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The Twelfth Day Of Christmas (Shannon & Shobi)

written by Shannon Bryan

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About this story

Published: 1997 | Size: 15 KB (2809 words) | Language: english | Rating: PG-13
Average: 3.1/5   3.1/5 (10 votes)

based on stories and characters created by Winnie Holzman

Another recent conversation between Shobi and Shannon went something like...

SHANNON: (elbowing Shobi) See? What'd I tell you? That wasn't so bad.

SHOBI: (frowning) Define bad.

SHANNON: (glaring) The way you'll be feeling if you don't lose the bah humbug attitude in about five seconds. (pause, threatening) I *still* have that picture you know.

SHOBI: All right, all right. I admit it. Writing the Twelve So-Called Days of Christmas was sort of okay. It was (quickly) I said *almost*. You can stop with that lame little dance, already.

SHANNON: What's wrong with my dancing?

SHOBI: I'd love to tell you, and in fact I have an itemized list, but we only have so much time to get this message out. (hopeful) Unless you've decided to skip--

SHANNON: Oh no you don't. We're still doing it. The characters blathered all their thoughts, so we get a chance to blather too. (long pause) But now that it's time for me to actually say something...I'm not really sure what to say.

SHOBI: Don't look at me.

SHANNON: Why not? We're supposed to be doing this *together*.

SHOBI: I know. But I meant don't look at me *literally*. I can't believe you've got those stupid looking ornaments in your hair. I can't concentrate with you looking like a stumpy little Christmas tree.

SHANNON: (annoyed) Danielle wore Christmas ornaments in her hair. Remember when the Chases decorated their tree in So-Called Angels?

SHOBI: You're right. (smug) But you're like, what? Ten times older than her?

SHANNON: Stop being a Grinch. Just help me with the Christmas message. Otherwise we'll be here all day. (dark look) Which means you'll have *plenty* of time to admire the ornaments in my hair.

SHOBI: (considering) In that case...I guess I'll start.

SHANNON:  Why do you always get to start?

SHOBI:  Well, I thought you were going to bat clean up.  You know, to smooth things over after my tirade, and spread some actual holiday cheer or whatever.

SHANNON:  Good point.  Knock yourself out.

SHOBI:  I have to warn you, this might be pretty short.  I sort of used all my holiday stories for the characters themselves.

SHANNON:  (rolling eyes)  Ah yes.  You were absolutely brimming over with holiday spirit.  Cancer, dog piss, cat vomit and dildos are *very* festive.  What's up for today?  Some yuletide tales about the black plague and locusts?

SHOBI:  (glaring)  I'm just going to ignore that.  In the interest of time if nothing else.  Here goes.

If it were up to me, I would not celebrate Christmas at all.  I only marginally participate in the most secular aspects of the traditions out of respect for my family and friends.  Christmas has always been sort of loaded for me.  Loaded with issues about belief and trust.  Belief in Santa of course.  And in Jesus.  And God.  Religious belief (and my lack thereof) is an issue that my adoptive family and I have fought about for ages.  And a lot of the most vivid memories I have turn out to be moments that really informed the conclusions that I came to regarding those issues.

The last Christmas I really believed in Santa was awesome.  I got everything on my list and more--which, at the time meant a lot of superhero dolls and paraphernalia.  Even better than that, Santa had arranged my new toys in an action packed fight scene diorama sort of thing.  With Batman and Robin duking it out in the Batcave with lots of villains, who were trying to steal the Batmobile.  Jerk villains.  The pictures of that day can still bring a smile to my face.

(Digression = ON)  I don't want to get into the dolls vs. action figures debate at this time.  Feel free to call the gifts I received that year by whatever term reinforces your particular gender biases.  But allow me one observation to defend my choice of the word "dolls".  Barbie's halter top and daisy duke shorts fit Robin perfectly, and were incidentally about as practical for crime fighting purposes as the costume he came with.  (Digression = OFF)

It was easy to believe that day.  Coming downstairs with my little brother to find half of the toy store laid out to play with was good evidence for Santa.  My parents couldn't have done something so elaborate and creative (I thought) and they never really knew who in the superhero world was on which side of right and wrong.  But all the right people were fighting.  So, of course Santa would know that.  Plus I knew my parents couldn't really afford as much as we got, so it *must* have come from Santa.

