christmas-stories

Q: What’s the worst Christmas comic you’ve ever read? — @franzferdinand2

A: Folks, I have read a lot of Christmas comics. For a while, they were the only thing I actually “collected.” I’d buy any Christmas story I could find, any comic with Santa Claus in it, anything that had the requisite number of sleighs and trees with lights on ‘em, and as a result, I have seen some genuinely terrible Christmas stories. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good ones too, but when you’re reading every Christmas story out there, you run across plenty that are overly cynical, mean-spirited, or just plain not very good.

And every now and then, you read the two-part Krampus story in Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, which is a piece of work unto itself.

ASK CHRIS: TAROT AND THE KRAMPUS AND THE WORST CHRISTMAS STORY

5 Christmas Novellas by Charles Dickens

1. A Christmas Carol. London: Chapman & Hall, 1843. [viii], 166, [2] pp. Four hand-colored engraved plates and illustrations in the text by John Leech. FIRST ISSUE.
2. The Chimes. London: Chapman and Hall, 1845. [viii], 175, [1] pp. Additional engraved title, frontispiece, illustrations throughout by John Leech, Richard Doyle, and others. FIRST STATE.
3. The Cricket on the Hearth. London: for the author by Bradbury and Evans, 1846. [viii], 174, [2] pp. Additional engraved title, frontispiece and illustrations throughout by John Leech, Richard Doyle and others. FIRST EDITION.
4. The Battle of Life. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1846. [viii], 175, [3] pp. Additional engraved title, frontispiece, illustrations throughout by Daniel Maclise, Richard Doyle, John Leech and others. FIRST EDITION.
5. The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1848. [viii], 188 pp. Additional engraved title, frontispiece and illustrations throughout by John Tenniel, John Leech and others. FIRST EDITION.

All bound in full crimson morocco, spine gilt, upper covers with morocco inlay vignettes depicting characters from each of the works, a.e.g., all with original cloth bound in at rear, for Henry Sotheran. Custom cloth slipcase. Mild fading to original cloth on some volumes, spines somewhat sunned.

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“Some new remembrance of the ghostly figures in the Bells; some faint impression of the ringing of the Chimes; some giddy consciousness of having seen the swarm of phantoms reproduced and reproduced until the recollection of them lost itself in the confusion of their numbers; some hurried knowledge, how conveyed to him he knew not, that more years had passed; and Trotty, with the Spirit of the child attending him, stood looking on at mortal company.”
-The Chimes, Chapter IV

Taylor Swift is the quintessential American success story: Armed with little more than a guitar, a boatload of ambition, and an uncanny knack for creating a proliferation of perfect pop songs, Swift has spent a decade engineering her own perfectly executed rise from that storied Pennsylvania Christmas-tree farm to the covers of magazines like this one. (So many magazines…) The past 12 months mark Swift’s best year ever, she says: She became tourism ambassador for her adopted hometown of New York, playfully satirized tabloid perceptions of her, and pivoted from her country roots to debut her first-ever pop album, earning the Billboard Woman of the Year award for the second time and assuming her rightful role among a small circle of international superstars. Swift breaks album sales records like lesser pop stars break hearts, all while somehow retaining the same wide-eyed charm that made her so likable in the first place.
—  Maxim Hot List (x)
Wanna Hear A Cute Christmas Story??

No?

Screw you.

I'ma tell it anyhoo.

So, one Christmas I wore a santa hat at my register. Most kids thought I was Santa, despite the fact that I am young skinny girl. 

I knew they thought I was Santa cause they would listen and they just stared at me in wonder and awe.

One little girl worked up the nerve to ask me. “A-aare you Santa?”

I giggled a little. “No silly, I'ma elf.”

She gasped. “A eff!” then her eyes narrowed. “You awful taww for an eff.”

I giggled again. “I’m not normally this tall. But because they needed the extra help down here, they gaved me vitamins and vegables, and POOFED, I growed all up!”

She gasped, hiding a little bit behind where my scale was. But she wasn’t quite convinced.

“Den how you get hewe?”

I paused in my checking, leaned over and softly sang. “Rudolph with your nose so bright. Won’t you guide my sleigh to–”

I didn’t even get to finish, cause she was clapping her hands and jumping around. 

“Wudolph!? You bwought Wudolph?”

I was like. “Ssssh, it’s a secret.”

She covered her mouth and said much softer. “You.. has Wudolph.. here?”

By this point her parents are either awed, or horrified, I couldn’t quite tell.

I nodded. “He’s double parked outside, but you can’t see him cause he has an invisibility cloak on for his own protection.”

She gasped. “Bu-but, what if de caws can’t see him!”

I shook my head. “Oh Rudi is a smart Reindeer. He knows when to fly to the roof and avoid crowds. I got him plenty of berries and treats so he don’t get too bored.”

She nodded in understanding. Of course I couldn’t just let the most famous reindeer of all just scamper about without the protection of an invisibility cloak.

“Y'know, I couldn’t be here without Rudi. It gets really foggy back home and gosh, it would be horrible to get LOST.”

She was just nodding along. 

“D-dussat mean you know…Sanny Claus." 

My eyes must have lit up like Christmas trees cause she jumped back and gasped.

"Oh, of course me and Sanny are tight. I mean, he only sends him most trusted elves to walmart.”

“Does he WEALLY have a list?”

I narrowed my eyes. “What did you say your name was again?”

Her eyes got huge. “Lisa.”

“Ahhh,  yes, Lisa. On the good list this year. Do you eat your veggies and listen to your parents?” She nodded her head. “D'ya pick up your toys and help out?” She nodded. Her parents nodded too.

