"Richard Has A Christmas Village..."
November 15, 2015 5:37 AM   Subscribe

"I sold my wife’s clothes to build a Christmas village in my parents’ basement." “Oh, Richard has a Christmas village,” my mother said, and began to explain it in painstaking detail. And while I listened to her confuse my post office and library, gloss over my recreation area, and completely fuck up my all-embracing vision, I became assured that there was only a teeny little chance that Litia and I would ever have sex again.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon (108 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
The description of his obsession is fascinatingly mundane, but I feel bad for his wife. I mean it's a cute hobby, but part of me wishes he was spending their/her money on something they could both enjoy, like a giant metal chicken.
posted by ordinary_magnet at 5:53 AM on November 15, 2015 [56 favorites]


Full disclosure: I may, or may not, have a small Department 56 Dickens Christmas Village of my own.
It fits nicely on the floor of our fireplace, and I have NOT sold any of my wife's clothing to support it.
I make enough moonlighting as a chimney sweep specializing in small, 1" chimneys.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 5:56 AM on November 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


I hope he told her about selling her clothes before this was published, since I can't imagine the surprise revelation going well.

As someone who doesn't really collect anything (books and tools partially excepted), I don't really understand the compulsion but do find it interesting. This seems like a hobby related to model railroading, but also different. The railroad guys I've met were really into the construction aspects, along with painting and sculpting the landscape, whereas this seems more about acquiring and displaying parts of a set.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:01 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Reading about his obsession made me hope this was a work of fiction, but at least one other person mentioned, Milt Hildebrandt, is real.
posted by TedW at 6:04 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


... part of me wishes he was spending their/her money on something they could both enjoy, like a giant metal chicken.

Perchance are you from Marietta, GA?
posted by TedW at 6:06 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


He looks like the type of guy who would fail horribly at The Feats of Strength, but would really have something to say during The Airing of Grievances.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 6:10 AM on November 15, 2015 [25 favorites]


Don't be ridiculous, TedW. Everyone needs a giant metal chicken.

One of our home networks is named KnockKnock. I'll leave it to you to guess the password.
posted by St. Hubbins at 6:10 AM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I would get this if he were actually building the houses himself, but really, he just buying mass-produced junk. It's no different than collecting Franklin Mint pieces.
posted by jfwlucy at 6:10 AM on November 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


This is fiction, isn't it? Or at least highly dramatized. Nobody can be that obtuse and observant at the same time.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:13 AM on November 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


It's not fiction. Came across this a few days ago and I think it's one of the most disturbing things I've ever read on the internet.
posted by oulipian at 6:20 AM on November 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


Yeah, I read this as fiction, but knowing it's not fills me with uneasy disbelief.
posted by johnnydummkopf at 6:24 AM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I thought it was fiction when I started reading it but started wondering about a third of the way through. I checked the same name as TedW did above, and then looked at the top and bottom to see that it was listed as a memoir. I assume that there are exaggerations for effect, like in most writing, but otherwise it reads like a confessional of mental illness and/or addictive behavior in the modern style. It's a lot more unusual than the usual story of alcohol and drugs, but the underlying behaviors are familiar.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:33 AM on November 15, 2015


I know people with obsessive collections (vinyl records, cars, antique computers, pre-1940 Lionel standard gauge trains, etc) but they have jobs that support their mania.
posted by octothorpe at 6:40 AM on November 15, 2015


I suspect it's basically true, but exaggerated for effect, in the manner of David Sedaris. Here's an interview and a poem for contrast.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:41 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


“Playing God” was written with the support of the literary journalism program at the Banff Centre.

Literary journalism, eh?
posted by chavenet at 6:42 AM on November 15, 2015


As with many addicts, he's managed to surround himself with enablers.
posted by Slothrup at 6:43 AM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure why anyone would willingly choose to exaggerate "I am an asshole who secretly dislikes everyone I pretend to love" for effect. I mean, that essay was hideous to everyone. It made my skin crawl and I kind of wanted to stop reading it, but I was sort of hoping for some level of redemption in the end, but there wasn't any. It was just narcissism all the way down.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:46 AM on November 15, 2015 [26 favorites]


Like Major Matt Mason Dixon, I too have a small Christmas village (which, in parts, is not to scale).
I have added to it off and on over the years, usually by buying one inexpensive piece off Ebay every year. It is a pleasant decoration that affords me joy. Upon reading this article, my first impulse was to smash the whole thing to bits because I didn't want any points of similarity between Richard Emick and myself.
posted by dannyboybell at 6:59 AM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


That was a horror story. I mean, I guess it's all "let's use Sedaris-esque satire to interrogate bourgeois notions of selfhood, family, etc" but I'm starting to think that this approach has a limited utility.

Also, I was a little troubled by the fact that this story probably wouldn't be salable if it were by a woman, because part of the kick of the story is gender/sexuality discomfort - the "it's almost like he's....gay!!!! Or at least...effeminate enough that women won't like him!!!!!" theme - squickers.

I have to say, though that if you're going to post this kind of story, this was an excellent story to pick - totally creepy, excellent selection for a single link post, extremely readable, probably way more memorable than I would have wished going in.
posted by Frowner at 6:59 AM on November 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


Why on earth are people comparing this to addiction? It's not like he's on some downward slope that'll leave him hollow-eyed and selling his body for a little roasted-chestnut cart. He has an interest, it is nearly-all-consuming, and everyone around him is aware of it and okay with it. It's not an addiction, it's not an obsession, it's a different category of thing. It's not hidden, it doesn't seem to exist primarily as a way of avoiding stresses. It gives him a sense of meaning--one that he recognizes is not generally shared, one that he is able to have a sense of humor about. Enablers? The girlfriend certainly doesn't have to stick around for it; the fact that she does, may say she recognizes some deeper humanity in him, than he is necessarily able to portray in this piece.