Of course when I entered school, I learned the truth instantly.  And that year I asked my folks all these probing (for a kid) questions about Santa.  And they were clearly not ready for me to be done with believing, so they tried to come up with answers.  But some of the questions just had no logical answer.  And so eventually they gave in and told me the truth.  And paranoid as I was, even at that age, I then made a list of other people and things that I was no longer certain I believed in either and began to ask about them.  And they fell like dominoes in the wake of my tantrum.  The Easter Bunny--a fake.  The Tooth Fairy--nonexistent.  The Boogey Man--thankfully a story.

And then of course, I got to God and all hell broke loose.  You can see why I went there, I presume.  Two guys with weird hair and beards who do magic?  Santa and God, of course.  As concepts they seemed pretty similar to me at the time, and to some extent they still do.  There is really no way to describe the look of horror and disappointment on my parents faces when I asked if God was just a story too.  But they were adamant about God, much moreso than with Santa, so in the end I kept my belief in God for that year, but was left with a lot of unanswered questions. I never did hear a good answer to those questions.  And that is where the problem lies for my family.

So that Christmas, which could have been so horrible, considering my dashed Santa beliefs, was actually a great one.  Because to make sure I didn't instantly spill the beans to my little brother, my folks enlisted my help in keeping up the Santa facade.  Being a complete ham, I warmed to the role instantly.  And I knew I was basically perpetuating a fantasy, and telling lies about where the milk and cookies went.  And lying usually felt pretty bad.  But in that instance it did not.  Keeping the fantasy alive for Scott felt pretty good.

And maybe I should have learned something from that experience.  Something that could have helped me in my countless battles with my family and others about religious and other issues as I carved my own identity.  But it is only recently that I see a lesson there to take with me.  Because my parents were not the only ones who were completely unbendable in their rejection of the opposite point of view.  I was just as dogmatic in return.  It would have helped if I had realized then that even if it is not the way I operate, sometimes people need to cling to their beliefs.  Because those beliefs make them feel good, or safe, or whatever.  Perhaps it can be as simple as that.  And that shouldn't threaten what I believe.

I don't generally believe or trust in the abstract.  Or heros.  Or institutions.  So the list itself is not something I trust in.  Too nebulous a concept.  But some of the people I've met on the list?  Them I trust.  And I couldn't have met those people if it weren't for the nebulous concept.  So, in a way, Shannon was right in the original post when she said this whole 12 Days thing was a way to give something back to the list.  And to the show that inspired it.  For what I've gotten out of it.

So, nowadays I manage to keep my mouth shut for the most part around the holidays.  And to participate in celebrating Christmas in my own way.  Because I want to keep peace in the family.  And because I respect their needs and traditions.  And, let's face it, because I *love* getting free stuff.  I won't get any dolls this year, but you can bet on the fact that they will overdo it.

And I guess that's what I wish for everyone.  For you to believe in anything that gives you comfort.  But most of all for you to believe in, spend time with, and find peace with your families, and the ones you love.

SHANNON:  Wow.  You are such a huge liar.

SHOBI:  Excuse me?

SHANNON:  You said that it would be short.  And your blather definitely didn't qualify for that term.  (smirking)  Although I was interested to learn of your early fascination with people who fight crime and run around in tights and capes.

SHOBI:  Careful.  Your claws are showing.  You ll ruin your reputation on the list.

SHANNON:  The list knows I am innocent and pure.

SHOBI:  Yeah.  100% pure *evil*.  Now shut up about my warped childhood and let's hear your holiday thoughts.

SHANNON:  Okay.  And mine will honestly be short.  Unlike some long-winded guy I know.

Okay, this is the hard part. Writing for myself, I mean. It's a lot easier for me to write from a character's viewpoint than my own. Not to mention heaps more interesting for all of you.

When I was little, Christmas meant a lot of things. It meant decorating the tree. Which I loved. Because my dad would play Christmas music on the stereo and my mom would make hot chocolate. It meant singing Silent Night during the Christmas program at my church when I was in grade school. And after the program, it meant going to my grandma's and eating popcorn balls and homemade cookies. For some reason, my grandma's cookies always tasted, well, *better* than anyone else's, you know?

