40 Days This Blog Illumined the Advent of the Holiday Season

Memories of Christmas and other holiday events are part of life’s sustenance, good and bad. They remind of what we’ve experienced and also teach us about who we are. Or perhaps who we aspire to be?

Since 2005, I’ve written many blog posts about this holiday. Many describe events long before I was born but they’ve come to represent all of the ways that I move through the holidays. I regularly reshare that content each year, just like someone might reverently bring out a treasured ornament.

Before this blog, I did not know why my family had a Christmas village house, the origins of the holiday date and nut pudding. I had not the least idea that my great-grandmother had her letter to Santa published in the Pittsburgh Press in 1896, a fact that still feels magical.

The blog has given me exposure to the arts, including productions from my childhood. I’ve also had a chance to revisit some traumatic memories and work through them a bit. Over the past 18 years, I’ve forged new memories blogging about holiday experiences has energized their sparkle in my life, transforming me as a participant and a chronicler into something more.

Now, I remember stomping through Phipps, dining at Six Penn on New Years Eve, watching the ice skaters, learning about Santa’s companions, the PSO, the plays, countless holiday drag shows, celebrating my first Winter Solstice in the midst of a pandemic, time with family, listening to their memories. I remember the Nationality Rooms, chilly but glorious to behold. The many holiday craft shows of I Made It for the Holidays and Handmade Arcade that were regular occasions themselves still fill my heart with joy.

  1. Holiday Spirits Captivate Pemberley for this City Theatre Production – 2023
  2. The Origins of the Christmas Tree and Pittsburgh’s Flaming Tree Festival of the Magi – 2021
  3. Holiday Wishes From the Fort Faulsey Community Cats – 2022
  4. I Put Up a Christmas Tree For My Feral Cat Colony – 2021
  5. On Day 288 there were scary ghost stories, but not so much wonderful times – 2020
  6. My Western Pennsylvania Snow Globe – 2019
  7. My Family History Christmas Edition: Grandma’s Date Nut Pudding Recipe – 2017
  8. The Xmas When I Grew Up Too Fast – 2019
  9. A Green Christmas (Inflatable) Tree for Ledcat – 2018
  10. No Crib For a Bed – 2019
  11. Q&A with Creator of ‘Good Luck With The Holidays’ Queer Resilience Zine – 2018
  12. Review: A Christmas Carol at Carnegie Stage Gets Dickens Right – 2018
  13. Those Times When Santa Came to Visit on a Fire Truck in West Mifflin – 2017
  14. Dear Santa Letters from My Great-Grandmother Circa 1896 -2017
  15. Ten Holiday Things To Do In Pittsburgh – 2015
  16. Can You Save Xmas Without a White Savior Complex? – 2014
  17. My Elf On The Shelf And The Legend of Belsnickel – 2014
  18. Ten Pittsburgh Holiday Things To Do – 2014
  19. Our Family Christmas House Putz – 2013
  20. Saturday Memory: Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas – 2013
  21. Saturday Memory: Christmas on Walton’s Mountain – 2013
  22. Saturday Memory: The Little Drummer Boy via Rankin and Bass – 2013
  23. Saturday Memory: Do You Ever Feel Like a Misfit Toy? – 2013
  24. Being Irrational About the Holidays – 2013
  25. My Letter To Santa – 2012
  26. Review: Holiday Pops with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra – 2022
  27. Holiday Pops are Beloved Pittsburgh Seasonal Institution – 2021
  28. Highmark Holiday Pops and PSO Return With Holiday Tradition to Remind Us That Music is Vital to Society – 2019
  29. I Put Up a Christmas Tree For My Feral Cat Colony – 2021
  30. Q&A with Stars of Holiday Drag Musical ‘Claws Out’ at City Theatre – 2020
  31. Review: Handel’s Messiah at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra – 2022
  32. Five Things I Did To Make Myself a Merry Christmas – 2013
  33. Reflection on Burgh Baby’s “Christmas Crazy” Project to Benefit Womansplace – 2011
  34. Bah Humbug – 2010
  35. Nothing changes on New Year’s Day – 2023
  36. Black Trans Woman Amäriey Lèį (Myara) Shot to Death in Pittsburgh on New Years Day – 2022
  37. A New Year’s Resolution Led Me To Ledcat – 2015
  38. The Rainbow New Year … 2011 LGBTQ in Review – 2011
  39. My Favorite Holiday of the (New) Year – 2013

As I prepare to celebrate this first Christmas on my own since I began blogging, I find comfort in those posts. They are tie that binds me to my history, across five generations or more. They’ve opened my heart and mind to new realities and adventures.

And I’m humbled to note that Pittsburgh was the place reporting the first death of a trans woman in 2022. Amäriey Lèį (Myara) was shot to death in Wilkinsburg. To my knowledge, there has been no arrest. I ask, but get no response. What happened to her? Is anyone even asking?

The world is big, even in Pittsburgh. But sometimes we need to make ourselves small and create room for the things and people that matter.


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