I am reminded of David Finch with his "The Journal of Best Practices," when I read this piece, in both style and the mindset and relationships portrayed. In both cases, there's a reading in which the author is a self-absorbed asshole who is corrosive to the wellbeing of everyone around him, and then another, more charitable reading, that says we are awfully judgmental about people who are trying to tell us something important about themselves, and it's strange how quickly we put ourselves into the shoes of the poor victims in their families, rather than in those of the narrators themselves.

(Disclaimer: I bitch at my mom every year about her Christmas Village buildings because I can't stand the things and want them crushed into powder.)
posted by mittens at 7:00 AM on November 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


I'd like a read from Litia's pov.
posted by parki at 7:01 AM on November 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


Whether you think the addiction comparison is appropriate or not, he has literally stolen from his wife for years to support his interest. It's not exactly benign.
posted by obfuscation at 7:03 AM on November 15, 2015 [41 favorites]


I'm a Department 56 Christmas in the City person, except we expand our city for half the sticker cost thanks to people on eBay with buyers remorse. (Or their heirs trying to get rid of the estate.) Each of the buildings means something to our life. For example, this year we're getting a diner because we go to a diner for breakfast each week. And yes, some years things verged on macabre.

I read this piece believing it was going to be a darker Jean Teasdale from the Onion work of satire, but nope. This guy is bona fide awful. He's ungrateful to those who try to buy him pieces. He's stealing from his wife!

But thanks for posting it!
posted by kimberussell at 7:14 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


that says we are awfully judgmental about people who are trying to tell us something important about themselves, and it's strange how quickly we put ourselves into the shoes of the poor victims in their families, rather than in those of the narrators themselves.

But we're also reading this in a world where, for real, people are encouraged to tolerate and/or deny really awful stuff going on in their families, especially stuff perpetrated by men. I surmise that he's actually joking about the stealing clothes - or exaggerating, he took a bin of stuff that was being donated to the consignment shop instead of the Salvation Army or something - but "we are all totally onboard with my quirky hobby where I steal from my wife" is obviously going to be a bit of a button-pusher for people.

I think that this type of story is a bit more trolling than you're assuming - it's not just "let me tell you about my quirky humanity", it's "let me tell you about my quirky humanity in a way that will push you either to be super judgy or to accept actual abusive practice and creepy interiority as just a cute old quirk". Like, his family - as depicted - is pretty emotionally abusive, too, if you ask me.

Obviously he's making himself out as worse than he is because he's not chronically intentionally unemployed, he's a grad student.

The economics of the story are quite interesting and I'd be curious to know if they're exaggerated at all - is a teacher's salary plus odd jobs plus a grad student stipend such a tight economic squeeze for two nowadays that you have to dumpster your possessions? I am prepared to believe it, but that's pretty fucking dire in terms of being able to support a kid.
posted by Frowner at 7:17 AM on November 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


Why on earth are people comparing this to addiction?

The piece is tagged on the original site with "addiction" and "obsession." Maybe those are jokes, but reading it I don't think so.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:23 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is a teacher's salary plus odd jobs plus a grad student stipend such a tight economic squeeze for two nowadays that you have to dumpster your possessions?

Well, they do live in Vancouver. So, possibly?
posted by jacquilynne at 7:26 AM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I am going to believe this is fiction, because otherwise this is the worst person in the world.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:45 AM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Well, maybe not the worst, but a real asshole.
posted by Omnomnom at 7:50 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Next stop, Willoughby."
posted by fairmettle at 8:03 AM on November 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


My wife doesn’t realize that I’ve been selling articles of her clothing for the past three years. We’ve been living together for only two. “Where’d that striped top go? ” she asked once. I feigned ignorance and then inconspicuously checked our Kijiji account to make sure I’d deleted the ad. I got a whole $23 dollars for it.
When I read something like that I picture it being a self deprecating joke he tells at a dinner with friends with his wife sitting there laughing. Hyperbole to mock his devotion to a silly hobby, since of course they didn't do it that way (his wife sold it, because she didn't like it, he joked "now I can afford a lamppost!"). He probably repeats this one a lot. So it goes in the story.

I hope it's something like that, anyway. I avoid memoir stuff so I tend to assume it's all made up.
posted by mark k at 8:12 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


So he's been stealing from her for a year longer than she has been living with him.

I hope she gets a good lawyer.
posted by winna at 8:26 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


The one element of that particular anecdote that makes it hard to believe is this: what kind of top could someone on a teacher's salary possibly own that would fetch $23 on Kijiji as a used item?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:29 AM on November 15, 2015 [35 favorites]


He's ungrateful to those who try to buy him pieces.

Well, I'll defend him on this count: it's crummy to buy a hobbyist a gift related to their hobby without at least asking them what they want.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:32 AM on November 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


This guy is the narrator of The Soul Is Not A Smithy, grown into young adulthood, still 15-20 years from becoming the dad from the Lego Movie.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:36 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Huh, I just thought the story was funny. I was reading it in my head in David Sedaris' voice though, and I am already familiar with reading over the "Poor Hugh!!" feelings.
posted by artychoke at 8:36 AM on November 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Disturbing.
posted by Argyle at 8:39 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


The railroad guys I've met were really into the construction aspects, along with painting and sculpting the landscape, whereas this seems more about acquiring and displaying parts of a set.

I have no outlet in my nomadic life for my modelling hobby, but I am always fascinated looking at little scale things. And when I see those photos I cringe, they look half finished. Where's the highlighting, where's the weathering? You've gotta hit that clock with a black wash, dude!
posted by Meatbomb at 9:03 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


One thing that I found interesting is that his collection actually doesn't sound like it's that extensive, for all his obsessing about it. Maybe a few thousand dollars worth of stuff? If his family finances weren't so desperate I wonder if he'd scale up dramatically, or if the obsession is based in part on the fact that this feels to him like an extravagance.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:03 AM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I also read this as fiction, and found it very funny.
If...since?...it's true, I guess his writing career is doing better, as he has now published more than a poetry book destined to sell 12 copies.
posted by chapps at 9:11 AM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I totally understand his obsession and, to be honest, I've never let myself get started with Christmas village stuff because I don't think I could stop. As a child, I adored my brother's train set. Actually, I didn't really care about the trains but I loved building the surrounding towns and landscapes. And in 7th grade, the art teacher asked us to "draw where we wanted to live." One by one, kids conducted tours of their imaginary dwellings, with their hot tubs and home theaters. When it was my turn, everyone seemed confused when I started pointing out the park system lining the river, the historic downtown, etc.

