday themes in books? Certainly some classics endure, from Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" to Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory."

And for your guilty pleasure, the bafflingly long list of Hallmark holiday TV movies can be depended on for a cinematic consistency: vaguely Canadian accents, a charmingly trite story line, a hunky male lead, and somewhat hunky male nemesis, and a clear thematic repetition of the viewpoint that life in the big city will damage a very white gal's appreciation of the holidays, and only a visit (or being trapped in) a quaint Thomas Kinkaide-esque village or cabin will revive her sense of giving and love, resulting in true romance via a quaint blizzard.

The Washington Post caught on to the saccharine trend as well.

That a few of these TV movies cast openly gay actors (like Luke MacFarlane, left) who make this silliness believable makes viewing them less of a guilty pleasure. 

Yet this Times-Standard article notes the complete lack of LGBT characters in this series, despite a Hallmark commercial with a gay male white couple.

Slate tackles their So White casting and general treacly qualities, and exposes the "Christmas as Aphrodesiac" subtext:
While G-rated, every Hallmark movie contains many shots that lovingly capture the burning eroticism the birth of our savior ignites—a tongue quivering for eggnog, lips biting at the sight of a man setting an angel atop the tree, orgasm at the assemblage of a train set. In Finding Santa, Ben looks overcome with lust as he watches Grace (Jodie Sweetin) decorate a sugar cookie with brown frosting.
Of course, straight people have no exclusivity on cheesy fun holiday romances.
You can go full-on ho ho homo with the cute film Make the Yuletide Gay.

 Or, choose from any of the hundreds of gay romance books and short stories online. Curl up with your Kindle to any of these titles (easily found with the search in Books for "gay Christmas"):

Santa Baby, Not Just for Christmas, If Only in my Dreams: Gay Christmas Romance, A Christmas Manny: Gay Christmas Romance, (my fave title) Twinkle, Twinkle, and on and on and on.

The problem with many of these titles is that they stick to the heteronormative storyline, just with two men.

But women get some Kringle-y lovin' too, with "lesbian Christmas" revealing a bounty of sapphic Santa-fied tales, including A Christmas for Carol (get it?), Happily Ever After This Christmas (gee, I wonder if it has a happy ending?), and A Christmas Ghost: a Festive Lesbian Romance.

My gifts to you
In my own novels, Christmas celebrations make for story development and characterization that hopefully goes nowhere near the vapidity of the Hallmark movies or cheesy romances.
Spoiler alerts ahead.

In PINS, Joey Nicci get a new pair of wrestling shoes from his parents, and a slightly homoerotic drawing of superheros from his love interest and teammate Dink Kohrs.

Trees and forestry play a significant role as themes and metaphors in my pair of novels Every Time I Think of You and its sequel Message of Love. The covers are a big giveaway.

The first tree mention, after the sexy first scene near a tree, is in the next scene, where the two boys eat tree-shaped cookies "with icing."

At a later holiday post-Christmas scene in Message of Love, along with a short rumination about the decimation of evergreens as a holiday sacrifice, Christmas offers a few chances for parental conflict, and romantic connections with the main characters, Reid and Everett.

In the novel I'm working on now, however, Christmas dinner becomes a rather unpleasant event, and a family is almost torn apart by a few revelations, not just about a son being gay. You'll have to wait until (hopefully) next year for that present.

Why do the holidays, traditionally known for family gatherings and religious significance, also inspire an erotic sense of romance? For East Coasters, the cold weather and need to stay warm may be part of it; the frisson of erotic edge while huddling by a fire, or the electric energy in the air during a snow storm.

Perhaps returning home stirs old roots of desire; high school crushes, and the possibility of reconnecting for a holiday affair. One never knows who you might end up with under the mistletoe after a few spiked eggnogs.

And of course you can find plenty of outright X-rated Santa, elf and holiday-themed porn, elsewhere! Sorry, no links here. I'm sure you know where to look for that kind of present, and it probably won't be under your Grandma's tree.

But do consider giving others and yourself books for gifts. They last a long time, and they're easy to wrap.

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