The Emporium Gazette
Issue 20 -- December 2000

The Horriday Season
by Bob Nailor

It's that time of season, again. Everyone is filled with love and joy in an absolute mockery of the facts. Yes, beneath this facade lurks a villainous truth; a truth that none are willing to accept.


During the holiday season we seem to be able to candy coat the darker side of human nature in a gleeful, happy window dressing. We are nurtured in this from childhood.

How? Easy. There are dozens of cartoons based on old stories that demonstrate the love and oozing peace that comes from within the human heart during the holiday season. But did you see the subtle horror woven into the story?

Need some examples?

Frosty the Snowman has to melt, leave the children and make the most of the cold. Bottom line, we're talking about Death at the door, the trials and tribulations of separation and being happy about freezing your buns off.

Look at the familiar in a new perspective, a dark side. Most people have seen "A Nightmare Before Christmas" and enjoyed it. Isn't it strange that a dark look at the holiday was a major box office hit? Even Jack got caught in the "up" holiday spirit.

When was the last time you were grinched? Did you recognize that cute variation of "A Christmas Story" where at the end the heart is warmed and all is forgiven? Bah, humbug. You don't melt that many years of hard meanness with one soft, willowy-eyed smile. Just another marketing ploy to make money.

Remember, horror doesn't have to be violence and gore. You can have just as many using the psychological angles of the season.

The original "A Christmas Story" had some very strong horror elements. Ebenezer had to deal with three ghosts, relive a hurtful youth, face reality of the current situation and the knowledge of what could be. The movie is riddled with horror elements, but for some reason, the public is willing to accept the film as a holiday classic. Just remember, it was a book first.

There's a whole new market out there just ripe for the picking. Don't you just love big, juicy strawberries--especially out of season? Then my horriday season is for you.

Look carefully at the cute cartoons and stories being told during the season, see the underlaying horror that is used as its basis. Look beyond the tastefully and colorfully wrapped gifts to what transpired in its giving.

There's a lot of horror in the purchasing of the perfect gift. Dig deep into your memory and regurgitate those emotions that you've held back regarding the holiday season shopping.

There can't be good without bad. There can't be light without dark. The horror is there, trimmed in the season's red and green (profit!).

Happy Horridays.

Bob Nailor is author of "The Secret Voice," an Amish-Christian story, "Pangaea, Eden Lost," an adventure story, "Three Steps: The Journeys of Ayrold," a Celtic fantasy, and "2012: Timeline Apocalypse," an end-of-time tale. He is also included in several anthologies and collections. Check his website at

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