Reader, I became a city planner.
posted by carmicha at 10:05 AM on November 15, 2015 [83 favorites]


I never understood how the last step in the plan when you build one of these miniature villages is not to put on a fur thong, get yourself a big ass wooden club, and stomp it to bits.
posted by Sphinx at 10:16 AM on November 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


Disturbing

Disturbingly easy to relate to. When my eldest was 2 1/2 and able to appreciate the magic of Christmas, he came downstairs on Christmas morning to find Santa had left a Lionel O gauge train around the tree which may or may not be similar to the one daddy had wanted his entire life. Now every December we take a trip to the mom and pop train store to buy the new Lionel Christmas car. And maybe we also come home with a water tower or a motorized train crossing, or a town square or a singing Santa. And maybe we have a train station with shoppers returning home from the city with bags of packages. And maybe now there's a sledding hill with kids having a snowball fight and maybe that old lady on the porch down the hill is yelling at those kids and maybe there's a couple kids out back of the old lady's house painting graffiti on her garage that says "you suck" and maybe that Santa has some tiny coal chunks in his bag and maybe the rooftop he's standing on belongs to one of those kids. And maybe this year a piece of plywood is already in the garage textured and painted white like snow and maybe it has holes drilled in it so the lights in the tiny houses are permanently wired. And maybe my kids aren't allowed to touch anything, not because it's Daddy's train village, but just that it's breakable and we'll never be able to replace the passenger car full of elves that some little monster destroyed a couple years ago, because Daddy has searched and searched and can't find a replacement and I'm not angry, just sad and disappointed. And maybe it takes so much time to put this all up every year that it is going to stay up in the guest room all year so that further modifications can be made through the the rest of the year.

I've never sold my wife's clothes to buy a working train switch tower but I've definitely asked my wife if she could make my car payment because I always seem to be a little short on cash around Christmastime you know because of presents to buy and stuff.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:17 AM on November 15, 2015 [44 favorites]


My fingers are twitching to grab the puppy in a box figurine and just paint some damn holes on the cardboard.

But, I paint as a hobby and my husband builds airplane models, so "how can I paint the shit out of that?" is a frequent discussion in our house.

It would be kinda cool if he purposefully modified stuff to make a dark Christmas village.
posted by Squeak Attack at 10:21 AM on November 15, 2015


I am flabbergasted by the amount of institutional support that went into producing this mortifying dreck.
posted by bibliotropic at 10:34 AM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I read this piece believing it was going to be a darker Jean Teasdale from the Onion work of satire, but nope. This guy is bona fide awful. He's ungrateful to those who try to buy him pieces. He's stealing from his wife!

See, I read all of that as a mix of hyperbole and something kind of like sarcasm, with a big dose of making-fun-of-himself. I write kind of like this sometimes, and people often don't get it. I'm not saying my reading is the right one, only that his tone mostly worked for me. And if his wife is anything like my partner, she's used to and OK with things like the striped-shirt joke, which might be literally true, or true but in a slanted way, or a kind of fanciful example of the sort of thing he might do if the right kind of soda fountain were at stake.
posted by not that girl at 10:54 AM on November 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Covertly selling your wife's clothes to buy yourself some trinkety figurine is some bizarre reverse-gift-of-the-magi stuff. If this story is fiction or a heavily embellished version of the truth, you'd think he'd at least write some sort of comeuppance or redemption into the narrative so he'd come off a little better.

I kinda want to sneak into his parents' basement and replace half his buildings with tiny Pinkberrys and Bank of America branches.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:00 AM on November 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


Absolutely a horror story. Surprised to read to the end and not see it end in murder.

Still, at least it's not League of Legends.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on November 15, 2015


I thought this was a pretty cute story, albeit a person with quite a weird hobby. I also read much of it tongue-in-cheek though. I don't think that he's literally stealing his wife's clothes and selling them to purchase figurines. Actually, nothing in here really seemed like he was spending too much on this hobby, all things considered. It still seems cheaper than regularly attending pro sports, or car racing, or a lot of other hobbies.
posted by ayedub at 11:24 AM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


A Million Little Yuletide Pieces
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:52 AM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Let's not forget Seth's Dominion.

I read this piece and thought it was fiction until it was posted here.
posted by lagomorphius at 11:55 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I knew it wasn't fiction, but... Yeah horror story.
posted by sweetkid at 12:23 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


This piece makes my "what would everyone say if this was written by a woman" senses tingle big time.
posted by gnomeloaf at 12:31 PM on November 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


What can you say about a guy who doesn't think that ice cream should be eaten in winter?
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 12:34 PM on November 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


I enjoyed it as a sort of David-Sedaris-y self-mocking piece about being a bourgeois white man with no real problems...but my husband is a Lego collector type and while I'm not really "on board" per se I also haven't tried in earnest to stop him now that we have enough space for all our stuff, so it seems like a cousin to our own family pathology. Plus my dad devoted much of my childhood garage to his Lionel layout, and I remember going to train conventions with him as a little girl and offering my opinions on various items he ought to acquire. Clearly this is just something some people find soothing, building little towns. I don't get it in that I don't feel any personal impulse to do it, but I don't not get it.

I mean, when this becomes really pathological is when you're Walt Disney and you buy a big parcel of land in Orange County so you can build your Christmas-village-style nostalgiaville so big that people can walk into the buildings. Lucky for him he found a way to monetize it, yeah?

