A Writing Prompt by Layla Murphy
Hate Christmas, You’re Allowed
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Bah humbug—this again! Christmas is right around the corner, and whether you celebrate it or not, you’ve surely got some holiday sensory-overload by now. I thought we should turn things topsy-turvy by taking a page from David Byrne’s Christmas playlist, which showcases such hits as “Christmas Will Break Your Heart” by LCD Soundsystem and “Another Lonely Christmas” by Prince. So, put down that eggnog and join us in some healthy holiday crankiness as we channel our humbug into our writing… Ready? Let’s get scroogey!
For a anti-Christmassy writing exercise, ditch the jolly merriment and instead, write a short first-person narrative explaining why you (whoever your “you” is) hate Christmas. One rule: don’t investigate the usual unhappy holiday themes like loneliness or family tensions. Stick to the absurd and come up with a totally new reason someone would be a killjoy over the holidays—a fear of Santa? Red-green color blindness? A peppermint allergy? Or, maybe an elaborate criminal scheme that meets its end precisely at the hour of 12 midnight on December 25th, shattering the personal life of your narrator and permanently associating the holiday with ruin? Just a thought. I’ll be writing mine in a diary format, which you might find works for your Grinch too. Give your curmudgeon a name, a quick backstory, and a contempt for Christmas, and you’ll be on your not-so-merry way.
It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it will get your fingers moving and your imagination working. Merry Christmas, and happy writing!
Cleaver newsletter editor Layla Murphy is an Iranian-American writer—when she’s not being a refugee resettlement case manager, a restaurant host, or a Spanish tutor, that is. While a student at the University of Pennsylvania, she co-founded Quake Magazine, a publication dedicated to exploring sex and sexuality through art. She has also written for 34th Street Magazine and The Daily Pennsylvanian. Read her essays and poetry on a personal blog: aslongastherearepoppies.com. Got a Writing Tip for our newsletter and feature? Email her at [email protected].
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