my only christmas tradition: rare exports and the official safety instructions

“Just before the first snow of winter falls, professional hunters begin their work. The long process of tracking, hunting and transforming this king of the forest into a finished product is a time consuming process, but the final outcome is a reason to celebrate.”

Rare Exports Inc. (2003) from Woodpecker Film.

“Not meant for the public eye, this film reveals the dark reality of what’s wrong with company’s product. With its primitive instincts triggered by bad behaviour of people around it, the seemingly tame Father Christmas will forget the intensive training and turn into a brutal beast. You better watch out, you better not cry, there’s no room for mistakes.”

Rare Exports: The Official Safety Instructions (2005) from Woodpecker Film.

get it here

Nato, a dear, dreadfully clever and entirely nifty friend of mine, has gone into the very niche business of selling LED Christmas Trees at This thrills me. Oh yes. For I have seen these trees, and lo, they are awesome.

The first time I encountered an LED tree was years and years ago while I was still in the habit of occasionally Christmas shopping, (yes, I’ve mostly recovered). The retailers had rented a gutted section of failed stores, taken down the plywood frontage, littered the space with enchanting, glowing trees, and didn’t install any lights. Stepping from the grossly shiny Christmas shopping bustle, commercials and glam into a dark, fairy-tale area of soft, gleaming, colourful trees… It was stellar, wondrous. Completely Narnia. I may never forget it. It felt like creeping around a corner and stumbling sideways into the fantastic. Science as a substitute for the mad ceremonial waste of precious tree flesh. Pretty science. Pretty and really, really neat, making me happy in a gleeful child sort of way, like that “magic” wand I posted.

I love the internet world we live in, how connected we can be to anything we like. I love that something I’d always thought of as skin riveting rare is something that a friend is in business in. I especially like the white ones that look like some deliriously designed set piece created for a preposterous yet super stylish retro-future. Timeless and absurd, all at once, the Christmas tree Barbarella would ask for to go with her albino bearskin space-ship, or a fashionable, couture Dexter, (Showtime’s nonsensical, blood-splatter serial killer who feels nothing, but for ANGST!), to go with his immaculate, crimson clean lab. I’m obscurely proud that Nato keeps one hanging upside down above his desk, a cheerful lunatic lamp all year round. I want to do the same.

Of course, that said, it’s not like I’ve done Christmas for several years. This year, though, David and I are batting around the idea of having a Hannekuweenmas house-warming party, (it’s not our fault he wasn’t moved in by October 31st), an all day non-denominational, costumes optional, holiday social and house party, with crepes in the morning, tea in the afternoon, and candle-lit silent black and white horror films until dawn. What do you think? Would you come?

Thanks to a new technique, DNA strands can be easily converted into tiny fibre optic cables that guide light along their length.

and I still don’t know who sent me this song

I’ve got Low playing on repeat, as loud as the laptop can sing to me. The rain outside is pounding in heavy sheets of water, occasionally relenting, but not enough to let me out so I’m making cookies. Dancing in black jeans and a pink lace bra, I’m sifting the dry together to top of my voice holiday music, this is so out of place for me that I might like it today. I want to thank whomever it was what sent me this song, it’s been brightening my time stuck inside to a bell peal glow. The train rhythm especially makes me bounce, and the sweetly sung lyrics remind me of back when the holidays meant something, back before my dad lost sanity.

We lived on Grandview Highway one year, over by Boundry. A white stucco house with bright red steps, a plum tree in the back and a two story garage. It’s not there anymore, though the house down the street where the witch lived is still there and the house with the adopted kids. There was a silver flake tank underneath my window which had the most wonderful boom to it, my feet could never move silently on it, (boom-thud-boom), just tall enough to climb. I would sneak out at night and was always amazed when no-one heard me coming home. We had snow that year, heaps, enough that people still talk about it. I think I was six. It was the edge of my fathers insanity, the spring upcoming was the beginning of hell, a foster-home waited, but at the time, we didn’t know that. It was piles of shining white to build tunnels through, to ride my sled down at the park next to the highway. It was the year the elf came to the door.

I was supposed to be in bed, my parents were in the livingroom, maybe with a glass of wine. I was lying in my doorway, wrapped in my blanket, ready to dart into my room the moment they stepped toward the hallway. I couldn’t see them, but I could hear them. I was going to fall asleep there, listening to the low murmur of my family, when there was someone outside. A knock on the heavy door and my father opened it. I crept farther out into the hall to see. A man was there in green, with pointy shoes and a fluffy santa hat. It was a bit unbelievable, I was raised to be a rather adult child, and that’s when I fell asleep. I hid in my bed from my parents, who peered in to peek at me, and didn’t open my eyes until morning. Outside he had a pick-up truck full of toys and holiday goodies. If I think about this too much, I’m going to cry. It was my first real christmas, maybe my only one. We had the tree put up and presents underneath. I woke up to paper wrapped boxes and candy canes. I wonder where the pictures are.

I think now that my teacher must have signed us up for a charity. She as a wonderful woman, and I think about her sometimes. She had brown hair and the kindest smile, the only nice adult at school. I consider stopping by Renfrew Elementary and seeing if I could track her down. I don’t even remember her name.

here, have the song