In fact, now that I think of it, we have a Lego Christmas village we've set up a couple times. I expect we'll be too busy for it this year though.
posted by town of cats at 1:35 PM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


this story probably wouldn't be salable if it were by a woman, because part of the kick of the story is gender/sexuality discomfort

The first comparison I thought of was to Japanese otaku who fill their rooms with collected anime figures, games, DVDs, posters, and so on. Particularly because they tend (stereotypically, at least) to be male students or NEETs, since a full-time job would leave little time to build a collection. So if the implication is that his behavior is unusual for a man, I don't see it.
posted by Rangi at 1:35 PM on November 15, 2015


This reads like an example of the subgenre of stories told in the first person by an unreliable narrator who is revealed to be a homicidal psychopath. You'd almost expect a close reading to reveal a troubling contradiction which, when teased apart, reveals that he murdered his wife and/or his entire family, and has been reenacting an imaginary life for them in the Christmas village, whilst telling other people that they're on holiday and spending their life savings on miniature houses.
posted by acb at 1:36 PM on November 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


I knew I was going to hate this from the excerpt and I hate-read it anyway and now I want to set the author on fire, and I can't quite articulate why except that maybe I am just done with this kind of useless man-baby.
posted by corvine at 1:51 PM on November 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


Wow, Elizabeth Wurtzel's literary younger cousin. Memoir that hits some generational nail on the head while making you question the author's ability to function in any capacity beyond a 4 year old.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:09 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


So if the implication is that his behavior is unusual for a man, I don't see it.

I think the implication is that a woman couldn't tell this sort of tale about herslf and expect it to be taken as cute, because women aren't allowed to be so selfish.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:10 PM on November 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


This reads like an example of the subgenre of stories told in the first person by an unreliable narrator who is revealed to be a homicidal psychopath. You'd almost expect a close reading to reveal a troubling contradiction which, when teased apart, reveals that he murdered his wife and/or his entire family, and has been reenacting an imaginary life for them in the Christmas village, whilst telling other people that they're on holiday and spending their life savings on miniature houses.

Put's me in mind of this: Marwencol: the incredible WWII art project created by a cross-dresser who was beaten up by bigots - this guy basically doll-murders his oppressors every day as a kind of therapy.

I don't know, that's kind of uplifting and positive by comparison?
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Slarty Bartfast, I just don't get why you couldn't have bought those train collectibles for yourself instead of ostensibly getting them for the kids and making it this weird thing between you, where you get upset when they break stuff but it's really for them so you can't cop to it etc.?

I mean, it's a common dad comedy trope, but I never understood it!
posted by Omnomnom at 2:20 PM on November 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Another early influence.
posted by carmicha at 2:51 PM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just saying, the dude stalks little kids who have Christmas villages. He is not a good person.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 3:37 PM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's confessional fiction. I get the impression that some of the things he talks about are things that he thought about doing but did not actually do. This is common in this style of writing. I thought the piece was very human; I didn't get the feeling that he disliked or pretended to love the people in his life; and this renewed my long-set desire to get a Christmas village of my own like my grandmother used to have.
posted by sockermom at 4:17 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm looking forward to The Onion's exposé on this guy.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:17 PM on November 15, 2015


I think you folks are missing the entire point, which is:
Why the hell are there no pictures of the whole damn village?!
posted by madajb at 4:25 PM on November 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


I suspect because it fails to live upto advertising, if it exists.
posted by Artw at 4:30 PM on November 15, 2015


This is going to be required seasonal reading around these parts. Because every time I see an excessive amount of xmas holiday mania I'm going to assume it's some one just like the author. He is the king of christmas.
posted by zenon at 4:31 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know what's wrong with you people, good lord. I loved this story. Of course I didn't take it seriously as non-fiction (too many discrepancies, too much hyperbole) but the poetry here is magnificent. I read it by turns as heartbreaking and hilarious. Things like:
I know that many things about my relationship with the village seem illogical: the sweatshop tolerance, the fiscal foolishness, the fact that I don’t even really like Christmas. What can I say? Picasso’s cubism, Eliot’s modernism, Gandhi’s view of the human soul—each, in its way, disconnected from logic. But that is what happens when you try to create something beautiful in an unbeautiful world.
and
But then you’ll keep growing to the point where you no longer grow, and you are what you are, and the oyster-shaped world adults promised you will be revealed as a preamble to their pyramid scheme, something they’d stupidly bought into and now need you to as well. There’s nothing wrong with wishing for a different world. But one day, wishes won’t matter—or rather, you’ll realize they never mattered and were just one of the Santa Claus lies told to you by parents, teachers, and the elderly obese. By then, the end of the merge lane will have cornered you, and you’ll have to weave yourself into the traffic, seat-belted into unfathomable speed; but you’ll still wish for a perfection so still and silent, like rainbow trout in a frozen-through lake. My greatest fear? That this world will pass me over like I would a miniature man in a top hat, like something it has seen 1,000 times already and will see 10,000 times more.

But of course I’ll never say this. There’s only so much you can put in an unsolicited email to an adolescent boy.
...moved me to tears and made me laugh in the space of a few breaths. Thanks for the link, truly enjoyable.
posted by ZakDaddy at 5:00 PM on November 15, 2015 [21 favorites]


Marwencol strikes me as a different thing entirely; even just from the sheer perspective of the amount of creativity and ingenuity involved in its creation. I am way more impressed with someone who makes their own fictional town out of found wood, nails, shards of windscreen glass, nailpolish for blood, etc, than I am with someone who buys a whole lots of mass-produced stuff, no matter how much care and planning goes into the placement of said stuff. Which is not to say that I don't get the love of tiny and beautiful things, or the thought and organisation he's put into it (making sure you have a cop shop before you have a booze shop is the kind of thing you pay attention to in town sim games, and this is kind of one big, tangible town sim game).

I didn't hate the article, but I really hope he's exaggerating the level of obsession and the lengths to which he's prepared to inconvenience his wife to feed his hobby (not just selling her clothes, but deciding what items from "our" paycheque they'll have to do without, apparently without consulting her at all).
posted by andraste at 5:28 PM on November 15, 2015


I mentioned earlier how I pictured the real-life dynamic, and basically I wasn't horrified because I didn't believe the bad stuff.