“Ahh, I can see why you’re on the good list. And on the count you been so good about keeping me and Rudy’s secret.” She zipped her lips and threw away the key. “Ahh. I guess I could talk to the big guy. Just tell me, what’s something you really really REALLY want, and I’ll make sure he knows.”

At this point both parents are trying to lean in and hear us. I bent down next to her and she cupped her hand to mine and said. “A choo choo train.”

“A choo choo train?” I said as I pulled away, her dad looked ready to break into a celebratory dance. “A train that goes "wooh woooh chugga chugga” she nodded her head.

“Alrighty.” I had already gotten their total ready. I told them their total, took out a piece of paper and wrote “Dear Sanny, Lisa wants a choo choo train” on a piece of receipt tape and handed it, along with her parents.

She was so excited. Her dad was excited too. He picked her up and she kept on waving as they left. Her mom stayed behind.

“I… I just wanted to thank you.”

I shrugged. “It’s all good.”

“No, you don’t understand. She wrote her letter to Santa and mailed it. She wouldn’t let us look at it. We had no idea she wanted a train set. You just… thank you.”

“Your welcome, I’m glad I could help.”

“And..  you ..  you had that thing… thought out… like really detailed thought out.”

I shrugged. “I have ADHD ma'am. I know kids ask questions. It’s reckon I’d want answers to the important ones. Merry Christmas.”

“Yes yes… Merry Christmas.”

And that’s probably the coolest fucking thing that’s ever happened to me at work.

Taylor Swift Is #1 on the 2015 Maxim Hot 100

Dazzling, self-assured, and ferociously talented, Taylor Swift is the world’s most relevant and intriguing woman. Now what will she do for an encore?

Taylor Swift is the quintessential American success story: Armed with little more than a guitar, a boatload of ambition, and an uncanny knack for creating a proliferation of perfect pop songs, Swift has spent a decade engineering her own perfectly executed rise from that storied Pennsylvania Christmas-tree farm to the covers of magazines like this one. (So many magazines…) The past 12 months mark Swift’s best year ever, she says: She became tourism ambassador for her adopted hometown of New York, playfully satirized tabloid perceptions of her, and pivoted from her country roots to debut her first-ever pop album, earning the BillboardWoman of the Year award for the second time and assuming her rightful role among a small circle of international superstars. Swift breaks album sales records like lesser pop stars break hearts, all while somehow retaining the same wide-eyed charm that made her so likable in the first place.  She is also deeply unconcerned with whether or not you consider her attractive, which of course only makes her more so. We spoke with Swift, as she wrapped up the last day of her 1989 tour rehearsals, about life on the road, feminism, and what it feels like to be named by Maxim the most talented woman alive.

How does it feel being named No. 1?

It’s really nice and such an incredible compliment. This year has been my favorite year of my life so far. I got to make an album exactly the way I wanted to make it. I got to put it out exactly the way that I dreamed of putting it out. Every one of these kinds of whims and ideas came to fruition. The videos—I’m proud of those, I’m proud of the tour, I’m proud of the way this has all happened. In the midst of all that, this is really nice. It really feels like a wonderful celebration of my favorite year.

You’re getting ready to go on tour for “1989.” What are you doing to prepare?

We’ve been in rehearsals for months, trying to get the live instrumental versions of these songs to as close to the album sounds as possible. And also you’re lengthening things, creating mash- ups with things. It was fun to play around and get everything sonically right before we got on the actual stage and started doing the choreography. But before all that—probably close to a year ago—we started setting the stage, so that was when the drawing started. Now all we have to do is actually…do the tour.

Given all that, how do you make time for all your friendships? It seems like everyone is your best friend. Can I be your best friend? 

[Laughs] Thankfully, 10 years into my career now, I’ve learned how to work in a smarter way. You have to have time to breathe and have a happy life, and friendships are so important to me. Thankfully—thanks to the fans—now we get to play stadiums, so we do two or three stadium shows a week. I’ll see my friends in whichever city I’m closer to.

You’ve become more vocal about feminism recently. What changed?

Honestly, I didn’t have an accurate definition of feminism when I was younger. I didn’t quite see all the ways that feminism is vital to growing up in the world we live in. I think that when I used to say, “Oh, feminism’s not really on my radar,” it was because when I was just seen as a kid, I wasn’t as threatening. I didn’t see myself being held back until I was a woman. Or the double standards in headlines, the double standards in the way stories are told, the double standards in the way things are perceived. A man writing about his feelings from a vulnerable place is brave; a woman writing about her feelings from a vulnerable place is oversharing or whining. Misogyny is ingrained in people from the time they are born. So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality.

(x)

THE FACE OF A CHILD.

One more Christmas story.

Yesterday a man and woman came in with their little boy - three, maybe four years old - and they nudged him up to the counter then stepped back. The little boy stared at me. The dad said, “Tell him.”

The kid said, “I need one stamp, please,” and laid an envelope in front of me. It simply said, “Santa. The North Pole.” It was written in glitter, clearly by the kid himself.

So, I took the letter and said, “Oh, letters to Santa don’t need a stamp. We have this big white bag that we put all the letters to him in and then it gets shipped directly to the North Pole.” He smiled really big and then he backed away and finally hid his face against the dad’s leg. They smiled at me and left.

A couple of minutes later, the mom reappeared. “Can I have that back?” she asked. “I’m going to show it to him when he’s 35.”

After they were gone I started thinking about the whole experience. How magical it had been to see his wide-eyed wonder and his innocent belief that Santa would be holding his letter - his letter - by the end of the day. I don’t have kids and I don’t want kids and I’m glad I never had kids, but that was something people without kids actually do miss out on.

And the realization was powerful.