I like to get in the mood for the holidays – and I do it in any way I can.
I get some cinnamon pine cones, I turn on some Axel Boman “Holiday Extreme,” I turn on on Christmas lights, and I December the fuck up. This is a very serious thing for me, as a person who loves themes and similar functions, any assignment to give me something to strive to or give a little order to my life. I will take it and the holidays are the perfect manifestation of this personal phenomena.
This year, I have extended my holiday mood-ing into new, obvious territory: reading. Specifically, I have gone with Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory, a triple bill of three autofictional short stories by the famed author that wanders around the holidays from very different directions. There is the title story, about a little boy and the holiday love he has for his caretaker, there is “A Christmas Memory” that puts the same little boy up against his divorcé father, and “The Thanksgiving Visitor,” where the same little boy’s worst enemy and bully comes to a holiday feast. They are simple, lovely tales of a different time in America that warms you with holiday joy and love, that people are complicated and wonderful even when not at their best.
And there’s a hidden gem within the story of these stories: apparently Capote went literally on record reading the tales, specifically “A Christmas Memory” (which is arguably the best story in the collection). It features a light string production that leads to Capote’s adorable whine, a gay warble that feels akin to some glittery uncle getting carried away after one-too-many glasses of holiday cheer.
It’s sweet, it’s holiday-y, and it’s an appropriately literary something that serves as a great alternative to anything from the Bible. While this is the first year that I gave A Christmas Memory a read, I will most definitely be folding in Capote’s reading into my holiday mood setting rituals. And you can too: find the reading below.