Thinking about it a bit more the memoir tradition I put this in is Jerome K. Jerome. People are mentioning Sedaris as a reference point and he obviously exaggerates and plays up his flaws and all that, but I feel he's trying to stick to some broad outline of authenticity. They are almost different genres.

If you haven't read him, Jerome the writer though does a memoir where "Jerome K. Jerome" is just clueless and self-absorbed. Think of Bertie Wooster without his good-naturedness or any particular loyalty to friends. But you don't read Jerome and actually think he was ever laughing when a friend lay unconscious with a skull fracture while opening a can of beans sans can opener. This essay doesn't rise to those levels but I think (hope?) that's how he's intending it.

Also, Three Men on a Boat was one of the best audiobook choices I made. Just so you know.

One thing that I found interesting is that his collection actually doesn't sound like it's that extensive, for all his obsessing about it.

Also possibly this. In which case he's like a Chesterton hero, where his deep, shameful secret is he's actually a reasonably moderate guy with a hobby.
posted by mark k at 5:50 PM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't know what's wrong with you people, good lord. I loved this story.

Because it's creepy as all hell. It seriously reads, to me, like the confession of someone who, by the end of the story, found it necessary and perfectly logical to murder his wife to support his insane Christmas village hobby.

It's also the only Christmas-themed article I'll read this year that includes the phrases "apocalyptic fire", "operatic pain", and "What’d they do with the bodies?". And of course "the unsettling necessity of child labour".

It feels like he was reaching for a style like David Sedaris or even Dave Barry but couldn't quite pull it off because he has no human soul.

To each his own, I suppose...
posted by mmoncur at 6:07 PM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's also the only Christmas-themed article I'll read this year that includes the phrases "apocalyptic fire", "operatic pain", and "What’d they do with the bodies?". And of course "the unsettling necessity of child labour".

As ever if anyone finds more please do post them, this or any other Christmas.
posted by Artw at 6:10 PM on November 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


As he always did during the month of December, Santa stood on the upper level of his workshop watching the toys being assembled below and musing on the unsettling necessity of child labor.
posted by dannyboybell at 6:58 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh gosh, I thought this was hilarious. Lots of you took it way more seriously than I thought it was intended-I enjoyed the self-aware crazy. And I believe in my heart we all have shit like this-things we are weirdly into that can be consuming for us and completely irrelevant to the people we love.
posted by purenitrous at 7:01 PM on November 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


I grew up with Christmas village setup, so I'm not gonna badmouth that.

Mostly I just read this feeling sorry for the guy. He has nothing going for him other than this village and being married, and he's kinda generally failing at life, and playing god with his tiny little village is the only thing making him happy. I feel for him the way I do video game addicts--they can't win in the real world so they win in a fake one, because it's easier to win in a fake world. He hates the world he lives in now (well, who doesn't). He's afraid his wife is gonna love a baby more than him.

All I have to show for my quarter-century on the planet are two worthless arts degrees, my job as a self-employed dog walker, and a book of poetry destined to sell fewer than twelve copies. My Christmas village—bustling with eighteen buildings, more than sixty people, and countless accessories—is probably the most impressive thing I’ll do with my life. And I’m okay with that.

I kinda don't think he's okay with that, but he doesn't exactly see other options out there for him in the future as a worthless artist sort. I know how that goes. The village is all he has control over.

"My greatest fear? That this world will pass me over like I would a miniature man in a top hat, like something it has seen 1,000 times already and will see 10,000 times more."

This is his way of not being passed over, you guys.

On the other hand, if he's actually stealing from his wife, if I was the wife, he would be getting a cock punch.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:25 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm weirdly disturbed by how disturbed some people are. I don't think he's actually selling his girlfriend's things. I think that was a weird little joke-story. Other than that, what's scary? He goes to stores where they sell this stuff? He knows the brands? If he were talking about comic books and action figures and making costumes instead of setting up Christmas villages, nobody would be all that disturbed. All-consuming hobbies are all-consuming hobbies. What's the difference between this buy and all the people at comic-cons? (Well, one difference is that his hobby is practiced primarily a few months a year, not even year round).

So the reason I, in particular, am disturbed that everyone is so disturbed, is that I have a Christmas village connection. Not me, but my mom (with lots of participation from me and encouragement from everyone who has ever seen it) puts up a big christmas village. It's probably a total of 20 feet long (total, she set is up going around a corner...so one wall is probably about 8 feet long and maybe another 10 feet along the adjoining wall) and 3-5 feet deep (depending on where). There are more than 70 buildings. Hundreds of people, animals and trees. There's a farm, a lake, a river, a forest, and of course all the town stuff. The backdrop is a giant lit up sky made of navy blue fabric with white LEDs poking through. Santa flies over the village. It takes maybe 3 days to set up.

She's built up her collection over maybe 25 years. We usually go out and buy things right after Christmas. She hasn't stolen from anyone to do it. She's always happy to get buildings or people or whatever as gifts, though not everything gets included every year. Most of what has been culled over the years has been due to scale. Some of the houses bought in the first few years were just too small to fit with everything else.

In conclusion:
1. I don't think this guy steals from his wife.
2. I think the story is playing up the "obsessiveness" of his interest for comedic effect.
3. My mother's Christmas village is awesome.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:02 PM on November 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


He seems very sad to me- like this is the last bit of his childhood he's hanging onto, and knows that at some point he's going to have to give it up. But the story itself really does do a lot of meditation on what you are supposed to be by a certain time. He is only 25- a moment I distantly remember as being filled with angst to begin with. He doesn't know yet that the 20's are a miserable hell, only good for being pretty so people won't eat you.
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 9:10 PM on November 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh, and part of the reason that I had trouble seeing him as obsessed is that he only has twenty buildings. My mom thinks about this maybe 2 months out of the year and really pours time into it about 2 weeks out of the year and she has 3 times as many. Obviously if this guy were obsessed he would be less small-potatoes.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:14 PM on November 15, 2015


It's also the only Christmas-themed article I'll read this year that includes the phrases "apocalyptic fire", "operatic pain", and "What’d they do with the bodies?". And of course "the unsettling necessity of child labour".