When I was older, it meant putting up the little Christmas tree on the dresser in my bedroom. So when I turned off the light, I could look at the rainbow pattern on the ceiling. I loved watching that colored haze. It was kind of like having my own northern lights. Or whatever.

Heading downtown with my dad on a brisk Saturday afternoon for last minute Christmas shopping. Elbowing through the crowds and laughing for no reason. That was Christmas too.

There's a certain glow I remember during the holidays. Almost as if all the snow globes and music boxes and colored lights and tinsel and shiny bows could be rolled into one giant...*thing*. Sometimes I can still see that glow if I really look. But not very often.

Now Christmas just seems And spending too much money. And visiting people I try to avoid the rest of the year. Maybe things haven't really changed as much as I think. Maybe that so-called "Christmas glow" just seems brighter through a child's eyes.

I don't know.

When I joined this list I figured it would be like all the other lists I've been on. Discussion about a favorite television show. But it's so much more than that. It's a discussion of My So-Called Life and *our* so-called lives. Being on the list, and having the chance to meet the people I've come to know...that's been an amazing gift. Writing these So-Called Days of Christmas posts have brought back some of the glow I've been looking for.

So thank you for reading them. Thank you for being on the list. All of you.

I'm going to go look for the little Christmas tree I used to put in my room. Maybe I'll put it on my desk. And make a Christmas rainbow on the ceiling.

I hope that your Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever you might celebrate is filled with laughter, warmth, and good memories. In fact...I hope it glows.

SHOBI:  Wow.  I think I feel the glow right now.

SHANNON:  (pleased)  Really?

SHOBI:  (under his breath)  Yeah.  Heartburn.  You really are nauseating.


SHOBI: (quickly)  Nothing. I was just going to say, you know...Merry Christmas.  To *you*.

SHANNON: (brightens) Thanks! And a Happy Winter Solstice to you. Or whatever you call it.

SHANNON & SHOBI: We wish everyone at Liberty a very Happy Holiday season!

SHOBI: Hold on a minute. We still have one more verse to post of our so-called carol.

SHANNON: You're right! Hmm. How about if we sing the whole song?

SHOBI: (sad look) But I forgot my earplugs.

SHANNON: Ha ha. Come on, it'll be fun. (imploring) I'll even try to sing quietly. Okay?

SHOBI: Like I have a choice. (sighing) Fine. We'll include the final verse at the end. But I swear if you sing all the way to Shim City, you'll be riding in the trunk.  Seriously.  Okay, here goes. 

(Music = ON)

"The Twelve So-Called Days of Christmas"

On the first day of Christmas this guy Tino gave to me...
one out of state fake ID.

On the second day of Christmas Graham Chase gave to me...
two free Dead tickets.

On the third day of Christmas Rayanne Graf gave to me...
three yummy lollies.

On the fourth day of Christmas the Chases gave to me...
four invisible cats.

On the fifth day of Christmas Patty Chase gave to me...
five cotton swabs.

On the sixth day of Christmas Camille Cherski gave to me...
six pairs of handcuffs.

On the seventh day of Christmas a bored Patty  gave to me...
seven swans of origami.

On the eighth day of Christmas the Chases' closet gave to me...
eight flapper dresses.

On the ninth day of Christmas Brian Krakow gave to me...
nine volumeters.

On the tenth day of Christmas Chuck Wood gave to me...
ten IRS audits.

On the eleventh day of Christmas Neil gave to me...
eleven Ginger Flavored Brandies.

On the twelfth day of Christmas Jordan Catalano gave to me...
twelve ghost-written letters.

Twelve ghost-written letters!
Eleven ginger-flavored brandies,
ten IRS audits,
nine volumeters,
eight dresses flapping,
seven swans of origami,
six pairs of handcuffs,
five...cotton swabs,
Four invisible cats,
three yummy lollies!
two free Dead tickets,
and one out of state fake ID!

Heaps of thanks to everyone who read our posts!

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Rating Distribution:
Average: 3.1/5   3.1/5 (10 votes)
  • Saria commented on 29 Jul 2003:
    This was fun, but when are you two going to put your heads together and write more stories for your series? I need to know what happens!

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“I cannot bring myself to eat a well-balanced meal in front of my mother.”

Angela Chase, Episode 1: "My So-Called Life (Pilot)"