As ever if anyone finds more please do post them, this or any other Christmas.

I feel like this would be a great challenge to do as a community activity. ArtW, next mid-November you should post a one-month challenge to Metatalk: Write a Christmas-themed story or article using these phrases. Best entry gets TWO quonsmas presents.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:34 PM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Went back and read it again knowing it's billed as memoir and I still find it funny.

He's satirizing himself.

I particularly love how upset he is about his mom's gift if two churches becauseof how this affects the tax base in his village. Cmon that's hilarious!

Going to the Canadian tire on boxing day with his dad grumbling that the ornaments have no resale value? I'm in the "annual Christmas read" crowd.

Its going right after A Child's Christmas in Wales and the ironic viewing of the Queen's speech.
posted by chapps at 11:11 PM on November 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


One of the things I took away from this is that I really hate the whole "Is it memoir or is it fiction?" crap. Maybe it shouldn't make a difference, but it does to me, and how I read this piece does really depend on which one this is.

I know there will always be some blurring of the lines. Memoirs have some hyperbole, some gaps filled in. But to me, if this is supposed to be more-or-less memoir type stuff, then making up the shit about selling his wife's clothing for three years would be enough to disqualify this as memoir, in my opinion. And if he didn't completely make that detail up (which was my first reading), then I...ugh, it makes me too rage-y so I'll stop there.

Similarly, this line:

As for her saying she hates it, that’s not even possible. She’s too weak for hate, though she would say too strong.

If this were fiction, then okay, fine, this is what the character thinks of his wife. But it seems pretty clear, if nothing else, that he's using their real names, so even if this is another "stretching the truth" moment, I still think it's kind of shitty.

And another:

Who is this prodigy? And thanks to his shockingly relaxed Facebook security settings, I was able to find out...He is indeed a teenager, and owing to a post he made about his report card, I know he is an excellent student. I know that he’s into cake decorating in a big way. I know he likes bike riding; I know his older sister is a total babe and his father rocks sunglasses in formal portraiture. And also, because of a sickeningly sweet photo of the family in their front yard, I know that he lives nearby.

Again, if this is completely made up, then please just label this fiction. If it's not made up, then this is profoundly creepy. I mean, I'm guessing at least part of it is made up, because do kids really post their report cards to Facebook?

Clearly lots of people don't feel this way, but I hate this guessing game. If I read it as a true personal confession essay, then I think this guy is a complete asshole, and I hope his wife posts an askmefi about him so we can all be tell her to DTMFA.

Assuming the worst parts are exaggerated significantly, then it feels dishonest, especially since we just can't know what is or isn't completely made up. If this were something that was billed as fiction with different names, etc, I would be so much more comfortable with it. Sure, a lot of it may still be based on his real life experiences, but at least I wouldn't be vacillating between hating his guts or feeling like I'm being lied to.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:42 PM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think the implication is that a woman couldn't tell this sort of tale about herslf and expect it to be taken as cute, because women aren't allowed to be so selfish.

Also, forgot to mention this in my first comment, but I'll second this so, so much. I feel like, if a woman posted this under her real name and billed it as being nonfiction, then I think she would get so much shit for it. Not only because of the selfish angle, but also because people would probably think she's "silly" or "vapid" for devoting this amount of time/money on collecting trinkets. I also think a woman would get flamed so hard for being so nasty and dismissive towards everyone else in her life.

So yeah, I think my first, very visceral reaction to this had a lot to do with this aspect of it. Granted, this is less within his control then the fiction vs nonfiction packaging, but it is another reason why I would be more receptive to this if it were labelled as fiction.

Oh, one last thing:

Why would you have an ice cream shop in a town that is locked in eternal winter?

I grew up in Florida where we wear sandals year round, and now I live in New England. There are way, way more ice cream shops in the Boston. So, yeah, not at all a contradiction. Maybe it's because when it's 100 degrees with 90% humidity, milk products, even ice cream, start to lose their appeal. Smoothies, on the other hand, are a huge thing down there, not so much up here.
posted by litera scripta manet at 11:52 PM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


But to me, if this is supposed to be more-or-less memoir type stuff, then making up the shit about selling his wife's clothing for three years would be enough to disqualify this as memoir, in my opinion.

I actually say this all the time, out loud, in real life, even though it's not true. Someone says "Where's my..." or "I can't find my..." and I say "I sold it." I even say it about people (babies especially...though now that I type that I'm wondering how I'm around so many people who can't find their babies). Anyway, it's a joke. Everyone knows it's a joke. Is it a lame, tired joke? Yeah, probably. But since I know they know I didn't really sell their baby, I'm pretty sure it's not lying. I would think this guy would expect that people would know he didn't really sell her shirt.

As for her saying she hates it, that’s not even possible. She’s too weak for hate, though she would say too strong.


Again, maybe I'm a total jerk, but I could I imagine saying something like this in a tone that makes it clear it's a joke. And not a joke about the supposedly weak person, but a joke about my own "obsesession." In fact it would be a joke in the same self-deprecation by exaggeration tone as this article.

[And let me be the first to do it before anyone else does:

Metafilter: Maybe I'm a total jerk.]
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:24 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I could I imagine saying something like this in a tone that makes it clear it's a joke.

Yeah but his tone doesn't make that clear at all. I can see a certain amount of self hate in the writing but that's dwarfed by the amount of contempt for others. Elderly obese indeed. 'Scuse them for having opinions.

I don't see this as similar to Sedaris at all. Sedaris, while not in the least self-hating, is very good at facing up to guilt and complicity. He makes no excuses. This chap, on the other hand, has a self-critical focus which is all about achievement and being (or not being) The Special One, which depends on everybody else around him being 'lesser'. It's very unpleasant, as well as being deluded - in a world of billions of humans how unselfaware do you have to be to think that if you're not special that somehow makes you a failure?
posted by glasseyes at 8:22 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I will also point out that early on in the story he noted that he does all this on his wife's income because he has none of bus own. I can't read this without hate raging and wanting to drive her getaway car.
posted by corb at 8:41 AM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think the implication is that a woman couldn't tell this sort of tale about herslf and expect it to be taken as cute, because women aren't allowed to be so selfish.

I think the context of the story would be completely different if the antagonist was a woman. There's an underlying current of gender shame and gay panic in the story that I don't think would be there, because most people probably read 'Christmas villages' as an appropriate hobby for women but not for men (unless there's an electric railroad involved!). There's also the expectation that a man should be the primary breadwinner in the household, and since he isn't it's seen as 'selfish' for him to draw on the family finances to support his interests. In contrast, people expect women to do the emotional labour of caring about and putting together Christmas decorating, even if they have to make sacrifices or adjust the family budget to do so. I don't think it's seen as something that they do just for themselves.

Which is not to say that a woman telling this story wouldn't get all kinds of vicious negative blowback. But I think it would be focused differently. However, I admit I don't have much personal experience in how this kind of thing plays out, so I could be completely wrong about that.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:50 AM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


From my point of view, I liked the writing style. It was enjoyable to read. If it's fact or fiction or a mix doesn't really matter to me; What would change in my life it were any of those options? It's a melancholy tale and it has some beautiful prose in it.

RE: the idea a woman couldn't tell this without getting hate - this man seems to be getting a whole heap of hate anyway. I assume it is perceived the hate would be about different things and different in scale?
posted by trif at 9:16 AM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Needful Things
posted by Beholder at 10:43 AM on November 16, 2015


mmoncur: "It seriously reads, to me, like the confession of someone who, by the end of the story, found it necessary and perfectly logical to murder his wife to support his insane Christmas village hobby."

Good lord, why? He doesn't even once describe or even imply any propensity toward personal violence of any kind. It's interesting, the things that signify "murderer" to us. Apparently what makes a person a murderer is less actually murdering people and more the harboring of an obsession that seems strange to us.

corn: "I will also point out that early on in the story he noted that he does all this on his wife's income because he has none of his own."

But he promptly contradicts this declaration that he has no money or income when he mentions that "my job as a self-employed dog walker."

I don't know. I rather enjoyed this piece as a confessional for several reasons; it's at turns spiteful and self-loathing, but the object of its confession is a fixation on putting together a miniature Christmas village, which one would think would be the most precocious and innocuous hobby imaginable. And the spite and self-loathing are both more blunted than people are giving them credit for. He never expresses actual hatred for himself or for others; he doesn't wish ill on anyone. He accuses himself of being useless in general, but he often seems more bemused than anything else at the whole thing. He lashes out at others, but in little ways that seem more to evince his own silly smallness than to actually hurt anyone. At the heart of his hobby he describes a darkness and dysfunction that is somehow refreshing, a bit of realist decay in his Christmas village, but that is more quietly sad than really indulgently dark; he's not making a goth Christmas village, he's just making one that reflects his sad reality. And his wife and mother and dog seem to love him and care for him plenty, such that I really don't think he's the asshole people want to say he is here.

As far as gender goes, I would actually really like to read essays like this by women, because I think that would work quite well, regardless of how society might receive it.
posted by koeselitz at 10:45 AM on November 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


RE: the idea a woman couldn't tell this without getting hate - this man seems to be getting a whole heap of hate anyway. I assume it is perceived the hate would be about different things and different in scale?

Yeah, this thread is definitely way more tipped towards the hate side of things. I for one number among those who thoroughly enjoyed the piece. I also found it somewhat intoxicating, having entertained notions of having a Christmas village of my own.
posted by wyndham at 12:39 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Wow, apparently I have lead an even more (or very differently) sheltered life, as I did not know scale model Christmas villages were A Thing that people did. I think I have only seen these in the context of our local mall's holiday decorations or some other mostly commercial setting, but I literally had no idea people made personal Christmas villages with the same devotion and level of detail as model train enthusiasts. The more you know...
posted by mosk at 1:22 PM on November 16, 2015


I don't want an Xmas village but man would I love a Alec Baldwin Beetlejuice village
posted by ian1977 at 1:42 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm weirdly disturbed by how disturbed some people are.

I'm weirdly disturbed by how disturbed my disturbedness seems to have made some people.

I don't think he's actually selling his girlfriend's things. I think that was a weird little joke-story.

It's non-fiction, and I believed him. Somehow it didn't come across as exaggeration for comic effect to me.

Other than that, what's scary? He goes to stores where they sell this stuff? He knows the brands? If he were talking about comic books and action figures and making costumes instead of setting up Christmas villages, nobody would be all that disturbed.

I should clarify that I don't find any of the Christmas Village stuff disturbing. My mom has one and I love it, and I've visited stores like that and enjoyed them myself, and as someone with nearly 100 stuffed penguins in his office I'm the last person to criticize anyone for having a strange hobby.

What I found disturbing was his narcissistic writing style. He seems to hate his wife, his family, and all of the rest of humanity, and a couple of the details (stealing from his wife, stalking teenagers, wishing ill on an elderly woman because she could afford something he couldn't) creeped me out.

If you replaced all of the Christmas stuff and the article was called "I sold my wife's clothes to buy Marvel's Avengers comics and action figures" I would find it exactly the same level of disturbing.

Apparently what makes a person a murderer is less actually murdering people and more the harboring of an obsession that seems strange to us.

My "murderer" comment was probably out of line. I meant it as comic exaggeration myself, I don't think the author is about to murder someone. I just meant that his writing style reads like the sort of confessional horror story that would start its last chapter with "Yes, Dear Reader, she had to die."

TLDR: I suspect he's really a nice person and If he invited me in to see his Christmas Village I would probably enjoy it greatly. I just don't like his writing style. I did like bits of it -- if he had simply written "Why I love my Christmas Village" I would have probably enjoyed it, but he chose an odd theme as the hook to hang the story onto.
posted by mmoncur at 2:25 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


as someone with nearly 100 stuffed penguins in his office

Oh, you can't tell me someone gets to nearly 100 stuffed penguins without committing some kind of crime. Fess up!
posted by mittens at 3:56 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Come on. Isn't it obvious the 'rage'-fueled responses to this Bloggessy piece of absurd self-awareness by a semi-destitute millenial Christmas Village aficionado are just as absurdly self-aware parodies of the sort of humorless SJ Scroogery that exist only in our tone-deaf imaginations? God bless us, every one!
posted by perhapsolutely at 4:09 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm weirdly disturbed by how disturbed my disturbedness seems to have made some people.....As someone with nearly 100 stuffed penguins ...

I think you know how to make this right.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:02 PM on November 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've never let myself get started with Christmas village stuff because I don't think I could stop. carmicha

Um, I just realized that my last FPP was almost a year ago. It was entitled Tiny Buildings. Make me happy.

Christmas villages. Not even once.
posted by carmicha at 6:02 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: And let me be the first to do it before anyone else does...
posted by ostranenie at 6:18 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


If I only had a penguin:
> I'm weirdly disturbed by how disturbed my disturbedness seems to have made some people.....As someone with nearly 100 stuffed penguins ...

I think you know how to make this right.


I didn't even recognize the Eponysterical Christmas miracle in your username when I wrote that... If you MeMail me your address I'll make sure a penguin reaches you post haste.

P. S. I just realized that I have a separate box of Christmas Penguins (those with scarves, hats, and such) that only come out for the holidays. Maybe the reason this article was disturbing is that it was a bit too familiar...

I'm pretty sure I haven't committed any crimes for penguins yet, though.

posted by mmoncur at 7:59 PM on November 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I am a woman with a sprawling Christmas Village that has been growing a bit at a time for 25 years. I believe there are 42 buildings now, and liitle lamps and people and a skating pond and a railroad. The layout changes every year, but from Black Friday through Epiphany, tales are told about the antics of the denizens of Mooville. Visitors to my home are encouraged to let their imaginations loose. My dear citizens are apparently a herd of rabblerousers whose hijinks rival those of the real people in my life!

But...being a woman, writing about my Village - and I don't even steal from anyone for it! - would earn me sneers of "get a life" and "brainless" and "vapid" and probably worse.

I'm a little worried about our writer here. He seems to be a little unhealthily obsessed. But he's enjoying quite a lot of privilege in being able to write openly about that obsession and not be hounded off the internet.
posted by MissySedai at 9:01 PM on November 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Australian department stores have a bit fo a tradition of making window displays for Christmas. This year, one of them got a creator of coloring books to design theirs. It has not been well received:

[Department store] David Jones criticised on social media for ‘colourless’ Christmas window displays
[...] DJs has insisted that while it’s windows may look grey right now, colour will appear as the days tick down to Christmas.

However, it could be too late for some, with an underwhelmed public voicing disapproval and labelling the store’s decorations “a tragic mistake”. One child was reportedly even left in tears due to the display’s disappointment.

[...]

The CBD David Jones XMas window this year is awful,what happened to the creative windows in past years which drew crowds
— Mick Attarian (@pmens72) November 9, 2015

I want a public inquiry into what happened to the David Jones Christmas windows this year.
— Steph Gardiner (@steph_gardiner) November 17, 2015
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:03 AM on November 18, 2015


More of Richard Kelly Kemick's work is available here.
posted by zenon at 7:37 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was in Canadian tire yesterday, and I spotted a Christmas village police station in the aisle. I thought of you all, and also, I thought of Kemick's poor villagers, denied a whiskey at Christmas but for this one piece.
posted by chapps at 10:39 AM on November 22, 2015


I think the guy is coming in for some needless drubbing here. His piece is sweet, and I agree he was aiming for something both funnier and more deeply thoughtful than what came out, but it's not like he's evil incarnate. He's writing comedically; I wish he hadn't played the "gay panic" card so heavily, but he's not reporting from a war zone and has taken plenty of liberties (in more of a Dave Barry than a David Sedaris way), but there's not a thing wrong with his hobby. Especially for someone whose career is (in part) photography it's not at all surprising that something so visually enchanting would be of interest.

I have a Christmas village. It started a lot like this guy's - I'd always enjoyed miniatures and my parents had seen me and my brother eyeing them and started buying us each a house every Christmas, usually at JoAnn Fabrics the week before Christmas, when they get marked down to 75% off and cost all of about $8. Still, they look charmingly glowy all lit up and arranged. I have about a dozen, mismatched and different eras - I'm clearly not serious about it. But I really like it and most years, have set it up. My brother gave away his village a few years ago in the midst of a move, but he still enjoys visiting mine. Though I agree the author's playing "gay panic" for lulz in the piece, I don't agree that a similarly embarrassed/infatuated paean from a female author like myself would be torn to shreds, any more than this guy's piece is. And the ubiquity of slightly-embarrassing collections is already showing up on the related MeTa.

I admire the design and the visual references designers integrated into the villages. They're a pretty pleasing update of the Victorian putz and there's nothing horrifyingly shameful about spending money on them, any more than countless other hobbies that people tend to give a pass, like Star Wars collecting or cooking with fancy equipment and ingredients.
posted by Miko at 8:01 PM on November 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oops, I mistook author for photographer. Still, he's in a creative career and having a fair amount of success and seems like a contributing member of society.
posted by Miko at 8:08 PM on November 22, 2015


he's not making a goth Christmas village

That I'd like to see!
posted by fairmettle at 2:44 AM on November 26, 2015


That I'd like to see!

Dept. 56 got there first too. There's also the Nightmare Before Christmas Village.
posted by Miko at 9:37 AM on November 26, 2015


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